Is it permissible to say when the scholars speak about a person and label him an innovator, the student of knowledge should verify the speech of both sides, and that he doesn’t make a conclusion except after verification?
Shaykh Muḥammad ibn Hādi al-Madkhalī:
Nowadays, this is what we hear many of them rallying on about. When the scholars speak – as the questioner mentions – and if those who declare and speak about a person are really people of knowledge, thus they speak about this person and label him an innovator, then the speech of the scholars must be resorted to. And the most that can be done in this issue, if you are able to seek the reason they declared him an innovator, and that is open for you.
As for the claim of ”verification”, then how can you verify whilst they are scholars as you claim? However, for the one who has been disparaged and declared an innovator, then he is of no importance if the people of Sunnah speak about him, and we haven’t come across this from our pious predecessors – may Allah be pleased with them . Rather, the speech of the scholars of Sunnah should be looked at. If they disparage a person and declare him an innovator it is binding to follow. And if you wish to know why they declared him an innovator, then that is another issue, [such as] to know their evidences, the innovations he fell into in order that you may know the details and this is another issue. It is not such that you doubt those scholars, and this is important to know.
As for you making this innovator – whom the people of knowledge have declared an innovator – equal to those people of knowledge, then this is in opposition to that which the Salaf were upon – may Allāh have mercy on them. If the scholars – those scholars of Sunnah who are known for piety, knowledge and trustworthiness – speak about someone then it shouldn’t be said their speech is to be investigated.