The Characteristics of the Saved Group
Question 53: What is the most distinguished qualities of the saved group?
The Answer: The most distinguishing quality of the saved group is the adherence to that upon which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was upon in matters of ‘Aqeedah (creed), ‘Ibaadah (worship), manners, and transactions. You find the saved group distinguished in these four matters.
With respect to ‘Aqeedah, you find it holding on to that which is proven by the Qur’aan and Sunnah from pure Tawheed pertaining to the Ruboobiyyah, Uloohiyyah, and al-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat (Names and Attributes).
Regarding worship, you find it distinguished in its perfect adherence to that which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was upon in matters of worship and in its execution of them– as regard their types, manners, timing, places, and causes. So you don’t find them innovating in the Religion of Allaah. Rather, they are in an utmost degree of good manners with Allaah and His Messenger. They do not introduce any kind of worship, which Allaah did not approve, in advance, before Allaah and His Messenger.
You also find them distinguished from others in their good manners, love of good to the Muslims, openness of their hearts, cheerful faces, eloquence, and so forth, from the noble and beautiful aspects of manners.
And with regards to transactions, you find them treating others with truthfulness and clarity, and which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) alluded to in his saying:
“The seller and the buyer have the right to keep or return goods as long as they have not parted or till they part; and if both spoke the truth and described the defects and qualities (of the goods), then they will be blessed in their transaction, and if they told lies or hid something, then the blessings of their transaction would be lost.” 
So, this is the distinction and the distinguishing mark for ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, the saved group, which follows that which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was upon.
Question 54: Is it necessary that the characteristics in the four matters: ‘Aqeedah, worship, manners and transaction be totally or completely present without diminution? And in case anything of it is gets diminished, does this take the person out of the folds of the saved group or it doesn’t ?
The Answer: Diminution in these matters does not disqualify the person as being from the saved group unless he fails to fulfill the aspect of Tawheed or that of Bida’. The matter is just as Allaah, The Most High, Said:
“And for all there will be degrees (or ranks) according to what they did”
[Qur’aan, soorat al-An’aam (6): 132].
Failing to fulfill the part of Tawheed and that of Bida’, may take the person out of the saved sect. Similarly, with respect to Ikhlaas (pure intention). However, as far as the matters of manners and transactions, then failing to fulfill them does not take the person out of this saved sect, though he is sinful for this.
 Reported by al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh, vol.3, no.293, and Muslim, vol.3, no.3661.
Translated by Dr Saleh as Saleh rahimahullaah
Source : Understanding Worship – Fiqh ul-‘Ibadah – Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen – Page 145