Dr Ibraaheem Ar-Ruhayli (may Allaah rectify his affair) stated:
It is obligatory to preserve the status and acknowledge the position of those scholars of Ahlus Sunnah who are known for their sound creed and Ijtihaad in aiding the Sunnah. It is not permissible to diminish their worth; declaring them innovators; accusing them of (following) desires or bigoted partisanship merely due to their mistakes in Ijtihaad.
Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi (may Allaah preserve him) responded to this statement of Dr Ruhayli and unveiled once again the reality behind this affair. He pointed out to Dr Ruhayli that this statement of his is an indisputable affair (in the view) of Ahlus Sunnah regarding those who are known for their sound creed and ijtihaad in aiding the Sunnah- even though errors may occur from them in the intricate affairs of the religion and those affairs whose reality or evidence is not apparent to some people, however their status is preserved and their positions acknowledged. No one speaks ill of them except a person of desires just as is the case with the people of desires.
 However, if the deviation is related to the manifestly clear affairs, such as when this claimant to the Sunnah defends the people of bidah and misguidance-those who propagate the falsehood of Wahdatul Wujood; negation of Allaah’s Attributes; revilement of the companions of the Messenger; the eternity of the souls and other than these clear affairs of misguidance; or he defends-by way of lies and treachery-those who hold the view regarding Wahdatul Adyaan etc and other manifest affairs of misguidance, which are even rejected by (other) people of bidah and misguidance;
 And in addition to this he wages war against Ahlus Sunnah-seeking to devalue their scholars; considers them to be extremists and that they are from those who utilise odd speech when confronting the people of misguidance and when refuting their innovations;
 And in addition to this, he innovates false principles in order to contradict the Usool of Ahlus Sunnah- [such as the false principle “we rectify mistakes but we do not refute.” And some of them say: “we rectify mistakes but we do not destroy.” And the false principle: ‘I am not obliged (or obligated)]- by way of which they seek to reject truth that is clear as the sun;
 And he also applies the term ‘Ahlus Sunnah Wal -Ittibaa’ to the people of bidah and the misguided paths that include affairs of Shirk, Bidah and Wahdatul Wujood;
 And he describes Ahlus Sunnah with the words scum, vile, extremists, blind followers, bigots and other wicked speech against Ahlus Sunnah;
 And in addition, he describes the Sahaabah with the word ‘Ghuthaa-scum’ and does not consider this description to be revilement if it is uttered by the likes of himself…..
Indeed with regards to this category of people whose state of affairs is as such, then it is not permissible for a sane person- who is acquainted with the Sunnah and honours the Sunnah- that he considers such people to be from Ahlus Sunnah; or asking the people to preserve their status and acknowledge their ranks; or forbids the people from declaring them innovators; or forbids the people from accusing them of following desires and bigotry, despite the fact that their evil desires, affairs of misguidance, trials and illegal partisanship to the major people of misguidance are all manifest; whilst on the other hand their war against Ahlus Sunnah is clear and manifest; for indeed Ahlus Sunnah and their Imaams declare (a person) an innovator due to (affairs) that are far lesser than these calamities.
And we find Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullaah) saying about the one who reviles Ahlul Hadeeth: “(He is a) heretic, a heretic!’’ Ahlus Sunnah stated about this ruling of Imaam Ahmad -and from them Shaikhul Islaam ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) who stated with emphasis: ‘’That is because he (Ahmad) knew its significance.” Imaam Abu Zur’ah (rahimahullaah) stated: ‘’Whoever diminishes the worth of a single one amongst the companions of Muhammad, then he is a heretic.’’ Ahlus Sunnah transmitted this statement and no one opposed it. And here are the books of Aqeedah and the books of Jarh Wat-Tadeel in the presence of the people.
Allaah (The Most High) stated:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا
يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا
O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and made to enter Paradise). [Soorah Al-Ahzaab. Ayah: 70-71]
To be continued……In-Shaa-Allaah
[Source: Abridged and Paraphrased. See ‘Bayaan Maa Fee Naseehati Ibraaheem Ar-Ruhayli Minal Khalal Wal-Ikhlaal. Page: 63-64]