AUTHOR: Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan
SOURCE: Al-Ajwibat-ul-Mufeedah ‘an As’ilat-il-Manaahij-il-Jadeedah (pg. 123-125) [2nd Edition]
PRODUCED BY: Al-Ibaanah.com
 Question: Some people hold certain Imaams, such as Ibn Hajr, An-Nawawee, Ibn Hazm, Ash-Shawkaanee and Al-Bayhaqee to be innovators. Is this view of theirs correct?
 Answer: These Imaams have such virtues, profound knowledge, benefiting of the people, great efforts in safeguarding and spreading the Sunnah, and amazing books, the likes of which overwhelm and cover up what they had of errors, may Allaah have mercy on them.
We advise the students of knowledge to not preoccupy themselves with these matters since that will deprive them of knowledge. The person that follows after these matters regarding the Imaams will be prevented from seeking knowledge and thus become preoccupied with fitnah and love for disagreement between people. 
We counsel everyone to seek knowledge, being persistent in that and busying themselves with it instead of matters that have no benefit.
An-Nawawee, Ibn Hazm, Ibn Hajr, Ash-Shawkaanee and Al-Bayhaqee were all great scholars and considered trustworthy in the eyes of the people of knowledge. And they have authored tremendous books and Islamic sources, which Muslims constantly refer back to, the likes of which drown out what errors and faults they had, may Allaah have mercy on them.
But what about you, O ignorant one, what do you have? You who searches and spies on Ibn Hajr and Ibn Hazm and those mentioned along with them, when they have already passed away? What have you benefited the Muslims with?? What knowledge have you gathered?? Do you know what Ibn Hajr and An-Nawawee knew?? Have you presented something to the Muslims like that of Ibn Hazm and Al-Bayhaqee?? SubhaanAllaah!!! May Allaah have mercy on the person who acknowledges his level.
“Your knowledge is little, so you have a lot of nerve.
And your piety is little, so you speak out (shamelessly).”
Jamaal bin Fareehaan Al-Haarithee commented in the footnote saying:
 There has sprouted a small group that claims Salafiyyah, yet Salafiyyah is free from them. They are represented by their leader, Mahmood Al-Haddaad, whom we mentioned previously. So their main concern became: Digging up the mistakes of the highly distinguished Imaams and Muhadditheen. Yes, Ibn Hajr and An-Nawawee fell into some of the errors of the Ashaa’irah, which the scholars have noted about them. The great scholar Ibn Baaz’s comments on Ibn Hajr’s bookFath-ul-Baaree are well known and famous. However, we don’t take these errors as an opportunity to publicize their faults and to coordinate gatherings in order to condemn them. This is since their main focus was not to call the people to innovation. Rather, they aided the Sunnah and verified issues with evidences. So they should not be associated with the people of innovation, those who call to it and oppose the methodology of the Salaf, inwardly and outwardly.
But in spite of this, we say – and we said this before – that we do not remain silent about errors and oppositions (to the Sunnah). Rather, they are to be clarified in accordance to what the situation and place calls for. At any rate, asking Allaah to have mercy on the people of innovation is permissible, so long as they are still within the fold of Islaam, and there is no evidence to restrict this.
Furthermore, the scholars have praised Ibn Hajr and An-Nawawee, and their books Fath-ul-Baareeand Sharh Saheeh Muslim, and they have considered them as followers of the Sunnah and people of Hadeeth. And they have used as support their opinions that are in accordance with the truth, which are many, and avoided their errors, which are few, all praise be to Allaah.
Shaikh ‘Abdullaah, the son of Shaikh Muhammad bin ‘Abdil-Wahhaab, said: “Furthermore, we seek assistance from the Tafseer books that are widespread and regarded (by the ummah) in order to understand the Book of Allaah…and in order to understand the hadeeth, we use the explanations of the distinguished Imaams, such as Al-‘Asqalaanee and Al-Qastalaanee for Al-Bukhaaree’s collection, and An-Nawawee for Muslim’s collection.” And he said: “What an excellent feat An-Nawawee accomplished in his compilation of the book al-Adhkaar.” [From the book Ad-Durar As-Sanniyyah: 1/127 and 133]
The great scholar and Muhaddith, Shaikh Al-Albaanee, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “The likes of An-Nawawee and Ibn Hajr Al-‘Asqalaanee and those similar to them, it is injustice to say about them that they were from the people of innovation. I am aware that they were from the Ashaa’irah, however, they did not intend to oppose the Book and the Sunnah. Rather, they felt and thought that what they inherited from the Ash’aree Creed, they thought two things about this: First: They thought that Imaam Al-Asha’ree held these views, but he only held these views in the past. Second: They thought that it was correct, but it was not correct.” [End of quote from the tape “Who is the Disbeliever and who is the Innovator”]
So if it said: “Why are excuses made for An-Nawawee and Ibn Hajr, and the Ta’weel (distorted interoperation of Allaah’s Attributes) that came from them, but no excuses are made for Sayyid Qutb, Hasan Al-Bannaa, Al-Mawdoodee and their likes?” The answer to this comes from two angles:
First: There is a huge difference between these two groups. For indeed An-Nawawee and Ibn Hajr have such educational contributions and benefit to the Muslims that are enough to cover up what occurred from them of errors. And also the scholars have cautioned and warned against these errors, so the danger has ceased due to this caution. As for Sayyid Qutb and Hasan Al-Bannaa, they have no educational or physical contributions, nor have they produced benefit for the Muslims like that of An-Nawawee, Ibn Hajr and other major Imaams.
Second: An-Nawawee and Ibn Hajr did not call the people to their errors, nor did they call to partisanship, or to declaring societies to be disbelievers. They did not call to the unifying of ranks between the Rawaafid, Christians, Majoos, deviant sects and Muslims. And the Muslim societies were not harmed as a result of their errors, contrary to Sayyid Qutb, Hasan Al-Bannaa and their likes, since these individuals don’t believe a distinction should be made between the false and corrupt, rather, disbelieving creeds and the correct and pure Creed. Nor do they believe that there should be a distinction between the Raafidee, Christian, etc. and the Muslim. They have only brought harm to the Muslims and not any rectification. Many people (unfortunately) cling fanatically onto their views, which are in opposition to the Book and the Sunnah, and hold enmity for the people of the Sunnah. And this is from the greatest of dangers!
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