Question: Is it true that someone who has errant beliefs (mubtadi’) can never repent?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Thank you for your important question.
To repent from heretical beliefs (kufr), one simply enters Islam. For example, to repent from being an Isma’ili, one simply enters Islam.
To repent from errant beliefs (bid’a) that are wrong but do not constitute disbelief, such as personal simply learn Sunni creed, and abandons ideas that are not Sunni.
If such a person did not leave such beliefs and was not excused due to ignorance, they would meet Allah in sin, even if they repented from other sins.
It is worth noting that even though having errant beliefs (bid’a) is sinful, there does not seem to be any sound hadiths that mention that the repentance or actions of someone with errant beliefs will not be accepted. One such hadith has come in Ibn Majah and Ilal Ibn Abi Hatim and it reads, “Allah has refused to accept the deeds of someone of errant beliefs (sahib bid’a) until he leaves his errant beliefs.” This hadith, among others like it, is weak. [Ilal Ibn Abi Hatim; al-Ilal al-Mutanahiya, Ibn al-Jawzi; Sunan Ibn Majah, ed. Shaykh Shu’ayb al-Arna’ut]
While the concept is true, it seems like such hadiths are actually the words of Hasan al-Basri, Sufyan, and other early Muslims. [al-Shari’a, al-Ajurri; al-Sunna, Lalkai]
I pray this helps.
[Ustadh] Farid Dingle
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.