Translation: Ishaaq bn AbdurRaheem Aboo Aamir Al-Atharee
Ash-Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd - rahimahullaah - wrote in Hilyah Taalib al-Ilm:
الأمر الرابع والستون:
احذر الجدل البيزنطي
أي الجدل العقيم أو الضئيل، فقد كان البيزنطيون يتحاورون في جنس الملائكة، والعدو على أبواب بلدتهم حتى داهمهم.
هكذا الجدل الضئيل يصد عن السبيل.
'The 64th Counsel: Shun (the like of) Byzantine Debate. That is, pointless and worthless argumentation. (It happened that) the Byzantines (Romans) were engaged in a discussion about the sex of the angels while the enemy were at the gate of their city to conquer them.
'This is how every unprofitable discussion swerves the people from the (righteous) path.'
He - rahimahullaah - continues:
'The guidance from the Salaf is to refrain from too much arguments and conflicts. Getting too much involved is lack of piety as Al-Hasan (al-Basree) - rahimahullaah - said when he heard some people in a serious argument: 'These people are tired of worship, talking has become easy for them while they lack piety so they let loose their tongues.' [Al-Imaam Ahmad recorded it in az-Zuhd so also Aboo Nuaym in al-Hilyah].
End of qoute.