Salafis only return to a few Scholars | Shaykh Muhammad ibn Hadee al-Madkhalee
Questioner: May Allah be good to you, some people slander the Salafis by saying they only have three or four scholars, and that they only listen their speech in relation to al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel. So what is your advice regarding this, may Allah preserve you?
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Hadee al-Madkhalee: This doesn’t harm (the Salafis). Let them say what they wish. During the trialling time in the era of Imam Ahmad who was the one (people) depended upon? It was Ahmad! All of them were looking towards Ahmad. So the point of consideration is the one who is upon the Sunnah. When Ahmad was asked; ‘who is the Jama’ah?’, He replied; ‘Abu Hamza as-Sukkari’. Abu Hamza As-Sukkari alone was the Jama’ah! Sufyan Ath-Thawri said; ‘If only one scholar – meaning a person of Sunnah – was on the top of a mountain then he would be the Jama’ah’.
Those people (who claim this) are not given consideration, all this intimidating and inciting will not harm Ahlus-Sunnah and all praise is for Allah, neither will it break their support (for one another). And those who will be saved are but a few, whilst those who will be destructed are many. This is the first point. Secondly; how many are the narrators of hadeeth? And how many were those who memorised hadeeth? But whose words were relied upon when it came to al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel? Only a very few! Look at the treatise written by adh-Dhahabi titled; ‘Those who were relied upon for al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel’, then look at where he mentions; ‘Those whose speech was relied upon’. Not everyone who spoke was relied upon! Instead the one who was relied upon is the one who has knowledge and experience. It is a must that the person who makes Jarh or Ta’deel is: someone who is watchful of Allah in what he says. That he is aware of the fact that peoples’ honours is like a bridge which is on the brink of hell-fire, (this bridge) upon which only two types of pass over – the judges and the scholars of hadith.
As for the judges they accept the disparagement of a witness in order to preserve the blood, wealth and honour of another people, and likewise the people of hadeeth, they disparage and accept criticism of people to preserve the hadeeth of the Messenger of Allah and those who are relied upon in this field are only a few, so those who memorised and narrate hadeeth are thousands whilst those whose statements are depended in matters of al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel are very few.
It is a must that the one who is involved in Jarh or Ta’deel is mindful of Allah, and that he doesn’t speak except with knowledge, therefore he has to be a person of knowledge and piety. Likewise he must have experience regarding men and their conditions, their history, their methodologies, beliefs and their narrations. Additionally he must be mindful of Allah, abstinent and pious. He shouldn’t be taken by anger nor should he follow his desires. He should not be taken by anger such that he criticises someone who shouldn’t be criticised nor should he follow his desires such that he stays quiet from one it is obligatory to criticise. And above all of this he must intelligent, well-acquainted with the conditions of the people such that he isn’t deceived by those who try to deceive him. So how many memorisers or scholars of hadeeth are there yet they don’t meet these conditions and therefore are not including from the people of al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel. As I mentioned previously, memorisers of hadeeth and its narrators are plentiful but those who specialise in criticism are very few in number.
Such people are those who have gathered with them these characteristics and others as mentioned by the scholars of hadeeth which are to be met in order to disparage or to criticise, and not everyone can criticise or is fit to be a criticiser. So the likes of these statements are of no consideration.
Translated by ‘Abu Makkah ‘Abd ur-Rahman