Praise be to Allaah.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Jews split into seventy one sects, and the Christians split into seventy two sects. This ummah (nation) will split into seventy three sects, all of whom will be in the Fire apart from one.” It was said, “Who are they, O Messenger of Allaah?” He said, “Those who follow the same path as I and my companions follow.” So whoever follows the same path as the Prophet and his companions is following the truth and is safe from all falsehood. The basis of this truth is the Qur’aan and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I am leaving among you two things, which if you adhere to them you will not go astray after I am gone: the Book of Allaah and my Sunnah.” Whatever goes against them is a deviation from the truth. The Sunnis (Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah) are those who follow the truth, who honour Allaah and His Messenger, who follow what is said in the Qu’raan and Sunnah, and follow the righteous predecessors, the Sahaabah and Taabi’een (the companions of the Prophet and the subsequent generation) and those who followed them in truth; they do not go beyond their guidance or differ from their way, because they are the most knowledgeable of people about the Qur’aan and Sunnah, which came in their language and in their Arabic idiom. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“An Arabic Qur’aan, without any crookedness (therein)…”
Truth lies in following them, and their way is guidance, because they followed what was brought by the Qur’aan and Sunnah; whoever does anything that is contrary to that will have it rejected.