Predecessors or ancestors. Usually used in the sense of “pious ancestors,” especially the first three generations of the Muslim community, who are considered to have lived the normative experience of Islam. Often referred to in works by Hanbali jurists, particularly Ibn Taymiyyah and Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. Wahhabis called for implementation of the social organization of salaf as a means of restoring Islamic ethics and piety to original purity. The same principles are followed by the twentieth-century Salafi movement, leading many to characterize it as traditionalist. The writings of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab suggest a return to the values of the salaf, rather than literal implementation of their practices, as the purpose of reform.
See also Salafi