The Shaykh (hafidhahullaah) said as occurs in the first volume of his Fataawaa, Fataawaa Fadheelat al-Shaykh Rabee bin Haadee Umayr al-Madkhalee (two volumes, Dar al-Muhsin, 2010) in response to a question about the excuse of ignorance (1/309-312):
This issue, the issue of the excuse of ignorance [in matters of disbelief] or the absence of the excuse [of ignorance], there are people of tribulation who revolve around it! They desire to separate the Salafees and cause some of them to strike others! I used to be in al-Madinah and (the brother) Riyaadh al-Sa'eed contacted me, and he is known and present in al-Riyaadh now and he said, "There are here in al-Taa'if, fifty youths, all of them make takfir of al-Albaanee!!" Why!? Because he does not make takfir of the grave-worshippers and applies the excuse of ignorance to them!!
Fine, those people (in reality must) also make takfir of Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim and many of the Salaf because they grant the excuse of ignorance, and they have evidences, from them, "And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning)" (17:15), and from them, "And whoever contends with the Messenger after the guidance has been made plain to him and chooses a path other than that of the Believers, we shall leave him in the path he has chosen and burn him in the Fire, what an evil refuge?" (4:115) and from them, "And never does Allaah misguide a people after He guides them until He makes clear to them what they should avoid" (9:115).
And there are other texts which indicate that a Muslim does not disbelieve due to anything of kufr he has fallen into, we say, fallen into kufr, this kufr which he has fallen into due to ignorance for example, then we do not make takfir of him until we make the proof clear to him and establish the proof against him. If he then shows stubborn opposition, we make takfir of him. This is the saying that a number of the Imaams of the da'wah of Najd are upon, and some of them, their speech may vary, making the establishment of the proof conditional at one time, and another time saying the excuse of ignorance is not given! So some people cling to the sayings of the one who does not give the excuse of ignorance, yet neglects the clear texts about the establishment of the proof being a condition and that takfir is not made of a Muslim who falls into a mukaffir (nullifier) until the proof is established upon him. And from them is what I mentioned from Imaam al-Shaafi'ee (rahimahullaah), and the texts which I mentioned to you.
I used to know an esteemed Shaykh who did not give the excuse of ignorance, and we used to study in Saamitah, and this Shaykh visited us (there) and he used to carry this notion! However, he would not kindle tribulations and would not dispute or argue or declare astray the one who would give the excuse of ignorance. And we lived as friends for close to forty years! He died recently, may Allaah have mercy upon him. I once sat in one of the gatherings and one (of the people in the gathering) affirmed the absence of the excuse of ignorance. So I mentioned to him these proofs and I mentioned to him that the Scholars of Najd know each other and some of them (affirm) the excuse of ignorance and some of them do not (affirm the) excuse, yet they are bonded (as brothers), there are no differences, nor arguments, nor matters stirred (between them) and nor (this) and nor (that)... So he remained quiet and did not argue because he did not want tribulation. So we know that this difference (of opinion) is found in Najd between some of the Mashaayikh and other than them, however, there is no dispute and no declaring astray and no war or tribulation (between them).
But this is the way of the Haddaadiyyah O brothers! The conniving, misguided Haddaadi faction has been devised in order to kindle tribulation between Ahl al-Sunnah and for them to strike one another! And they are (in reality) concealed Takfiris, and they have other calamities possibly besides takfir. They use the vilest form of deception (taqiyyah) as a veil for their vile methodology and their corrupt goals! I saw a youth affected by this methodology and he would carry a book in which there were selected sayings about the absence of the excuse of ignorance, and he would travel between al-Riyaadh, al-Taa'if, Makkah and al-Madinah and so on. He would be with us and study with us, then we but perceived that he was carrying this idea in this manner. So I debated him a number of times and I explained to him the methodology of Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah and the methodology of the Salaf and the evidences, yet he would argue. I said to him, "Who is your Imaam (in this matter)?" He would say, "So and so and so and so." I researched and I found - by Allaah - that they (those cited) had conflicting statements, excusing due to ignorance at one time and not excusing due to ignorance at another. He said to me, "So and so is with me (on this matter)," I said to him, "This is the speech of so and so - I have got it ready for you - this so and so, he excuses due to ignorance and makes the establishment of the proof to be a condition." He said, "No, I am with Ibn al-Qayyim." I said to him, "But from time, you rejected Ibn al-Qayyim! Ibn al-Qayyim specifies the establishment of the proof as a condition," and so he was confounded, but he persisted upon his misguidance. He stubbornly rejected and he (happened to be) expelled from the country and later returned. And in my debate with him I said to him, "A disbelieving people in a peninsula somewhere, in Britain or the Pacific Ocean or other than it, none of the Salafees have come to them, but Jamaa'at al-Tabligh come to them and teach them and they (the Tablighis) say that this is Islaam, and within (this Islaam they teach) are deviations, innovations and affairs of Shirk, and within it are misguidances and within it is such and such... and they say to them, 'This is Islaam.' So they accept it (as such), and seek nearness to Allaah (through that) and they worship Allaah upon this religion which has been called Islaam, do you declare them to be disbelievers, or do you clarify for them and establish the proof against them?" He said, "They are disbelievers and establishing the proof is not a condition!" I said to him, "Go to Algeria for you are more severe than those revolutionaries now, you are more severe in takfir than them, go to them for there is no place for you in this country."
The madhhab of Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim regarding this is established upon proofs and evidences, and it is the madhhab of the Salaf - if Allaah wills - and whoever founded (his madhhab) and was satisfied with other than this and remained silent, we have no concern with him, however, that he goes and kindles tribulations and declares (others) as astray and declares (others) as disbelievers, then no, no by Allaah, silence should not be held regarding him.
I advise the youth that they leave this matter because it is a way from among the ways of the people of evil and tribulation which they spread amongst the Muslims. Fine, eras have passed over you from the time of the Imaam Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhaab to this day of ours, there were not any battles between them on this matter at all. The one who made ijtihaad and held this view he kept silent and went on his way, he affirmed it in his book and spread it, that's it, and he went on his way. And the one who opposed him, he went on his way, all of them are brothers, there are not any differences (in the hearts) between them, and nor disputations and nor did anyone declare another to be misguided or to be a disbeliever. As for these, then they declare (others) to be disbelievers (on this issue)! Look at this - through this they reached the level of making takfir of the leading scholars of Islaam, which indicates the vileness of their orientations and the evil of their goals. So I advise the Salafi youth that they should not delve into this matter.
As for the strongest madhhab (in this matter): It is requiring establishment of the proof to be a condition (prior to takfir bil-ayn), and when it does not appear to be stronger to him, then upon him is to remain silent and to respect his other brothers. He should not declare them astray, because they have the truth, and with them is the Book of Allaah, and with them is the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and with them is the methodology of the Salaf. And the one who wishes to make takfir, he (ought to) make takfir of the Salaf! And make takfir of Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Abd al-Wahhaab as well! The Imaam Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhaab said, "We do not make takfir of those who make tawaaf around the graves and who worship them until we establish the proof against them, because they have not found one who would clarify (the matter) for them."