Al-`Allāmah Muhammad Ibn Hādī stated during his explanation of Al-Ibānah as-Sughrā of Ibn Battah (rahimahullāh):
“The author stated: “Ibn `Awn said..” and he is `Abdullāh Ibn `Awn, “…I came to Kūfah (in Iraq) and I saw men overcome with grief in the streets…” meaning that they wailing: and this grief is anguish, pain and sorrow due to what afflicts a person. Ibn `Awn continued: “So I asked regarding this, so they said: They are grieving over Al-Husayn (radiyallāhu `anhu)…” i.e. Al-Husain the son of `Alī (radiyallāhu `anhumā) because he was killed there. “Then I came to Ibrāhīm…” meaning An-Nakha`ī and this Ibrahīm was from the school of `Abdullāh Ibn Mas`ūd (radiyallāhu `anhu). Ibrāhīm Ibn Yazīd an-Nakha`ī, Al-Aswad, `Alqamah Ibn Qais an-Nakha`ī – all of these were from the school of `Abdullāh Ibn Mas`ūd (radiyallāhu `anhu) in Kūfah. And they were in opposition to the people of Kūfah from who contradicted [the Sunnah] and they were the Murji’at al-Fuqahā – these scholars were staunch opposers of them.
Ibrāhīm an-Nakha`ī (rahimahullah) was the sheikh and teacher of Hammād Ibn Abī Sulaimān, rather he was from his greatest teachers. And this Hammād Ibn Abī Sulaimān was from the major teachers of Abu Hanīfah. So when Hammād Ibn Abī Sulaimān spoke with irjā’, he opposed his sheikh. Who? Ibrahīm an-Nakha`ī (rahimahullāh).
So the point here is: Look here at the witness of Ibrahīm Ibn Yazīd an-Nakha`ī (rahimahullāh). What did he say? Ibn `Awn said: “I came to Ibrāhīm and I told him about this. So he said: ‘The people of Kūfah do not cease to introduce religious innovations every year until the truth becomes innovation amongst them…” He spoke the truth (rahimahullāh). How many innovations have come out of Kūfah and how many innovations have appeared in Kūfah?! Shi`ism appeared there; irjā’ – irjā’ al-fuqahā – appeared there. And when irjā’ first appeared amongst the Murji’at al-Fuqahā, it was regarding three matters:
- In the issue of Imān. They said: Imān is speech upon the tongue and belief in the heart only. So they removed the actions of the limbs.
- They did not enter the actions into Imān, and they did not see any levels of excellence between the people of Imān (i.e. they were all at one level of Imān).
- They would not make istithnā by saying inshā’ Allāh (i.e. they would not say: “I am a believer inshā’ Allāh.”)
So these were followers of Hammād Ibn Abī Sulaimān and those who in turn followed him from the people of Kūfah. They opposed the path of Ibrahim an-Nakha`ī (rahimahullāh); and that of Shuraik and `Alqamah – those who were from the school of `Abdullah Ibn Mas`ūd (radiyallāhu `anhu). For this reason the Salaf were severe in censuring them and declared them to be innovators.
The saying of Ibrāhīm an-Nakha`ī (rahimahullah): “The people of Kūfah do not cease to introduce religious innovations every year…” meaning each year they would bring out to the people a bid`ah, “until the truth becomes innovation amongst them…” Just as they viewed Imān; they would not say inshā’ Allāh concerning it; and they held that the people of Imān (i.e. the Muslims) are all the same, at one level in the foundation of Imān, and some are not virtuous over others, or of different levels in Imān; and they would not enter actions into Imān. These were the three fundamentals that the Murji’at al-Fuqahā opposed in Kūfah. Hammād Ibn Abī Sulaimān and whoever followed him, Abu Hanīfah and whoever was with him. They opposed ahlus-Sunnah in this affair – and for this reason they severely rebuked them and declared them to be innovators.
Shaikh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah stated in volume 10 of his Fatāwā, p. 478: “…As for takfīr [of the Murji’at al-Fuqahā] then no one from the Salaf declared them to be unbelievers, but they did declare them to be innovators…”
And this is the best concisely worded refutation upon the one who says: “As for the Murji’at al-Fuqahā they did not declare them to be innovators…” such as the likes of Dr. Ibrahim ar-Ruhayli. This is the speech of Shaikh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah verbatim that I read to you. So he confused the issue of their takfīr. The Salaf did not declare them to be unbelievers, however they did declare them to be innovators. Ibn Taymiyyah stated this in volume 10 and as for what is in volume 7 of his Fatāwā regarding the issue of Imān, and likewise in his printed work Al-Imān which was edited and verified later – then there he speaks more than what he has done here. So how can it be said: “They did not declare the Murji’at al-Fuqahā to be innovators?” The people of Kufah declared them innovators and were severe in censuring them and were harsh and rough with them.
Anyway, the point is, the saying of An-Nakha`ī (rahimahullah): “The people of Kūfah did not cease to introduce religious innovations…” Bid’ah spread amongst them because they relied upon opinion and logic.”
Source: شرح الإبانة الصغرى لابن بطة الشريط الثاني عشر. (Explanation of Al-Ibānah as-Sughrā of Ibn Battah, audio no. 12)