Shaykh Ubayd Al-Jaabiree said, “In my view, the difference [between a mubtadi (innovator) and a saahibu bidah (a person of bidah)] is clear and I will explain it to you:
That which we know from the expressions of the people of knowledge, and their way and methodology in their saying ‘Mubtadi’, is that they do not apply it absolutely, except for the one upon whom the proof has been established; is a person of misguidance; is misguided and is misguiding others. So they say, ‘Mubtadi’. But sometimes they may also use it unrestrictedly, but from the angle of reprimand.
However, overwhelmingly, they do not say ‘Mubtadi’ except for the one who has traversed upon innovation and the proof was established upon him.
As for ‘Saahibu Bidah’, then the condition of the proof being established does NOT apply to it.
Thus they say, ‘This is a person of innovation’, meaning he traverses upon innovations (or something from them), and this is more general.
‘Saahibu Bidah’ is something more general and as for ‘Mubtadi’, then it is more specific. Meaning a word that is more specific.” Ref: salafiebooks.com
Also Shaykh Muhammad Bazmool said on this issue, “…The later scholars differentiate between a person being described as being a “Saahibu Bidah” (person of innovation), and between him being a “Mubtadi'” (innovator).
They say, “Everyone from whom an invention into the deen occurs, then he is a “Saahibu Bidah”, and he is not to be described as a Mubtadi until the proof is established upon him; he stubbornly opposes [the truth]; persists upon falsehood and there is nothing to prevent him from accepting the truth.
Therefore if he persists [his innovations (bidahs)] and shows stubborn opposition [to the truth], then he is described as a ‘Mubtadi Saahibu Hawaa’ (innovator, person of desires).
So they [the later day scholars] differentiate between a person being a person of innovation (saahibu bidah) and being an innovation (mubtadi)…” Ref: salafitalk.net
Posted by Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie