THE TYRANNY OF THE RULERS IS NOT A REASON FOR REBELLION
The goal of the Jihādist sects is one and the same: rebellion against those in authority and a desire to rule over the Muslim lands. They may alter their names and titles but their ideology remains the same. Islām itself, despite what these sects assert, forbids open censure and rebellion against even the most wicked and tyrannical of Muslim rulers. The Prophet of Allāh (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam), upon whose statements and actions we establish our religion, stated in an authentic tradition:
“There will appear after me rulers, they will not guide by my guidance, and they will not establish my Sunnah; there will be amongst them men whose hearts will be hearts of devils in the bodies of men!” He was asked: “How should I behave, O Messenger of Allāh, if I reach that time?” He replied: “Hear and obey the Amīr (i.e. the ruler), even if he beats your back and [illegally] takes your wealth – hear and obey!” 
There are five traits in this statement in the presence of which it is still obligatory to hear and obey the rulers in that which constitutes good: their lack of implementing the Prophetic guidance, their lack of implementing the Prophetic Sunnah, their having the hearts of devils, their beating their subjects and illegally taking their wealth. A bitter pill to swallow for those not truly nurtured upon the Qurān and the authentic Prophetic Methodology.
In another authentic tradition, the Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) stated:
“Hear and obey the ruler in that which is difficult for you and in that which is easy for you, in times of invigoration and in times of dislike and weariness and when others are given preferential treatment over you – even if they take and consume your wealth and they beat your back – except that you do not obey them if it involves disobedience to Allāh.” 
And there will be those of little faith and even less knowledge that will frown and cringe when they hear these texts, finding any excuse to reject them due to their blind following of their extremist groups and ideologues, usually by utilising labels of apostasy upon rulers and thereby claiming that they are not bound to abide by these texts.
However, the bar set by the legislation is high as the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) stated that removing the ruler is not permitted, “unless you see clear open disbelief for which you have evidence from Allāh.” 
So the disbelief must be something which is clear and apparent, something seen and known for which one can bring textual evidence for. So it is not permitted to rebel against the ruler in an issue in which there is a difference of opinion as to whether it is disbelief or not, as that opposes the statement of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam), “unless you see clear open disbelief.” This also requires that the ruler recognised the act to be apostasy and therefore cannot be excused for being ignorant; that he did not commit the deed in error not intending it ; that he was not wrongly advised by those around him who call themselves religious scholars and thus gave him sanction to commit disbelief without him knowing it  – so all of this constitutes a valid excuse and a barrier against the declaration of apostasy. Anything short of this clarity is conjecture and in opposition to the meaning of this hadīth.
Allāh, the Most High, stated:
“And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger to give warning.” 
So Allāh does not punish a soul until the proofs are established, and this is from the perfect justice of Allāh. Ibn Taymiyyah (died 728H, rahimahullaah) stated:
“I am one of those most severe in forbidding that a person in particular should be declared as an unbeliever, an open sinner or a sinful transgressor until it is known that the proof of the Messenger is established upon him, the like of which, if it is opposed one becomes an unbeliever or a sinner or a transgressor. And I affirm that Allāh has forgiven the mistakes of this Nation (Ummah) – and that is general for affairs of belief, sayings and actions.” 
The Jihādists try to use isolated statements of Ibn Taymiyyah to support their positions, but this is a smoke screen set up to deceive the Muslims and dishonour this great scholar. Ibn Taymiyyah also stated clearly that there are legitimate barriers to the declaration of takfīr upon the person who apparently denies the texts:
“It is possible that a man has not heard these revealed texts, or that he heard them but they are not established as being authentic with him, or as far as he sees they contradict other texts necessitating interpretation, even if it is incorrect.” 
What follows is a clear example where the Messenger of Allāh (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) mentioned an individual who was excused and forgiven for his ignorance of the revealed texts concerning the Resurrection. He (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) stated:
“Death approached a man and when he had no hope of surviving, he said to his family, ‘When I die, gather much wood and build a fire to burn me. When the fire has eaten my flesh and reached my bones, take my bones and grind them and scatter the resulting dust in the sea on a windy day, for I swear by Allāh, if Allāh takes hold of me, He will punish me with a punishment that He has not punished any of the creation with.’” So that was done, but Allāh collected his scattered particles and brought him back together and asked him, ‘Why did you do that?’ The man replied, ‘Out of fear of you.’ So Allāh forgave him.” 
Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) stated:
“So this man was in doubt regarding the ability of Allāh and in His resurrection of him if he was mere dust. Rather he was certain that he would not be resurrected; and this is disbelief by the consensus of the Muslims, but he was ignorant, and he did not know that. He was a believer who feared that Allāh would punish him, but He forgave him.
And the one who has an [incorrect] interpretation or understanding from the people of jurisprudence, those ardent in their following of the Messenger , then they are more deserving of forgiveness than the likes of this man.” 
The radicals do not embark upon the establishment of these evidences and principles as they know that these will become a barrier to their ideas of takfīr and revolution. Indeed the vast majority of them, if not all of them, do not even believe in the importance of establishing the proofs against an individual before condemning them to apostasy and an eternity in Hell.
But these are not just a few isolated texts forbidding rebellion; rather there are hundreds of sayings from the Prophet , his Companions and in the writings of the earliest generations of illustrious scholars . The great eighth century scholar Ibn al-Qayyim (died 752H) said:
“The Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) legislated for this nation the obligation of rejecting the evil so that by its rejection, the goodness that Allāh and His Messenger love is obtained. And when rejecting evil leads to what is more evil and more hated by Allāh and His Messenger then it is not allowed to reject it – even if Allāh hates the evil and detests those who perform it. And this is like censuring [the transgressions] of the kings and the ones in authority by coming out to fight against them for verily that is the basis and foundation of every evil and every tribulation till the end of time. And the Companions asked permission from Allāh’s Messenger to kill the leaders who delay the prayer from its correct time saying, ‘Shall we not kill them?’ He replied, ‘No, so long as they establish the prayer.’ And he also said, ‘Whoever sees something from his Ruler that he dislikes, then let him be patient and let him not remove his hand from the Ruler’s obedience.’
And whoever reflects upon the greatest and smallest trials that have befallen Islām, then he will see that that they are due to the negligence and wastage of this principle and the lack of patience when witnessing evil. So one seeks to bring about an end to evil and as a result of this, instead a greater evil is brought about. And the Messenger saw the greatest of evils in Mecca and yet he was not able to change them. In fact even when Allāh opened up Mecca for the Muslims and it became a land of Islām, he was resolved to changing the Kaʿbah and returning it to the foundations that Ibrāhīm had built it upon, but even though he had the capacity to do that, he was prevented from it by the fear that something greater would occur due to the lack of tolerance of the [tribe of] Quraish, since they were new to Islām and had recently left unbelief.
For this reason he did not grant permission for rebelling against the leaders with the use of one’s hand due to the greatness of what results afterwards on account of it.” 
Hasan al-Basrī (died 110H) was a great scholar of the first Islamic century and there is no dispute regarding his credentials and immense knowledge. Ibn Saʿd relates:
“A group of Muslims came to al-Hasan al-Basrī seeking a verdict to rebel against al-Hajjāj  (a tyrannical and despotic general). So they said, “O Abu Saʿīd! What do you say about fighting this oppressor who has unlawfully spilt blood and unlawfully taken wealth and has done this and done that?” So al-Hasan said, “I hold that he should not be fought. If this is a punishment from Allāh, then you will not be able to remove it with your swords. If this is a trial from Allāh, then be patient until Allāh’s judgement comes, and He is the best of judges.” So they left al-Hasan, disagreed with him and rebelled against al-Hajjāj – so al-Hajjāj killed them all. Al-Hasan used to say, “If the people had patience when they are being tested by their unjust ruler, it will not be long before Allāh will give them a way out. However, they always rush for their swords, so they are left with their swords. By Allāh! Not even for a single day did they bring about any good.” 
After reading the words of the noble Prophet and the commentaries of the righteous scholars, one naturally comes to the conclusion that rebellions, assassinations and coup d’états are all against the teachings of Islām.
The Kharijite sects are known for preaching and challenging the Muslim rulers publicly and from the pulpits; they incite the Muslim youth that leads them to violent acts often resulting in suicide attacks.
Imām Ahmad bin Hanbal (died 241H) was beaten and jailed by four consecutive kings. Despite that, he viewed revolt to be unlawful against those who violated the Islamic belief and punished him for not agreeing with them. Hanbal bin Ishāq said:
“During the rule of Wāthiq, the jurists of Baghdad gathered in front of Ahmad bin Hanbal. They included Abu Bakr bin ʿUbaid, Ibrāhīm bin ʿAlī al-Matbakhī and Fadl bin ʿĀsim. So they came to Ahmad bin Hanbal so I gave them permission. They said to him, ‘This affair (i.e. the inquisition) has become aggravated and elevated.’ They were referring to the ruler making manifest the issue of the Qurān being created and other than that. So Ahmad bin Hanbal said to them, ‘So what is it that you want?’ They said: ‘We want you to join us in saying that we are not pleased with his rule and leadership.’ So Ahmad bin Hanbal debated with them for an hour and he said to them: ‘Keep opposing [the false belief itself] with your statements but do not remove your hands from obedience and do not encourage the Muslims to rebel and do not spill your blood and the blood of the Muslims along with you. Look to the results of your actions. And remain patient until you are content with a righteous or sinful rule.’” 
Ibn Taymiyyah (died 728H) stated:
“Ahmad [bin Hanbal] and his like did not declare these rulers to be disbelievers. Rather he believed them to have Imaan and believed in their leadership and he supplicated for them, and he was of the view that they were to be followed in the prayers and Hajj, and military expeditions were to be made with them. He prohibited rebellion against them – and it (i.e. rebellion) was never seen from the likes of him from amongst the scholars. Yet he still opposed whatever they innovated of false statements, since that was major disbelief, even if they did not know it . He would oppose it and strive to refute it with whatever was possible. So there must be a combination of obeying Allāh and His Messenger in manifesting the Sunnah and Religion and opposing the innovations of the heretical Jahmites , and between protecting the rights of the believers, the rulers and the Ummah, even if they are ignorant innovators and transgressing sinners.” 
Indeed, there is in the many works of Ibn Taymiyyah a thorough refutation of the arguments and polemics of the Khārijites, an example of which is what is found in Minhāj as-Sunnah :
“And there is hardly anyone who revolted against a leader with authority except that what arose from his action of evil, was actually greater than whatever good came from it, such as those who rebelled against Yazeed in Madīnah, or like Ibn al-Ashʿath who revolted against ʿAbdul-Malik in ʿIrāq, or like Ibn al-Mihlab also, who revolted against his son in Khurasān, and like those who revolted against al-Mansūr in Madīnah and Basrah, and the likes of them…
And it is for this reason that it is firmly established with Ahlus-Sunnah to abandon fighting in times of tribulation due to the authentic narrations that are established from the Prophet ; and they (the Scholars) began to mention this matter in the course of [authoring their works] in Creed, and they would command with patience towards the oppression of the leaders, and the abandonment of fighting against them – even if a fair portion of the people of knowledge fought against them during the tribulation…
And whoever reflects upon the authentic narrations that are established from the Prophet concerning this topic, and also considers with the consideration of those with insight and deep knowledge, will know that that which the Prophetic texts have come with is from the best of all affairs…
And all of this is what explains that whatever the Prophet has commanded of patience towards the tyranny of the rulers and abandonment of fighting against them and revolting against them, that this is of the most beneficial and rectifying of affairs, in both this life and the next, and that whoever opposes this deliberately, or due to an error, then no rectification is attained by his action, rather only corruption…
And he ordered having patience upon their misappropriation, and prohibited fighting against them, and contending with them (for authority), due to their oppression. Because the corruption, mischief that arises from fighting during tribulation (fitnah) is greater than the corruption in the oppression of those in authority. Thus, the lesser of two evils is not to be removed by the greater of the two.”
The noble scholar Shaikh al-Albānī (rahimahullaah, died 1420H) was asked, “Is that which is known nowadays as a military coup against the ruler mentioned in the Religion or is it an innovation?” So the Shaikh answered:
“There is no basis for these acts in Islām. And it is in opposition to the Islamic manhaj (methodology) with respect to the daʿwah (Islamic call) and creating the right atmosphere for it. Rather it is an innovation introduced by the innovators which has affected some Muslims. This is what I have stated and explained in my notes to al-Aqeedah at-Tahāwiyyah .” 
The Messenger of Allāh (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) made it explicitly clear that it is forbidden to speak openly against the Muslim ruler, but rather to advise him in private, regardless of his tyranny:
“Whosoever wishes to advise the Ruler, let him not do so openly. Rather he should take him by his hand and take him into seclusion [and advise him]. So if he accepts that from him, then it is in his favour, and if he does not accept, then at least he fulfilled his duty.” 
To advise the oppressive ruler directly to his face is considered in Islām to be from the best forms of Jihād. It is reported that the Messenger of Allāh (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) said:
“The most superior form of Jihād is to say a word of truth in the face of an oppressive ruler.” 
He (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) also stated in clear terms:
“The chief of the martyrs is Hamzah (the uncle of the Prophet) as well as a man who stands before an unjust ruler, commanding him with good and forbidding him from evil, for which the ruler kills him.” 
This reward is for the one who is in the presence of the ruler, not the one who screams for rebellion from pulpits thousands of miles away and from anonymous internet forums using hidden titles and invented names. That is certainly not Jihād and nor rectification.
True Jihād, in reality begins by combating (with textual proofs) the deviants who wish to corrupt the message of Islām, such as the extremists. Shaikh ʿAbdur-Rahmān as-Saʿdī (died 1376H, rahimahullaah), said:
“Jihād is of two types. The Jihād by which the correction and purity of the Muslims is intended and rectification of their beliefs, manners and all of the affairs pertaining to their lives, both the religious and the worldly affairs. And also [Jihād] in cultivating them with knowledge and action. This type is the fundamental basis of Jihād and its support. And it is from this first type that the second type finds its basis, and that is the Jihād by which those who show transgression against Islām and the Muslims, from amongst the disbelievers, hypocrites, heretical apostates and all of the enemies of the religion are repelled and held at bay.” 
And this is what the Salafi scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah have remained upon throughout the centuries. They consider that the Jihād against the innovators is the basis or the foundation, and the Jihād against the disbelievers branches off from that Jihād.
If one is not able to advise the rulers due to ignorance or inability, then he does not openly rebuke the rulers, as Allāh’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) has forbidden that – upon him in this situation is to supplicate for the guidance of the Muslim rulers as agreed upon by the early scholars. 
The great Imām al-Barbahārī (died 329H, rahimhaullaah) stated the position and consensus of the Muslims towards their rulers:
“If you find a man making supplication against the ruler, know that he is a person of innovation (deviation). If you find a person making supplication for the ruler to be upright, know that he is a person of the Sunnah, if Allāh wills.
We are ordered to make supplication for them (i.e. the rulers) to be upright. We have not been ordered to make supplication against them, even if they commit tyranny and oppression, since their tyranny and oppression reflect only upon themselves but their rectitude is good for themselves and the Muslims.” 
The great scholar Ibn Bāz (died 1420AH) was asked, “Is it from the methodology of the Salaf  to criticize the rulers from the pulpits? And what is the methodology of the Salaf in advising the rulers?” So he answered:
“It is not from the methodology of the Salaf to criticize the rulers from the pulpits, because that would incite chaos, and it would involve not listening and obeying in that which is good. And this would mean becoming engrossed in that which harms and does not benefit. However, the way of advising that the Salaf followed was to write to the ruler, or to convey the advice to the Scholars who would then convey it to him, until he has been directed towards good. So opposing the evil can be done without mentioning the doer. So adultery, intoxicants and interest can be opposed without mentioning the one who is involved in them. And it is enough of an opposition to sins that they be warned against without mentioning that so and so is involved in them, whether it is the ruler, or other than the ruler.
And when the fitnah (trial, discord) occurred in the time of ʿUthmān  , some people said to Usāmah bin Zayd , ‘Will you not speak to ʿUthmān?’ So he said, ‘Do you think that I have not spoken to him, just because you have not heard it from me? Verily I will speak to him concerning what is between him and me, without opening an affair which I would not like to be the first to open.’  So when they (the Khārijites) opened it, evil took place in the time of ʿUthmān . They opposed ʿUthmān openly, thus completing the tribulations, fighting and corruption, which has not ceased to affect the people to this day, was brought about. And this caused the tribulation to occur between ʿAlī and Muʿāwiyah , and ʿUthmān was killed for these reasons…
Furthermore, a large number of Companions and others besides them were killed due to this open rebellion and the open proclamation of the faults of the ruler, until the people began to hate the one charged with authority over them and killed him. We ask Allāh for success.” 
In a visit to Mecca in the year 1926CE King Abdul-ʿAzīz Āl-Saʿūd , the then king of Saudi Arabia proclaimed the constitution of the Kingdom, stating:
“Article 5: All of the laws of the Kingdom are executed in accordance to the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah of His Messenger and in accordance to that which the Companions and the Salaf us-Sālih were upon.” 
Regardless of these proclamations from the rulers, the radicals still declare them to be unbelievers, worthy of being killed. And this is due to the fact that they see deficiencies and imperfections in the rule.
Shaikh Sālih al-Fawzān was asked:
“Respected Shaikh, yourself and your brothers who are scholars in this country are Salafīs – and all praise is due to Allāh – and your method in advising the rulers is that of the Sharīʿah and as the Prophet has explained, yet there are those who find fault with you due to your neglect in openly rejecting the various oppositions [to the Sharīʿah] that have occurred. And yet others make excuses for you by saying that you are under the control and pressure of the state. So do you have any words of direction or clarification to these people?”
So Shaikh al-Fawzān answered with clear and unambiguous words:
“There is no doubt that the rulers, just like people besides them, are not infallible. Advising them is an obligation. However, attacking them in the gatherings and upon the pulpits is considered to be the forbidden form of backbiting. And this evil is greater than that which occurred from the ruler since it is backbiting and because of what results from backbiting such as the sowing of the seeds of discord, causing disunity and affecting the progression of daʿwah (the call to Islām). Hence what is obligatory is to make sure advice reaches the rulers by sound and trustworthy avenues, not by publicizing and causing commotion. And as for reviling the Scholars of this country, that they do not give advice [to the rulers], or that they are being controlled in their affairs, this is a method by which separation between the Scholars, the youth and the society is desired, until it becomes possible for the mischief-maker to sow the seeds of his evil. This is because when evil suspicions are harbored about the Scholars, trust is no longer placed in them and then the chance is available for the biased partisans to spread their poison. And I believe that this thought is actually a schemed plot that has come into this country, and those who are behind it are foreign to this country . It is obligatory upon the Muslims to be cautious of it.” 
Likewise the former Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Imām Muhammad bin Ibrāhīm stated:
“The government [of Saudi Arabia], praise be to Allāh, its constitution (dustūr) is the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah of His Messenger ; and it has opened the Islamic courts for that purpose, for the actualisation of the statement of Allāh:
‘And if you differ in any affair between yourselves, then refer it back to Allāh and His Messenger.’ 
And that which is besides this, then he is one who judges by jāhiliyyah, about which Allāh, the Most High, said:
‘Do they then seek the judgement of (the Days of) Ignorance? And who is better in judgement than Allāh for a people who have firm Faith?’ ” 
Incitement begins with an ideology; an ideology that is preached and emotions aroused against the Muslim governments which, in turn leads to bloodshed and killing of innocents; youths who throw their lives away for sinful causes; as a result innocent Muslim and non-Muslim men, women and children are murdered indiscriminately. And this is the ultimate goal of Hizb ut-Tahrīr as they openly admit on their website:
“It is a call to the blood so that it agitates in the veins, to the hearts so that they become full with rage; thus they become firmly resolved, have [far] reaching aims.”
The corruption of the rulers and rulership is not something new, rather it is something found throughout the ages. The Messenger of Allāh (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) said:
“The handholds of Islām will be demolished one by one, and every time one of them is demolished, the people will hold on tightly to the one that follows it. The first one to be demolished is the rule (al-hukum) and the last of them will be the prayer.” 
And the early hadīth scholar, Ibn Hibbān mentioned this narration under the chapter heading:
“A mention of the reports that the first breakage of the handholds of Islām will appear from the direction of the rulers; [and it] is the corruption of rulership and the rulers.”
So this was something well-known, yet we do not find in the example of the Companions and those early scholars, any methodology that resembles the methodology of the extremist groups of rebellion and bloodshed.
Footnotes: Muslim in the Sahīh, Book of Rulership.  Ibn Hibbān in his Sahīh, no. 4562, authenticated by al-Albānī. Note that the Prophet commanded the Muslims not to obey the ruler in disobedience to Allāh, but he did not command with rebellion. And it is possible to disobey the Ruler without raising the sword against him or calling for his overthrow.  Al-Bukhārī in his Sahīh.  Shaikh Ibn ʿUthaimīn mentions that an example of this is like the one who loses control over his thoughts and does not know what he is saying – due to extreme joy, or other similar reasons. There is an authentic hadīth wherein a man lay under a tree waiting for death after losing his camel laiden with supplies; and then suddenly the camel’s reigns are caught in the tree, so he takes hold of them and exclaims, “O Allāh! Indeed you are my slave and I am your Lord!” mixing up his words due to extreme joy. (Reported by Muslim, no. 6611). So Allāh did not take him to account for that slip of the tongue, nor did He declare him to be a disbeliever. See Majmū al-Fatāwā war-Rasā’il, no.341.  This occurred in the time of Imām Ahmad bin Hanbal (died 241H) when the misguided Jahmite ‘scholars’, such Ibn Abī Duwād and Bishr al-Marīsī, convinced the rulers to adopt heretical beliefs, yet the scholars did not declare the rulers to be unbelievers.  Al-Isrā’ 17:15.  Majmūʿ al-Fatāwā, 3/229.  Majmūʿ al-Fatāwā of Ibn Taymiyyah 3/231. [9 Reported by al-Bukhārī and Muslim.  Majmūʿ al-Fatāwā, 3/231.  Visit takfiris.com and aqidah.com for more examples.  Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyah, Iʿlām al-Muwaqqiʿīn ʿan Rabb il-ʿĀlameem.  Hajjāj bin Yūsuf was responsible for widespread oppression and killing towards the end of the time of the Companions. He besieged Makkah and bombarded the Kaʿbah. He killed the Companion ʿAbdullāh bin Zubair and crucified him in Makkah. See as-Siyar of Adh-Dhahabī.  Tabaqāt al-Kubrā (7/163-165)  Mihnatul-Imām Ahmad (p. 70-72); al-Khallāl in as-Sunnah (no. 90) with an authentic chain of narration.  This is the position of the scholars and jurists of the orthodox Ahlus-Sunnah and Salafism, i.e. that it is possible for a person to commit major disbelief in creed, statement or action, but still remain within the fold of Islām due to the fact that he was ignorant of the Islamic texts, and had he known of the Islamic ruling he would immediately correct himself.  The Jahmites are an early sect that negate or explain away [by the use of metaphors] the Names and Attributes of Allāh, the Most High. They took their teachings from Jahm bin Safwān (died 128H) who in turn was a disciple of Jaʿd bin Dirham (died 124H) both of whom denied amongst other things that Allāh spoke to the Prophet Mūsā (Moses), that He took Ibrahīm (Abraham) as a close friend, that He is the Most High above His creation and distinct from it. See asharis.com for more information regarding this sect.  Majmūʿ al-Fatāwā, 7/507-508.  Ibn Taymiyyah, Minhāj as-Sunnah, 4/527 and onwards.  A famous book of creed from the fourth century authored by Imām Abu Jaʿfar Ahmad ibn Muhammad At-Tahāwī (died 321H).  Al-Asālah magazine, issue 10.  Authentically reported by Imām Ahmad in al-Musnad, no. 15359, as-Sunnah, no. 1097 with al-Albānī’s checking.  Refer to Sahīh Jāmiʿ as-Saghīr of al-Albānī, and it is authentic. It is reported by Abū Sāʿīd al-Khudrī, Abū Umāmah and Tāriq bin Shihāb.  Reported by al-Hākim, verified to be authentic by al-Albānī in as-Sahīhah, no. 174.  Wujūb ut-Taʿāwan bain al-Muslimīn (p.7-8).  The Creed of Imām al-Bukhārī, p.40.  Sharhus-Sunnah of al-Barbahārī.  Salaf: Those who came before us from the earliest generations of Muslims. In the purest sense, the term refers to the Companions of the Prophet . And thus, a Salafī is a Muslim who precisely follows their way in creed, methodology and all affairs of religion.  ʿUthmān bin Affān : The noble Companion of the Prophet , who married two of his daughters, after one died, the Prophet offered him the other for marriage – thus he is nicknamed “Dhun-Nurayn”, (Possessor of the two Lights). He was the third Rightly Guided Caliph of Islām. It is not permissible to criticise or attack him or his character. Sayyid Qutb famously launched severe criticisms against this Caliph as well as several other Companions of the Prophet . Visit themadkhalis.com and takfiris.com for evidenced proofs.  An authentic narration: Related by Ahmad (3/403) and Ibn Abī ʿĀsim (2/521).  ʿAlī bin Abī Tālib and Muʿāwiyah bin Abī Sufyān were both noble Companions of the Prophet and fourth and fifth holders of the office of rulership respectively.  Refer to Al-Maʿloom min Wājibil-’Ilāqah baynal-Hākim wal-Mahkoom, pp. 22-33.  Al-Wajīz fī Sīrat al-Malik ʿAbdul-ʿAzīz, pp. 90-91. [36 Such as the ideology of Sayyid Qutb and his brother Muhammad Qutb.  Al-Ajwibah al-Mufīdah of Shaikh Sālih al-Fawzān  An-Nisā’: 59.  Al-Māidah: 50.  Fatāwā Ash-Shaikh Muhammad bin Ibrāhīm, 12/288.  Imām Ahmad (5/251), Ibn Hibbān (6715), with a good chain of narration.
For further reading, refer to the book, “The Rise of Jihadist Extremism in the West,” Salafi Publications.