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Ibn Abdillah As-sudaisiy Al-Iloori

It is only ignorance that will make someone to say: "I am a Muslim and not an Ahlus Sunnah". So, he needs to be educated on the meaning of those concepts. It is not enough to say: "I am a Muslim". It is compulsory to practise Islām according to Sunnah. The Ahlus Sunnah are those who practise Islām according to Sunnah. No one can be a true Muslim except he is upon Sunnah. Those who are upon Sunnah are known as Ahlus Sunnah (People of Sunnah). Then, saying: "I am an Ahlus Sunnah or "I am a Salafi" is like saying "I am a Muslim and not an Ahlus Sunnah", because the term "Salafiyyah" is derived from the "Salaf" (Pious Predecessors). 

Who are the Salaf (Pious Predecessors)? They are the Companions of the Prophet رضي الله عنهم and those who follow their path with sincerity. They were the pioneer students of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. They were the first set of Ahlus Sunnah and the first Jamaa'ah established by the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم. It is a must for us to follow their path because they were the only set of people Allāh said emphatically in Q9:100 that He was pleased with them. They are our Salaf (Predecessors) upon Islām (Sunnah). So, the act of following that path of the Salaf is "Salafiyyah". 

Consequently, the salafis are the Ahlus Sunnah and the Ahlus Sunnah are the salafis. They are also known as Ahlul Āthār (people narrations), Firqatun Naajiyah (saved sect), Taaifatul Mansurah (the victorious group) and Ahlul Hadeeth (people of Hadith). I heard from Justice Abdurraheem Ahmad Sayi حفظه الله that the son of Imam Ahmad رحمه الله reported that his father رحمه الله  said:

                             دين النبيِّ محمدٍ آثار
 نعمَ المطيةُ للفتى الآخبار

The religion of Prophet Muhammad is that of precedents. So, the excellent course for the wise therein is that of the traditions (Hadeeth)

                      لا تخدعن عن الحديث وأهله  
 فالرأي ليلٌ والحديث نهارُ
Get not decieved against the  Hadeeth and its its custodians among the scholars, for opinion is but darkness while the hadeeth is daylight.  

                      ولربَّما جهِلَ الفتى طرق الهُدى  
 والشمسُ طالعة  لها أنوار

Perchance, one may lose track of the path of guidance; the Sun (of the Hadeeth) with its rays of light shall rise (to his aid)

May Allāh count us among the followers of the Salaf in the true sense of it.

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