Outstanding Attributes of the Saved Sect – By Ibn Uthaymeen
Outstanding Attributes of the Saved Sect, by Shaikh Muhammad ibn Salih Al-‘Uthaimeen (may Allaah have mercy on him)
Question: What are the most outstanding attributes of the Saved Sect? And does a deficiency in any of these attributes remove a person from the Saved Sect?
Answer, by Shaikh Al-‘Uthaimeen: The most outstanding attributes of the Saved Sect are adherence to that which the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam) followed in beliefs, worship, character and conduct – one finds these four things outstanding in them.
In beliefs, one finds them holding fast to what is proven by the book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam), sincerely declaring the Oneness of Allaah in matters of worship, Lordship, and Names and Attributes.
In worship, we find that this sect stands out due to its complete adherence and implementation of what followed by the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam) in acts of worship in all of their forms, their characteristics, their numbers, their times, their places and their causes. And one does not find them innovating in the religion of Allaah; rather they behave in the best manner towards Allaah and His Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam) and they do not precede Allaah nor His Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam) including anything in their acts of worship which was not permitted by Allaah.
In character, one finds that likewise, they stand out from others due to their fine character, such as in their love of what is good for the Muslims, their open heartedness, cheerful faces, good way of speaking, generosity, bravery and other noble traits of character and qualities.
In conduct, one finds them treating the people with honesty and openness, and these two qualities were referred to by the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam) in his words:
Both parties in a business transaction have the right to annul it as long as they have not separated; and if they speak the truth and make everything clear, they will be blessed in their transaction; but if they tell a lie and conceal anything, the blessing on their transaction will be blotted out.” 
A deficiency in these characteristics [character and conduct] does not prevent a person from being among the Saved Sect, but everyone will be at a level according to his deeds; and deficiency in matters of Tawheed might remove one from the Saved Sect, such as violations in Ikhlas  and likewise due to committing innovations, for a person might commit innovations that prevent him from being among the Saved Sect.
Regarding the matter of character and conduct, deficiency in them does not remove one from this sect, even though it may diminish his status.
We might require a more detailed explanation of the matter of character, for among the most important aspects of good character is unity of voice and agreement upon the truth which Allaah, the Most High has enjoined upon us in His words:
He (Allaah) has ordained for you the same religion (Islam) which He ordained for Nuh (Noah), and that which We have inspired in you (O Muhammad), and that which We ordained for Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Mosesý) 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. Allaah chooses for Himself whom He wills, and guides unto Himself who turns to Him in repentance and in obedience. (Ash-Shura 42:13)
And He has informed us that Muhammad (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam) is innocent of those who are divided in the matter of their religion and break up into sects, for Allaah, the Almighty, the All-Powerful says: ý
Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects (all kinds of religious sects), you (O Muhammad) have no concern with them in the least… (Al-An’aam 6:159)
So unity of voice and harmony of the hearts are among the most outstanding characteristics of the Saved Sect – Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jama’ah, and when differences occur between them arising from Ijtihad in matters in which it is permissible to exercise juristic reasoning, they bear neither resentment nor enmity, nor hatred towards each other. Rather, they feel that they are brothers even if this difference occurs between them, so much so that one of them will even pray behind a person whom he considers is not in a state of ritual impurity, while the Imam considers that he is in a state of ritual impurity.
For example, when of them prays behind a person who has eaten camel meat and that Imam considers that it does not invalidate his ablution, while the one who is being led in prayer believes that it does invalidate his ablution, yet he considers his prayer behind that Imam correct, even though, if it were he who was praying it himself, he would consider that his prayer was not correct.
All of this is because they hold the view that differences arising out of Ijtihad, in matters that it is permissible to exercise Ijtihad, are not in truth differences. Because each of those who are in disagreement has followed the evidence which he is obliged to follow, evidences it is not permissible for him to renounce. So, they hold the view that their brother, if he disagrees with them in any particular action – following some evidence – then he is in fact in agreement with them, because they call to compliance with the evidence, wherever it may be. If he disagrees with them, in accordance with some evidence which he has, then he is in truth in agreement with them, because he is acting in conformity with what they call and guide to, which is to judge by the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam).
The differences which occurred between the companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, in such matters as these are well known to many of the scholars, even in the time of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam) and he did not rebuke any of them. Because when he (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam) returned from the Battle of Al-Ahzab and Jibril (‘alaihi salaam) came to him and directed him to attack Banu Quraizah, who had violated their treaty, he commissioned his companions, may Allah be pleased with them, saying, “None of you should pray the ‘Asr prayer except at Banu Quraizah.” 
So, they left Al-Madinah for Banu Quraizah and the time for the ‘Asr prayer overtook them. Some of them delayed the ‘Asr prayer until they reached Banu Quraizah after the expiry of the time for it, because the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam) had said: None of you should pray the ‘Asr prayer except at Banu Quraizah.
Some of them performed the prayer at its stated time and they said: The Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam) wanted us to set out early for Banu Quraizah and he did not want us to delay the prayer past its stated time. They (the latter group) were right, but in spite of this, the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam) did not rebuke anyone among the two groups, and neither of the two groups held any enmity or rancor towards the other, due to their differing in understanding these words.
For this reason, I consider it an obligation upon the Muslims who claim adherence to the Sunnah to be one people, and not to divide into factions, this one belonging to this group and that one belonging to that group, and the third belonging to a third group and so on, causing them to attack each other with hostile words, harboring enmity and hatred towards each other due to differences in matters where it is permissible to exercise juristic reasoning (Ijtihad). There is no need to single out every faction by name but the wise person understands, and the matter is clear to him.
I consider that it is an obligation upon Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah to unite, even if they disagree in some matters which is necessitated by the evidences according to their understanding. Because there is room for accommodation in these matters, all praise and thanks is to Allaah.
The important thing is that hearts should be in harmony and that people should speak with one voice, for there is no doubt that the enemies of the Muslims love to see the Muslims divided, whether they be enemies who openly display their enmity, or enemies who give the appearance of being friends to the Muslims or to Islam while they are not so. So, it is incumbent upon us to be distinguished by this characteristic of the Saved Sect, and that is to speak with one voice.
 Reported by Al-Bukhari in the Book of Sales, in the Chapter: If Two Parties in a Business Transaction are Open and do not Hide Anything and Act in Good Faith (2079); and it was reported by Muslim in the Book of Sales, in the Chapter on Honesty and Openness in Business Dealings (1532).
 Here Ikhlas means doing deeds purely for Allaah alone.
 Reported by Al-Bukhari in the Book of Fear, in the Chapter on the Prayer of the One Searching and the One Searched for (946); and it was also reported by Muslim in the Book of Jihad and Maneuvers, in the Chapter on Not Delaying Going out to Battle (1770).
Source: Fatawa Arkan-ul-Islam, Vol. 1, Sixth Question
Subhanak Allaahuma wa bihamdika ash-hadu anlaa illaaha illa anta astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk
If I said anything correct, then it is from Allaah (subhanahu wa taa’ala), and if I erred, then that is from me and shaytan.
Translated by Br. Yasin ibn Ahmad Maher ibn Ahmad from USA