The people of the sunnah are distinguished by adhering to the narrations, clinging onto the athār of the salaf. It is well known that salvation lies by holding on to the texts of what has been revealed by our Lord and his Messengers. Ahl al- Sunnah do not differ regarding the uṣūl in the religion; we are connected by the fundamentals. Ahl al-Sunnah base their manhaj and ʿAqīdah upon an ʿaṣl that is firm, an ʿaṣl that is qawī, the Kitāb, the Sunnah and the fahm (understanding) of the Salaf of this Ummah!
Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah said (paraphrased):
“Ahl al-bidʿah is coupled with splitting with dividing just as the Sunnah is coupled being in jamāʿah. You’ll find the Shīʿahh or Khawārij, other groups likewise, the muʿtazilah, claiming to be upon the same way yet they are still splitting amongst themselves with different groups and different leaders. Ahl al-Sunnah do not have with themselves these characteristics, regardless of where they are, their hearts are united, they have love with each other.”
Muḥammad ibn ʿAbdullāh Al-Suwarī said in a few lines of poetry:
“If you see a man speaking ill of them [i.e., Ahl al-Ḥadīth], is it with knowledge that you say that? Explain it to me, because indeed jāhl (ingorance) is the characteristic of the foolish. Is it those who protect the Sunnah from the deviation and the false ascription, are they to be blamed? How are they to be blamed?”
Likewise Ibn al-Qayyim said in his Mīmiyyah:
“They are the followers and are of the party of the Messengers! There wouldn’t be any Muslims on earth if it weren’t for Ahlu al-Sunnah protecting the earth by preserving the Sunnah! The earth would have shook and trembled, the people would be in a state of mayhem. If it wasn’t for them then the earth would have been in darkness, but they are the moons and the stars on the earth by bringing light! They indeed are my companions!”
ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb warned us:
“Be aware of the people of opinion! They became tired of memorising Ḥadīth so they began to speak with opinion, they were led astray and led others astray!”
There are extensive evidences and narrations speaking of the importance on holding on to the Qurʾān and the Sunnah, many people were destroyed for innovating and causing havoc by by following their desires. Our Lord says,
فَإِنْ آمَنُوا بِمِثْلِ مَا آمَنتُم بِهِ فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوا ۖ وَّإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا هُمْ فِي شِقَاقٍ ۖ فَسَيَكْفِيكَهُمُ اللَّهُ ۚ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
“So if they believe in the like of that which you believe, then they are rightly guided, but if they turn away, then they are only in opposition.So Allāh will suffice you against them. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.”
وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَا لِكُلِّ نَبِيٍّ عَدُوًّا شَيَاطِينَ الْإِنسِ وَالْجِنِّ يُوحِي بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ زُخْرُفَ الْقَوْلِ غُرُورًا ۚ
“And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies – Shayāṭīn (devils) among mankind and jinns, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion (or by way of deception).”
Some of the Mufāsirūn have said the rope is Abū Bakr and ʿUmar, referring to some of the companions. Allāh refers to individuals that utilise beautified speech but are deviated as being from amongst the Shayāṭīn. Allāh refers to them from Shayāṭīn even though they are from mankind. The Salaf used to make duʿāʾ to Allāh to not destroy them because of the issues they (the innovators) had caused.
This is just a small review of this valuable lecture delivered eloquently by our brother with many other benefits!