Shaykh Rabee Bin Haadee Al-Madkhalee said, “…(Not) everyone who falls into bidah is declared an innovator; because if we were to adopt this principle, we would make tabdee (a declartion a Muslim is a innovator) of the majority of the Imams of Islam.
Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said, ‘Indeed many of the Salaf (pious predecessors) and the Khalaf (those who came after the salaf) fell into innovation without being aware of (it), either (due to) acting on a weak hadeeth or understanding the text (in a manner) other than what Allah and his messenger intended, or (due to) ijtihad (scholarly reasersch on an issue for which their is no clear verse or authentic hadeeth).’
At present we have Imams of ijtihad; and his/their ijtihad (can) lead
him/them to mistakes or innovation.
So, if we know (him) to be of a sound manhaj and sound intent, being far removed from desires and being eager for the truth; if we know this about him and he falls into innovation, he is not declared an innovator.
But if we know him to be upon desires and evil intent and we know matters about him indicating that he desires innovation, he is declared an
innovator. You find them (the Salaf) passing the judgement of tabdee on many people due to this.
And many people fell into bidah but were not called innovators, because they (the Salaf) were acquainted with their sound and good intents, their eagerness for the truth and the soundness of the manhaj they traversed.”
Posted by Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie