The mumayeen (those who soften and melt (i.e. water down) the manhaj of the salaf towards ahlu bidah) often accuse salafis of labeling anyone who differs with them as a mubtadi (a innovator).
However a general principal of the salafi manhaj is that the ammi (lay-person) making ta’yeen, going to a SPECIFIC person and saying, “you are a faasiq or you are innovator or you are a kafir” (i.e. making tafseeq (declaring someone a faasiq (wrongdoer/sinner)), making tabdee (declaring some one to be a mubtadi (a innovator)) or making takfir declaring some one to be a kafir (in particular declaring a person who says he is Muslim to be kafir (non muslim)) is not allowed in general.
Shaykh An-Najmee said in Al-Fataawaa Al-Jaliyyah, volume 2: “It is not permissible for the beginning student of knowledge to declare someone an innovator, or declare someone a disbeliever until he is qualified to do that. And he must refer the matter back to the senior (Kibaar) people of knowledge in particular, because Allaah, the Most High, says: “If only they had referred it to the Messenger or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have understood it from them (directly).” (An-Nisaa:83)…It is not appropriate for the beginning student of knowledge to declare people unreliable (Jarh), or declare people innovators (Tabdee’) from his ownself. However, he must take from the statement of the people of knowledge who are considered (authorities). And there is no harm in him speaking from one of the scholars if he is sure of their statement in declaring someone unreliable (At-Tajreeh). And Allaah is the Giver of success…the matter of describing someone with innovation and boycotting the innovator, this is (for) whoever the scholars declare to be an innovator. And do not be hasty O you small students, to pass judgment on any person with the declaration of innovation, even if the person has with him an innovation, until you present that back to the scholars and they assist you in that. Without this (referring back to the scholars), then you all do not do anything of that.” Also the shaykh has said else where “…that the common people and the beginning students of knowledge, it is not appropriate for them to be hasty in passing judgments on others besides them until they refer back to the people of knowledge, who are greater than themselves, and those who know these affairs. Indeed they have dealt with these affairs for a long time…”
Plus Shaykh Saalih Al-Fawzaan said “Firstly, it is not appropriate for the beginning students of knowledge, and others besides them from the common folk, to busy themselves with declaring people innovators (Tabdee’) and declaring people to be immoral sinners (Tafseeq). This is because it is a matter that is dangerous, and they do not have the knowledge and comprehension in this matter…”Al-Muntaqaa min Fataawaa Al-Fawzaan, Volume 2
In addition Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan said, “The judgement of (takfeer) apostasy and expelling someone from the religion is only appropriate for the people of knowledge (scholars) who are firmly grounded in knowledge…the ones who actually judge with apostasy are the legislative judges (the scholars) and those who are able and fit for giving legal verdicts…” Maraaji’aat fee Fiqh il-Waaqi… (comp. by Abdullaah bin Muhammad ar-Rifaa’ee
So from the above it is clear that a principal of salafiyyah is that it is upon the ammi (lay-person) and students of knowledge from Ahlus Sunnah if they have the ability to refute the mistakes and innovations of individuals who have opposed Ahlus Sunnah that they should do this inshallah. (Some assume that a refutation upon someone who opposes the Sunnah must come only from a scholar whose foot is firmly embedded in the field of knowledge. ‘Shaykh Muhammad ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee…has refuted the claims that are common among many people in our times. And from those doubts that are heard in these times is that a refutation upon someone who opposes the Sunnah must come from a scholar whose foot is firmly embedded in the field of knowledge. And the shaykh has explained this condition is NOT correct. Rather, as long as the Salafi (ammi (lay-person) or otherwise) doing the refutation has sound knowledge of that issue, then it is not necessary that he be from the scholars. This statement is taken from a lecture given by brother Abu Ramlah Aadam Lazarus, a graduate of Madeenah University who compiled this lecture from Shaikh Rabee’ Ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee’s tape Al mawqif a sahih min ahlul bid’ah (“The Correct Position Against the People of Innovation”) and he included additional benefits from Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee and Shaikh ‘Ubaid A-Jabiree)’)
But this refutation has to be done without declaring a ruling upon that individual who they refuted (i.e. declaring he is a faasiq, mubtadi or a kafir (i.e. making takfir of him) as declaring ruling upon people is only for the scholars. So the (ammi (lay-person) and students of knowledge) should just explain the affair to the person and if a person persists upon that which he is upon, then that individual will himself remove himself from Ahlus Sunnah.
However after the ulama (scholars) have declared someone a kaafir, innovator or an evil doer, with daleel (evidence), then we follow the verdicts of the ulama and we transmit these verdicts and statements of the ulama concerning these groups or individuals, in order to protect ourselves, families, friends and the ummah at large. Shaykh Fawzaan spoke about spreading the refutations of the scholars of Ahlu Sunnah on Ahlu Bidah, he said “If there is a benefit in this, then yes (spread them). If there is a benefit in spreading the refutation to warn against this doctrine or this statement…” taken from http://www.alfawzan.ws/AlFawzan/FatawaSearch/tabid/70/Default.aspx?PageID=2020.
Also it is allowed for the lay person and student of knowledge to speak in general terms (i.e. the one who makes unjustified takfir of the Muslim rulers is a takfiri, the one who dose zina (fornication) knowing it is haraam and tells others about his sin having no shame is a faasiq and the one who hates Allahs law is a kafir apostate.)