Excerpts from Salaf Speaking Harshly About One Another
Benefit for the Tulaabul-Ilm

Adapted from Al-Imâm Ibn Abdil-Barr’s Jaami’ Bayaan Al-Ilm Wa Fadlu-hu (Vol 2 pp. 1094-1115) as cited in Tahdheeru-Naasiheen Min Tahazzub Lil’Ulamaa Wal-Murabbeen [Warning the Sincere Ones from Partisanship to Scholars and Teachers] pp.109-115.

Introduction

This is written to calm the nerves of some Tulaab that the Salaf of the past did speak harshly about one another about matters of the Deen but they were excused. All the names you will come across below are mountains of knowledge, if the biography of any of them is written, it will be very lengthy. Also the compilation is aimed at defending the scholars not the innovators in any guise therefore no innovator should come around and use it as a proof for his innovation. This is the reason we accompanied its release with hajrul-mubtadi of Ash-Shaykh Bakr Aboo Zayd - rahimahullah. The excerpts:

Hammaad (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) was asked about the knowledge of people of Hijaaz, he said, ‘I asked them, I found nothing with them in terms of knowledge. By Allâh, your sons, even your grand sons, are more knowledgeable than they are.’

He also said, ‘I met Ataa, Taawus and Mujaahid. Your sons, even your grand sons are more knowledgeable than they are.’

Ibn Ash-Shihaab (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) said, ‘I found none as destructive to the foundations of the Deen than the people of Makkah…’

Al-‘Amash (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) said, ‘Ibraahim an-Nakha’ee (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) was mentioned in the presence of Ash-Sha’bee (may Allâh bestow mercy on him), he said, ‘That squint-faced fellow who would ask me questions in the night (about the Deen) but sit and pass verdicts to the people in the day.’ Al-‘Amash said he went back to Ibraahim and told him what Ash-Sha’bee said. The former said, ‘Don’t mind that great liar; he heard no narrations from Masrooq.’

‘Ur’wah bn Zubayr (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) reported that Aaisha (may Allâh be pleased with her) said, ‘Anas bn Maalik and Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree (may Allâh be pleased with both) do not know any hadith of the Messenger of Allâh, they were two young persons (in the time of the Messenger of Allâh (salAllâhu alayhi wa sallam)).’

Al-Fadl bn Moosa and Al-Imaam Abu Haneefah (may Allâh bestow mercy on both) entered upon al-‘Amash (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) who was on a sick bed. Abu Haneefah said, ‘O father of Muhammad, if not that it will be too cumbersome upon you, I would have visited you more and more.’ To that, al-’Amash responded, ‘By Allâh, even when you are in your house you are a burden to me let alone (now) that you visit me.’ Al-Fadl said, when we left him he asked Abu Haneefah why the statement from Al-‘Amash, he said Abu Haneefah said, ‘Al-‘Amash has never fasted in Ramadan nor cleaned himself after a sexual act.’ Al-Fadl was asked as to what that meant, he said Al-‘Amash was of the opinion that bath was not obligatory except when there is ejaculation (relying on the hadith ‘al-maa minal’maa’) and he used to eat his pre-dawn meal until the appearance of the morn. Al-Imâm Maalik (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) was asked regarding the people of Iraaq, he said they should be treated as the Christians and Jews are, that is, not believing or disbelieving in them.

Jubayr bn Deenar (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) said he heard Yahya bn Abee Katheer (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) say, ‘The people of Basra would remain on evil as long as Qataadah (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) is within them.’

Qataadah (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) too said, ‘When did knowledge come to fishermen?’ He was referring to Yahya bn Abee Katheer (may Allâh bestow mercy on him).

Yahyaa bn Ma’een (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) used to make harsh statements against trustworthy scholars, and he was rebuked for that. He said Abu Uthmaan An-Nahdee (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) was a police! He also said a similar thing about al-Imaam Az-Zuhree, Al-Auzaa’ee and Taawus (may Allâh bestow mercy on all of them). What he also said about Al-Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ee (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) was taken against him. Al-Imaam Ahmad (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) was asked that Yahyaa Ibn Ma’een (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) said something about al-Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ee (may Allâh bestow mercy on him), he said, ‘How did Yahya know Ash-Shaafi’ee…whoever lacks knowledge about a thing goes offensive about it.’ Al-Imaam Ahmad (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) even told him, ‘Your eyes have not seen the like of Ash-Shaafi’ee (may Allâh bestow mercy on him).’

Ahmad bn Saalih (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) said he asked Abdullaah bn Wahb (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) about Abdullah bn Yazeed bn Sam’aan (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) and he said he was trustworthy. He then told him that Al-Imaam Maalik (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) used to call him a great liar. Abdullaah bn Wahb then said, ‘What they (the Salaf) say about one another is not considered.’

End of excerpts.

Commentary:

The above excerpts from the scholars of the Salaf are brought upon the understanding that students of knowledge who love to tread the path of the Salaf would benefit from them. That our scholars refute one another is not a new phenomenon and it will go on till Maasah Allâh, as said by al-Imaam Adh-Dhahabee in Siyar 12/289. It is a gross mistake to think the door to refutation should be closed. Refutations however must be based upon knowledge and wara (carefulness), justice and equity, and of course, to the benefit of the Ummah.

Expressions scholars used against one another may be seemingly harsh but they are not enough as tools of Isqaat from the fold of Sunnah except when the matter becomes irreconcilable. When scholars speak about one another, highlighting one another’s errors, students should study the matter well and take what is the truth. We fight for the truth and not ashkhaas. Therefore when the errors of a scholar are well-pointed out, we must not follow him on those errors otherwise we will be guilty of partisanship.

The above does not obviate the genuine love students may have for their mashaayikh, which is required. Accusing the Tulaab that the love is partisanship is misplaced. Though there are some students who blindly love their mashaayikh, this is usually a bane in learning.

It should also be noted that there is none immune from errors except the person of the Messenger of Allâh (salAllâhu alayhi wa sallam); thus only he cannot be refuted. Pupils of learning ought to be very careful; disputes between the scholars are not what we should make our daydan. We should prioritize our learning.

Students should know their limits and not seriously interfere in matters between the scholars. It is unbecoming of a Taalib to say so-and-so scholar of Sunnah is a person of ghuloo or that another scholar is an innovator or a mudill; the matter will be different if scholars have uttered such.

Ash-Shaykh Muqbil Al-Wadi’ee advises us: ‘I counsel the students of knowledge to concentrate on seeking knowledge and not the disputes that take place between the scholars’ [Ghaarah Al-Ashritah p.73].

To conclude, this excuse is for scholars, not riffraff parading themselves as scholars. The riffraff have no hiding place. We aware some people of desires show happiness that our scholars ‘speak ill of one another,’ they should rather be sad because if what our scholars do among one another is protecting the Deen from the slightest dakheelaat then the people of desires who have great dakheelaat with them should not celebrate.

Meanwhile the student of knowledge should know that evil methodologies should never be allowed to thrive on. This question-and-answer session of Ash-Shaykh Yahya An-Najmee - rahimahullahu would be useful

تسؤال مع الجواب في المنهج للشيخ احمد بن يحيى النجمي

May Allâh benefit we the pupils with what has been written above. May He also safegurad our scholars and thier Tulaab. May He unie the hearts of the Muslims upon the truth. May He return whoever has fallen into errors among the scholars and the Tulaab to that which is correct. May He save us from the fitnah of the time. Indeed only Allaah grants supplication. Wa salaLlaahu ala nabiyyinaa wa ahli-hi wa sallam.

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