Update: 8/10/2023 See a clarification at the end of the article about the claim of some of Saeed Hassan's followers that I lied upon him.
The claim that the foundation of a Muslim is that he is upon the sound creed was spread some years ago by the Ikhwānī, pseudophilosopher and online performance artist known as Mohammad Hijab.
We see this doubt being regurgitated by the followers of the likes of Abū al-Ḥasan al-Maʾribī and ʿAlī Ḥasan al-Ḥalabī who invented and spread false principles regarding al-Jarḥ wal-Taʿdīl in order to confuse the youth and to serve as justifications for their own ties and cooperation with the jamʿiyyāt and people of ḥizbiyyah.
In the social media, self-publishing era, we see many people appearing on the scene, claiming Salafiyyah and claiming to teach people Salafiyyah, and they have confusion with them, in their understanding, in their speech, which then translates into their actions, this confusion is also infused into their listeners.
In the video below, this individual called Saeed Hassan duplicates this very same doubt of Hijab and adds some other things too.
I am not saying you say to everyone, “You’re a mubtadiʿ [innovator], you’re a mubtadiʿ”, you label them, lā. Leave people alone, Lākin [but] when you know a person is a person of bidʿah, that’s when you stay away from them.
This doesn’t mean you stay away from every single Muslim because the aṣl [foundation] of the Muslim is that they are upon sound creed.
Two questions, how does a person come into Salafiyyah. By saying (لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله). Cause Salafiyyah is the Sunnah and Sunnah is Salafiyyah, and the Sunnah is Islām and Islām is the Sunnah.
You don’t have to have a specific card or an ID card, you don’t have to go to any location to be a Salafi.
Lākin [but] how does a person become any of these deviant groups? By giving them baiʾah, allegiance, by spreading their ʿaqīdah, by going to them, by going to their gatherings.
So it is harder to be a mubtadiʿ than it is to be a Salafi. It is harder to be an innovator than it is to be a Salafi.
Salafi, wallāhi, you don’t have to do anything, khalaṣ, [you say] (لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله), alḥamdulillāh, wa billāhi al-tawfīq [with Allāh lies success].
Lākin [but] when you put yourself out there in harms way of bidʿah, that’s when the problem comes, that is when the problem comes.
01 Regarding Saeed Hassan's speech:
...the aṣl [foundation] of the Muslim is that they are upon sound creed.
Refer to this document which provides a refutation of this statement:
Yasir Qadhi and Muḥammad Ḥijāb: Ikhwāniyyah in Theory and Practice.
Part 1: The ‘Aṣl’ (Foundation) of a Muslim and Issues Pertaining to Tabdīʿ of those Who Oppose the Way of the Salaf
The essence of the issue is that when we meet a Muslim, the origin is that we assume him to be innocent and free of apparent sin (fisq), we cannot disparage him in terms of his religiosity in this respect, except with additional knowledge.
However, this does not at the same time, confer upon him any additional qualities and attributes, such as being upon the creed of the Salaf, or being reliable, truthful and precise in reporting. These affairs have to be established separately with knowledge and experience.
This is due to both creational and legislative realities, refer to the document for more details.
02 Refer also to the speech of Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah and Shaykh Rabīʿ bin Hādī on this subject.
Shaykh Rabīʿ (حفظه الله) said, in refutation of this Ikhwānī falsehood:
How can the base rule concerning the people be that they are upon the Sunnah, when we have with us the Rawāfiḍ (Shīʿites) and we have with us the Bāṭiniyyah, and we have with us the Communists, and we have with us the Hizbiyyūn (Partisans), and we have with us every type (of people)?
03 Regarding Saeed Hassan's speech:
Two questions, how does a person come into Salafiyyah. By saying (لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله). Cause Salafiyyah is the Sunnah and Sunnah is Salafiyyah, and the Sunnah is Islām and Islām is Sunnah.
This is ignorance and confusion. A person enters into Islām with the kalimah, and if he is in the era of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) we can say that the Islām he has entered to is Sunnah and Salafiyyah, as we understand it, being free of innovations and misguidance.
However, the further away we are from the era of Prophethood, we can no longer say this, because of the splitting of the ummah through innovations, misguidance and emergence of sects, until we reach the modern era.
Muslim relates in Kitāb al-Īmān of his Ṣaḥīḥ, the statement of Ibn Sīrīn (d. 110H):
They never used to ask about the isnād (chain of narration), but when the tribulation occurred they would say, “Name us your men.” So Ahl al-Sunnah were looked at and their report was taken and Ahl al-Bidaʿ were looked at and their report was not taken.”
Today, there are not just sects whose deviation is clear, but biased partisans who wear the cloak of Salafiyyah, opposing its foundations and innovating false principles into it.
People like Saeed Hassan dislike speech about innovations and innovators, particularly those who deviated from Salafiyyah and chose misguidance after the evidences were made clear to them, claiming that people will not be asked about it on the Day of Judgement, and instead they should mind their own business and do worship and remembrance and the likes.
This is not the Salafi methodology, but the way of the wasters of Ikhwan.
How is a person supposed to be upon Sunnah and Salafiyyah, if he does not take caution from innovations and misguidance, and if he is told that merely saying the kalimah is Salafiyyah, khalāṣ.
04 Also in the above statement, it is as if the reasoning is provided that because Salafiyyah is the Sunnah and because the Sunnah is Islām, therefore when a person says the kalimah of Islām, he has entered Salafiyyah thereby.
This false reasoning arises due to ignorance, or feigning of ignorance of both creational realities (al-qadar al-kawni), which is that the ummah has split and innovations, desires and misguidance are rampant and legislative realities, which is that the origin with respect to man is that he is ignorant and oppressive, in need of knowledge to remove that from him.
Ibn al-Qayyim (رحمه الله) said: 
Man was created foundationally upon oppression and ignorance (as his default state), and he does not depart from ignorance and oppression except through Allāh teaching him what benefits him and inspiring him with his guidance.
For whomever Allāh intends goodness, He will teach him what benefits him, and he will leave ignorance thereby, and [after that] He will benefit him through what He taught him, and he will [also] leave oppression thereby.
And for whomever Allāh does not intend goodness, He will leave him upon the origin of creation [which is ignorance and oppression].
Thus, the origin of every goodness is knowledge and justice, and the origin of every evil is ignorance and oppression.
Thus, the origin with respect to man is that he is ignorant and unjust and this is removed from him with sound revelation, which is knowledge and justice. However, if what was originally sound revelation has undergone misinterpretation which results in innovation and misguidance, then a man can no longer be taken out of ignorance and injustice in the same way as in the era of Prophethood, unless he is from those whom Allāh favours.
Yūsuf bin Asbāṭ (رحمه الله) said:
My father was a Qadarī and my maternal uncles were Rāfiḍīs, then Allāh saved me through Sufyān al-Thawrī.
Given this legislative and creational reality, it is not possible therefore, that the origin with respect to a Muslim, after the era of Prophethood and after the first tribulation in the ummah, is that he is upon sound creed.
A person can enter Islām through a Ṣūfī, a Tablīghī, a Khārijī, a Muʿtazilī and so on, through a false understanding of the kalimah itself, so how can one say that merely uttering the kalimah enters a person into Salafiyyah.
This is gross ignorance.
A man enters Islām through the Ṣūfīs believing that Allāh is everywhere or he enters Islam through the Khārijītes, believing that the kalimah of Tawḥīd is but Ḥakimiyyah and establishing Islām and Tawḥīd requires takfīr of the rulers and rebelling against them. How have these people entered Salafiyyah through the kalimah?
These are statements of ignorance and misguidance.
Rather, these types of statements emanate from those put to trial with the ideas and principles of the Ikhwānīs, which came to them from al-Maʾribī, al-Ḥalabī and others.
05 Regarding Saeed Hassan's speech:
You don’t have to have a specific card or an ID card, you don’t have to go to any location to be a Salafi.
That which is often intended by the people of Ḥizbiyyah—particularly the followers of al-Maʾribī, al-Ḥalabī, al-Ruḥaylī and those affected by them—through this type of statement, even if overtly and on its apparent, it is stating something true, is to undermine the implementation of the manhaj of the Salaf as it relates to judging people by their company, friendships and visitations. This reveals their true allegiances, where their hearts are really at, and whether they adopt sound Salafī positions in trials and tribulations after the truth has become clear concerning them.
It is true, you do not need to carry a card, or an ID badge, but it is also true that loyalty (walāʾ) and barāʾ (disloyalty) around the truth and the correct positions (mawāqif) in tribulations and in positions towards the innovators and those whom the scholars have judged to be upon misguidance with clear evidences, that all of this is clear proof that a person is upon Salafiyyah, upon the methodology of the Salaf and is with the truth and its people. This is from the fruits of his Salafiyyah.
However, this is what the Ḥizbiyyīn have been attempting to undermine for some decades now, because it separates the true Salafi from the one who wears it as a cloak.
It was attempted by al-Maʾribī with respect to al-Maghrāwī, the Takfīrī, whom the Major Scholars refuted over two decades ago. Al-Maʾribī was trying to shield al-Maghrāwī. It was attempted also by al-Ḥalabī, who could not let go of friendships and affiliations with the jamʿiyyāt and the disparaged with whom he kept ties.
So they invented principles or distorted the methodology of the Salaf in order to justify their own relationships with the misguided and to justify their activities and behaviours which bring discord and harm to the daʿwah.
06 Regarding Saeed Hassan's speech:
So it is harder to be a mubtadiʿ (innovator) than it is to be a Salafi. It is harder to be an innovator than it is to be a Salafi. Salafi, wallāhi, you don’t have to do anything, khalaṣ, [you say] (لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله), alḥamdulillāh, wa billāhi al-tawfīq [with Allāh lies success].
This reminds us of the irjāʾ (removing actions from īmān) that Shaykh Rabīʿ bin Hādī often comments about, as it relates to what the Innovators, the Ikhwānīs, have entered into Salafiyyah, in the name of Salafiyyah, of watered-down, lackadaisical principles.
Look at how he reverses the realities and makes Salafiyyah the easiest thing ever. Just say the kalimah and you are a Salafī, you’ve attained the Salafiyyah of the Companions, because Salafiyyah is the Sunnah and the Sunnah is Islām!
And because the origin is, as he claims, that when a person’s says the kalimah, he has entered Salafiyyah directly and khalaṣ, he doesn’t have to do anything.
Salafiyyah is hard, because it is the truth, and the truth is heavy, it is burdensome to hold and carry. This is why so few people are upon it. The Salaf spoke of this, they mentioned the scarcity of Ahl al-Sunnah, and that was in their time.
It is related from Sufyān al-Thawrī (رحمه الله):
When it reaches you from a man in the East, that he is a person of the Sunnah, then send salutation [of peace] to him, and when it reaches you from another in the West, that he is a person of the Sunnah, then send salutation [of peace] to him. For Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamāʿah have diminished [in number].
In contrast, innovation is light and easy, because it has apparent glitter and beauty, it offers an alleged short path to salvation. This is why so many people are upon it.
Ibn al-Qayyim (رحمه الله) states that some of the Salaf said:
Upon you is to follow the path of truth and do not feel alienated due to the scarcity of its followers. Beware of the path of falsehood and do not be deceived by the abundance of those who perish [upon it].
However, what is worse and more harmful is this watered-down Salafiyyah which brings ease and lifts burdens from you where you do not need to accept and adhere to the truth after it becomes apparent, and you do not need to make walāʾ and barāʾ around it. Just treat what has arisen of plain and persistent misguidance from someone who opposed and left Salafiyyah as nothing but mere slips and errors, similar to minor sins. Khalaṣ, you don’t need to do anything.
This attitude encourages the Salafi to remain in wilful ignorance and confusion, lacking insight regarding the Straight Path of Allāh, to the left and right of which are many straying paths, it is to invite trials and tribulations into his religion.
07 From the realities of these types of people is that they will speak of bidʿah and the people of bidʿah, but in a general vague sense. They will speak of affairs that are historical, or plain and clear, such as the Jahmiyyah, Muʿtazilah, Rāfiḍah, the Ikhwān, Tablīgh, the Ṣūfīs and their likes. However, when it comes to those who oppose and desert Ahl al-Sunnah, from those who went astray from the truth, after some among the Salafī scholars first advised, then cautioned, then refuted and warned against them, they do not like this, and they do not want the common people to benefit from these types of important and necessary refutations. These types of affairs preserve the Straight Path, and maintain unity upon the truth, upon the Qurʾān, the Sunnah and the way of the Salaf.
So do not be deceived when you hear these people apparently speaking against bidʿah and Ahl al-Bidʿah. They wish to restrict and narrow this field down and to prevent people from hearing the important clarifications and refutations of the people of knowledge, whereby Sunnah becomes distinct from bidʿah and bidʿah becomes distinct from Sunnah. And this is because there will never cease to be people who oppose and abandon the truth and bring doubts and misconceptions.
There are many characters out in the field of cyberspace claiming Salafiyyah, or Athariyyah, or orthodoxy (whatever that means to them), from the likes of Hijab or ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Ḥasan and others who innovate false principles into Allāh’s religion and then spread them amongst the people, leading them to doubts and confusion.
So one has to be careful of these people, because they are more harmful than those who do not identify as Salafīs, whose misguidance is clear. The reason is that these types of people who claim Salafiyyah, they appear to teach from the same books and affiliate with the same scholars such as Shaykh al-Albānī, Shaykh Bin Bāz, Shaykh Ibn ʿUthaymīn, Shaykh al-Fawzān and others, to which many of the Hizbiyyīn also affiliate with.
But when it comes to the crunch, to matters of truth and falsehood, when it comes to scholars such as Shaykh Rabīʾ or Shaykh Muqbil who refuted the Innovators and deviants, when it comes to submitting to evidences, you will find that they won’t really go there, and they will regurgitate all the doubts that we have heard for a couple of decades, to avoid accepting the truth, because this threatens their friendships, allegiances and loyalties, and because it diminishes their audiences.
It is because the 'Salafiyyah' they are upon is not the Salafiyyah which the Salaf were upon. It is not the Salafiyyah of Shaykh Rabīʿ, Shaykh Aḥmad (al-Najmī), Shaykh Muqbil and others, but the Tamyīʿ (melting, softening, diluting) of al-Maʿribī, al-Ḥalabī, al-Ruḥaylī and others.
This diluted Salafiyyah causes them to inherit the type of ignorance and confusion that you can see, and it is nothing but a pathway to Ikhwāniyyah.
I have been informed that some of the followers of Saeed Ḥassan are claiming that I lied upon him by stating: “People like Saeed Hassan dislike speech about innovations and innovators…” in the article above.
Firstly, it is clear, they chose to become angry for the sake of Saeed Hassan, and not for the truth, for the sake of the Salafi methodology. They did not become angry that Saeed Hassan perpetuates confusion and falsehood in his speech about Islām, Sunnah, Salafiyyah and the foundation of a Muslim.
Secondly, as a result of becoming angry for the sake of Saeed Hassan, they found something in my speech with which to undermine the justified criticism, and this is the sentence mentioned above.
The complete sentence is: “People like Saeed Hassan dislike speech about innovations and innovators, particularly those who deviated from Salafiyyah and chose misguidance after the evidences were made clear to them…”, and later in the article, in point 7, wherein it is made clear that people like Saeed Hassan may refute past and contemporary groups of innovation, but they dislike speech about those who fall into misguidance, are advised, refuted and who then abandon the Salafi scholars, meaning, the likes of al-Ḥalabī by way of example.
I also mention al-Ḥalabī right at the beginning of the article as well, making the context very clear.
Hence, I stand by this statement, whether you clip it or mention it in full, that “people like Saeed Hassan dislike speech about innovations and innovators…” because ʿAlī Ḥasan al-Ḥalabī was declared an innovator by the Salafi scholars for following the way of al-Maʾribī and inventing false principles (innovations) in the religion, in the field of methodology.
Likewise, towards the end of the article, I write: “So do not be deceived when you hear these people apparently speaking against bidʿah and Ahl al-Bidʿah. They wish to restrict and narrow this field down and to prevent people from hearing the important clarifications and refutations of the people of knowledge”, which is true, as Saeed Hassan dislikes and discourages people from listening to the refutations against Ali al-Ḥalabī and his likes.
Anybody who reads the article without bias can clearly see this is what is clearly stated and meant. However, it is revealing that these brothers, may Allāh guide them and grant them success, ignored the error of Saeed Hassan, got angry for his sake that his error should be explained and corrected, and tried to shield and protect him by claiming I lied upon him, not in the main issue, namely the false principle he promotes about Salafiyyah and the foundation of a Muslim, but about something else.
The reader should note that they, within the limits of my knowledge, have said nothing about the issue itself, namely Saeed Hassan's promotion of false principles.
In reality, they should encourage him to recant from these false principles and not to harm and oppress him further by making these feeble excuses and justifications for him to reject truth.