And finally I want to remind you of a reality about which there is no difference but I wanted to add something else to it which many of our youth in this day and age do not ponder over.
This reality is the statement he عليه السلام made in many hadiths, “Whoever declares a Muslim to be a disbeliever has committed disbelief,” this is a reality about which there is no doubt, and the detailed explanation of this is well-known from some other hadiths, i.e., if the one he has declared to be a disbeliever is [in fact] a disbeliever then he is correct but if not then it goes back on him.
This does not require a discussion because the hadith about it is clear, but I wanted to add to it and say: whoever declares a Muslim to be an innovator then either that Muslim [who he declared to be an innovator really] is an innovator or if not then he [i.e., the one who accused the other of being an innovator] is the innovator.
And this is the reality which I mentioned to you just now: that our youth declare the scholars to be innovators and they are the ones who have fall into innovation whilst they know not, and they [i.e., these hasty youth] do not want to commit innovations in fact they fight them, but the saying of the poet applies to them:
Sa’d led the camels to water while being wrapped up
Not like this, O Sa’d, are the camels taken to drink
[Ed. Note: namely he led the camels to water while being wrapped up such that he could not take his hands out of his garment, and thus did not perform his duty of tending to the camels correctly, and it is an example used for someone who falls short in carrying out a matter.]
For this reason, I advise our youth to stick to acting upon the Book and the Sunnah within the limits of their knowledge and not to tower over others who they cannot match in either knowledge or understanding, and maybe even righteousness.
So people like [Imaam] An-Nawawi and Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr al-Asqalaani–give me someone in the [whole of the] Islamic world like these two men.
Leave Sayyid Qutb, he was a man we revere for his striving but he was no more than an author, a man of letters, a composer [of words]–but he was not a scholar so there is nothing odd about the fact that things and things and things emanated from him which opposed the correct methodology.
As for the ones who alongside him mention An-Nawawi and Ibn Hajr al-Asqalaani and others like them … it is oppression to say about them that they are from the people of innovation, I know that they were both Ash’aris but they both did not intend to [wilfully] oppose the Book and the Sunnah, they erred and thought two things about the Ash’ari aqidah that they inherited: firstly that Imaam al-Asha’ri held that view but he only did so in the earlier days because he came back from holding that opinion, and secondly, they were under the false impression that it was correct, but it is not.
[Addressing the questioner:] Bring what you have [i.e., mention what beneficial points of knowledge you have] …
Questioner: O Shaikh, from the manhaj of the Salaf was that they would not judge a man to be from Ahlus-Sunnah except when he would have the characteristics of the [Ahlus-]Sunnah, and that if he innovated or praised the people of innovation then he would be counted as one of them, as the Salaf would say for example, “Whoever says that Allaah is not above the Heavens then he is a Jahmee.”
Al-Albaani: Some of that is present, but do not forget what I just said to you: this does not mean that he is not a Muslim, just as when the Prophet عليه السلام did not pray over the one who died whilst having a debt or the one who acted unfaithfully regarding the war booty or the one who killed someone [all of this] does not mean that such a person is not a Muslim. This, O my brother, is to educate as we explained before, this is something else.
If the Salafi narrations are not complementing each other or unanimous [mutawaatir] then it is not fitting that a manhaj is based upon a saying from an individual from the Salaf. Thereafter this manhaj is in opposition to what is known from the Salaf themselves: that a Muslim does not leave the fold of Islaam simply by committing an act of disobedience or an innovation or a sin which he perpetrates. So when we find someone who differed with this principle we go back to explaining it as I just mentioned to you, that it is to reprimand and discipline/educate.
We have [an example] in Imaam Bukhaari, and what will explain to you what Imaam Bukhaari was? [i.e., how great a scholar he truly was] Some of the scholars of hadith left Imaam Bukhaari and would not narrate from him, why? Because Imaam Bukhaari differentiated between the one who says the Quraan is created–[for he regarded the one who said this as being] misguided, an innovator, a disbeliever, according to the terminology the scholars have used concerning such people–and the one who said, ‘My pronunciation of the Quraan is created.”
Imaam Ahmad stated that the one who said this statement, i.e., that my pronunciation of the Quraan is created, is a Jahmee, and based upon this ruling some of the people who came after Imaam Ahmad ruled that Imaam Bukhaari is not to be taken from because he has made a statement of the Jahmees. The Jahmiyyah do not say that only one’s pronunciation of the Quraan is created, they [in fact] say that the Quraan is not the Speech of Allaah but is just another part of Allaah’s creation.
So what is then said about [Imaam] al-Bukhaari who made the statement, ‘My pronunciation of the Quraan is created?’ and [what is said about] Imaam Ahmad who said that whoever makes that statement is a Jahmi?
It is not possible for us to reconcile between both issues except by interpreting it correctly in a way which corresponds to the principles … and before I continue, I think along with me, you [do] differentiate between the one who says the Quraan is created and the one who says that his pronunciation of the Quraan is created, don’t you?
Al-Albaani: So, how will we answer the statement of Imaam Ahmad that whoever says my pronunciation of the Quraan is created is a Jahmi? How do we answer this statement?
There is no answer except for what I mentioned to you, that it was to warn the Muslims from saying something which the people of innovation and misguidance, i.e., the Jahmiyyah, will take as a means [of calling the people to their falsehood]. So maybe someone, to try to make those around him fall into a problem they will have no way of escaping from, will say, ‘My pronunciation of the Quraan is created,’ but who [really] intends [that] the Quraan itself [is created] when he says that, but it is not necessary that everyone who says this statement intends that same evil meaning.
So now, Imaam Bukhaari has no need for anyone to claim that he is pure–for Allaah the Mighty and Majestic has shown him to be pure, since [right] after the Noble Quraan, Allaah made all of his book [i.e., Sahih Bukhari] accepted amongst the generality of Muslims despite the differences amongst those Muslims.
Thus, when he [i.e., Imaam Bukhaari] said, ‘My pronunciation of the Quraan is created,’ he meant something correct by it [and not the evil meaning intended by the innovators], but Imaam Ahmad feared [the outcome of this] and so said, ‘Whoever says that is such and such,’ to warn [the people] and not by way of believing that everyone who says that is truly a Jahmi, no.
For this reason when we find a ruling in the statements of some of the Salaf that whoever falls into innovation then he is an innovator it is to rebuke and not by way of believing [that everyone who does so is an innovator].
See here for the last part.