Who will have a worse punishment (in the Hereafter): The sinners or the innovators?
The innovators will have a worse punishment, since innovations are worse than sins. Innovations are more beloved to the Devil than sins because (it is likely that) the sinner may repent –
Sufyaan Ath-Thawree, may Allaah have mercy on him, said:
“Innovation is more beloved to Iblees (the Devil) than sins. This is because sins are repented from whereas innovations are not repented from.”
The Prophet said:
“Verily Allaah has prevented repentance from every person of innovation.”
(Silsilat-ul-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah (1620))
– but as for the innovator, then very rarely does he repent because he thinks that he is upon the truth.
This is contrary to the sinner for he knows that he is disobeying Allaah and that he is committing a sinful deed. As for the innovator, he considers himself to be obeying Allaah and to be upon obedience. This is why innovation – and Allaah’s refuge is sought – is worse than sin. And this is why the Salaf warned the people from sitting and gathering with the innovators –
Al-Hasan Al-Basree, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said:
“Do not sit with a person of innovation, for indeed he will put a disease in your heart.”
(Al-I’tisaam of Ash-Shaatibee (1/72) verified by Saleem Al-Hilaalee and Al-Bid’a wan-Nahee ‘anhaa of Ibn Waddaah (pg. 54))
Ash-Shaatibee (158) said:
“Indeed the saved sect – and they are Ahl-us-Sunnah – are commanded to disassociate themselves from the people of innovations, to expel them, and to punish severely anyone that follows in their direction, whether by killing them or less than that. And the scholars have warned us against accompanying and gathering with them.”
I (the compiler) say : may Allaah have mercy on the Salaf (predecessors). They did not leave behind any person of innovation except that they subdued him and warned against him.
– for they would influence those whom they sat with, and their danger is great. There is no doubt that innovation is worse than sin and that the danger of the innovator is worse to the people than the danger of the sinner. –
Concerning the danger of the people of innovation, Shaykh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah, may Allaah have mercy on him, said:
“If it were not for those whom Allaah placed to repel the danger of them [meaning the innovators], the Religion would have been corrupted. Their corruption is worse than the corruption caused by the conquering of the enemies at times of war. For indeed, when they conquer, they do not corrupt hearts or the Religion found in them, except for a while. But as for these people [i.e. the innovators], then they corrupt the hearts from the very beginning.”
He (Ibn Taimiyyah) also said (20/103):
“The people of innovation are worse than the people of lustful sins, according to the Sunnah and the Ijmaa’ (consensus).”
– This is why the Salaf would say:
“Being moderate while upon the Sunnah is better than exerting oneself while upon Innovation.”
[This statement is reported from Ibn Mas’ood, may Allaah be pleased with him. Refer to Al-Laalikaa’ee (1/188, no. 114), Al-Ibaanah (1/320, no. 161) and As-Sunnah of Ibn Nasr (30).]
Beneficial Answers to Questions on Innovated Methodologies – Shaykh Saalih-al-Fawzaan Pg. 31-32