Questioner: Is it a condition for their to be a consensus for (the acceptability) of a refutation?
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan: This is from the affairs of the memorisers of hadith. It is not a condition that there be a consensus, It is not a condition that there be a consensus upon the one being criticised. Rather the one who is affirming is given precedence over the one that is negating. The one who is praising is negating and the one who is criticising is affirming (something the other doesn’t know), therefore his speech takes precedence.
Questioner: Is it a condition when refuting the people of innovation for there to be a consensus by all of the contemporary scholars or is one scholar sufficient?
Shaykh Rabee al-Madkhalee: This is from the filthy principles of at-Tam’iyee. In which era did they make this condition of consensus and what is the proof for such a condition? Any condition that is not in the book of Allah is null and void – that is to say if there even was such a condition. So if Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal or Yahya ibn Ma’een criticises an innovator; do I say that it is a must that all of the Imams of the Sunnah have to unite by consensus that he is an innovator? When Imam Ahmad said about such a person that he was an innovator, that was the end of the affair and all of the people submitted to him and followed him. And if Ibn Ma’een were to say such a person is an innovator, no one would dispute with him in that matter. A condition that there must be a consensus is impossible to achieve in every aspect of the Islamic legislation.
For example, if two witnesses testify that a person had committed murder, where is the condition that there must be a consensus of all of the Muslims that such a person has murdered someone!!? Rather it is obligatory upon the judge to rule by the Islamic legislation, either establish the punishment or stipulate blood money which is compensated to the family of the victim. It is binding that the legislation of Allah is carried out. Nevertheless – is a consensus made a condition in a matter such as this which is more dangerous than ruling a person as an innovator? Those people are al-Mu’ayeem (those who attenuate the Salafi methodology) and they are people of falsehood and callers to evil. They are a people who fish in murky waters so don’t listen to this nonsense. Therefore, if an insightful scholar disparages an individual, it is obligatory to accept this disparagement, and if another competent and just scholar opposes his disparagement then the two sides are studied, the praise and disparagement are reviewed.
If the disparagement is detailed and clear, then that is given precedence over the praise – even if there many scholars praising the one being disparaged. If one scholar puts forward detailed disparagement whilst twenty or fifty scholars oppose him without any evidence, all they have is good thought to depend on and judging based upon the apparent,whilst the one disparaging has evidence for the disparagement of this individual, the disparagement is given precedence because the criticiser has proof, and the proof is given precedence.The proof is given precedence even if the entire world opposes him, as long as he has the proof, the truth is with him.
The Jamaa’ah is whoever is upon the truth even if he is alone. If the individual is upon the Sunnah and two or three cities of innovators are in opposition to him, the truth is with him. The truth and evidence that he has is given precedence over the falsehood of others. It is obligatory that we respect the truth and the evidence. Allah said; “Say; bring forth your evidence if you certainly are truthful.” and He said: “If you were to obey the majority of people on earth they would surely misguidance you from the path of Allah.”The majority are of no value if they have no evidence, even if the entire population of the world except a few were to unite upon falsehood, without having any evidence, then this doesn’t give them any value, even if the one in opposition to them is alone, or a few in number. Allah! Allah! How amazing it is to know the truth and to cling onto it and to accept it when it is accompanied with evidence.