Question: O honorable Shaykh, What do you think of those who say that these Islamic groups are among the groups which call people to Hell, and which the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded us to keep away from? Is this correct or not?
Answer: Whoever calls people to the Qur'an and Sunnah does not belong to the misguided groups. Rather, such people belong to the saved group which is mentioned in the Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him): The Jews split into seventy-one groups and the Christians split into seventy-two groups. My Ummah (nation) will split into seventy-three groups, all of which will be in the Fire except for one. He (peace be upon him) was asked, 'Who are they, O Messenger of Allah?' He (peace be upon him) said, 'Those who follow the path which I and my Sahabah (companions) are on today.' According to one report: "They are the Jama`ah (mainstream Muslims)."
The saved group is thus the group which adheres steadfastly to the way of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them all) i.e. Believes in Tawhid (belief in the Oneness of Allah), worships Allah Alone, obeys His commands, avoids His prohibitions, adheres steadfastly to that in word, deed, and belief. These are the people of truth, the ones who call to right guidance, even though they may be scattered throughout the world, with some in the Arabian Peninsula, some in the Levant (the region covering Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine), some in America, some in Egypt, some in African countries, and some in Asia. They are many groups, but they are known by their `Aqidah (creed) and their deeds. If they follow the path of Tawhid and belief in Allah and His Messenger, and they adhere steadfastly to the Din (religion) of Allah brought by the Book of Allah (Qur'an) and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him), then they belong to Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream). Though they may be scattered in many parts of the world but at the end of time they will be very few in number.
In conclusion, the guideline concerning this issue is whether or not they adhere to the truth. If there is a person or a group that calls people to the Qur'an and Sunnah and advocates belief in Tawhid and adherence to the Shari`ah (Islamic law), then they are the Jama`ah and the saved group. But those who call to anything other than the Qur'an and Sunnah, they are not part of the Jama`ah. Rather, they belong to the misguided and doomed groups. The saved group is the one that calls people to the Qur’an and Sunnah, even though they may spread here and there. As long as their aim and their beliefs are the same, it doesn’t matter if one is called Ansar Al-Sunnah, another is called Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimun, and so on. What matters is their `Aqidah and their actions. If they adhere steadfastly to the truth and to Tawhid, and they are sincere towards Allah and follow the Messenger (peace be upon him) in word, deed and belief, then names do not matter. But they have to fear Allah and be sincere in that. If some of them are called Ansar Al-Sunnah, others are called: Salafiyyah or Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimun, or whatever, it does not matter so long as they are sincere and adhere steadfastly to the truth by following Qur'an and Sunnah, judge according to them, and adhere steadfastly to them in belief, word and deed. If any group errs in some way, then the scholars have to warn and guide them to the truth if there is clear evidence.
The point is that we must cooperate in righteousness and piety and deal with our problems with knowledge, wisdom, and good manners. If any of these groups or others makes a mistake that is related to `Aqidah or something that Allah has commanded or forbidden, they should show them the Shar’y evidence in a gentle, wise and polite manner, so that they will follow the truth and accept it willingly. This is what all Muslims have to do, they have to cooperate in righteousness and piety, and advise one another to follow that. In addition, they must not let one another down in such a way that the enemy may take advantage of them.
Shaykh `Abdul-`Aziz ibn Baz