Shaykh Abdul Mushin al Abbaad stated on the 26th of Safar, 1424 AH (28th April, 2003 CE), in the Haram of Madinah, during his explanation of Imam an-Nawawi’s Forty Hadeeth:
Whoever innovates and then repents from it, then – as it is well-known – repentance cleanses all that comes before it, and whoever repents, Allah turns to him in repentance as well.
Additionally, if someone is accused of something – meaning an innovation, regardless of whether it is actually an innovation that is agreed upon, or not – then if he refutes this, and clarifies [his stance], then he has done what was required of him.
So it is not allowed to waste all of one’s time by following him up, and by testing people by him (imtihan), such that he who does not consider this individual an innovator is himself considered an innovator, and then people boycott one another, and cause strife and tribulations between them, and the fitnah spreads all over the place due to this testing (imtihan) of people in their stance to such and such a person, who was refuted by such and such a person with such and such matters. So this matter is not permitted nor is it allowed, and this is not the way of the salaf, and Allah says, “Remind, for you are only a reminder. You are not the one placed in charge of them.” And a person is only responsible for conveying the message.
As for his entire time being taken up by following those who are refuted, and those who were refuted then refuting back, and then the entire time is taken by refutations and confrontations, and cursing, and disparaging, and then people are split into two groups, one of which supports this, and the other supports that, and whoever does not consider such and such an innovator is then boycotted. so this enmity is then spread to different areas, and different places, all of this is from ignorance, and it is well known that this is not a part of the actions of Ahl as-Sunnah.
And of the people who best exemplify the Ahl as-Sunnah from those that we have met and seen are Shaykh Abd al-Azeez ibn Baz, and Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen – may Allah’s mercy be on both of them. Their methodology was that they would clarify the truth, and be busy with knowledge. And they would not take up their entire time by following up [the affairs] of those whom they refuted. Shaykh Ibn Baz once refuted an innovator who would spread the ideas of the Asharis, and of his speech was, ‘So and so said – may Allah guide him.’ Then, he would busy himself with knowledge and benefiting people. He would not busy his entire time by following up on this person that he had refuted.
But what is even worse and more bitter is that some people come, supporting this [issue], and other people supporting that [issue], then, if a person does not have a stance with regards to this person, he is pronounced an innovator, and boycotted, just as the one whom the first refutation was written against was boycotted! There is no doubt that this is of the actions of Shaytan, and that this is of tribulations (fitan), and that this is what has busied Ahl as-Sunnah with themselves, and has caused them to be diverted from busying themselves with others besides them – others whom they should busy themselves with by explaining their innovations, and warning against them, and their ways, and their methodologies which are all in contrary to the truth and guidance.
And Shaykh al-Islam has some beautiful speech in Majmu’ al-Fatawa related to Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah. Basically, he said in it that some people praise him, and others disparage him, but the correct opinion which the scholars are upon is that he is not to be specified with any love, nor is he to be cursed. And if he were an oppressor and evil person, then it is possible that he might have some deeds because of which Allah would forgive him. And it is narrated in Saheeh al-Bukhari that the Prophet y said, “The first army that will attack Constantinople will be forgiven,” and the first army that attacked it was under the command of Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah, and Abu Ayyub al-Ansari was with him.
He (Ibn Taymiyyah) then said, “And it is not permitted to test people (imtihan) based on him (due to the fact the people differ over him, some prasie him and some disparage him), for this is of the actions of the people of innovation. It is not allowed to test people based on Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah, such that people are asked and tested regarding him, and then a stance is taken [regarding this person] after he is tested. It is not allowed to test people regarding him, for this is of the actions of the people of innovation – meaning that testing people based upon personalities (over which the people differ. As for testing based on personalities (in which Ahlus Sunnah do not differ), in certain circumstances, with the correct intention and for the correct purpose then this is permitted as Shaykh Ubayd al Jabeeri has pointed out in one of his fatwas).”
So this is what Ibn Taymiyyah said, and it is a very beautiful passage in Majmu’ al-Fatawa.
[Note: the next evening, the Shaykh brought the book to be read from in the Haram, and it was in volume 3 of the work, starting from page 413.]