The Salafi movement, also called the Salafist movement, Salafiya and Salafism, is a reform branch movement within Sunni Islam. The name derives from advocating a return to the traditions of the "ancestors" (salaf), the first three generations of Muslims said to know the unadulterated, pure form of Islam. Those generations include the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his companions (the Sahabah), their successors (the Tabi‘un), and the successors of the successors (the Taba Tabi‘in). Practically, Salafis maintain that Muslims ought to rely on the Quran, the Sunnah and the consensus of the salafs, giving them precedence over the later Islamic hermeneutic teachings.
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The Salafist doctrine is based on looking back to the early years of the religion to understand how the contemporary Muslims should practise their faith. They reject religious innovation or bid'ah and support the implementation of sharia (Islamic law). The movement is sometimes divided into three categories: the largest group being the purists (or quietists), who avoid politics; the second largest group being the activists, who maintain regular involvement in politics; and the third group being the jihadists, who form a minority and advocate armed struggle to restore the early Islamic movement. In legal matters, the Salafi are divided between those who, in the name of independent legal judgement (ijtihad), reject strict adherence (taqlid) to the four Sunni schools of law (madhahib) and others who remain faithful to these, especially to Hanbali Madhab, the parent school of Salafi doctrine.