"The manhaj (methodology or way ) of Salaf as-Soleh means the manhaj of nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and his companions. I would like to say here, that the salaf… that the Salafi manhaj is not a hizb (party), and the salafi manhaj is not one of the groups. Never! Never!...I would like the world to know that the Salafi Manhaj is the methodology of Quran and Sunnah according to the understanding of the Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali, and all the companions of the prophet, and those who follow them in Goodness, till whoever Allah has made to inherit this earth.. It is not a hizb, nor a group, nor nationalism, and it is not a right of anyone on the face of this earth to erect from himself a gate on the gates of salafi manhaj for anyone to put in a manhaj that he wishes, and another to take out a manhaj that he wishes… This is a flaw! This is a flaw! … The Salafi Manhaj is the methodology of Quran and Sunnah according to the understanding of nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and his companions and those who follow them in goodness until the day of Judgment.
قال ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه: مَن كانَ مُسْتَنًّا ، فَلْيَسْتَنَّ بمن قد ماتَ ، فإنَّ الحيَّ لا تُؤمَنُ عليه الفِتْنَةُ ، أولئك أصحابُ محمد - صلى الله عليه وسلم - ، كانوا أفضلَ هذه الأمة : أبرَّها قلوبًا ، وأعمقَها علمًا ، وأقلَّها تكلُّفًا ، اختارهم الله لصحبة نبيِّه ، ولإقامة دِينه ، فاعرِفوا لهم فضلَهم ، واتبعُوهم على أثرهم وتمسَّكوا بما استَطَعْتُم من أخلاقِهم وسيَرِهم ، فإنهم كانوا على الهُدَى المستقيم
Ibn Mas’ud said: “Whoever follows a Sunnah (way) then let him follow the way of those who have passed away. Verily those who are alive, is not safe from fitnah. Those are the companions of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). They were the best of this nation: The most righteous of hearts, the most profound in knowledge, the least in hypocrisy. Allah chose them for companionship of the prophet, and to establish His religion. So know their virtues, follow them in their trail, hold on to their manners and their attitude to the best of your ability, for verily, they were on the straight guidance.”
[Jami’ al-Usul fi ahadith as-Rasul, by Ibn al-Athir]