Shaikh al-Albaani continues, “And I will finish my talk by mentioning a discussion that took place between one of the Salafees and another person who would call to the Book and the Sunnah but was not mindful of this addition, i.e., ‘following the path of the believers.’ And the call of the Islamic groups will not become correct except by adopting it as [their] ideology firstly, and secondly, by implementing it through action.
I said to him: This is a deficient answer.
He said: Why?
I said: Because every Muslim no matter how deviated he is or how upright says, ‘I am a Muslim.’ For example, we’ll start with the easiest first. When a hanafi is asked what his madhhab is and he doesn’t want to get himself into a debate, he will say, ‘My madhhab is Islaam,’ and the shaafi’ee will say the same, ‘I am a Muslim …’ and so on.
But the Hanafis say that faith [eemaan] does not increase or decrease, and the Shaafi’ees says that faith [eemaan] increases but does not decrease and so on. So your answer that you are a Muslim and that [person’s] answer that he is a Muslim does not specify your madhhab fully. So he understood and said, ‘Then I say that I am a Muslim upon the Book and the Sunnah.”
So I said to him: Likewise, all of the Muslims [say the same] even [the people mentioned] in the examples I just showed you, is there a Hanafi who says, ‘I am a Muslim [but] not on the Book and the Sunnah?’ Is there a Shaafi’ee who says, ‘I am not on the Book and the Sunnah?’ [Indeed] I say to you is there an Ibaadee from the Khawaarij present today in the land of the Muslims who says, ‘I am not on the Book and the Sunnah?’ Rather, is there a Shi’ite, is there a Raafidee who says, ‘I am not on the Book and the Sunnah?’ This is what was just explained.
All of the Muslims no matter how severe and numerous the differences between them, all of them say, “Upon the Book and the Sunnah.” But none of them say, “And upon the methodology of the Salaf as-Saalih,” except those who affiliate themselves to the methodology of the Salaf as-Saalih. And we say when we are asked, “I am a Salafi,” end of matter. Because the meaning of Salafi is: upon the Book and the Sunnah and the methodology of the Salaf as-Saalih.
When I explained this to him I said to him that it is not enough for you to say that I am a Muslim upon the Book and the Sunnah, because all of the groups and Jamaa’ahs say: upon the Book and the Sunnah.
He said, “Then I say, ‘I am upon the Book and the Sunnah …’ because after this lecture, or lectures he believed along with me … [so] he said, ‘I am upon the Book and the Sunnah and the methodology of the Salaf as-Saalih.”
So I said to him knowing that he was a writer and author, ‘Do you not find in your Arabic language that you have learnt, spoken with and authored in, words that will summarise this answer of yours: ‘I am a Muslim upon the Book and the Sunnah and upon the methodology of the Salaf as-Saalih?’
So he became silent. I said to him that when we say, ‘I am a Salafi,’ doesn’t this convey [the same meaning as] your long definition, ‘I am upon the Book and the Sunnah and ….?’
So he replied in the affirmative.
This is the reality of the Salafi call, and those are the mistakes of Hizb al-Tahrir, and all of the other groups … and it is only our circle that is wider than that of any such adopted by any group on the face of the earth.
I know that the system of Hizb al-Tahrir is that when an individual from their members adopts an opinion that opposes its opinion, i.e., opposes the stance taken by Hizb [al-Tahrir as a group] then he will be expelled and it will be said to him, ‘You are not from us.’
We do not say this.
I know for example, that from Hizb al-Tahrir’s ideology is that a woman has the right to vote and be voted for, so you will not find a Tahriri from their writers saying that it a woman’s field is not to enter into such affairs, which today are called politics, [but that] she has the right to learn that which befits her femininity, that which befits her delicacy, gentleness and so on.
As for her voting and being voted for, if a person from Hizb al-Tahrir adopted an opinion in which he opposed Hizb al-Tahrir then he will be expelled. As for us, then we accept Hizb al-Tahrir, and the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Tablighi Jamaa’ah, but upon the basis of: “Say, “O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians): Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah.” [Aali-Imraan 3:64].
So we call every Muslim to adopt this foundation, and there are many subdivions which branch off from it, many indeed. [And if they do so] then they will be with us, maybe they will differ with us in its implementation, because the implementation requires knowledge.
We say that very regrettably the Islamic groups do not give importance to the knowledge of the Book and the Sunnah yet along with that they want to establish an Islamic state while being ignorant of Islaam.
So we say, “Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.” [Al-Ahzaab 33:21].
The Messenger of Allaah started by teaching the people, by calling them to aqidah [creed] first, then to [the matters of] worship and improving their manners secondly, and this is how it is befitting that history repeats itself.
And in this much there is sufficiency, and all praise is due to Allaah, the Lord of all worlds.”
Mawsoo’atul-Allaamah, al-Imaam, Mujaddidil-Asr, Muhammad Naasirid-Deen al-Albaani, of Shaikh Shady Noaman, vol. 1, pp. 230-254.