Shaikh Muhammad Baazmool (may Allaah preserve him) stated:
Ascribing (oneself) to the Muslim Ummah is a fundamental principle affirmed (or established) in the (Islamic) legislation. The Muslims are a just and balanced nation [i.e. those amongst them (upon a balanced path- neither being lackadaisical nor exceeding the limits ordained by Allaah and His Messenger)].
[Allaah (The Blessed and Most High)] said:
وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِّتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا ۗ وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الْقِبْلَةَ الَّتِي كُنتَ عَلَيْهَا إِلَّا لِنَعْلَمَ مَن يَتَّبِعُ الرَّسُولَ مِمَّن يَنقَلِبُ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ ۚ وَإِن كَانَتْ لَكَبِيرَةً إِلَّا عَلَى الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللَّهُ ۗ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِالنَّاسِ لَرَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Thus We have made you [true Muslims – real believers of Islamic Monotheism, true followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah (legal ways)], a Wasat (just) (and the best) nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger (Muhammad) be a witness over you. And We made the Qiblah (prayer direction towards Jerusalem) which you used to face, only to test those who followed the Messenger (Muhammad) from those who would turn on their heels (i.e. disobey the Messenger). Indeed it was great (heavy) except for those whom Allah guided. And Allah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost (i.e. your prayers offered towards Jerusalem). Truly, Allah is full of kindness, the Most Merciful towards mankind. [Surah Al-Baqarah Ayah 143]
They are the best of all nations. [Allaah (The Most High) said]:
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ
You [true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah (legal ways, etc.)] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma’ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar(polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah. [Surah Aal Imran Ayah 110]
They are followers of a single religion agreed upon by all the Prophets [Ref 1; see further details in footnotes]. They ascribe themselves to it and unite upon it. [Allaah (The Most High)] said:
إِنَّ هَٰذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَأَنَا رَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُونِ
Truly! This, your Ummah [Sharia or religion (Islamic Monotheism)] is one religion, and I am your Lord, therefore worship Me (Alone). [21:92]
[Allaah (The Most High) said]:
وَإِنَّ هَٰذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَأَنَا رَبُّكُمْ فَاتَّقُونِ
And verily! This your religion (of Islamic Monotheism) is one religion, and I am your Lord, so keep your duty to Me. [Surah Al-Mu’minoon Ayah 52]
The believers are brothers in Religion and they give allegiance to one another. [Allaah (The Most High)] said:
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion). So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy. [Surah Al-Hujuraat Ayah 10]
Allaah named us Muslims. [Allaah ( The Most High ) ] said:
وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ ۚ هُوَ اجْتَبَاكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ ۚ مِّلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۚ هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَفِي هَٰذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ ۚ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّهِ هُوَ مَوْلَاكُمْ ۖ فَنِعْمَ الْمَوْلَىٰ وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ
And strive hard in Allah’s Cause as you ought to strive (with sincerity and with all your efforts that His Name should be superior). He has chosen you (to convey His Message of Islamic Monotheism to mankind by inviting them to His religion, Islam), and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship, it is the religion of your father Ibrahim (Abraham) (Islamic Monotheism). It is He (Allah) Who has named you Muslims both before and in this (the Qur’an), that the Messenger (Muhammad) may be a witness over you and you be witnesses over mankind! So perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), give Zakat and hold fast to Allah [i.e. have confidence in Allah, and depend upon Him in all your affairs] He is your Maula (Patron, Lord, etc.), what an Excellent Maula (Patron, Lord, etc.) and what an Excellent Helper! [Surah Al-Hajj Ayah 78]
And from the branches (or aspects) of this ascription is ascription to Salafiyyah [i.e. the way of the pious predecessors], for indeed there is no hindrance (or prohibition) from (ascribing oneself to that); rather ascription to Salafiyyah is an ascription to Islaam based on what the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and his companions were upon. Yes, (or certainly) it is not permissible that ascription to Salafiyyah is made to mean a party [of illegal partisanship] -(establishing) love and hate based on other than what the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and his companions were upon, for indeed this is blameworthy and it is the meaning of (that) detestable partisanship.
Ascription to Islaam is (done in order to differentiate oneself from the followers of) other religions; ascription to the Sunnah (is done in order to differentiate oneself) from Bidah and the Shiites; ascription to Salafiyyah (is done in order to differentiate oneself from) the Innovated Dawah Methodologies, which are followed by the followers of the different (deviant) groups. So the Muslim needs to say about himself that he is a Muslim, Sunni, Salafi.
To be continued InShaaAllaah
[Source: Silsilah Ar-Rasaa’il Al-Manhajiyyah Fin Nus’hi Wal Irshaad Wat-taw’iyah’ pages 45-46 Abridged and slightly paraphrased]
Important Read: See articles about Ascription to Salafiyyah
[Ref 1]: The Religion of all the Prophets and Messengers is one
Allaah [The Most High] said:
شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا وَصَّىٰ بِهِ نُوحًا وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ
‘’He (Allah) has ordained for you the same religion (Islam) which He ordained for Nuh (Noah), and that which We have inspired in you (O Muhammad)’’ [42:13]
Allaah mentions the first Messenger who was sent after Aadam, that is Nooh (alayhis-salaam), and the last of them is Muhammad (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam). Then He mentions those who came in between them who were the Messengers of strong will, namely Ibraaheem, Musa and Isa Bin Maryam [وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ ۖ أَنْ أَقِيمُوا الدِّينَ وَلَا تَتَفَرَّقُوا فِيهِ ۚ كَبُرَ عَلَى الْمُشْرِكِينَ مَا تَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَيْهِ [and that which We ordained for Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses) and ‘Iesa (Jesus) saying you should establish religion (i.e. to do what it orders you to do practically), and make no divisions in it (religion) (i.e. various sects in religion). Intolerable for the Mushrikun , is that to which you (O Muhammad) call them].
This above Ayah mentions all five (Prophets and Messengers), just as they are also mentioned in the Ayah in Surah Al-Ahzaab, where Allaah says:
وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ مِيثَاقَهُمْ وَمِنكَ وَمِن نُّوحٍ وَإِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ
And (remember) when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you (O Muhammad), and from Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), and ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary). [33:7]
The Message which all the Messengers brought was to worship Allaah Alone, with no partner or associate, as Allaah says:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدُونِ
And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We inspired him (saying): La ilaha illa Ana [none has the right to be worshipped but I (Allah)], so worship Me (Alone and none else).” [21:25]
And according to a Hadeeth [the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said]: ‘’We Prophets are brothers and our religion is one’’. [Fat’hul Baari 6:550]
In other words, the common bond between them is that Allaah Alone is to be worshipped, with no partner or associate, even though their laws may differ, as Allaah said:
لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا
‘’To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way.’’ [5:48]
[For further details, see Tafseer Ibn Katheer’ English Darrusalam]
Muhammad Is The Final Messenger and The Qur’aan Abrogates all Others Previous Laws
Allaah (The Most High) said:
مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَٰكِن رَّسُولَ اللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا
Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the last (end) of the Prophets. And Allah is Ever All-Aware of everything. [33:40]
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah) stated in Sharh Mumti that [the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam)] being the seal of the Prophets necessitates that he is the seal of the Messengers and that is due to the fact that ‘Every Messenger is a Prophet whereas not every Prophet is a Messenger’. [For further details see Sharh Mumti 1/250]
The Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) also said: “By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, there is not one of this nation, Jew or Christian, who hears about me and dies without believing in what I have been sent, except that he will be one of the dwellers of Hell fire.” [Reported by Muslim’ Number 153]
The Qur’aan Abrogates All Other Previous Laws
Allaah (The Most High) said:
وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَٰكِن لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ
And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book (this Qur’an) in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it and Mohayminan (trustworthy in highness and a witness) over it (old Scriptures). So judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging away from the truth that has come to you. To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way. If Allah willed, He would have made you one nation, but that (He) may test you in what He has given you; so strive as in a race in good deeds. The return of you (all) is to Allah; then He will inform you about that in which you used to differ. [Surah Al-Maa’idah Ayah 48]
Some Reminders By Imaam As-Sadi regarding the above Ayah
The Qur’aan gathers all the (good, excellence) in the previous books (i.e. before they were distorted).
The Qur’aan contain an increase in all that will lead to the pleasure of Allaah in this life and the next, and the (most beloved and honourable) manners.
The Qur’aan gathers every truth found in the other books, and it commands and urges mankind towards it.
The Qur’aan is a book that gives news about the earlier and later generations. It contains (perfect) judgements and (perfect) wisdom.
Whatever the Qur’aan declares to be truth in the previous Books is to be accepted, and whatever it rejects has to be rejected because it would be something that has been distorted and substituted by those who received it.etc [Excerpt and paraphrased; for further details, see Tayseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam Al-Mannaan]