There are many issues that arise here and what follows is just an introductory note to lay the foundation for further observations and comments in the articles which are to follow:
Yasir Qadhi knows full well that "Salafiyyah" is the deen of Islam and the deen of Islam is "Salafiyyah." This is because he spent ten years in the Islamic University of Madeenah in the course of which he will have sat and listened to many notable Salafi scholars explain that Salafiyyah is Islam as it was revealed upon the Messenger (sallallaahu ʿalayhi wasallam) and that the Salafi call is a call to that Islam [and its foundations (usool) and methodologies (manaahij)] which solves the problems of mankind in truth, and exemplified in the statement of Imam Malik (rahimahullaah), "The latter part of this ummah will not be rectified except what rectified its earlier part." The first and foremost of such problems is the insulting of human intelligence (2:130) through the worship of others besides Allah and speaking about Allah (and His Names and Attributes) upon ignorance, desires, opinions and tastes. Upon the rectification of these affairs lie the foundations for the rectification of the servant and the land (through the usool and manaahij of Islaam, Salafiyyah) which Yasir Qadhi appears to suggest, is not intellectually stimulating enough for him. This we shall elaborate upon later inshaa'Allaah and show that hikmah and aql lies in the pure Islam (Salafiyyah), and dhulm, jahl and hawaa is what one falls into when exiting from that and this we shall illustrate clearly and plainly by examining Yasir Qadhi's remarks on a) the Egyptian revolution, b) his pacts with Jahmite grave-worshippers, c) his speech about the Salafi scholars and d) his speech on evolution amongst other things to show that hikmah and aql is with the Salafi Scholars, that sound reason never conflicts with the Salafi way (see here from Ibn Taymiyyah), that they are supported by the revealed texts in all of what they profess and call to, in belief and methodology, as a means of rectification of the servant and the land and that dhulm, jahl and hawaa is what Yasir Qadhi is upon (in his fikr and ra'i), even if it is masked with the label of "intellectual stimulation." As for the claim that Yasir Qadhi distinguishes between "Salafiyyah" (as a way) and those called "Salafis" (ascribing to that way), then the various statements coming from Yasir Qadhi over the past five years show that this is not his intent. A sign of this is that he does not consider the Salafi scholars of today as being fit and capable of addressing modern issues, and many of the issues of criticism he has are directed towards what are in fact firm foundations (usool) derived from the Book and the Sunnah upon the understanding and application of the Righteous Salaf.
Here is a very small sample of statements and clarifications from the Salafi Scholars of today, the likes of which Yasir Qadhi has been exposed to over and over and which he understands quite well, and which explain that Salafiyyah is nothing but pure authentic Islaam.
- Ibn Taymiyyah: Obligatory to Accept Ascription to the Way of the Salaf Because it is Nothing But the Truth - (see here)
- Ibn Taymiyyah: Sound Reason and Authentic Text Never Necessitate Opposition to the Salafi Way - (see here)
- Is Salafiyyah Simply a Blessed Historical Time Period or Is It an Actual Jamaa'ah With a Distinct Creed and Methodology? - (see here)
- Imaam al-Albaanee: Compelling Argument for the Usage of the Term 'Salafi' - (see here)
- Shaykh Saalih Al-Fawzaan on Ascription to Salafiyyah and Saying 'I Am Salafi' and When It Becomes Necessary - (see here)
- Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen: the Salafis Are Ahl Al-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa'ah and Ahl Al-Athar - (see here)
- Imaam Ibn Baz: When Being Truthful in the Claim, Labelling With 'Salafi' Is an Obligatory Commendation - (see here)
- Shaykh Al-Albaanee on the Doubt: Allaah Has Named Us Muslims So Why Use the Label 'Salafi'? - (see here)
- The Permanent Committee: Salafiyyah and Ascription to the Salaf - (see here)
- Shaykh Saalih Al-Fawzaan: Is Salafiyyah a Hizb (Party) From Amongst the Parties? - (see here)
If Yasir Qadhi understands a Salafiyyah other than this one - which he was exposed to for ten years and which he himself, for a period, used to propagate - then let him explain it to us. We eagerly await his clarification of this Salafiyyah and we anticipate him writing and explaining to us the Salafiyyah he considers not intellectually stimulating enough for his likes. And upon this, if he cannot explain to us a Salafiyyah other than the one we have just defined and which Yāsir Qādhī knows and understands full well is the pure, authentic Islam by definition, then his statement is a revilement upon the deen of Islam for which he needs to make tawbah to Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, and it is a statement that puts him in a very dangerous, precarious position.
Worse still is that on the back of Qadhi's statements, a number of Yasir Qadhi's followers have expressed similarly vile statements entering into the realm of major kufr - may Allaah guide them to their senses - such as the saying of one of them through twitter, that Salafiyyah, "...seems to attract the thickest neanderthals" - and this is a revilement upon the entire body of the Salaf, from the Companions of Allah's Messenger, the Successors and then all the way through to the likes of Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad in the 3rd century hijrah, and then whoever followed them in holding fast to the way of the Salaf through all the generations until this day of ours, included amongst them are Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab and Ibn Baz, al-Albani and hundreds of others. This is because Salafiyyah (meaning the authentic Islam in belief, speech and deed) is the religion of all of the Prophets and Messengers and thus whoever clung to the authentic Islam (brought by each Messenger), in belief, speech and action whilst others deviated from that way, then he is known as a "Salafi," with a meaning that he is a follower of the respective Messenger and of his close disciples who clung to the way of that Messenger in what passed of history. As Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said, "There is no fault, blame upon the one who manifests the madhhab of the Salaf, and ascribes to it, rather it is obligatory to accept that from him by unanimous agreement, for the madhhab of the Salaf is nothing but the truth." Yasir Qadhi cannot claim ignorance of this as has preceded because he knows that by definition, Salafiyyah is the pure Islam, and we are not in need here of bringing scores and scores of statements from past and contemporary Salafi scholars to establish this point.
In light of this, both Qadhi and his followers who have made such remarks regarding "intellectual stimulation" and "thickest neanderthals," we fear that they have fallen into an instance of major kufr - since reviling and belittling the deen is major kufr. To make it explicitly clear, we are not expelling them from Islam, since it is from our principles that a person falling into an instance of major kufr does not necessitate that he has automatically exited the fold of Islam - since there are conditions and preventative barriers involved which need to be investigated. But this is just to point out the gravity of these statements - both of which entail mockery and belittlement of the deen of pure Islam, which Yasir Qadhi knows and understands full well is the intent behind the label of Salafiyyah. However, in the case of Yasir Qadhi, his remark about "intellectual stimulation" is more arrogance than it is mockery (even though it entails mockery), this is because it is as if Yasir Qadhi is saying that the usool (foundations) and manhaahij (methodologies) of Islaam (i.e. Salafiyyah) are not intellectually stimulating enough and cannot solve modern problems, and he implies that intellectually superior thinkers like himself, through the use of fikr (thought) and ra'i (opinion) are able to provide solutions to modern problems, those which the Scholars of Islam, Sunnah and Salafiyyah, such as Imaam al-Albani, Imaam Ibn Baz, Imaam Ibn Uthaymeen, Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan and others are not able to offer, because they are not as intellectually superior as he is and will have nothing to offer for modern problems except foundations, principles and guidelines based on a "Salafi" understanding of the revealed texts - apparently no match for the intellectual stimulation he experiences through his own kalam, fikr and ra'i.
Here is Yasir Qadhi in his own written words when he was attempting to justify why he signed an agreement with various factions amongst whom were Jahmites and Saint-worshippers and students of outright callers to Shirk with Allaah the Most High (such as Habeeb Ali al-Jifree):
With regards to going back to mashayikh oversees, then with all due respect to them I simply do not view this matter as being one that should go back to them. If I myself, having experienced first-hand the Western situation for the last few years, have changed my own views, and I am from the West, how would I then expect an alim who has lived his entire life in India or Saudi to understand our situation? Sometimes we place our ulamaa above the level they deserve, and that is a fact that needs to be said plainly and clearly...
So this is the first and immediate matter that needs to be pointed out, that when we understand, and Yasir Qadhi also understands from his ten year stretch in Madinah, that Salafiyyah is by definition, the pure authentic Islam, then his speech implies belittlement - a matter he needs to recant from. Next we will look at the meaning of aql (reason) because the aql that Yasir Qadhi and his followers appear to understand (in their pursuit of intellectual stimulation) is not the aql (reason) that is understood and explained by the Scholars of Islam, Sunnah and Salafiyyah.