In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy

Imaam Al-Barbahaaree [rahimahullaah] said: ‘It is not allowed for a man to say, ‘Such and such [person] is a person of the sunnah’ until he [i.e. the person making such a statement] knows that he [i.e. the person he is giving a recommendation] combines the characteristics of the Sunnah.  Therefore, it is not said about him, ‘a person of the Sunnah’ until he combines all the Sunnah.'[1]

Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said:

Do not give recommended to a person and a praise of him, except based on knowledge, lest the people become deceived by your praise of him, whilst he is not what (you have stated about him).  So, when his real affair and path is clear to you, his knowledge and steadfastness; then you can give him recommendation. As for giving out praise and recommendation whilst not knowing of anything about him, then this is a dangerous recommendation through which the people will be deceived by this person.

Had only those who give commendations to the people stopped at that (i.e. put it in its proper place), then they would not give recommendation, except for one who fulfils the conditions of (receiving) recommendation because recommendation is a ‘Witness’; so, if the recommendation is not correct it will be a false witness.

And concerning the statement of Imaam Barbahaaree: ‘until he knows that he combines the characteristics of the Sunnah’ Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan commented on the above statement saying: The characteristics of the Sunnah are to be in Aqeedah, Knowledge and adherence to the Salafus Saaleh.  But if there is not in him except a single characteristic of the (sunnah), then he is not judged to be from Ahlus Sunnah based on a single characteristic or one thing, so what about the one who does not have anything from that?

It-haaful Qaaree Bit-taleeqaat Alaa Sharhis Sunnah Vol: 2 pages 275-276