Shaykh Albani (rahimahullallh) said, “…If he [a man upon the sunnah] rejects [sincere advice after he has fallen into an error opposing the manhaj of Ahlu Sunnah] and continues [opposing the manhaj of Ahlu Sunnah after being advised with evidences, good manners and repeatedly] then he is to be deemed as an innovator.
But if he says, “The side of accuracy (i.e. the correct view in your eyes) as you say, has not been made apparent to me [through the evidences you presented to me when you advised me],” and he presents this to them and deems them as being in error in his view – then the issue remains one of disagreement between them and him.
It is inappropriate for us to believe that we know he believes something in his heart which opposes what he says [upon his tongue] openly and clearly.
Thus we [mistakenly] deem him a munafiq [a hypocrite, because we (the Salafi public) hold he knows he has erred and he knows in his heart that his advisors are correct but instead is outwardly pretending to the ummah his advisors have erred and he is correct].
We are not, as the Messenger (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) indicated in an authentic hadeeth, “Did you split open his heart?” When that mushrik who was under the sword uttered, “I bear witness that there is no God worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger,” and he was killed after uttering this, the story is well-known. It was said to Allah’s Messenger (sallalahu alaihi wasallam), “He only said it out of deception or out fear of being killed.” Allah’s Messenger (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Did you split open his heart to see?” The man was a mushrik and it appeared as if he said it out of fear of being killed.
So then what about a Muslim who testifies that there is no God worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and he speaks with the Book, the Sunnah and the manhaj of Salaf us-Saalih (the righteous predecessors), yet errs in an issue and the proofs are established on him?
I say [what Iam about to say] with the upmost degree of caution and being very careful, because not everyone who argues [against advisors upon the sunnah who advise with good manners and strong evidences] is upon knowledge.
However if the proofs have really been established on such a person by a scholar or some noble scholars of the Sunnah [while the person argues against them and has knowledge and is upon the manhaj of Ahlu Sunnah] and is not convinced by that [their evidences against him], then the one who will take him to account is Allah.(1)
It is not permissible for us to make [his] error or errors [in our view of him] take predominance over the overwhelming accurate views [he has].
…[Lastly know] it is possible for a Muslim to fall into something which opposes the divine legislation. He [simply] has to commit a wrong or a mistake. All of us are prone to error as we all know, so if we see that a person [upon the Sunnah] has made a certain error or committed a certain sin [in an academic issue], do we call him a rebellious sinner or an open sinner?
[No, not immediately we have to wait for the evidence to be established upon him]…”
Ref: Silsilah Huda wa Nur, no.734
Footnote by Ahlusunnahwaljamaah.com
1. If a person argues against some scholars or a single scholar upon the sunnah concerning his opposing the sunnah in an issue while he has knowledge and is upon the manhaj of Ahlu Sunnah and the issue is one of scholarly differing then he is held to be upon the sunnah no matter the outcome of that dispute. As his dispute was regarding one in which Ahlu Sunnah scholars differed, none can declare him an innovator for opposing the view of some scholars from Ahlu Sunnah; he also held a view which is in line with other scholars of Ahlu Sunnah.
But if the issue is one in which he argues with these scholars and rejects their evidences while he opposes one or some of the fundamentals of Ahlu Sunnah and argues in defence of his error which opposes one or some fundamentals of Ahlu Sunnah – he is advised repeatedly with good manners to remove his doubts but if is not convinced then eventually the single scholar or the group of scholars he disputes with will eventually deem him to be an innovator outside the fold of Ahlu Sunnah (Salafiyyah).
Posted by Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie