It is an established norm in the Manhaj of the Salaf that the people of self-desires and heresies are to be put to test when they claim they have repented.
Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) said in Majmoo al-Fatawa [Vol.15, pp.329-330]:
‘When a person wants to befriend a believer, or a believer wants to befriend a person whom certain inequities have been said about while it is now said that he had repented from those inequities, or that was said about him whether it was true or false, the person should be put to test with his apparent piety or otherwise, or with his truthfulness or otherwise. So also is if a person wants to place another in a position of authority, he should test him, just as ‘Umar bn ‘AbdulAzeez instructed his slave to do with respect to Ibn Abee Moosa when he was amazed by his countenance. The slave said to Ibn Abee Moosa: ‘You know my status with Ameerul-Mu’mineen, how much will you give me if I suggest you to him for a post?’ Ibn Aboo Moosa then gave the slave some enormous wealth, from there, Umar got to know that he was not fit for a leadership position…’
He said further: ‘…people’s conditions can be ascertained via the following processes: people’s testimony, disparagement and praise, test and examination.’
Test and examination is therefore one of the ways to sieve the people of Sunnah from the People of Hawa, on one hand, and between reliable transmitters and liars, the neglectful and the weak, on the other hand.
Al-Imaam Muhammad bn Seereen (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) said: ‘Indeed this knowledge is Deen, be wary of whom you take your Deen from.’
Al-Hasan bn Saalih bn Hayy (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) said: ‘We were such as whenever we wanted to write from a person we would ask about him such that we would be told: Do you want to marry your daughter to him?’
One of the ways to test the people of desires is to ask them about the veritable scholars of the Deen.
Aswad bn Saalim (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) said: ‘…When you see a person clandestinely disparaging Ibn Al-Mubaarak over anything, doubt the person’s Islam.’
Nuaym bn Hammaad (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) said: ‘When you see an Iraqi disparaging Ahmad bn Hanbal, doubt the person’s Deen, when you see a Khurasaani diapering Ishaq bn Ruhawayh, doubt the person’s Deen, when you see a Basri disparaging Wahb bn Jareer, doubt the person’s Deen.’
Al-Imaam Ahmad bn Hanbal (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) said: ‘When you see a person disparaging Hammaad bn Salamah, doubt his Islam.’
Al-Imaam AbdurRahman bn Mahdee (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) said: ‘When you see a Hijaazi loving Maalik bn Anas, know that he is a person of Sunnah.’
The narrations in this wise are too numerous to cite.
Ash-Shaykh Rabee bn Haadee Umayr Al-Madkhalee (may Allaah preserve him on goodness) said: ‘This is a common practice, a well-known truth, well spread among the people of Sunnah. It is also a drawn sword against the people of Bid’ah. It is one of the signs of the people of Bid’ah to hate it, and their hating the people of Sunnah for using it, so whenever you see a person hating the people of Sunnah for using it, know that he is from the people of desires and heresies, unless if he is an ignoramus, then it is imperative that you teach him and explain matters to him that the test against the people of desires is a phenomenon sanctioned by Allaah in His Book and in the Sunnah, and the Salaf acted by it, none will abhor or loathe it except he is from the people of Bid’ah because it exposes them and explicates what Bid’ah they are upon.’
Generally adapted from the book, Al-‘Ilaam Bi Hukm Imtihaan Ahl Al-Ahwaa Wa Ghayrihim Fee Al-Islaam.
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