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Abdul-Muhsin on Jarh wa T'adeel
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Shaykh Abdul-Muhsin al-Abbadd speaks regarding the practice of Jarh wa T'adeel and its correct understanding and how this noble principle has been usurped by jahala for reasons outside of those who first established the principle
A question was put to the Shaikh Abdul Mohsin Al-Abbad by some Yemeni Students of Knowledge on 18th of Shabaan by a phone call:

Questioner: “We love you for the sake of Allah and we desire that you comment on some points regarding Jarh wa-Tadeel.

Firstly, What should be the qualifications of someone who speaks about Jarh wa-Tadeel? And what are the (Sifaat) qualities and (Dhawabit) conditions that should be found in him?”

The Shaikh replied:

What is necessary in regards to Jarh wa-Tadeel:

Firstly, Concerning authentication of Ahaadeeth and proofs of Ahaadeeth of Allah’s Messenger (sallalahu alahi wa-sallam) then there is no way (to know the authenticity) except returning to the sayings of Ahlul-Ilm (people of knowledge) in the past who were present in the times (of the narrators) and those who were present after the time of the narrators and this is to know their sayings, collect and compare them and know what can be accepted and what is unaccepted and based upon this, the judgment is made (regarding the narrator), as was the way of Hafidh Ibn Hajar rahimahullah in his book ‘Tahzeeb at-Tahzeeb’….

As for the contemporary people and what is occurring in recent times, then it is in reality, a Jarh wa-Tadeel which is unheard of until recently, that is to engage in Jarh wa-Tadeel and then those engaged in this Ilm do Jarh wa-Tadeel which in most cases is done on an individual in whom a fault (mistake) is found, who is then criticized, warned against, and this in reality is not a correct way.

What is necessary is justice (Adl and Insaaf) and explaining the mistakes to him who has been mistaken and if he returns back then there is not need to raise the issue just like the issue never existed…

For example, two scholars, Abu Na’eem al-Fadhl Ibn Dukain and he is from the narrators of the six books (of Ahaadeeth) and he is trustworthy (thiqah) and Muhammad Ibn Fudayl Ibn Gazwan and he too is from the narrators of the six books and he is truthful (Sadooq).

Tashee’e (some opinions of the Shiite) were attributed to them but statements are known from them that point to their innocence from Tashee’e and their being safe from Tashee’e. One of them said: ‘May Allah have mercy on Uthmaan and may Allah not be Merciful to him who does not send blessings on Uthmaan.’ And this is a statement which could not be said by a Shee’e (a peorson who possesses Shiite beliefs) and it cannot come from a Rafidhi or Mutashee (a person who possess Shiite beliefs).

And the other person said: ‘I haven’t accepted to write for anyone who curses Muawiya (radhiallahu anhu).’

And then the people hear that something is attributed to one of them, and then his statement is found or it is known from him something that points to its innocence from this talk (Kalaam), and shows his opposition (to the talk); and sometimes the criticism attributed to him may come from a weak isnad. Then the Kalaam attributed to him is not proved because its source is Majrooh (criticized).

In today’s time, engaging in Jarh and Tadeel and categorizing people and saying ‘he is such’ and ‘he is warned against’ and ‘he is to be abandoned.’; and the person who spoke on Jarh wa-Tadeel was not qualified to speak in Jarh wa-Tadeel and he is not from the people of Jarh and Tadeel and verily such a thing is not correct.

Every person should engage in knowledge and not engage in abandoning people and speaking about people.

Yes, if there is a person known for evil, (then) he should be warned against, and this is known from the Book.

Concerning a person who is from Ahlus-Sunnah then seeking his mistakes and warning against him and spending all the time in speaking about him then this is neither required nor correct.

And Jarh wa-Tadeel should truly be in the courts because the witness and the claimant has someone to authenticate for them and the defence criticizes them, saying ‘I do not accept his Shahadah (witness) because in him is such and such deficiency.’ Jarh wa-Tadeel is in the courts.

But as for indulging in Jarh and Tadeel in today’s times by engaging in abandoning people and speaking about people, then this returns to the person who started it with harm (destruction).

And an individual is in need of his good deeds and his good deeds are not a burden to be distributed to the people, and the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “Do you know who is a Muflis?’ ‘A Muflis is he who comes on the Day of Judgement with Salaat, Zakaar, Siyaam Hajj but (he would find himself bankrupt on that day as he would have exhausted his funds of virtues) since he hurled abuses upon others, brought calumny against others and unlawfully consumed the wealth of others and shed the blood of others and beat others, and his virtues would be credited to the account of one (who suffered at his hand). And if his good deeds fall short to clear the account, then his sins would be entered in (his account) and he would be thrown in the Hell-Fire.” [Saheeh Muslim (6251)]

In this time, there are people from whom Allah has benefited (the masses) and they busy themselves with Dawah to Allah day and night, but in spite of this, there are some people who speak (ill) about them and criticize them on the pretext of Jarh and Tadeel and speaking on Jarh and Tadeel.

In reality this person is doing injustice to himself, and he does not realize it, he is harming himself and he does not realize it, and a person is himself more entitled for his good deeds than others.

A person may have many good deeds then Allah brings to him more good deeds from people who engage themselves in speaking about abandoning people.”

End of Shaykh's reply