بِسْم الله الرحمان الرحيم
The purpose of writing this short, concise article is due to the growing ignorance of those who claim to know the science of hadeeth, salafiya and specifically the matters of Jarh Wa Ta’deeel really well.
Being here in Britain now for two years, I have heard a numerous amount of brothers who run with the principal جرح مفسر مقدم على تعديل مبهم Meaning; The detailed criticism takes precedence over the general praise.
Because of this I felt obliged to bring the speech of the ‘Ulama.
As Allah told us
وَإِذَا جَاءَهُمْ أَمْرٌ مِّنَ الْأَمْنِ أَوِ الْخَوْفِ أَذَاعُوا بِهِ وَلَوْ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَإِلَىٰ أُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْهُمْ لَعَلِمَهُ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَنبِطُونَهُ مِنْهُمْ وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَاتَّبَعْتُمُ الشَّيْطَانَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا
And when there comes to them news of security or fear they spread it abroad; and if they had referred it to the Apostle and to those in authority among them, those among them who can search out the knowledge of it would have known it, and were it not for the grace of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have certainly followed the Shaitan save a few.
Without a doubt this is a principal from the principals of our religion ONLY WHEN IT IS USED IN ITS PLACE.
We find today people who haven’t finished the BASIC ELEMENTARY BOOKS or might have studied to some extent but in reality haven’t understood what they studied properly, running around with this principal جرح مفسر مقدم على تعديل
As soon as one of THEIR OWN SHEIKS speaks about another SALAFI SHEIK or another individual ,those who they take from, not any Salafi sheik , but the sheik they take from specifically or have studied under,
It is ACCEPTED and SUBMITTED to with FULL SUBMISSION under the banner of the principal
The criticism takes precedence over the praise
When the full extent on this principal is not known by the many of those who run with this principal.
Allah says to us that you should submit with FULL SUBMISSION only the speech of Allah and his messenger and not any other speech is regarded in the same degree
إِنَّمَا كَانَ قَوْلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذَا دُعُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَن يَقُولُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
The response of the believers, when they are invited to Allah and His Apostle that he may judge between them, is only to say: We hear and we obey; and these it is that are the successful.
In this article it will become clear to you O Reader that the matter is not as SIMPLE as 1 + 1 = 2
As soon as a sheik or some 1 criticises another it gets taken without question.
Rather there has been VOLUMES written on matters of Jarh Wa Ta’deel and it’s not this simple
So oh respected READER
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا
O you who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) Allah and speak the right word.
Let’s not even go far away in to the books of the sciences of hadeeth.
For those that have any insight of علم الحديث , it would be well known to u that the book بيقونية (Bayqooniyyah) is one of the first books that are studied in this field.
And we are all familiar with the explanations of sheik uthaimin and any Salafi would be quickly inclined to going through his explanations due to its simplicity.
Brothers and sisters, IN THE BEGINNING of the book and not even the end , when Sheikh al-‘Uthaimin (Rahimahullaah) begins to explain the FIRST TYPE OF HADEETH under the lines of poetry
يرويه عدل ضابط عن مثله، معتمد في ضبطه ونقله
The Sheikh mentioned some rules and regulations and how to deal with matters related to the principal:
The criticism takes precedence over the praise
And when a person has been praised and criticised, how do we deal with it ?
Sheikh al-‘Uthaimin (Rahimahullaah) mentions in his explanation of البيقونية with regards to some scholars praising and other scholars’ criticizing the same individual:
“And if they (the scholars) have differed in regards to a person what do we do?
If they differ in this kind of issue , we have to take the more outweighed saying. If the one that praised (وثّقه ) him , KNOWS him better than the others, we take his statement , because he KNOWS him better than the rest.
And based on this we know that normally a person knows the situation of another individual when he has been in direct contact with him for some time. If we now know that this person has been with him and he has described him with goodness, we say that he is MORE KNOWLEDGEBALE OF RHIS PERSON than ANYONE else and we take HIS SPEECH.
And likewise if one (scholar) has claimed that another (person or scholar?) is weak and he has stayed with him and been in direct contact with him, then we take his speech because HE KNOWS HIM BETTER.
So the point here is that if the huffaadh in hadeeth have differed when it comes to certain individuals with praise or with disparagement , and one of them knows the one that has been described in such way better than the other, THEN WE TAKE THE ONE WHO IS MORE CLOSE TO HIM.
What if now the two matters are the same?
Meaning that the one who has praised and the one that has criticised are both FAR away from the one that has been spoken about.
(Until where he said)
Some of the scholars have elaborated on the matter and have said the following.
The speeches are taken as long they have EXPLAINED IN DETAIL what they have claimed.
1st case scenario
E.g. The one that is praising says – “this persons is a trustworthy person and the criticism that he has been criticised of is no longer applicable as he has repented” and that which he used to do is drink alcohol (which he now has repented from)
So in this case we would give precedence to him because he has more knowledge about the matter and is more up to date.
2nd case scenario
And likewise the opposite; if the one that has criticised says, “This person is not upright because he is ADDICTED to drinking alcohol” then in this case we would give precedence to his statement.
3rd case scenario
If both of them haven’t given a detailed explanation of what they have described a person with.
In this case it is only appropriate that we keep quite (نتوقف ) if we don’t find an outweighed description. It is compulsory that we STAY QUIET about the situation of this person.
It should also be known
That some scholars of hadeeth have harshness when it comes to criticising and some give praise too easily.
Meaning that you find some, due to their harshness, criticising someone over something that doesn’t deserve criticism.
And then you have those who do the opposite; who praise those who don’t deserve praise, and this is well known between the people of knowledge.
(O reader pay attention here)
Whoever is known to be harsh when it comes to criticising, then whenever they praise, their praise is more easily accepted and is given precedence over the one that is easy going when it comes to praising, and vice versa. Therefore, the balanced way is that a person is just and is neither harsh nor easy going……..” Page 37 of his explanation of Bayqooniyyah.
I say: It becomes clear to u after reading that that it is not that simple and absolute when it comes to applying that principal bearing in mind THIS IS ONE OF THE FIRST TOPICS TE SHEIK SPEAKS ABOUT.
So what does this show you ?
That those running around with this principal heedlessly and because of their lack of care to this matter, ULAMAA and STUDENTS OF KNOWLEDGE have been dropped and their honours have been ripped apart, they have spoken with ignorance, without knowledge and haven’t studied the basics of this field.
And AGAIN what I am trying to prove is that the matter is not as simple as putting 1 and 1 together resulting in getting 2; AND THATS MY ONLY GOAL in this article . However what I am trying to prove THAT MANY ASPECTS ARE TAKEN IN TO CONSIDERATION when a scholar praises 1 and another criticises. It is not just جرح مقدم على التعديل.
قال التاج السبكي: «عرفناك أنّ الجارح لا يقبل منه الجرح، وإن فسّره في حقّ من غلبت طاعته على معاصيه، ومادحوه على ذامّيه، ومُزَكُّوه على جارحيه، إذا كانت هناك منافسة دنيوية، كما يكون بين النظراء أو غير ذلك، وحينئذٍ فلا يلتفت لكلام الثوريِّ وغيرِه في أبي حنيفة
، وابن أبي ذئب وغيرِه في مالكٍ، وابنِ معينٍ في الشافعي، والنسائيِّ في أحمدَ بنِ صالحٍ ونحوِه، ولو أطلقنا تقديم الجرحِ لَمَا سَلِمَ لنا أحدٌ من الأئمّة، إذ ما من إمامٍ إلاّ وقد طَعَنَ فيه الطاعنون، وهَلَكَ فيه الهالكون»
[«طبقات الشافعية» للسبكي: (1/ 190)
“We have defined for you that the one who is criticising, his criticism is not accepted even if he explains it in detail when speaking about someone who’s obedience has outweighed his disobedience, and those who praise him are more than those who defame him , and those that speak good of him are more than those who criticise him especially if there is between them some worldly rivalry , like that which normally happens between contemporaries. And due to this we do not look at the and turn to the speech that (imam sufyaan ) AT-THAWRI and other than him said about IMAM ABU HANIFA and that which IBN ABI DHIB said about IMAM MAALIK and that which (imam yahya ) IBN MAIEEN said about (Imam ) SHAFIEE and what (imam ) NASAAAIE said about (imam) AHMED Ibn SALEH….
(PAY ATTENTION HERE OH READER)
He then says ” if we were to now generalise (this principal ) تقديم الجرح لما سلم منا احد من الأءمة –THE CRITICISM TAKES PRECEDENCE ( over the general praise ) NONE OF THE IMAMS WOULD REMAIN. There isn’t an imam except that he has been spoken about and insulted.
AND I AM NOT SAYING THAT WHICH HAS BEEN MENTIONED IS IN ITS ABSOLUTE FORM RATHER THERE IS MORE TO IT.
قال الذهبي: “كلام الأقران بعضه في بعض لا يعبأ به، لا سيما إذا لاح ذلك أنه لعداوةٍ أو لمذهبٍ أو لحسدٍ، وما ينجو منه إلا من عصمه الله، وما عَلِمت أن عصراً من الأعصار سَلِم أهله من ذلك سوى الأنبياء والصديقين، ولو شئت لسردت من ذلك كراريس” ميزان الاعتدال 1/111.].
Imam At-Thahabi said ” The criticism that contemporaries criticise each other with is not taken into consideration , ESPECIALLY if it becomes apparent that there is HATRED /ENMITY between them or due to them trying to enforce their school of thought (madhab) against each other or due to حسد ENVY. And nobody is safe from these kind of things except the one that Allah has protected. I don’t know of an era that anyone has been safe (from these matters ) except the prophets the sidiqeeen, and if you wanted me to mention (examples ) I would have made books/ scrolls out of this, listing the examples of those who have done this . الاعتدال
وقال أيضاً: “لسنا ندعي في أئمة الجرح والتعديل العصمة من الغلط النادر، ولا من الكلام بنَفَس حاد فيمن بينهم وبينه شحناء وإحنة، وقد علم أن كثيراً من كلام الأقران بعضهم في بعض مهدرٌ لا عبرة فيـه، ولا سيما إذا وَثَّق الرجل جماعة يلوح على قولهم الإنصاف”سير أعلام النبلاء 7/40 ــ 41.]
He also mentioned, “we will not claim that the scholars of Jarh Wa Ta’deel are infallible from making mistakes, and we will not claim for them that they are infallible in speech which may have been based upon harshness, or having something against one another, and it has been documented that CONTEMPORARIES TRIED TO PUT EACH OTHER DOWN and in reality he had no CONCRETE JUSTIFICATION for it. ESPECIALLY if there was another reliable group, whose speech had weight, and they had praised this individual.
The sayings below will make it clear to you that those that CRITICISE are seen in different categories.
THE POINT HERE IS THAT THESE MATTERS ARE ALSO TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION WHEN CERTAIN PEOPLE CRITICISE and not to put anyone down.
– قال الإمام الذهبي في بيان أقسام النقاد في “الموقضة”: (( منهم من نَفَسه حاد في الجرح ، ومنهم من هو معتدل ، ومنهم من هو متساهل ))
Imam adh-Dahabi mentioned in his book موقظة when he was clarifying the different types of those who do JARH.
“from them are those who are severe when it comes to criticising , and from them who are balanced in this regards and some are very easy going”
– وقال الحافظ ابن حجر في “النكت”: ((كل طبقة من نقاد الرجال لا تخلو من متشدد ومتوسط))
Haadidh Ibn Hajar mentioned in his book of النكت “You will find in every era men who were severe in their criticism and amongst them where those who were balanced”
-وقال الحافظ ابن كثير في ” الباعث الحثيث ” في باب معرفة من تقبل روايته ومن لا تقبل وبيان الجرح والتعديل : (( والتعديل مقبول، ذكر السبب أو لم يذكر لأن تعداده يطول، فقبل إطلاقه. بخلاف الجرح، فإنه لا يقبل إلا مفسراً، لاختلاف الناس في الأسباب المفسقة، فقد يعتقد الجارح شيئاً مفسقاً، فيضعفه، ولا يكون كذلك في نفس الأمر، أو عند غيره، فلهذا اشترط بيان السبب في الجرح )) .اهـ
Haafidh Ibn Kathir mentioned in his book Baahith Al-Hathith
In the chapter of knowing WHO’s NARRATION IS ACCEPTED AND WHO’s NARRATION IS NOT ACCEPTED and the matters of Jarh Wa Ta’deel.
The praise is accepted whether a reason has been mentioned or not because it’s a matter that is quite broad, and a generalisation in praise is accepted, in opposition to when it comes to criticising, It is not to be accepted except with a clear clarification due to various understandings between the people when it came to matters pertaining the causes of فسق transgression
(pay attention here Oh reader to what he says)
It could be that the one that is criticising sees a matter to be an act of transgression and based upon this he declares (that person who has fallen in to that act) to be weak. And in reality it is not a concrete justification for this case scenario or it is from those things that are not seen the same way by others. Hence this is the reason behind why a clarified justification is required when one criticises the other.
Summarisation – What we learnt from the speech of the scholars above that when some 1 criticises and another praises him; all the following are considered:
- The closeness and knowledge the one criticising and the one praising has about the person being spoken about.
- The harshness of the one criticising and the fact that the one praising is easy going.
- There being aworldly gain between them. E.g. one trying to gain platform or status.
- Hatred and enmity being between the two criticising each other.
- The matter of envy being between the two (bearing in mind that ENVY is severe between the people of knowledge as Sheikh al-‘Uthaimin and Bakr Abu Zayd mentioned )
- The fact that one of them is pushing a school of thought (madhab) which might lead to one letting his ego get in the way and due to this it leads him to criticise the other.
- After a criticism is brought forward and the reason is mentioned. You ask yourself, – Is this point actually a justified point and is it worth criticism??
I REPEAT AGAIN before this article is misunderstood and people start getting the wrong end of the stick in what I am trying to point out here, I am not trying to TEACH the reader how to do JARH and TADEEL or to not ACCEPT this Sheikh’s criticism or that Sheikh; simply because every matter is independent. All I am trying to prove that this concept of RUNNING OFF with some ones criticism is not the way and the matter is not as simple as 1+1= 2, as you find many brothers today doing. ALL I AM SAYING know your territory, learn the basics of your religion, go back to the first chapters of the basic books and the more you learn, the more SCARED you become when it comes to speak about the honour of the people.
I leave you with this hadeeth and this line of poetry my brother Ustaadh Abdurahman Hassan taught me.
أمسك لسانك أيها الانسان ، لا يلدغنك انه ثعبان
كم في المقابر من قتيل لسانه ، كانت تهاب لقاءه الشجعان
The Prophet ﷺ said ” ان العبد ليتكلم بالكلمة لا يلقي بها بالا فيهوي به في نار جهنم سبعين خريفا “
He said “A man says one word and he doesn’t give care when saying it, and because of this he gets thrown in to the hellfire 70 years”.
Written by Abu Taymiyyah Mohamed Jeylaani
Date 11th of August 2015 completed while in Dundee, Scotland.