Shaykh Albani said, “…It has become common amongst the scholars of the past and those of today that when a Muslim makes a mistake in what the scholars call the subsidiary issues [furoo i.e. fiqh issues] he is excused, but that if he makes a mistake in the fundamentals [usool], in aqeedah, he is not.
We believe that, firstly, this differentiation does not have any proof in the legislation and that secondly, it is obligatory upon a Muslim to, always and forever, seek to know the truth in that which the people have differed, whether that is connected to the fundamentals [fiqh issues] or the subsidiary issues [aqeedah issues]…
So if he [the scholar who erred] expends all his effort to come to know the truth in that which the people have differed and is correct then he has two rewards and if he is mistaken then he has one, as is well-known from the hadith of the Prophet reported in the saheeh, “If a judge passes judgment and makes Ijtihad and he is right then he will have two rewards. And if he makes a mistake he will have one,” this is the basis/foundation.
Secondly, if a Muslim was eager in wanting to know the truth yet made a mistake, even if it is in aqeedah or the fundamentals [fiqh], then, firstly, he is not held to account for that–rather he is rewarded one time for his mistake, and secondly, due to what was previously mentioned [just above].
This is confirmed by the saying of the Prophet which occurs [as a] saheeh [hadeeth] from the hadeeth of Hudhaifah Ibn Al-Yamaan and other noble Companions, [where they reported] that the Prophet said, “Amongst the people preceding your age, there was a man who had never done any good. While he was on his death-bed, he called his sons and said, ‘What type of father have I been to you?’ They replied, ‘You have been a good father.’ He said, ‘I have sinned against my Lord and if Allaah has power over me, He will punish me severely. So when I die, burn me and scatter half of the resulting ashes in the sea and half in the wind.’ His sons did accordingly, but Allaah the Mighty and Majestic said, ‘Be so and so,’ and so he became a fully formed man. Then He said to him, ‘What made you do so?’ He replied, ‘Fear of you.’ So Allaah said, ‘I have forgiven you.’”
So Allaah the Mighty and Majestic forgave this person even though he had fallen into disbelief and shirk, [and he fell into this disbelief and shirk] through this will of his, which may not, amongst all of the wills that we have known or come across, have an equivalent in terms of its injustice and oppression.
[But] Allaah did not take him to account, in fact He forgave him, because He knew that he didn’t leave that unjust will except out of [his] fear of Him.
Thus, the Muslim … [and] now comes the summary of the answer … when a Muslim seeks Allaah the Mighty and Majestic’s Face in all that he holds as religion before Him and takes as creed concerning Him, but then misses the truth, then there is no doubt that Allaah the Mighty and Majestic will forgive his mistake–in fact he will be rewarded for it one time.
This is what we hold as religion before Allaah and this is the fatwa we give–always and forever.
And the summary of that is: that it [i.e., believing otherwise] is in opposition to the foundation and principle that Allaah does not hold a person to be accountable for what he is mistaken in but only for that which he wilfully intended, and secondly, due to [the reasons given when explaining] this authentic hadith [mentioned above]…”
Ref: Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 734
Posted by Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie