In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Mubtadi’ah (Innovators in Religious Affairs) and Their Followers
Al-Allaamah Zayd Bin Haadee Al-Madkhalee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] was asked: “Is there a difference between the verdict against a person that he is from Ahlul Bidah and the verdict that he is a Mubtadi (innovator in religious affairs); and does the verdict against a person that he is not a Salafi or that he is a Hizbi (illegal partisan) necessitate that he is a Mubtadi?”
Response: Firstly, you should know that indeed Ahlus Sunnah are people who fear of Allaah. They neither make Takfeer [i.e. declare a person a disbeliever], Tafseeq [i.e. declare a person a sinner] and Tabdee [declare a person an innovator in religious affairs] except against the one who deserves it based on the evidences in the Book [i.e. the Qur’aan] and the Sunnah, and the understanding of the pious predecessors of this Ummah.
Secondly, you should know that the people of desires and misguidance are (categorized into) those who are followed and those who follow. Indeed, those who are followed are the ones who set up the various principles of Bidah and call to their innovation and misguidance, and they will carry their burden of sins and the burden of the sins of those whom they misguided without knowledge, as it is clearly stated in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah.
As for the followers of a leader from amongst the people of desires, then in most cases they are of two categories: The First Category: Those who possess knowledge, but they harbour evil intentions, so they yield to Satan, desires and urge of the evil soul. They follow the people of misguidance and oppose the callers to guidance (in that which) Allaah sent His Messenger Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] with. The Second Category: Their share of knowledge is little, so the people of desires take advantage of them and they (join) their group. They convince them that what they call them to is the manifest truth and that what their opponents are upon is falsehood. And they convey to them a huge (number) of affairs that resemble the truth but are falsehood in reality, in order to deceive them and submerge them into misguidance.
As for those who are followed- those who set up principles of bidah and call the people to their bidah and misguidance, then indeed they are marked with the bidah they innovated and call the people to, and for them there is no honour.
As for the followers of the people of desires, it is as I have stated that they are of two categories in most cases. They are to be called to the Sunnah and that they reject the bidah that has deceived them. If they respond to the call of truth by way of knowledge and action, and reject that which the people of desires and bidah call them to, then this is what is desired and it is a praiseworthy aim. If they reject the advice of the advisers and bargain with falsehood at the expense of truth, and give preference to innovation over the Sunnah, then they deserve to be assigned the term Mubtadi. (see footnote a) There is no honour for them after the truth has been established with its evidences and the falsity of that which is in opposition to it of newly invented affairs in the Religion has been clarified…(1)
Al-Allaamah Ubaid Bin Abdillaah Al-Jaabiri [may Allaah have mercy upon him] was asked: The questioner says: Assalaamu alaykum warahmatullaahi wabarakaatuhu. We hear a statement from some of the Mashaayihk of Ahlus Sunnah: ‘’This man is from the people of Bidah’’; is it understood that he is a Mubtadi [an innovator] or not?
Response: What I have knowledge of is that this statement has two applications according to Ahlus Sunnah. The first of them and it is what is meant in most cases is that he is a Mubtadi [an innovator]. He knows the truth but he is an obstinate person. He refuses [truth], but not deviation; he knows the Sunnah, but refuses to follow it and [follows] Bidah. He commits Bidah whilst knowing that it is bidah.
The other meaning is that this man is a person upon innovation-meaning: He commits bidah even though he is not an innovator, because what we know regarding the methodology of Ahlus Sunnah Wal-Jamaaa’ah is that they do not declare any specific person an innovator until the proofs are established against him. (1.1)
No room for any teacher and Admins to be complacent or naive! Must clarify and advice whenever well-known and obstinate followers of Al-Hajuri, Al-Halabi, Al-Maribi and Al-Maghrawi creep into Salafi Masaajid and befriend unsuspecting newcomers to Salafiyyah!
Imaam Al-Barbahaari [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “The likeness of the people of bidah is that of scorpions burying their heads and bodies in the sand and leaving their tails out, so when they are able they sting. Likewise, the people of bidah hide themselves within the people and when they are able, they convey what they desire”. (2)
Al-Allaamah Saalih Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] was asked: Is it obligatory upon the scholars to clarify to the youth and the common people the danger of partisanship, splitting and groups?
Response: Yes it is obligatory to clarify the danger of partisanship and dividing and splitting so that the people can be upon insight and understanding because even the common people are being deceived. How many of the common people in this time have been fooled by some of the groups because they believe that they are upon the truth? So it is a must that we clarify to the people, the students and the common people, the danger of these parties and sects because if they remained silent [i.e. the scholars] then the people would say, “The scholars were aware of this and they remained silent.” Due to this innovation would enter upon them. So it is necessary to clarify these matters when these things appear. The danger for the common people is greater than the danger [posed] to the students because if the scholars remain silent the common people will think that this is correct and that this is the truth. (3)
Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi Al-Mad’khali [may Allaah preserve him] was asked: What do you say concerning an individual who advises others to abstain from listening to refutations, and when he was asked about the reason for him adopting this stance he said, “The person who asked me about this was a common person and he is unable to recite the Quran properly”. What are your comments upon this, may Allah bless you?
Response: If he is a layman then he is to be taught the Islamic creed and to be warned from the people of innovations. The majority of the common people these days have become supporters of the people of innovation. So it is necessary to warn them against them (i.e. the people of innovation). Say to him, “So and so is upon such and such innovations and you listening to him will harm you”. This is so that they will not read (his works), listen to his tapes and that he is cautious about his speech. Meaning that this layman needs someone to warn him and he is to be reminded of the principle: “This knowledge is religion so look at whom you take your religion from.” During these times the common people are targeted by the people of innovation and will say to you, “Do not let them read the books of refutations”. No, no, this (approach) will expose them to ruin. (4)
The Shaikh was also asked: Is it permissible for us as students of knowledge to be silent about the innovators, and to cultivate the youth and the students upon the way of the Salaf without mentioning the names of the innovators?
Response: By Allah, the innovators are to be mentioned by their traits and by their names if there is a need for this. If so and so has put himself forward for leadership and leading this nation and the youth and he is leading them towards falsehood, then he is to be mentioned by his name. If there is a need then he is to be mentioned by his name and it is necessary to mention him by his name. As it relates to this, one of the Salafis in Egypt used to teach and he would just mention general (descriptions without specifying names) and the people did not comprehend these generalities. After this he began to explicitly mention the names of the groups and individuals and they said (i.e. those who attended the lessons), “O Shaykh, why did you not teach us like this in the beginning?” He responded by saying, “I delivered to you many lessons and I would say this and I would say that (i.e. general descriptions without names).” They said, “By Allah, we did not understand.” (5)
The Shaikh also stated, “It is obligated on the people of truth to exercise patience and increase in adhering to this religion of truth. Whenever the desires become abundant, it becomes necessary to increase in acquainting (oneself) with the truth and adhering to it, as the Messenger (alayhis salaatu was-salaam) said: ‘The one who lives long amongst you will see a lot of differences, so upon you is that you follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided khulafaa. Bite onto it with your molar teeth (i.e. hold onto it firmly) and beware of newly invented matters (in the religion), for every newly invented matter (in the religion) is a bidah and every bidah is misguidance'”. (6)
Imaam Al-Awzaa’ee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “O Muslims! Fear Allaah, accept the advice of the sincere advisers and the admonition of the admonishers. know that this knowledge is religion, so beware of what you do, from whom you take your religion, the one you follow and the one with whom your religion is safe, because indeed all the proponents of religious innovation are all falsifiers, liars and sinners. They are not cautious – neither do they pay attention nor do they fear, and together with that they are not to be trusted that they would not distort what you hear.
They say what they do not know with regards to what they disapprove and when proclaiming their lies; but Allaah (knows, hears and sees) what they do. Therefore, be cautious of them, trust them not, reject them and avoid them, because indeed this is what your earlier scholars did and commanded, and likewise the righteous ones who came thereafter.
Be careful of opposing Allaah and being the means to destroying the religion He has ordained – breaking its commands and prohibitions, nullifying and weaking it by respecting the innovators in religious affairs and those who initiate that which is not from the religion, because you know what has been transmitted (i.e. the prohibitions) about respecting or exalting them. And what can be greater respect and exaltation than acquiring your religion from them- following and believing them, drawing close to them and assisting them in enticing the ones they entice and woo to their views and the religion (i.e. religious innovations) they follow. This is sufficient to be regarded as associates of theirs in what they do. (7)
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Al-Ajwibah Al-Athariyyah Anil Masaa-il Al-Manhajiyyah, Khamsoona Su’aalan Wa-Jawaaban: page: 18-19. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 1.1: Al-Haddul Faasil Bayna Mu-aamalah Ahl As-Sunnah Wa Ahl Al-Baatil 60. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2: Tabaqaat al-Hanaabilah 2/44]
[Ref 3: Al-Ajwibah Al-Mufeedah. Page 131]
[Ref 4: Fataawa Fadeelah Ash-Shaykh Rabee’ Al-Madkhalee. 1/273]
[Ref 5: Fataawa Fadeelah Ash-Shaykh Rabee’ Al-Madkhalee. 1/277)]
[Ref 6: Majmoo 14/294]
[Ref 7: Taareekh Dimashq 6/361]