Shaykh Saalih Bin Sa’d As-Suhaimee said:
This principle (‘whoever does not declare an innovator to be an innovator is an innovator’ or re-worded as ‘whoever does not make tabdee on an innovator then he is an innovator’) in this abstract way is invalid and incorrect. It has some prerequisites and if those prerequisites are met that is the time when we can say whoever does not make Tabdee’ on the innovator then he is an innovator. [The prerequisites are]:
1- The matter for which the individual has been declared an innovator must be an innovated matter that has no proof from the Qur’aan or the Sunnah such as the innovation of Sufism, Ta’weel, Jahmiyyah, Mu’tazilah, Ashaa’irah and Maatureediyyah.
2- The person must be known for practicing this innovation.
3- He has no excuse such as ignorance or being forced.
4- Innovation is his methodology, as for the person who falls into small errors then he is not declared an innovator in an abstract manner, rather it is said his act is an innovation.
5- The person who wants to implement this principle (whoever does not make tabdee on the innovator then he is an innovator) must know that the concerned act is an innovation and the person who is being declared an innovator meets the aforementioned prerequisites.
As for you to come to a person and test him with an innovator while he does not know him or he does not know that his act is an innovation, you say to him what is your stance from Fulaan for example, if he agrees with your and makes Tabdee’ on him then he is a Sunni, and if he does not know him or does not know his statements you entrap him in it! The person could be on his fitrah or he has just embraced Islam, would you test him with that? No, you should not, do not test people with individuals, do not test people with individuals. The person may not know and you could confuse him, sometimes it is a must to establish the foundations without mentioning people of innovations so that people are not confused. If you are in a place where innovations are not prevalent and people are upon their Fitrah teach them the sound religion that is taken from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah and do not put them in puzzles, for that you are harming them and you may put them in bewilderment. If they became founded in knowledge and they know the Salafi Manhaj, at that time you can clarify to them the conditions of those innovators.
6- No fitnah is feared from doing so, for that it could be permissible to delay some matters for a benefit. And I draw the attention to a matter so that I am not misunderstood: I do not mean the Muwaazanaat (mentioning a persons good and bad when refuting them), no way. This is an invalid methodology and it is only said by the misguided Hizbiyoon. I rather say if removing an evil will result in a bigger evil then it should be removed by other means. And the Prophet peace is upon him did not change the foundations of the Ka’bah although it was built upon different than the foundations of Ibraheem ‘alyhis-salaam. He said to our mother ‘Aa’ishah Allaah is pleased with her and He may curse whoever hates her: “had your people not been unbelievers in the recent past (had they not quite recently accepted Islam), I would have demolished the Ka’bah and would have rebuilt it on the foundation (laid) by Ibraheem”. Sahih Muslim no 1333.
7- You have exerted efforts in advising him and there is no more avenue for advice, and he is insisting on allying innovators and defending them although the evidence has been established on him.
8- Sincerity, you do not intend defaming others and harming them, you rather intend warning against this innovator so that people do not fall into his evil and you seek the face of Allaah in this. And warning against innovators is one of the six things that are excluded from prohibited backbiting.
If those preconditions are met and we see him melting with people of innovations and defending them, at that time he is declared an innovator and there is no dignity for him.
I hope that those preconditions are understood and they are not taken out of context and I urge the brothers to spread this answer via all the mediums of announcement and networking.
Posted by Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie