1) Shaykh Saalih ibn Abdul-Azeez Aal us-Shaykh:
So Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah, this word was coined at the end of the second generation after Hijri by the followers of the narrations [Aathaar], and the opponents to the various sects that left the way of the companions [Sahaabah] and their students [Taabi'een].
And the first to use it [terminology] were some of the teachers of Al Bukharee – rahimahumuAllaah – and they joined the two words as-Sunnah and al-Jamaa’ah because there are those who call towards following Sunnah but they might not be with the Jamaa’ah. And there are those who call towards Jamaa’ah without following the Sunnah.
So the differentiation of the way of the people of Hadeeth and narrations [Athar] and the followers of the pious predecessors [Salaf-us-Saalih] is based upon two things:
“Following the Sunnah and the Jamaa’ah”
And each from both of these is bound to the other.
So following the Sunnah is following the Jamaa’ah and following the Jamaa’ah is following the Sunnah; because it has been authentically reported from the Prophet – sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – the narration which is in the ‘Sunan’, that he said:
“And this nation will split into seventy three sects. All of them are in the hell fire except one and that is the Jamaa’ah.”
And [speech unclear] sects in the hell fire – meaning – that are promised with entering into the hell fire, and the victorious is only one sect and that is the Jamaa’ah. And they are the followers of the Sunnah, exemplifying the saying of the Prophet – sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam
“Upon you is my Sunnah and Sunnah of the rightly guided Caliphs, those who guide to righteousness, after me. Hold on to it and bite upon it with your molars” – The Hadeeth
(Translation source: http://www.islaam.ae)
2) Shaykh Saalih bin Fawzaan al-Fawzaan
Question: Is Salafiyyah a hizb (party) amongst the parties? And is ascribing to them (the Salafis) a blameworthy thing?
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan: As-Salafiyyah is the Saved Sect and they are Ahl us-Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah. It is not a hizb (party) from amongst the various parties, those which are called parties today.
Rather they are the Jamaa’ah, the Jamaa’ah upon the Sunnah and upon the Deen (Religion). They are Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah.
The Prophet – Sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam – said, “There will not cease to be a group from my Ummah (nation) manifest and upon the truth, not being harmed by those who forsake them neither by those who oppose them.”
And he – Sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam – also said, “And this Ummah will split into seventy-three sects, all of them in the Hell-Fire except one.” They said, “Which one is this O Messenger of Allaah?” He replied, “They are those who are upon what I and my companions are upon today.”
Hence, Salafiyyah is a group of people (the Salafis) upon the madhab of the Salaf, upon what the Messenger – Sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam – and his companions were upon.
And it is not a hizb from amongst the contemporary groups present today.
Rather it is the very old Jamaa’ah, from the time of the Messenger – Sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam – which inherits (this way) and continues, and which never ceases to be upon the manifest truth until the establishment of the Hour, as he (Sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam) has informed us.