by Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah
(Translated by Abu ‘Abdis-Salam)
“Indeed the people of Truth and the Sunnah do not follow anyone [unconditionally] except the messenger of Allaah SAW, the one who does not speak from his desires – it is only revelation revealed to him.
Belief in all that he narrated is obligatory, as is his [unconditional] obedience in all that he commanded. This rank is not given to anyone other than him, [whether] from the Imaams [or other than them]. Rather, statements of every individual are taken and left, except the messenger of Allaah SAW [whose statements are always taken].
So whoever makes a person other than the messenger of Allaah SAW [a criterion] such that whoever loves him and stands by him becomes from Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, and whoever opposes him becomes from the people of innovation and splitting – as that is found in the groups following the leaders of kalaam with regards to the religion – then he is from the people of innovation, misguidance and splitting!”