Shaykh Rabee said, “…Amongst them (Ahlul Bidah) there are du’aat (callers) – they are neither to be sat with nor debated with, except in cases of necessity and for a maslahah [i.e. a carefully assessed benefit identified by a scholar]; (otherwise) it is not permissible to enter into debate with them.
It is not permissible to enter into a specific debate with the Rawaafid [(extreme Shia) – or any other innovator] if you are weak (in knowledge), except if one is a man who is firmly grounded in knowledge and religion, (very proficient in) establishing evidences, clever and a possessor of (force and strength that enables him to easily excel in debate with the clear proofs without being affected by doubts); so if he sees a benefit in debating them, he debates them [this man could be a scholar or he could be a student of knowledge whom a scholar has given permission too debate an innovator].
[Allaah (The Most High) said: “And argue with them in a way that is better].”
This is the legislated debate; Allaah did not close the door of debate one hundred percent, so if we have a way of establishing the proofs and to guide the people to good, we follow it. The one who is debated with may not benefit but others may benefit.
As for the weak one, then no (i.e. he does not engage in debate). Even amongst the scholars there is one who is weak and one who is led to be mistaken by shubhah (i.e. a statement or affair that resembles the truth but is falsehood in reality). He may be a scholar but his character is weak, so he becomes weak in the presence of Ahlul Bidah even if they are younger than him and lesser in knowledge!
Indeed, it has happened to many of those who ascribe to the Sunnah and Hadeeth that they changed (i.e. fell into some deviation or error) due to their weakness and opposition to the methodology of the Salaf.
For example: Al Bayhaqqi was from the seniors of Ahlul hadeeth and their scholars, and was deceived by some of the Ashaa’irah such as Ibn Fawrak and his ilk, so he fell into Ash’ariyyah!
Also in this era! How many among the youth have been ruined at the hands of Ahlul Bidah?!
How many youth, middle age men and graduates from universities have been deceived by Ahlul Bidah, and thus they fall into their arms?! They are deceived by the parties (of illegal partisanship) and thus fall into their arms!
Why is this? Because they did (or do) not act upon the statement of the Messenger: “If you see those who follow that which is not entirely clear, then they are those whom Allah has named [as having deviation (from the truth)] so beware of them.”
The strong one calls Ahlul Bidah; he calls the Christians [and other kuffar]. There has to be dawah in the path Allaah and there has to be strong scholars who disseminate the religion of Allaah; and when necessary, they debate so that the proofs are established and benefit one who is to benefit.”
Ref: Sharh Aqeedah As-Salaf Ashaab Al-Hadeeth’ pages 301-304′ abridged and slightly paraphrased via salaficentre.com
Posted by Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie