An International conference of Sunni scholars was held in Grozny, Chechnya, attended by more than 100 renowned Islamic scholars and Sufi shaykhs who came from Russia, Syria, Turkey, India, Egypt, Jordan, South Africa, United Kingdom and other countries.
Shaykh Ahmed El-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Egypt, defined the mainstream Sunni Islam and excluded Wahhabis from it. He stated:
“Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah are the Ash’arites and Muturidis (adherents of the theological systems of Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi and Imam Abul-Hasan al-Ash’ari). In matters of belief, they are followers of any of the four schools of thought (Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki or Hanbali) and are also the followers of the Sufism of Imam Junaid al-Baghdadi in doctrines, manners and [spiritual] purification.”
This statement implies that Salafists, also called Wahhabis, are not part of the mainstream Ahl as-Sunnah or Sunni Muslims, despite the fact that they are trying to hijack the term Sunni by labeling themselves as Sunni Muslims.
Shaykh Ahmed El-Tayeb also said: “Terrorists and Islam have no relation whatsoever, instead these terrorists are inclined towards spreading a radical ideology among Muslims, so that Islam is misunderstood world over.”
The conference was held on 25-27 August 2016 in the city of Grozny, organized by the president of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov.
Wahhabi clerics of the Saudi Kingdom are furious over this conference. Wahhabis of other countries have also been angered over it.
Some of the renowned shaykhs attending the conference include:
- Shaykh Ahmed El-Tayeb, president and grand Imam of the prestigious Islamic seminary Al-Azhar University of Cairo, Egypt
- Shaikh Muhammad Saad al-Azhari, professor of Al-Azhar University
- Shaykh Abu Bakr Ahmad, head of the largest Islamic seminary in Kerala, South India
- Shaykh Anwar Ahmed al-Baghdadi, teacher at a large North Indian seminary Jamia Aleemiya
- Habib Umar bin Hafiz, the leading Sufi shaykh of the Ba-Alawiyah Sufi Order and head of the International Islamic seminary in Tarim, Yemen
- Habib Ali al-Jifri, renowned Sunni scholar of UAE and one of the leading Sufi shaykhs of the Ba-Alawiyah Sufi Order
- Shaykh Ali Gomaa, ex Grand Mufti of Egypt
- Kamil Samigullin, the chief Mufti of Tatarstan