By Aboo Sahl Al-Atharee (@dhikrulas)
Additional notes by @aboo_aamir
Refutation is well defined as it is well known to scholars, their students and laymen. It is inevitable in all ages and nobody is free from being refuted except the Prophet (sallaLlaahu alayhi wa sallam).
Scholars have two ways of dealing with refutations, viz:
a) Direct Refutation: It is mentioning of the addressee clearly and its diction is often severe. This is often used against either a non believer or someone outside the manhaj, or someone inside corrupting it.
1) Allaah, The Sublime did a direct refutation on Abu Lahb with a whole Surah.
2) Ibn 'Umar refuted the creed of Jahm bn Safwaan (which is now the first narration in Saheeh Muslim).
3) Al-Imaam Maalik refuted the person that asked him "how Allaah established Himself on the Throne."
4) Al-Imaam Ahmad refuted Bisr Al Marisee.
5)Al-Imaam Al-Albaanee refuted Al Ghumaaree.
6)Ash-Shaykh Raabee refuted Sayyid Qutub and many corrupters of the Sunnah in this epoch such as Qaradawee.
7) Al-Imaam Al-Albaanee, AbdulMuhsin 'Abbaad, and Ash Shaykh Ar Raslaan also did a very heavy refutation of Sayd Qutb and Albanna.
Indeed, the mentioned refutations were very severe and so beneficial to distinguish between falsehood and the truth, especially for laymen. Saying it is less or of no benefit is a wrong assertion.
There are some exceptional cases where some scholars of Sunnah do refute one another clearly with severe diction, the best examples are:
As Suyootee and Ash Shakhaawee. This is from being human, thus scholars do not regard such refutations rather they only mention them.
Ash-Shaykh Al-Albaanee's refutation of Ash-Shaykh at-Tuwayjiree in his Sifatus-Salaah is another example.
And when Al-Imaam bn Baz refuted Ash-Shaykh Al-Albaanee on latter's refutation of the people of Hijaaz for clasping of hands after rukoo in Salaah, the heaven was not let loose. Interesting, al-Imaam Al-Albaanee's statement was severe for he said the people of Hijaaz were on 'misguidance' in the matter! Ash-Shaykh bn Baz reply was mild and far reaching. The bottom line is, there was a refutation and a counter-refutation.
We have other examples of contemporary refutations. The ones from Ash-Shaykh Rabee Al-Madkhalee - hafidhahullaah - on some other mashaayikh of Sunnah are good to cite here. By Allaah, Allaah has used Ash-Shaykh Rabee' to block a lot of loopholes that might have set in the Sunnah in this century. You will see nobody hating the Shaykh except he has a misguidance or bid'ah to protect. However, nobody is infallible to errors. May Allaah rectify all the mashaayikh.
2) Indirect Refutation: The name of the addressee is (often, but not always) screened, the diction is lenient and it is meant to reconstruct someone within the manhaj. Indeed, the errors of the scholars of sunnah differ from others than them.
a) Al-Imaam Bukhaaree made a tabweeb: "The chapter of someone correcting a person without facing him directly" then cited:
The narration of the Prophet - sallallaahu alahyi wa sallam - correcting three people that came to ask about his 'ibaadah...(Al Adab Al Mufrad).
b) The hadeeth of Zayd where he tried to seek pardon for a thief thinking she had repented.
c) Al-Imaam Al-Albaanee was so lenient in refuting Ash Shaykh Bakree Aboo Zayd on the issue of rising to a rak'ah upon clenched fists (in at tammaam), though the Shaykh was junior to him.
d) Ash Shaykh Al-Uthaymeen was so lenient in refuting Al-Albaanee on the issue of going to sujood with leg.
It's so constructive...
1) The refuter should firstly distinguish his addressee, either within the fold of the manhaj or not.
2) Then, appropriate diction should be used based on the deviations of the addressee.
3) There is no blame for a junior scholar to refute a senior scholar; Ibn Taymiyyah refuted the stands of his grandfather: Majiduddeen.
4) The elder should accept the refutation with open mind, Ash-Shaykh Al-Albaanee didn't claim his sublimity when he was refuted.
5) During refutation, the error message should be focused on rather than the personality. Refuting personality is nothing but envy.
6) Refutation between two brothers upon the manhaj should not lead to personal issues, if it crops up; then it is sheer supremacy fight.
7) Refutation is of two purposes:
a) to reconstruct the one being refuted.
b) and the reader or listener.
Any refutation devoids of these are meaningless.
8) Sentiment should be set aside during refutation.
9) The refuter should understand the stand of his addressee (in which he wants to refute) clearly.
10) Nobody decries refutations except he who does not see beyond his nose.
11) Nothing concerns the teacher or student of the one being refuted or refuting when there is a refutation except when there is a dire need (perhaps for clarification).
There is no record (known to this writer) that says Ibn Hajar supported Ash-Shakhaawee in refuting As-Suyootee, likewise Ash-Shaykh Mashoor (one of the foremost students of Al-Albaane) who was also a friend to Ash Shaykh Bakr (till Ash Shaykh Mashoor told him to visit Al-Albaane on the issue of 'ajn and Ash Shaykh Bakr sent his notes on Al I'tisaam to Al Mashoor). They didn't even count or capitalis on it.(This suggested sincerity of the parties).
SubhaanaLlaah, the students of today will start tabd'i and tafsiq on social media to defend their Shaykh, rather than the deen. That is partisanship??
Last Note: Refutation is not what a learner should get himself busied with.
I beseech Allaah to grant us pure heart and count my inking for me not against me after my death.