How an Innovator is to Repent: Al-Imaam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (died 752H)
Imaam Ibn Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said in ‘Uddatus-Saabireen (93-94):
“From the conditions of repentance (tawbah) of the caller to bid’ah is that he makes clear that which he used to call to from innovation and misguidance, and that guidance is its opposite, just as Allaah has laid down the conditions of repentance for the People of the Book who’s sin was concealing that which Allaah had revealed of clarification and guidance so as to misguide the people with that. So they had to rectify the deeds in themselves, and to clarify to the people that which they concealed from them, so Allaah said:
“Indeed, those who conceal what We sent down of clear proofs and guidance after We made it clear for the people in the Scripture – those are cursed by Allah and cursed by those who curse – except for those who repent and correct themselves and make evident [what they concealed]. Those, I will accept their repentance, and I am the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.” [al-Baqarah: 159-160]”
Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) also said:
“Just as Allaah laid down the conditions of the repentance of the hypocrites whose sin was that they [tried] corrupting the hearts of the weak believers whilst they showed bias in favor and adherence to the Yahood and the polytheists who had enmity to the Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) – and with that they made themselves seem apparently as Muslims, only as a show, to be seen and heard. So upon them was to rectify in replacement of their corruption, and to hold fast to Allaah in replacement of holding fast to the unbelievers from the People of the Book and the polytheists, and to make their Religion sincerely for Allaah rather than just to show and be heard by the people – so this is how the conditions of repentance and its reality is understood, and Allaah’s Aid is sought.”
So in this fashion the caller to bid’ah is required to rectify his affair before his repentance is considered worthy: He makes clear and apparent that which he used to call to, that it is innovation, falsehood and misguidance. He must declare his disassociation from those whom he formerly associated with from the people of bid’ah – and cling to ahlus-Sunnah. He must rectify his corruption by making clear the correct position in accordance to the Book and Sunnah, and the Methodology of the Salaf. Thereafter, he studies with the Scholars for a period of time and speaks with their speech. One must not be hasty in this affair and merely accept the claim of a person of innovation who claims he has recanted.