Joined: Sep 2002
What is your advice for the common Muslims of the West who hear about the scholars criticizing people involved in da'wah, and they do not accept this criticism, saying, "We know these callers, and we have never met those scholars. So how can we leave those we have known for years for the statements of those we never met?"
ANSWER by Shaykh Muhammad 'Umar Baazmool, instructor at Umm Al-Quraa University in Makkah
The principle in this kind of affair is that the report of a trusted person is to be accepted. So if a statement from one of the scholars of the Salaf reaches us, clarifying the situation of a person, that he had some problems, then it is binding on the one who hears such a statement to receive and accept the report of that trustworthy person. This is the case so long as nothing comes to contradict or disprove the criticism or show that the criticism was out of place.
For example, if a scholar's criticism of someone reaches us, then it is binding on us to accept this statement of criticism about such a person from that scholar, and it is to be relied upon. And if you find another scholar praising that individual, then the principle is that the criticism takes precedence over the praise, so long as the one who praised the individual has not come with a clear explanation of the other scholar's criticism, disproving it and nullifying it clearly. In this case, we go by the statement of the scholar who praised the individual.
In any case other than this, then the principle is that we must accept and rely upon the statements of a trustworthy scholar, especially when his criticism is detailed, explaining the reason for such criticism along with the proofs that necessitated the criticism of that individual. And when this kind of report reaches the people, they have no alternative except to take it.
I will give you an example to help clarify this. Imagine if we did not accept the reports of the imaams of Hadeeth with regards to the narrators of hadeeth, their criticism and praise of them. Could the authentic narrations of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) be distinguished from the unauthentic ones? The answer: No, we would not be able to distinguish, since we would not be relying on the very factor that allows us to distinguish the saheeh from the dha'eef, the statements of the scholars about the narrators that conveyed the narrations to us.
Similarly, in this day and time, the scholars continue to convey what they have witnessed and know about situations of different individuals. This testimony is considered either jarh or ta'deel. Ta'deel means statements that encourage us to take knowledge from them, and jarh means criticism that prevents us from doing so, and obliges us to warn the people against them, and Allaah knows best.
This was translated exclusively for www.bakkah.net from a cassette recording with the knowledge and permission of the shaykh, file no. AAMB002, dated 1423/6/25.