In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Imaam Barbahaaree [rahimahullaah] said: “Whoever realizes what the innovators have abandoned of the Sunnah and left behind and he clings to it, he is a person of the Sunnah and the Jamaa’ah. He should be followed, helped and protected. He is one of those whom the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] bequeathed that he should be looked after”.
Shaikh Saaleh al Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] commented saying: That is [in the saying of the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam)]: “They are those upon that which I and my Companions are upon today”. He [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] advised that one should be with them – this Jamaa’ah, these people, this group upon that which the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] and his Companions were upon. However, this requires two affairs:
The First Affair is: Knowledge; that we learn what the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] and his Companions were upon. As for the ignorant one, he does not learn, whilst thinking that what the one in opposition is upon is what the Messenger was upon, when that is not the case.
The Second Affair is: To be firm upon that which the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] and his Companions were upon; because the one who follows the [authentic] sunnah will receive grief, trouble and intimidation from the people; but he must exercise patience and not turn away from the truth. He does not bargain [the truth] nor leaves anything of it; and for that reason it has been reported about the one who holds upon his Religion at the end of time, that he is like one holding onto a burning coal or prickles, due to what he will receive of hardship, grief and trouble from the people. So he requires patience.[Ref 1]
Imaam Barbahaaree [rahimahullaah] stated: “May Allaah have mercy upon you! Know that if the people were to desist from newly introduced matters, not entering into any of them at all and did not say anything for which there was no narration from the Messenger of Allaah (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) or from his Companions, there would not be any innovation”.
Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] commented: And “if the people were to desist from newly invented matters [in the religion]”- Meaning: if they desisted and did not enter into them, and restricted themselves to the [authentic] Sunnah and did not leave it for innovations; certainly they would have received safety. But whoever relinquishes the [authentic] Sunnah and innovate statements which have no proof in the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam], he will eventually be with the innovators and the deviated sects. And there is no safety except by way of the [authentic] Sunnah which the Messenger of Allaah [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] left for us. He [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] said: “Indeed, I have left amongst you two things, if you hold firmly to them, you will never go astray; the book of Allaah and my Sunnah”.
And in another hadeeth: “I have left you upon white plain (i.e. clear guidance), its night is like its day, and none deviates from it except he who is destroyed”.
This is the path to safety: the [authentic] Sunnah of the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and that which his companions were upon…. [Ref 2]
[Ref 1]: [An Excerpt from It-haaful Qaaree Bitta’liqaat Alaa Sharhis Sunnah Lil Imaam Barbahaaree, Vol2, page68-69. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2]: [An Excerpt from It-haaful Qaaree Bitta’liqaat Alaa Sharh As-Sunnah Lil Imaam Barbahaaree by Sheikh Saaleh Al Fawzaan. Page: 82-83. Vol: 2. Slightly paraphrased]