Shaykh ’Abdul-Muhsin Ibn Hamad al-’Abbaad Clarifies the Origin of the Muslim is Ignorance:
[Q]: Allaah the Glorified and Exalted says,
“O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a news, verify it.” [Sooratul-Hujuraat 49:6]
Is the report accepted when it comes from other than a rebellious evil person (faasiq), knowing that the origin concerning the Muslim is integrity (’adaalah)?
[A]: The origin concerning the Muslim is ignorance, up until the integrity is confirmed, or its opposite is confirmed. And if the origin concerning the Muslim was integrity, there would be no need to say that so and so is reliable (thiqah), or to say that he is trustworthy (’adl), or that he is such and such. That is because this is the origin. However, the people speak with ta’deel (praise) and tajreeh (criticism) and due to this they say that so and so is reliable and they say due to this that so and so is weak (da’eef). So this does not mean that if no criticism is found concerning an individual that the origin then is integrity. And it must not be said at that point that so and so is reliable, merely because no criticism is found concerning him. So declaring someone reliable must be based upon knowledge about that individual and familiarity with his condition. 
Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee on the Doubt that the Origin of Muslims is Salafiyyah:
[Q]: And this one says: It is possible for us to call the common-folk of the Muslims: Salafiyyeen?
[A]: No, it is related to their condition and the country in which they reside. One must look into the land in which they reside. So if the majority of the people in that land and their origin is like this, then yes. And if the majority of them are upon innovation, then no.
Shaykh Rabee’ Ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee on the Origin Concerning the Muslim:
[Q]: Is the origin concerning the Muslim the Sunnah?
[A]: How can the Sunnah be the origin concerning the people when we have amongst us Rawaafid, and we have amongst us Baatiniyyah, and we have amongst us Communists, and we have amongst us hizbiyyeen and we have amongst us every group. How can the origin concerning them be the Sunnah? Who says such speech? And Ibn Taymiyyah – rahimahullaah – refuted the one who says that the origin concerning the Muslim is integrity.  He says this speech is falsehood, because Allaah the Exalted says concerning man that he is unjust and ignorant,
“Truly, We did offer alAmaanah (the trust or moral responsibility or honesty and all the duties which Allaah has ordained) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it (i.e. afraid of Allaah’s Torment). But man bore it. Verily, he was unjust to himself and ignorant of its results.” [Sooratul-Ahzaab 33:72]
So the origin concerning man is that he is unjust and ignorant. Meaning, his mere entrance into the Religion of Islaam does not place him upon the level of al-’adaalah (integrity), or as he said.
So how can the origin concerning the people be the Sunnah in the lands where there is utter confusion and the majority of the people are upon other than the Sunnah?! So if you learned this from a particular school of Salafiyyah, then we will maintain the benefit of the doubt, we will maintain the benefit of the doubt. As for when the world is in a state of utter confusion and you do not know this from that, then you must learn who is the adherent to the truth. Due to this, they used to say, ‘Indeed, this knowledge is Religion. So look to whom you take your Religion from.”  As for the one who says that the origin of the people is the Sunnah, then he takes from everyone and his brother. And Ibn Seereen (d.110H) said, “Indeed, the people did not used to ask about the isnaad (chain of narration). So when the fitnah (trial, tribulation) emerged,” and it was not the fitnah that is occurring now, it was more hidden than this, ‘They said, ‘Name for us your men. So if he is from Ahlus-Sunnah, then accept his hadeeth, and if he is from the people of innovation, then reject his hadeeth.”  So we ask Allaah to grant us and you success and to increase Ahlus-Sunnah in number. However, the statements, meaning those that have come by way of talking without restraint, they are not fit to be mentioned.” 
Shaykh ’Ubayd Ibn ’Abdullaah al-Jaabiree on an Important Distinction:
Clarification of a Sharee’ah Principle: The Muslim who possesses integrity and outwardly manifests Islaam and he outwardly manifests integrity, the basic principle concerning him is that his condition remains upon that. And if you want, you can say: The basic principle concerning the Muslim who outwardly manifests Islaam and who outwardly manifests integrity is that he remains upon his Islaam and upon his integrity up until that is removed from him by Sharee’ah evidence. And this was expressed by Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H) – rahimahullaah – and other than him: Whosoever has the bond of Islaam affirmed by certainty, then it cannot be removed from him except through certainty.
As for the modern day opponents who oppose us today from the proponents of despicable hizbee memberships, then they do not abide by this principle in the manner that is obligatory. Rather, they affirm that the origin concerning the Muslim is integrity (’adaalah), and this is falsehood and it is not correct from a number of angles. From them:
- The books of al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel, which cannot be enumerated. So if the affair was as they claim, there would be no need for these books, because within them are rulings upon individuals that render them unfit for narration.
- And from them: If they affair is as they have affirmed, there would be no need for a Sharee’ah judge to get testimony from witnesses.
And there are several other proofs that are filled with a refutation against this broken principle.” 
Shaykh ’Abdullaah al-Bukhaaree on the Doubt that the Origin of Muslims is Salafiyyah:
[Q]: Doubts concerning the manhaj are widespread in my land, so I request from you to clarify these doubts. And may Allaah reward you with goodness.
The First Doubt: What is the origin of a Muslim: ignorance or is he Salafee?
[A]: The praise is for Allaah that this doubt has been finished off for some time. We say that the arrows of the Sunnah have assailed all of these doubts – may Allaah bless you. However, there is no doubt that the people of desires have not slackened in causing doubts and confusion for the people in the issues connected to adherence to the Sunnah and the Salafee manhaj. However, that which is obligatory is not clarifying the doubt right now. We will answer without a problem, or we will forfeit answering. However, for how long will this situation remain?
The obligation upon you, regardless of whether you are the questioner or if others are asking, is to strive in seeking sound Sunnee knowledge and to enrich yourself with it, since it is the best provision. And due to this, Ibnul-Qayyim (d.751H) – rahimahullaah – said, “And if you are asking about the provision – the provision for travel – then its provision is the knowledge that is inherited from the Last of the Prophets (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). So there is no other provision for you besides it. And whosoever does not take this as a provision, then let him sit with the opponents. So the companions of those who remain absent and idle are many. And taking them as an example will not benefit him.”
Therefore, it is obligatory that you be upon sound Sunnee knowledge and be firmly grounded in it so as to repel these doubts. Rather, some doubts do not even deserve to be mentioned, let alone refuted. May Allaah bless you.
Is the origin of the Muslim: ignorance or is he Salafee?
We have spoken about this. And we say in summary: The origin of the Muslim is not that he is Salafee. We say that the origin of the Muslim is that he is Muslim. Whosoever’s Islaam is affirmed with certainty, then it cannot be removed except with certainty. His description that he is Salafee is a description that is additional to Islaam. For example, when you say that so and so is trustworthy, it is not possible for him to be trustworthy and to be a non-Muslim. So it is inescapable that he be a Muslim, because it is only after those affairs that he can be trustworthy. Therefore, trustworthiness is a description that is additional to Islaam. And this requires knowledge and experience concerning one’s condition in order to describe him as being trustworthy. Likewise, describing someone as Salafee requires knowledge and experience with him and a commendation (tazkiyah) and the likes of that for it to be said that he is Salafee. This is a summary. However, when we say that he is a Muslim, does this raise from him the sphere of ignorance? No, he is Muslim, but he is ignorant and unknown. So here, the speech concerning him is not to revile him, but it is because his trustworthiness and his description with Salafiyyah has not been ascertained.
Many of them revolve around this: The origin concerning the Muslims is that they are Ahlus-Sunnah, or the origin concerning the Muslims is that they are trustworthy. Such are the principles that they formulate concerning the Muslims, principles that have no halter and no rein. And after research, we do not find that the Scholars behave in such a manner. Why do they take Imaam Ibn Hibbaan (d.354H) – rahimahullaah – and describe him as mutasaahil (lenient) in the issue of ta’deel (praise)? Because the basic principle according to him was that the origin of the Muslim, about whom no jarh (criticism) is confirmed, is al-’adl (trustworthiness). He is trustworthy. And due to this, they said that Ibn Hibbaan was lenient and his lenience is well known; this is an established principle.
“How lenient was al-Bustee in his book! Rather, his condition was easy and insignificant, so it was fulfilled.” 
The Second Doubt: Does the manhaj enter into the ’aqeedah, or does the ’aqeedah enter into the manhaj, or are they two separate things?
We have also answered this repeatedly and time and time again. I say to you: In summary, are a Sunnee Muslim upon the correct path? You will say: Of course! Do you testify that there is none worthy of worship besides Allaah and do you fulfill its pre-requisites? And do you testify that Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) is the Messenger of Allaah and do you fulfill those pre-requisites? Sound creed (’aqeedah) necessitates a sound methodology (manhaj).
You cannot say: I am Salafee in ’aqeedah, Ikhwaanee in manhaj. You cannot say you are a Salafee in ’aqeedah, Hussaafee in tareeqah, Salafee in ’aqeedah. This is of no benefit.
This is combining between two polar opposites. And there occurred in the previous question that some of them said, ‘He is Salafee, but closer to the Ikhwaan, or Salafee, but closer to I don’t know what.’ Sound creed definitely and clearly necessitates that you are upon the correct minhaaj. Morning and evening must pass whilst you are upon their minhaaj, as Imaam al-Hasan al-Basree (d.110H) stated. 
: Refer to the audio recordings of the lessons on Sunan Aboo Daawood (no. 553) of ’Abdul-Muhsin al-’Abbaad.
: Translator’s Note: Here Shaykh Rabee’ – hafidhahullaah – is referring to the statement of Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H) – rahimahullaah, “As for the one who says that the origin of the Muslims is al-’adaalah (integrity), then this is falsehood. Rather, the origin of the children of Aadam is oppression and ignorance, as Allaah the Exalted said,
“But man bore it. Verily, he was unjust to himself and ignorant of its results.” [Sooratul-Ahzaab 33:72]
And merely uttering the two testimonies of faith does not necessitate that the person moves immediately from oppression and ignorance to integrity.” Refer to Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (10/357) of Ibn Taymiyyah.
: Related by Muslim (1/14) in the introduction of his Saheeh.
: Related by Muslim (1/15) in the introduction of his Saheeh.
: Refer to the audio recording, Liqaa‘ Ma’a Ahlil-Yaman.
: Refer to Fathul-’Aliyyil-A’laa bi Sharhil-Qawaa’idil-Muthlaa (p. 352-353) of ’Ubayd al-Jaabiree.
: Translator’s Note: This is a line of poetry quoted from the Alfiyyah of as-Suyootee, who mentioned that the Scholars took issue with Ibn Hibbaan’s declaration that the origin of a Muslim was trustworthiness and as such he declared a group of unknowns trustworthy. They declared his condition that the person’s Islaam must be established an insignificant condition that was easy to fulfill.
: Translator’s Note: This is an allusion to the statement of al-Hasan al-Basree, “Son of Aadam, do not be deceived by the one who says, ‘The individual will be with the one whom he loves,’ because when an individual loves a people, he follows their narrations. And you will not be attached to the righteous, up until you follow their narrations and adopt their guidance and take their tradition (Sunnah) as an example, and morning and evening must pass whilst you are upon their minhaaj, zealous upon being with them. So you must traverse their path and adopt their way.” Refer to Istinshaaq Naseemil-Uns min Nafahaat Riyaadil-Quds (p. 87) of Ibn Rajab.
Translation by Maaz Qureshi