Advice Concerning Studying the Books of Refutation 
By the Noble Scholar of al-Islām
Zayd ibn Muhammad ibn Hādī al-Madkhalī
Translated by Abū al-Hasan Mālik Ādam al-Akhdar
Shaykh Zayd al-Madkhalī (hafidhahullaah) was asked:
“A questioner from the Emirates says: ‘What is your advice, O Shaykh, for the beginner who busies himself with what is between the scholars from statements and refutations, although he does not possess even basic knowledge of al-tahārah (puriﬁcation) and other than it?’”
Shaykh Zayd responded:
“My advice to him is to acquire knowledge of the religion, of ‘Aqīdah (creed), acts of worship, manners and the Manhaj (methodology) upon which he traverses; and from that, the books of refutation, whereby the Salaf and those who followed them refuted the people of desires and innovation, and how abundant they have been in every time and place. Therefore, it is not permissible for anyone to use lack of knowledge of al-Tahārah (puriﬁcation) or al-Salāh (prayer) as an excuse to prohibit people from listening to the books of refutation, beneﬁtting from them and studying them. For indeed the religion is complete, so just as it is necessary for us to acquire knowledge of al-‘Aqīdah (creed) and rites of worship, it is also necessary for us to acquire knowledge of the Manhaj and of the Sunnah with the purpose of adhering to it and recognizing its opposite, innovation, so as to steer clear of it.
This is what should be. Thus, it is not permissible for anyone to tell the people ‘leave these refutations and leave off such and such’ or ‘you must study [only] such and such.’ This is stated without knowledge because if he (i.e. the beginner) did not recognize evil, he would fall into it; and refutations clarify the path of good from the paths of evil. So he (i.e. the beginner) listens to the recording and reads the book and listens to the scholar on every aspect of the religion: creed and legislation, Sunnah and Manhaj. Moreover, the people of innovation, from the time of the companions until today, would not be known to us except by the books of refutation upon them. Thus, if the works of refutation had not been produced in every time and place, the masses would not have known the people of innovation and would have been incapable of warning against the mubtadi’.
Additionally, it is upon the people of refutation [to uphold] the Covenant of Allāh (Azza wa Jal) that they do not speak except with the truth, and that they do not accuse one whom they do not have clear proof against from his writing, recording or publication. This is the [correct] manner of refutation. Otherwise, it is impermissible for anyone to refute [a person] by way of suspicion or to impute him without facts.”
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