My mother would dress me up in the clothes of the scholars whilst I still was a young boy and she would tell me “Go to the masjid and seek knowledge from Imaam ar-Rabee'ah, study his manners before you take from his knowledge"
The Pious Forefathers (i.e. As-Salaf as-Saalih) of the Islamic Community of Believers are the Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, their Followers (the Taabi'een and the Taabi Taabi'een (i.e. the first three generations of Muslims) and the Scholars of the Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah after them who followed their way in belief and deed. Among them are :
Imam Abu Hanifah (150 AH),
Al-Awzai (157 AH),
Al Laith ibn Saad (175 AH),
Imam Malik (179 AH),
Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak (181 AH),
Sufyan ibn Uyainah (198 AH),
Imam Ash-Shafi'i (204 AH),
Ishaq (238 AH),
Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (241 AH),
Al-Bukhari (256 AH),
Muslim (261 AH),
Abu Dawood (275 AH) and others.
Ibn Taymiyyah (728 AH), and his students: Adh-Dhahabi (748 AH), Ibn al-Qayyim (751 AH), Ibn Katheer (774 AH) and others.
Muhammed bin ‘Abd al-Wahhab (1206 AH) and many of his students.
And to name some in our time: Abdul Aziz bin Baz, Muhammed bin Saalih Uthaimeen, Muhammed Naasir-ud-Deen al-Albaani, Shaykh Muqbil ibn Haadee al-Waadi’ee, Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan ‘Abdul-Muhsin al-’Abbaad, ‘Abdul-Muhsin al-’Abbaad
The Salafis are the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah. They are the Taaifatul- Mansoorah (the Aided, Victorious Group) and the Firqatun-Naajiyyah (the Saved Sect) which have been mentioned in the following statements of the Messenger, peace be upon him:
“There shall not cease to remain a single group from my community upon the Truth, victorious; they are unharmed by those who abandon them and those who oppose them. They will remain (in my community and in such a state) until they fight the liar (i.e. the Anti-Christ (Dajjal).” [Reported in Sahih Muslim]
“By Allah’s right over you, Do you know who a (true) man is? A (true) man is, by Allah, one who when he finds himself alone with what he desires from the forbidden, and [finds himself] capable of doing it, and yearned in his thirst for it… (BUT) He looked at Allah’s watching over him, and fell ashamed at fulfilling his desires in that which Allah hates, So his thirst [for it] dispersed.”
The Pleasure of Repenting .Vs. The Pleasure of Sinning
Ibn al-Qayyim said,
“So if the sinner knew that the pleasure of repenting and the joy associated with is multiple times greater than the pleasure of sinning and the joy associated with it, he would rush to it much more than the way he rushes to the pleasure of sinning.”
“Know, dear son, that days are but hours, and hours are but breaths, and every soul is a container, hence let not any breath pass without any benefit, such as on the Day of Judgement you find an empty container and feel regret!
Be aware of every hour and how it passes, and only spend it in the best possible way; do not neglect yourself, but render it accustomed to the noblest and best of actions, and send to your grave that which will please you when you arrive to it.”
Whoever wants to follow an example, let him follow the example of those who have passed away, the Companions (sahaabah) of Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم. They were the best of this ummah, the purest in heart, the deepest in knowledge, the least in sophistication. They were people whom Allah chose to be the Companions of His Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم and to convey His religion, so imitate their ways and behaviour, for they were following the Straight Path.”
Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood (رضي الله عنه ) .[Al-Baghawi in Sharh as-Sunnah]