The One Who Praises An Innovator Is One of Two People- By Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan
In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said:
It is not permissible to exalt and praise the innovators even if they have some truth with them. That is because raising and praising them will spread their bidah and place them amongst the sincere ones-those who are taken as examples amongst distinguished men of this Ummah. The Salaf warned against having trust for the innovators, [warned against] praising them and their gatherings. In this regard, Asad Ibn Musa [rahimahullaah] wrote: ‘’Beware of being a brother of the innovator [by association] or a companion of his, or one whom you sit with; for indeed it has been narrated that ‘Whoever sits with a person of innovation has left the protection of Allaah and is entrusted to himself’.
The innovators must be warned against and shunned even if they have some truth with them. Indeed, the most astray are not devoid of some truth, but as long as they have with them innovation, opposition and sinful views, it is not permissible to praise and exalt them. It is impermissible to not have an objection against their innovation because this spreads bidah, belittles the Sunnah and by way of this the innovator will emerge and become a guide for the Ummah.
As for giving consideration [to the fact] that the innovator has some truth, this does not justify praising him. This is -to a far greater extent- against what is of overriding benefit and it is known- in relation to a principle in the religion- that preventing harm takes precedence over seeking that which is of benefit. And with regards to having hatred for the innovator, the harm that is prevented from the Ummah is weightier than the benefit possessed by the innovator. And had we adhered to this concept [i.e. praising an innovator because he has some truth with him], then no one would have been judged to be misguided and declared an innovator. That is because there is not an innovator except that he has some truth and adherence to the Sunnah. The innovator [may] neither be a disbeliever nor be in opposition to all the Islamic legislation; rather he is either an innovator in some or most of the affairs. [Ref 1] However, if the innovation is particularly related to affairs of Creed and Methodology, then the affair is dangerous indeed because it will become an example [to be followed], innovation will spread and the innovators will become active in spreading their innovation.
So, this person who praises innovators and makes their affair obscure to the people -due to some truth they have – is one of two [people]: He is either one ignorant of the methodology of the pious predecessors and their stance against the innovators, and it is neither permissible for this ignorant one to speak nor is it permissible for the Muslims to listen to him; or he is one who has an objection to the truth because he knows the danger of innovation and the innovators, but he wishes to spread innovations. Nevertheless, this is a dangerous affair and it is not permissible to be lackadaisical with regards to innovation and its people, whatever that may be.
[Source: At-Tabdee Wat-Tafseeq Wat Takfeer. Page: 72-76. Abridged and slightly paraphrased]
Ref 1: Bidah Al-Mukaffirah and Bidah Al-Mufassiqah:
Bidah Al-Mukaffirah: It is the Bidah that is tantamount to disbelief. Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi Al-Madkhali (may Allaah preserve him) was asked whether there is a difference between Bidah Al-Mukaffirah and Bidah Al-Mufassiqah; so Shaikh said that there is Bidah Mukaffirah, such as rejecting the Ruyah (i.e. denying that the believers will see Allaah in the afterlife); rejecting Allaah’s Uluww [i.e. denying that Allaah is above his creation –Allaah ascended over the Throne in a way that benefits his majesty)]; invoking other than Allaah; offering slaughtered sacrifice (i.e. animals) to other than Allaah etc. These are affairs of Bidah Al-Mukaffirah (the bidah that is tantamount to disbelief).
But we do not make Takfeer of the people who commit this type of Bidah until we establish the proofs against them. That is because some of them (i.e. the people who fall into these affairs) carry doubts and are far away from the era of Prophethood and its light (i.e. guidance). So they fall into the likes these innovations.
Rejecting the Ruyah is disbelief; rejecting Allaah’s Uluww is disbelief; the saying that the Qur’aan is created is disbelief-major disbelief. But this person, -[who testifies that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allaah, and he prays, observes fasting, wants paradise and believes in that] -received the doubts of the people of falsehood, so he falls into the likes of these affairs (i.e. these innovations that are tantamount to disbelief). So we say to him: You have fallen into disbelief and the evidence is this and this, and we clarify for him. So if Allaah grants him Tawfeeq and he returns to the truth, then all praise is due to Allaah. But if not, we declare him a disbeliever after establishing the proofs against him.
As for Bidah Al-Mufassiqah it is other than this (i.e. it is not at the level of that which is tantamount to disbelief)…. [Abridged and paraphrased, see www.rabee.net/ar/questions.php?cat=26&id=484 ]