Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Saaleh al-‘Utheimeen, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said,
‘…In this way, it is proper that the people of knowledge if they see within the ranks of the people innovators sitting among them, that they expel them from amongst the ranks. Because the innovator and his presence amongst the people the Sunnah is only an evil. As innovation is a sickness like cancer, which no one can hope to be free of except when Allaah wills it.
His statement, meaning Imaam Maalik, “I do not see you as anything else but an innovator (and then had him expelled)” It cannot be understood to have any other meaning, than him being innovator due to this question of his, or to mean “You can only be from the people of innovation.” Because the people of innovation are those who have the habit of specifically asking about the unclear verses for the purpose of causing confusion among the people.
Yet regardless of which meaning is intended, what it indicates is that it is from the guidance of the Salaf to eject the innovators from among the ranks of those who are learning the religion. Moreover, it is indeed proper to remove them from within moving within the society as a whole, and to tighten the restrictions upon them such that they do not spread and propagate their innovation.
As it should not be said, ‘Every person is completely free to do whatever they like.’ No, in fact what should be said is that everyone is free in our lands, within the guided limits of the Sharee’ah. But if they oppose the Sharee’ah then in his obligation is to confront them, and to clarify the truth to them. Such that if they return back to what is correct, then this is accepted. But if they do not then they should be dealt with in whatever way is suitable and required by the extent of their innovation, meaning whether it be from the haphazard declaration of Muslims as disbelievers, or something else which is wrongdoing and sin.’
(From his explanation – Sharh al-Aqeedah as-Safaareeneeyah, pg. 229) 1
|From ’30 Days of Guidance: Learning Fundamental Principles of Islaam’|