Questioner: In some Arab countries a group has emerged which claims that they are followers of Sayyid Qutb and that they are the true Salafis, what is your opinion?
Al-Albaani: My opinion is that the problem is the same, and my answer is that groundless claims are invalid. We believe that Sayyid Qutb, may Allaah have mercy on him, was not Salafi in his methodology for the majority of his life. But near its end, when he was in prison, a strong inclination to the Salafi methodology became apparent from him.
Salafiyyah is not a mere claim, salafiyyah requires acquaintance with the Book and the authentic Sunnah and the Salafi narrations.
We know that these people and their likes, who claim that their da’wah is based on the Book and the Sunnah, do not know the principles of understanding the Book, principles which are well-known from the statements of Ibn Taymiyyah in his trestise on Usoolul-Fiqh, and the statements of the Imaams of tafseer like Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir and others: that the Quraan is interpreted with the Quraan, and if not then with the hadiths, and if not then with the sayings of the Companions and those after them from the Pious Predecessors.
So those who [merely] claim Salafiyyah do not tread this path in explaining the Quraan, this scholarly path, which the scholars of the Muslims have agreed upon.
Questioner: This is present among the Qutubis.
Al-Albaani: Of course, it is present. And that is why in Sayyid Qutb’s tafsir you will find some explanations which adopt the approach of those who came later who oppose the Pious Predecessors.
Thereafter I want to say that these people are not concerned about distinguishing between the authentic Sunnah and the weak, let alone the fact that they are not concerned about scrutinising the narrations of the Companion and the Pious Predecessors, [which is important] because it is these narrations which help a scholar to understand the Book and the Sunnah as we just alluded to.
From where will Salafiyyah come to them if they are far away from understanding the first foundation of Islaam, i.e., the Quraan, and far away from correct, scholarly principles, and far away from distinguishing between authentic and weak hadiths, and even more distant in examining the narrations of the Pious Predecessors, such that they can be guided through their guidance and seek light from theirs?
Thus, the issue is not to merely claim. And why do these people claim that they are Salafis? The answer is as I have mentioned in some of my previous answers: that now the Salafi call, through Allaah’s Grace, has almost covered the Islamic sphere, and it has become apparent to most of those who used to oppose it, even if only generally, that this call is that of the truth, for this reason they associate themselves to it, even though in their actions they are ever so far removed from it.
Al-Huda wan-Noor, 188.