1) Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'aah is not a Deen
Allah (SWT) says in the Qur'an [EMQ 3:19], "The only Deen accepted by Allah is al-Islaam." And also [EMQ 109:6], "And to you be your Deen and to me be mine (Deen)."
The above two ayat highlight the use of the word Deen, which means religion or way of life. In the first example we see that the only Deen acceptable to Allah (SWT) is that of Islaam.
Therefore, following any other way of adyaan (religion) such as Judaism, Christianity, Paganism, Buddhism etc. will be rejected and all actions based upon these fruitless. A Deen therefore can be defined as a system or way of life that people attribute to Allah (SWT).
2) Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'aah is not a Millah
Allah (SWT) says in the Qur'an [EMQ
22:78] "And strive in His cause as you ought to strive, (with sincerity
and under discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed nno
difficulties on you in religion; it is the illah of your father
Ibrahim. It is He who has named you Muslims, both before in this
(Revelation); that the Messenger may be a witness for you and you be
witnesses for mankind!"
Allah (SWT) is addressing us in this ayah, that we are upon the same Millah as Ibrahim (as); since a Muslim is anyone who submits and follows the guidance from Allah (SWT). In the Qur'an, Allah (SWT) uses the term Millah, to attribute a particular way, thought and people to the Prophet.
Therefore, we find examples of Millat ul-Ibrahim i.e. the way of Ibrahim (as). As Muslims, we are upon the Millah of Ibrahim (as) in Tawheed, and upon the Millah of Muhammad (saw), the final Messenger of Allah (SWT), in submission to the commandments brought by Islaam.
3) Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'aah is not a Madhab
When we are talking about Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'aah, we are not talking about the fiqh or madhab
of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rh), Imam Maalik (rh), Imam Shafi (rh) or Imam
Ahmed (rh). Since a madhab is attributed to a particular scholars
juristic understanding of a particular matter.
example, if we take the issue of combining the prayer and shortening
when travelling - Imam Abu Hanifah (rh) is reported to have allowed
shortening of the salah but not combining; whereas Imam Shafi (rh) and
the other a'immah allowed both to shorten and combine.
Yet despite these differences, both are still from Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'aah. In fact all four of these a'immah are from Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'aah.
4) Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'aah is not a Jama'aat (Group)
Although many groups claim to be from Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'aah, Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'ah itself is not a single group.
A group is: "A collection of individuals who bond together for a particular duty or obligation."
For example, we have Jamaa't ul Khilafah, whose purpose is to re-establish the Khilafah, or Jamaa't ul Jihad, whose purpose is to fight Jihad and liberate the Muslim lands from the occupation of the Kuffar.
Abdullah ibn Masoud (ra) said, "The Jama'aah is what matches with obedience to Allah (SWT) even if you are alone."
5) Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'aah is a Firqah (Sect)
Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'aah is a sect within the Deen of Islaam.
A sect is: "A group of individuals who are bonded together with the same understanding on topics related to belief."
Examples of this in Islaam include:
Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'ah