The errors and slips of the Scholars
Translated by Abdulilah Lahmami
4/3/1433 – 25/2/2012
Sheikh Al-Islam Ibnu Taymiyyah rahimahullaah said:
“And whoever is known for being truthful in the Ummah such that he is praised amongst different people in the Ummah (young and old, far and near) then they are the scholars of guidance. They are those lanterns giving light amidst darkness and their mistakes are few compared to their correct positions. Most of their errors are from the affairs where ijtihaad (striving to make a ruling in matters of fiqh andbranches of the religion) is permitted. They are excused (for not intending to err where the error is rejected but honour of the scholar is upheld). They are the ones who follow knowledge and justice, far away from ignorance, oppression, conjecture and what the souls desire.” [Majmu’ al-Fataawa: 11/423].
Haafidh adh-Dhahabi rahimahullaah said: “indeed the elder from the scholars of knowledge, if in most cases he is correct and his striving in reaching the truth is known, his knowledge becomes vast, his intelligence becomes apparent, his righteousness and fear of Allaah and following (the sunnah) is known then his slip/error is forgiven. We do not consider him misguided and (end up) leaving him and forgetting his good. Yes: we do not follow him in his innovation and mistake, rather we hope for repentance from that.” [Seer 5/271]
Ibnul Qaiyyum rahimahullaah said: “Whoever has knowledge of the legislation and the reality is known without doubt that the honourable person who has clear signs of righteousness and is known for his status in Islam and amongst the people. If he has an error and slip (in matters of permitted ijtihaad), he is excused, rather rewarded and it is not allowed for him to be followed for that error. It is not allowed to remove his position and status as imam and level from the hearts of the Muslims.” [I’laam Al-Muwaqi’een (3/295)]
Sheikh ‘Ali Nasr Al-Faqeehi said:
“As for the mistaken one in some of the matters (of the religion), the one who is known for his manhaj (correct methodology), his praiseworthy manner and Islamic legislated knowledge, then his mistake does not remove his status nor reduce his rank. If he is alive, then it is a must to clarify to him the mistake in a wise manner that which is known between the scholars based upon cooperating in accordance with righteousness and piety because religion is advice.”
You put the advice to the student of knowledge based upon his status with good manners and respect showing the truth with its proof not in an aggressive manner and not arrogantly towering over the person haughtily. Rather with wisdom and beautiful preaching. This is what is sought from the advice. The unity is kept and love and brotherhood for the sake of Allaah remains for indeed the believers arebrothers.
If the mistaken one has returned to his Lord (passed away) then he is to be supplicated for as perfection is for the Prophets alone. The mistakes of other than the Prophets are clarified to the people so that the people don’t follow their mistakes in those matters. [Al-Bid’ah Dhawabidtuha wa Atharuha as-Sayi’fil Ummah p.24]