It is easy to label religious phenomena and practices as Protestant, Catholic, evangelical, ṣūfī, Sunnī, or Shīʿa, conservative or reformed without saying anything of value. Often the very act of naming can cause a religious trend or tradition to lose all nuance. This insight could not be more applicable to the multiple forms of Islamic reform in the modern world, where fractures and fragments of traditions and social reality produces incoherence and incommensurable life worlds. The term salafi or salafism is frequently used in media-speak. By adopting this label, adherents signal that they view the first three generations of Islam as the authentic age, namely the period in which the “pious ancestors,” the salaf, flourished and whose example is worthy of emulation without the...

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