Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee said, “…(Saying “Iam Salafi”) it is not a tazkiyah (self commendation) for yourself…
Rather it is a declaration of the path that you are upon, especially if there is a necessity that calls for that. In this day and time the necessity calls for it because how many (misguided deviant) sects are there which call themselves Jama’at Ad Da’wah (a group/sect for calling to Allah) right now? How many? They are in abundance. There are a lot so it is imperative for you to clarify that you follow no path except the path of the Salafus Saalih (rigtheous predecessors).
So if you are asked (“Are you Salafi?”) then it is upon you to respond (by saying “Iam Salafi”), in order that you distance yourself from any type of accusation (that your not Salafi/that your an innovator) or doubt (regarding your Salafiyyah), because it maybe that someone would just remain silent (when asked “Are you Salafi?”) or respond in a general manner which is known from (the ways) of the people of desires and innovation (Ahlu Bidah).
He (an innovator would) say: “I’m Muslim (or Iam Sunni (meaning he is not Shia), Iam Ahlu Sunnah or Iam Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaah)!”
We all call ourselves Muslims, we say La Ilaha IlaAllah Muhammdur Rasool Allah, but what are their (some innovators) actions in regards to this (shahadatain – testification)? From them (actions) is shirkul akbar (major shirk) such as making tawaaf around the graves, slaughtering for them, swearing by them and seeking their needs from them.
So if a person is asked (“Are you Salafi?”) then he should clarify (“Iam Salafi”) and this is not to be considered a trial or a test for the people.”
Posted by Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie