Accepting Narrations From Truthful Innovators On Conditions
The people of the sunnah did not vilify or discredit their opponent unless:
1) His innovation led to disbelief,
2) He attacked one of the Companions,
3) He was inviting others to his innovation, or
4) The hadeeth he was narrating was in harmony with the innovation to which he was inviting others.
The scholars of hadeeth criticism would consider all of these points as evidence showing that the narrator was not truthful or sincere. This is why the books of the Sunnah, and in their forefront Bukhaaree and Muslim, related hadeeths from some innovators whom history has shown to be truthful.
Examples of such narrators are ‘Umraan Ibn Hattaan Al-Khaarijee and Abbaan Ibn Taghlab Ash-Shi’ee. As he was discussing the biography of Abbaan Ibn Taghlab Al-Koofee, Al-Haafidh Adh-Dhahabee said:
“A dyed-in-the-wool Shi’ee, but he is truthful. For us is his honesty and against him is his innovation.”
Imaam Aboo Is-haaq Ibraaheem Ibn Ya’qoob Al-Jawzjaanee said:
“Among them was he who deviated away from the truth, yet still possessed an honest tongue. And his hadeeth would be widespread amongst the people since he was forsaken for his innovation but trusted with is narration.
So concerning these individuals, I see no other alternative but to take from their hadeeth that which is (already) known, so long as his innovation does not become strengthened because of that.”
[Ahwaal Ar-Rijaal, p.538]