Very few people are given the grace, wisdom and sincerity to differentiate between an individual being resolute in praising and proudly choosing the blessed way and methodology of the Salaf on one hand and arrogantly eulogizing oneself personally on the other hand. One is praise-worthy firmness and the other is blameworthy self-righteousness.
Many people innocently confuse the first for the second. Some, however, deliberately make the first look like the second when people ascribe themselves to it and that is either to disparage the methodology itself because it is antithetical to their own chosen way or simply to disparage some individuals associated with it and with whom they have a running feud.
In all situations, we say as Sheikh Al-Albaanee said without mincing words:
“إذا سئلنا عن مذهبنا ومذهب مخالفنا؟ قلنا وجوبا: مذهبنا صواب يحتمل الخطأ ومذهب مخالفنا خطأ يحتمل الصواب وإذا سئلنا عن معتقدنا ومعتقد خصومنا قلنا وجوبا: الحق ما نحن عليه والباطل ما عليه خصومنا” (من كتاب الحديث حجة بنفسه)
“When asked about our way in comparison with the ways of others, we say: ‘Emphatically, our way must be the authentic way with the possibility of error (from us), and the way of the others is the erroneous way with the possibility of correctness (in some of their actions).”
However, just as our brother, Ibnu Abdillah As-sudaisiy said, it is from the whispering of Shaytan for any individual to think that he is personally better than other Muslims. As for our chosen path of Salafiyyah, it is as Al-Albaanee describes it above, certainly the best, and saying that one is seriously committed to it after choosing it is no arrogance or self-praise (تزكية النفس); otherwise, we should not have chosen it.
Written by: Sheikh Murtado Adedokun, Hafidhahullah.