A question was posed to Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee (may Allah have mercy upon him):
Does evil character scar the Salafiyyah of the person?
The Shaykh answered:
From the angle of his belief, then no; he remains a Sunni. However, there’s no doubt that he remains in a state of deficient imaan; there’s no doubt about this. That’s because the person is not a believer while he commits the act of zinaa (illegal sexual intercourse), and he is not a believer while he is stealing. That which is intended is that he doesn’t exit with this from the creed of Ahlus Sunnah. The creed of Ahlus Sunnah does not cease from him; however, he remains one deficient in faith.
This is the meaning of our statement, (and it is) that he remains a Sunni. This does not mean that he is complete in faith. No, he is deficient in faith. However, the intent is that these actions and mistakes don’t remove him from the (realm of the) Sunnah, meaning that it is not like the innovation of belief. Yes, his faith is deficient, and these are the individuals whom the Salaf as-Saalih said are fussaaq (criminals) of Ahlus-Sunnah. However, they didn’t expel them from the (realm of the) Sunnah and at the same time they didn’t give them the (status of having) full integrity.
Source: The lecture “Atharul ‘Amal Bil Akhlaaq an-Nabawiyyah ‘alaa ad-Da’wah as-Salafiyyah”
Translated by Abu Yusuf Khaleefah
7th of Rajab, 1436 H (04-26-2015)
Masjid Nur Allah, Queens, NYC