al-Salaf wa ’l-K̲h̲alaf
(778 words)

(a.), lit. “the predecessors and the successors”, names given to the first three generations and to the following generations of the Muslim community respectively.

It was the Sunna [q.v.] rather than the Ḳurʾān which instituted one of the most characteristic traits of the Islamic vision of history by imposing the idea a priori that this history was said to have begun with a golden age, which was said to have been inevitably followed by a period of relaxation of standards, deviation and finally of division. A saying of the …

Cite this page
Chaumont, E., “al-Salaf wa ’l-K̲h̲alaf”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 16 December 2018 <>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

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