Who is the Scholar of al-Jarh wat-Ta’dīl in this Time (era)? | Shaykh Ubayd bin Abdillāh Al-Jābirī
Question: “Who is the Scholar worthy of consideration in the science of al-Jarh wat-Ta’dīl (criticism and praise) in this time?”
Shaykh ‘Ubayd bin Abdillāh al-Jābirī: “Al-Jarh wat-Ta’dīl, even some of the virtuous scholars are not qualified for it. It is necessary to, firstly, have knowledge for it. Secondly, one must have awe (of Allāh) and Taqwā (piety). Thirdly, one must be experienced and well acquainted with men, their statements and their conditions. So whoever possesses these three affairs, will excel in the science of al-Jarh wat-Ta’dīl. And since time, those who stand out in the science al-Jarh wat-Ta’dīl are small in number. This is because al-Jarh wat-Ta’dīl is Religion!
Therefore, whoever criticizes a person about something Allāh knows he is free from – he criticizes him purely based upon desires – then this one has exposed himself to a dispute on the Day of Resurrection. And whoever praises a person who does not deserve to be praised, then this is a danger upon him and the people. So it is obligatory to possess these three affairs for al-Jarh wat-Ta’dīl:
(1) Awe (of Allāh) and Taqwā.
(3) Experience and acquaintance with the conditions of the people and their statements.
And Shaykh Rabī’ – may Allāh preserve him – has been praised by al-Albānī in this (field). And this does not mean that there are no other Scholars, from amongst his brothers, that are qualified for this (science).
However, I call attention to an issue, which is in fact a qā’idah (principle) and that is:
“Whoever has knowledge (about something) is a proof against the one who doesn’t have knowledge.”
Therefore, whoever generally praises a person, and then another person criticizes him with clear proofs from his books, his tapes or his statements, then that which is taken is the statement of the critic. And that one (who praised him), perhaps he is excused; maybe he praised him because he thought well of him or he was praised by someone he trusts concerning his religion and his amānah (trust). And the critic increased us in knowledge that was hidden for that one (who praised him), by proving that this person is Majrūh (criticized). And since a long time ago the people used to differ (about the condition of a person). Ash-Shāfi’ī – May Allāh have mercy upon him – used to say about Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin Abī Yahyā: “The trustworthy one narrated to me…” “The one I don’t accuse narrated to me…” And he considered him trustworthy. However, the (other) scholars criticized him, Imām Mālik and other than him criticized him. And he (Ibrahim ibn Muhammad) was Majrūh. And the reason for which he was criticized was not known to Imām ash-Shāfi’ī, may Allāh have mercy upon him, despite his great status and his Imāmah (him being an Imām).
Another example is ‘Abdur-Rahmān bin Sālih al-Azdī al-‘Atakī. Imām Ahmad praised him where as Abu Dawūd criticized him. He (Abu Dawūd) said: “Verily, he has written a book speaking ill of Ahlul-Bayt (the family of the Prophet).” Or as he said. So the Muhaqqiqūn (the verifiers) accepted the Jarh of Abu Dawūd. And praising this man did not harm Imām Ahmad – may Allāh have mercy upon him – because he praised him according to his knowledge (about him).
This is a principle I mentioned because not understanding it confuses the students of knowledge.
You find for example Scholars who criticize Sayyid Qutb. And there are Scholars who praise him and say that he is an Imām of guidance, etc. So what do you do? Look, in front of you is someone who praises and someone who criticizes. In front of you is a statement saying that this man is not an Imām of guidance, that he is astray and leads others astray, that the least thing which can be said about him is that he is jāhil (ignorant) and that his books are filled with kufr (disbelief) and takfīr (declaring others disbelievers). They are filled with statements of kufr, takfīr and denial of the Attributes (of Allāh). And someone else says (about Qutb): “He is an Imām of guidance and a person of knowledge, but he has some errors.” So what do you do? Use this principle: which one has the proof? The critic. Because the one who criticized Sayyid Qutb in his book of tafsīr (fi dhilāl al-Qur’ān) and other than that, criticized him based upon proofs which, if one looks at it, he will know that this man has no knowledge, (and this is) the least thing which can be said (about him)! The least, which can be said, is that this man has no knowledge, that he is ignorant and that the laymen of the Muslims are better than him! As for that one (who praised him), then Allāh knows best about his condition. Have you understood this or not?
Shaykh Rabī’ – may Allāh preserve him – has written about Sayyid Qutb four or five books wherein he clarified the Jarh of this man with proofs. And before him Shaykh ‘Abdullāh ad-Duwaysh – may Allāh have mercy upon him – he was from the Scholars of al-Qasīm, he counted 181 errors from this man (Qutb) in his book of tafsīr alone! So how can it be said that he only has small errors, etc.? This does not concern us. We are upon his Jarh! Because the one who criticized him has done so based upon proofs from his books. And like this… This is one example.
Another example: someone says that ‘Hasan al-Banna is an Imām’! Meaning: an Imām from the Mujtahidīn, he only has some small errors and minor ta’wīl (figurative interpretation, distortion). And someone else comes and explains to you the errors of Hasan al-Banna and his books. And he establishes for you with proofs that he is a Mufawwid, that he is a Sūfī Qubūrī (grave-worshipping Sufi) and that he is the inventor of the wicked principle, the principle of excusing and co-operating with one another: “We co-operate in what we agree upon and excuse each other in what we disagree upon.” And he (Hasan al-Banna) applied this principle. The day he formed the council of al-Ikhwān al-Muslimīn, he appointed three Christians as councilors. Mā shā Allāh! And he established the House of Reconciling between the Sunnah and the Shī’ah in Egypt! And he invited major Rāfidah like Nawāf Safawi and others. Have you understood this? This is based upon proofs. And that one who praised him, we do not concern ourselves (with him) because we have the proofs. We are the Ummah of proofs! We are the Ummah of proofs, Na’am.”
Translated by Yâsîn Abû Ibrâhîm.
Arabic text: http://www.libya2030.com/vb/showthread.php?t=5493