Identifying Ahl us-Sunnah and Ahl ul-Bid'ah By The Love and Hate of As.haab ul-Hadeeth
Ja'far bin Muhammad bin al-Hasan al-Qaadee said, "I heard Qutaibah bin Sa'eed say: When you see a man loving the People of Hadeeth, such as Yahyaa bin Sa'eed al-Qattaan, Abdur-Rahmaan bin Mahdee, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Ishaaq bin Raahawaih - and he mentioned some other people - then he is upon the Sunnah, and whoever opposes this then know he is an Innovator".
Ahmad bin Kaamil recited the following verses of poetry to Ja'far al-Khawaas:
Gone are the confederates of Innovation (As.haab ul-Bid'ah). And their rope weakened and then broke altogether. The League of Iblees that used to be a throng. And O people! Do they have in their innovation. A Faqeeh or an Imaam that is followed? The likes of Sufyaan, of ath-Thawr. Who taught the people the innermost realities of wara' (fear)? Or Sulaimaan of at-Taim. Who abandoned sleep out of the fear of [the day of] questioning. Or the Brave of Islaam, I mean Ahmad. That one who if the reciters were to come to blows with him. Would not fear their whip when they would frighten (therewith). Nay! And nor (would he fear) their sword when it would be brandished
Ahmad bin Sinaan al-Qattaan said, "There is no Innovator upon the earth except that he hates the People of Hadeeth, for when man innovates, (perceiving) the sweetness of hadeeth is removed from his heart."
Abu Nasr bin Sallaam al-Faqeeh, "There is nothing heavier upon the People of Deviation, and nor more hated to them, then listening to hadeeth and its being narrated with its isnaad".
[Abu Ismaa'eel] Muhammad bin Ismaa'eel at-Tirmidhee said: "I and Ahmad bin al-Hasan at-Tirmidhee were with the Imaam of the Deen, Abu Abdullaah Ahmad bin Hanbal and Ahmad bin al-Hasan said to him: 'O Abu Abdullaah, they mentioned the Ashaabul-Hadeeth (the People of Hadeeth) to Ibn Abee Qutaylah of Makkah and he said: 'The Ashaabul-Hadeeth are an evil people.' So Imaam Ahmad stood and while shaking off the dust from his garment he said: 'Zindeeq (heretic), zindeeq, zindeeq', [and he continued like this] until he entered his house."Tahdheeb Sharaf Ashaabul-Hadeeth of al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee (p.84-86)