Scholar of al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel (criticism and praise) in this time
Who is the Scholar worthy of consideration in the science of al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel (criticism and praise) in this time?
Shaykh ‘Ubayd al-Jaabiree:
Al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel; even some of the virtuous scholars are not qualified for it.
- It is a must to, firstly, have knowledge for it.
- Secondly, one must have awe (of Allaah) and Taqwaa (piety).
- Thirdly, one must be experienced and well acquainted with men, their statements and their conditions.
So whoever possesses these three affairs, will excel in the science of al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel. And since time, those who stand out in the science al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel are small in number. This is because al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel is religion!
So whoever criticizes a person about something Allaah knows he is free from – he criticizes him purely based upon desires – then this one has exposed himself to a dispute on the Day of Resurrection. And whoever praises a person who doesn’t deserve to be praised, then this is a danger upon him and the people. So it is obligatory to possess these three affairs for al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel:
- Awe (of Allaah) and Taqwaa
- Experience and acquaintance with the conditions of the people and their statements
And Shaykh Rabee’ – may Allaah preserve him – has been praised by al-Albaanee in this (field). And this doesn’t mean that there aren’t other Scholars, from amongst his brothers, that are qualified for this (science).
But I call attention to an issue, which is in fact a qaa’idah (principle), and that is:
من علِمَ حُجّة على من لم يعلَم
Whoever has knowledge (about something) is a proof against the one who doesn’t have knowledge.
So whoever generally praises a person, and then another person criticizes him with clear proofs from his books, his tapes or his statements, then that which is taken is the statement of the critic. And that one (who praised him), perhaps he is excused; maybe he praised him because he thought well of him or he was praised by someone he trusts with regards to his religion and his amaanah (trust). And the critic increased us in knowledge that was hidden for that one (who praised him), by proving that this person is Majrooh (criticized). And since a long time ago the people used to differ (about the condition of a person).
Ash-Shaafi’ee – may Allaah have mercy upon him – used to say about Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin Abi Yahyaa: “The trustworthy one narrated to me…” “The one I don’t accuse narrated to me…” And he considered him trustworthy. But the (other) scholars criticized him, Imaam Maalik and other than him criticized him. And he (Ibrahim ibn Muhammad) was Majrooh. And the reason for which he was criticized was not known to Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee, may Allaah have mercy upon him, despite his great status and his Imaamah (him being an Imaam).
Another example is ‘Abdur-Rahmaan bin Saalih al-Azdee al-‘Atakee. Imaam Ahmad praised him while Abu Dawood criticized him. He (Abu Dawood) said: “Verily, he has written a book speaking ill of Ahlul-Bayt (the family of the Prophet).” Or as he said. So the Muhaqqiqoon (the verifiers) accepted the Jarh of Abu Dawood. And praising this man didn’t harm Imaam Ahmad – may Allaah have mercy upon him – because he praised him according to his knowledge (about him).
This is a principle I mentioned because not understanding it confuses the students of knowledge.
You find for example Scholars who criticize Sayyid Qutb. And there are Scholars who praise him and say that he is an Imaam of guidance, etc. So what do you do? Look, in front of you is someone who praises and someone who criticizes. In front of you is a statement saying that this man is not an Imaam of guidance, that he is astray and leads others astray, that the least thing which can be said about him is that he is jaahil (ignorant) and that his books are filled with kufr (disbelief) and takfeer (declaring others disbelievers). They are filled with statements of kufr, takfeer and denial of the Attributes (of Allaah). And someone else says (about Qutb): “He is an Imaam of guidance and a person of knowledge, but he has some errors.” So what do you do? Use this principle: which one has the proof? The critic. Because the one who criticized Sayyid Qutb in his book of tafseer (fi dhilaal al-quraan) and other than that, criticized him based upon proofs which, if one looks at it, he will know that this man has no knowledge, (and this is) the least thing which can be said (about him)! The least thing which can be said is that this man has no knowledge, that he is ignorant and that the laymen of the Muslims are better than him! As for that one (who praised him), then Allaah knows best about his condition. Have you understood this or not?
Shaykh Rabee’ – may Allaah preserve him – has written about Sayyid Qutb four or five books wherein he clarified the Jarh of this man with proofs. And before him Shaykh ‘Abdullaah ad-Duwaysh – may Allaah have mercy upon him –, he was from the Scholars of al-Qaseem, he counted 181 errors from this man (Qutb) in his book of tafseer alone! So how can it be said that he only has small errors, etc? This doesn’t concern us. We are upon his Jarh! Because the one who criticized him has done so based upon proofs from his books. And like this… This is one example.
Another example: someone says that Hasan al-Banna is an Imaam! Meaning: an Imaam from the Mujtahideen, he only has some small errors and minor ta’weel (figurative interpretation, distortion). And someone else comes and explains to you the errors of Hasan al-Banna and his books. And he establishes for you with proofs that he is a Mufawwid, that he is a Soofee Qubooree (grave-worshipping Sufi) and that he is the inventor of the wicked principle, the principle of excusing and co-operating with one another: “We co-operate in what we agree upon and excuse each other in what we disagree upon.” And he (Hasan al-Banna) applied this principle. The day he formed the council of al-Ikhwaan al-Muslimeen, he appointed three christians as councilors. Maa shaa-al-Laah! And he established the House of Reconciling between the Sunnah and the Shee’ah in Egypt. And he invited major Raafidah like Nawaaf Safawi and others. Have you understood this? This is based upon proofs. And that one who praised him, we don’t concern ourselves (with him) because we have the proofs. We are the Ummah of proofs! We are the Ummah of proofs, na’am.
Translated by Yasin Abu Ibrahim