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Rislah Fi Jarh wa T'adeel
Understanding Islam
Bayaan at-Talbees Ahlul-Takfeer
Ahlu-Sunnah Versus the Ashari/Sufi Movement
The Senior Scholars Warn Against Extremism and Exageration in Religion
Muslim Authorities
Countering Islamaphobia
To Non Muslims
Salafi Conferences With Scholars

Jarh wa Ta’deel

by Shaykh Muhummad bin Hadee al Madkhalee 




Jarh wa tadeel is an Islamic science, and this science is a noble ilm, Allah has preserved through it the deen.

This science began early on in Islam even though it was limited, the Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa salaam) himself has spoken and criticised certain people, even though those whom he criticised was for him alone, and it is not allowed for the Muslims to criticise the sahahba. So the Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa salaam) mentioned to Ayseha what a bad man a certain person was, and yet when this man came to the Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa salaam), the Prophet sat with him and smiled at him and was nice to him. So when he left, Aysha asked the Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa salaam) that you said this about this man , yet when he came to you, you were smiling at him and such, so the Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa salaam) explained at the end of the hadeeth, Verily, the people with the worst position in the sight of Allaah are those whom the people stay away from, for fear of their evil.'" [1]

And similarly we find that some of the sahabah criticised each other in some limited matters, for instance, Hind the mother of Muawiya and the wife of Abu Sufyan, after the conquest of Mecca, came to the Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa salaam) complaining about Abu Sufyan, saying he was someone who miserly, and that he does not give enough for herself and her children for their needs. So she asked the Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa salaam) if she could take from his wealth.

So the ulema say about this hadith: Abu Sufyan was from among the elite of Quraysh and it was not befitting that his quality was such, rather they explained that perhaps he was involved in taking care of the affairs of those who came to him, so he ended up neglecting his family.

The point here is that some of the sahabah complained about each other to the Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa salaam). But this was restricted and was not with respect to the religion, they did not criticise each other with respect to the deen as there was no defect there. And upon us is to remain silent about what occurred between them.

Then after that the fitnah occurred, when Uthman was killed unjustly, then after that the biddah arose and the ahl-hawa came out, so we found the khawarij come out and the shia come out, and after that came the sects from them.

So at this time we find the science of jarh wa tadeel appeared more clearly. As occurred in the introduction of sahih Muslim that a person said to ibn Abbas "I narrate to you on the messenger of Allah and you don’t listen" So ibn Abbas said: "Indeed, once if we heard a man say: ‘The Messenger of Allah said’ we used to hasten to him and pay close attention to him. However, when the fitnah occurred and the people became lowly in their deen , then we started to say "name us your men", and if they were from ahl sunnah their reports would be accepted and if not then they would be rejected"

So this type of criticism occurred when the fitnah occurred and when the need arose. In the time of the sahabah, lying did not occur, but what may have occurred amongst them were mistakes in reporting or forgetfulness. So some sahabah like Abu Bakr, Umar and Ali, would try to find out of the narration of a sahabah was correct, this was not due to them doubting the honesty of the narrator, but it was to eliminate the possibility of mistakes or forgetfulness.

Then the lying against the Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa salaam) occurred at the time of the tabieen, and after this time other sects arose, and the biddah of qadr arose. Some of the sahabah such as ibn Umar met this time. Then after that came the biddah of irja, jahmee, itizal etc. So there was a greater need to speak about the people narrating.

So ulema such as Zuhri, Sufyan at Thawari, Sufyan Uyyaynah, Malik, Shabi, Amash, Shuba spoke in such a manner. Also Yahya ibn Saeed, Abdur Rahmaan ibn Mahdi, Ali ibn Madinee, Ahmed. Then after that, Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, an-Nasaee, ibn Khuzayma.

To criticise someone has 2 aspects; 1) with respect to his deen, his aqeedah, 2)his preciseness in narrating and his memory. So a person must be upright, adl. That is upright in his deen.

As for someone’s memory and preciseness in memory and whether he is strong in this or weak in this, then this is collected in the books o rijaal, and books such as Bukhari and Muslim.

Rather in this time what remains is with respect to someone’s aqeedah and deen, then this aspect is still present. As Allah stated: "This is My Path, so follow it, and do not follow other paths for they will lead you away from My Path". And as the Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa salaam) informed that the jews split up into 71 sects, and the Christians split up into 72 sects, and my ummah split up into 73 sects, all of them in the Fire except one. When asked "who are the saved sect", he replied "those who are upon what I am upon and my companions."

So we are ordered to follow the path of the companions, and thus earn the Pleasure of Allah. And those who contradict their way in aqeedah and in the deen, then it is upon us to warn against them and their deviation. The daleel is as follows:

'Aa'ishah, the mother of the Believers, said:

"The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) recited this ayah: 'It is He who sent down to you the Book. In it are verses that are entirely clear, from the foundations of the Book, and other verses that are not entirely clear. But as for those in whose hearts there is deviation, they follow those verses that are not entirely clear, seeking fitnah (mischief) and looking for their hidden meanings. But no one knows its hidden meaning except Allaah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: We believe in it, the whole of it - (clear and unclear verses) are from our Lord. But none accept the reminder except those who possess understanding.’ [Surah Aali 'Imraan: 7] Then he said: 'If you see those who seek after that which is not entirely clear from it (the Qur'aan), then they are the ones whom Allaah has named (here), so beware of them.'" Reported by Al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh: Tafseer Surah Aali ‘Imraan (no. 4547) and Muslim in his Saheeh: Book of Knowledge (no. 2665)

Similarly the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) warned against Khuwaysiyah who told the Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa salaam) to be just in distributing the booty. So the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam) said woe be to you, who will be just if I am not just. And he said; warning against him: From him will come a people were you will look down on your prayers, fasting and recitation with respect to theirs, and he said when you meet them for killing them is a reward, and tubba for the one who kills them and is killed by them, and they are the worst to be killed by the sword and they are the dogs of the hellfire. So he warned against the khawarij in this manner. [2]

In a similar manner, the companions warned against the ahl-biddah.Nawawai has a chapter heading Warning against the khawarij and the encouragement to fight them.

When two tabieen met Ibn Umar saying "there have appeared amongst us a people who seem knowledgeable and they say there is no qadr. Ibn 'Umar (radyAllaahu ‘anhumaa) said concerning the people who rejected Al-Qadr (Divine preordainment): "Inform them that I am free from them and they are free from me (i.e. nothing to do with each other) By Allah, if they spent gold to the extent of Mount Uhud, it would not be accepted from them until they believe in al-Qadr. I heard Umar ibn Khatabb say… (and then he mentioned the hadith of Jibreel)" [3]

So these people claimed that Allah does not know about what will occur until it occurs, and Allah is free and High above this claim and infact this claim is kufr, so Ibn Umar freed himself from them. And these Qadariyah are the magians of this ummah as occurs in the authentic hadith: "the qadariya are the magians of this ummah so if they are sick then do not visit them and if they die do not follow their funeral procession".

So the sahabah and the Imaans who were upon their way followed this path, and it was through following this path that the deen was preserved. They spoke about ahl-biddah and warned against them so that no one would end up sitting with them and hear something from them and therefore become deviated. There are many words to this regard. One man from the people of innovations once said to Abu Ayyoob As-Sakhtiyaanee: "O Abu Bakr, can I have one word with you?" So he turned away from him saying: "Not even half a word!" [4]

Some of them would warn against ahl-bidah when asked about them, and some of them would warn against them without being asked, i.e. by beginning themselves as occurred with some of the Salaf. "I have seen you walking with Tal, do not do so for he is qadiry". It is wajib, when one is asked about the situation of someone from ahl biddah to warn and explain. And to warn and explain before being asked is mustahab. One of the Salaf was asked: "Do you not fear that those people who you speak about will argue with you on the Day of Judgement". He answered that he did not fear this, rather what he feared was that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) would argue with him and ask him why did you not defend my sunnah against the innovators.

And the Imaams authored many works in refutation of the Qadariyah and other sects, and sometimes they would include a refutation within other works. For instance in refutation of the Qadariyah we have Kitab ar-Rud ala ahl Qadar by Solomon ibn Ashr, and works refuting the Murji who have been refuted in Sunan Abu Dawood, and similarly the Jahmee and Murji have been refuted in the Musnad of Ahmed and by al-Lalakahi in his Sunnah and al-Ibanah of Ibn Bati. The Jahmee have been refuted in particular books on the subject; e.g. books by Imaan Ahmed, Ibn Mundir, ad-Darimee, Bukhari and many other works. So this criticism continues until our day. Since the address of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) to Aisha: 'If you see those who seek after that which is not entirely clear from it (the Qur'aan), then they are the ones whom Allaah has named (here), so beware of them." So this address is general for all the people and it lasts up to our time. So we will say about the Rafidah, that he is a Rafidah, and we will say about the Mutazilah that he is Mutazilah, and we will say about the Khawariji that he is a Khawariji we will say about the Murji that he is a Murji, and the Asharee that he is a Asharee and the Maturdee that he is Maturdee, and in our time that the tahriry that he is a tahriry, and those who attribute themselves to democracy that he is an evil person, and the communists are evil people. And the qadianis have gone astray, and the barewelis. And this criticism is in order to preserve the aqeedah and if it were not for this type of criticism then it is feared that the deen would be spoilt in the hearts of the people. So these Companions and this way that was followed by the Imaams, we must follow them in this way. As Allah mentions: "These are those whom We have guided so you should follow their way".

And there is no Izza, no honour or might for the Muslims except with this type of criticism and preservation of the aqeedah so this aqeedah of Islam will be purified and kept pure. And in this manner the saved sect which the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) mentioned in the hadith, and in another hadith he mentioned that they are the Aided Group, they will be distinguished from the people of falsehood.

Also the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) warned that: "When you deal in ’eenah (a transaction involving usury), take hold of the tails of cows, become content with agriculture and abandon jihaad in the Path of Allaah, then Allaah will permit your humiliation and He will not remove it from you, until you return to your Religion."  [5]

So this type of criticism will remain until the Day of Judgement, otherwise the truth will not be distinguished from falsehood, so one must warn against the ones who contradict the true way.

Some say " you warn against such and such person, how long will you go on speaking about people" So we say to them what Umar (ra) said when he sent the armies out. He said:" The sins of the army are more dangerous to them than the enemies themselves". [6]

So the enemies (of the Muslims) from the inside are more dangerous than the enemy from the outside. The enemy from the outside can be challenged by all of the Muslims and can be clearly seen. But the enemy on the inside, then this is something dangerous. The jews and the kuffar who have been given power over us in our lands, were they given this power except due to our weakness in the religion? They were only given this power due to the weakness in our religion.  [7]


1. 'Aa'ishah (radyAllaahu ‘anhaa) reported that: "A man asked permission to enter in the presence of the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). So when he (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saw who it was, he said: 'What an evil brother to his family he is and what an evil son to his family he is.' So when the man sat down, the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) smiled in his face and extended kindness and cheerfulness to him. When the man left, 'Aa'ishah (radyAllaahu ‘anhaa) said: 'O Messenger of Allaah! When you saw the man, you said such and such. But then you smiled in his face and extended kindness to him!' So the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: 'O 'Aa'ishah! When did you observe me being vile-mannered? Verily, the people with the worst position in the sight of Allaah are those whom the people stay away from, for fear of their evil.'" Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: Book of Manners (no. 6032)

2. And in the hadeeth of Abu Sa'eed Al-Khudree concerning the situation of the man Dhul-Khuwaysirah, the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "There will come out from his progeny a people that will recite the Book of Allaah fluently, but it will not go past their throats. They will shoot out from the Religion just as the arrow shoots out from the hunted prey - (and I think he sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said) - If I would reach them (i.e. their time), I would surely with the slaughter the people of Thamood experienced." [Sahih Muslim]

3 Abu Dharr (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Verily, after me from my ummah (or he sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said): There will come after me from my ummah a people that will recite the Qur'aan, but it will not go past their throats. They will come out from the Religion just as the arrow comes out from the hunted prey. Then they will not return to it. They are the worst of mankind and creatures." [Sahih Muslim]

4. Sahih Muslim

5. Sharh-us-Sunnah of Imaam Al-Baghawee (1/227).

6. Saheeh: Related by Aboo Daawood (no. 3462)

7. Shaikh-ul-Islaam, Ibn Taimiyyah, said:

"So he has explained that the benefit of (doing) this is general for all of the Muslims with regard to their Religion. And it is from the types of Jihaad that is done in the Way of Allaah. This is since cleansing Allaah's way, His Religion, methodologies and legislation, and repelling the transgression of these individuals and having enmity against them is a collective obligation (fard kifaayah), according to the consensus of the Muslims.

translated by akhoona Abu Usamah adh-Dhahabee