Definition of Salafi in English:

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Pronunciation: /səˈläfē/

noun (plural Salafis)

A member of a strictly orthodox Sunni Muslim sect advocating a return to the early Islam of the Koran and Sunna.
Example sentences
  • Militant Salafis object to Muslims shaving their beards.
  • Sufis are typically more peaceful and less rigid than Salafis or Wahhabis, though there are militantly anti-Western Sufi leaders, as well.
  • Most are peaceful, but some Salafis have turned radical and take up arms, just as there were violent Lutheran peasant rebellions in early modern Europe.



Example sentences
  • Salafism is a strain of Islam that seeks to restore the faith to the way it was in the days of the prophet Muhammad, 14 centuries ago.
  • Although Ibn Taymiyya's medieval theology is important to the contemporary Salafists, Salafism had its true origins in modern times, in the reform movement at Sunni Islam's Egyptian core in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • He met a well known intellectual who introduced him to radical Salafism, a doctrine which calls for a return to the purity of Islam.


noun & adjective
Example sentences
  • The Salafist movement in the Sunni Muslim world has been pursuing these same reforms for a century.
  • I'm a Sufi and you're a Salafist.
  • He explores the influences of insiders and outsiders on Sunni Islam and the resulting rivalries and clashing philosophies that spawned the current Salafist reform movement.


Arabic, from salaf 'predecessor', 'forebear'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Sal·a·fi

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