It is not permissible to elevate the innovator or to praise him even if he has some truth with him; because praising and commending him will spread and promote his innovation. And it will place the innovator in the ranks of the men from this Ummah who are followed. The Salaf used to warn against trusting the innovator and praising him and sitting with him. They used to say: “Whoever sits with an innovator has assisted in the destruction of the Sunnah.”
Therefore it is obligatory to warn against the innovator and to stay away from him even if he has some truth with him. And in most cases the misguided person will not be completely void of having some truth with him. But as long as they have with them some innovations and some deviances and evil ideologies, then it is not permissible to praise them, and it is not permissible to commend them. And it is not permissible to overlook their innovations, because this will promote their innovation and frighten the people away from the Sunnah.
With this methodology (praising the innovator) the innovator will get the upper hand and they will be the leaders of this Ummah; Allah forbid. Therefore it is obligatory to warn against them.
And in every era there are Imaams of the Sunnah, those who do not have with them any innovation, and all praises belong to Allah. They are sufficient for the Ummah, they are the role models. Thus it is obligatory to follow the one who is upright upon the Sunnah, the person who is not upon innovation. As for the innovator, then it is obligatory to warn against him and to condemn them, such that the people will be leery of him and so that he and his followers will refrain.
As for him having some truth with him, then this does not justify praising him, because the harm that will result by praising him is greater than the benefit from the truth that he has with him. And it is a known principle in the religion: “Averting the evil takes precedence over bringing about the good”. And opposing the innovator wards off evil from the Ummah and this outweighs the supposed benefit that he has with him; if he has any.
And if we worked by this principle, we would not declare anyone to be astray or declare anyone to be an innovator, because there is no innovator except that he has some truth with him and he has some commitment with him, because the innovator is not an outright disbeliever. And he does not oppose the entire Islamic Legislation; rather he is only an innovator in some affairs, or in most affairs. Especially if he has innovation in the affairs of Aqeedah and Minhaj, then the affair is dangerous. This is because he will become a role model, and at this point his innovation will spread throughout the Ummah and the innovators will become active in spreading and promoting their innovation.
Therefore the person who praises the innovator and confuses the people concerning him, due to what he has with him from the truth fits in one of two categories:
Either he is ignorant, ignorant concerning the affair of the innovator and ignorant concerning the Salaf and their position towards the innovator; and it is not permissible for this ignorant person to speak and it is not permissible for the Muslims to listen to him.
Or either he is a person acting based upon his personal interest. He knows the danger of the innovator, but he has personal interest and he wants to promote this innovation.
At any rate, this affair is dangerous, and this is not permissible. It is not permissible to be tolerant concerning innovation, or the people of innovation, regardless of who they are.
Posted by Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie