Saalih Bin Abdillah Bin Humaid, one of the major scholars of Saudi Arabia said:
We are Salafis. And we ascribe to the Salaf Us Saalih (pious predecessors)… it is compulsory upon us to tell others that the way of the Salaf is not a Madhab. And when we say it is neither a Madhab nor a Sect we must clarify this. And also to search within ourselves as to whether or not we hold onto that which it (the way of the Salaf) entails.
Regarding the Salaf Us Saalih Allah said about them: “The ones who preceeded from the emigrants (Muhajireen) and the helpers (the Ansaar) and those who follow them in goodness.” Therefore we have the emigrants, the helpers and those who follow them in goodness. And this encompasses all of those who try their best to follow this way. Then Allah said in Surah Hashr: “And (it is) for the poor emigrants who have been driven out from their homes and their belongings, who seek bounty from Allah and help Allah and His messenger. They are the loyal. (8) Those who entered the city and the faith before them love those who flee unto them for refuge, and find in their breasts no need for that which hath been given them, but prefer (the emigrants) above themselves though poverty become their lot. And whoso is saved from his own avarice – such are they who are successful. (9) And those who came (into the faith) after…” And those who came after them even in the time of the companions, meaning after conquering Makkah
“The ones who preceeded from the emigrants (Muhajireen) and the helpers (the Ansaar) and those who follow them in goodness.” From the time of the Companions until the day of judgment. And here you have: And those who came (into the faith) after them say: Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who were before us in the faith, and place not in our hearts any rancour toward those who believe. Our Lord! Thou art Full of Pity, Merciful.” The strongest point which embodies this was when the Prophet (صلى الله علبه و سلم) was asked regarding the saved sect he said: “They are upon what I am upon and my companions.” This is the Salafeeyah that we are speaking about.
And it is not like… although the virtuous generations embody this we must clarify that we ascribe to a methodology and not toward people. Anywhere we find the truth it must be our goal. And this is good speech however when it comes to application we need to examine ourselves…
Therefore the method is to ascribe ourselves to the methodology and not to particular individuals and to take the evidences as our judge and not (an specific individual’s) understanding of the evidences. To the evidences from the book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger not to the understanding of (specific) individuals. The understanding of men has an honourable position however evidences are needed for their statements but their statements are not the evidences themselves and we respect the people of knowledge and they are the best examples for us in terms of being in congruence with the truth. Therefore we seek help (in understanding the evidences) through the understanding of the pious predecessors who were righteous scholars who nurtured those who followed them however their statements are in need of evidences and their statements are not used as evidences.
From the lecture خطر الفرق و الاحزاب
From minute 20 to minute 20:33
Translated by Musa Millington.