If both praise and disparagement are made upon a man, which one is given precedence?
Shaykh Muqbil bin Hādī al-Wādiʿī:
If both praise and disparagement are made upon a man, which one is given precedence? If the disparagement is detailed, then it is given precedence, however it is necessary to see who is the one criticising. Is he from those who are reliable, such as Yaḥyá ibn al-Maʿīn, and al-Bukhārī, and Aḥmad ibn al-Ḥanbal, and Yaḥyá ibn Sa’īd al-Qaṭṭān and ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn al-Mahdī and Abū Zurʿah and Abū Ḥātim? If he is from this category then it is accepted and it is taken as a detailed criticism, and an example of a detailed criticism is to say: “he is uncertain”, “he errs.” “he makes mistakes”, “he narrates doubtful ḥadīths”, “he’s a liar”.
These are detailed criticisms. “He is abandoned” and also “he is very weak”. These are also detailed criticisms, so in cases like this, the detailed criticism is given precedence over praise. However, if the one who is criticising is weak himself, such as Abū al-Fat’ḥ al-Azdī and like ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Yūsuf ibn Khurash who has something of rafḍ (traits of the Rāfiḍah) then he may have criticised some of Ahl al-Sunnah.
Imām al-Dhahābī mentioned in the biography of Abū Salamah Mūsá ibn Ismāʿīl al-Minqārī, that he didn’t mention him because of a weakness in him, but because Ibn Khurash mentioned him and said that he had been spoken about, Imām al-Dhahābī commented and said “Yes, they said about him that he is trustworthy and firmly-grounded, O’ you Rāfiḍī!” Similarly also if he criticised those who are of a similar rank to him, ie. if it is known there is some element of competition in worldly affairs, and this happens. Such as what happened between Abū Nuʿaym and Ibn Mandah, and between Ibn Ḥibbān and [unclear word], some of the contemporary (scholars of ḥadīth). Perhaps when there is criticism of those of a similar rank, then the reason must be looked at. If it is found that the reason was competition or a worldly affair, and this type of criticism is suspended. Or if the one who is criticising does not know the science of disparagement, because it is a condition that he is knowledgeable in the reasons for criticism, or if he is biased like these modern lowly people such as Abū Rayyah and those who followed his footsteps such as Aḥmad Amīn and also al-Kawtharī who authenticates and weakens based on desires, and Muḥammad Rāshid Redá also authenticates and weakens based on desires, also Jamāl al-Din Al-Afghānī and Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Miṣrī.
All of these and those who followed their footsteps, their speech is not accepted, and there is no hesitation in saying so! Their speech is not accepted, and there is no hesitation in saying so! And their speech should not be relied on. These modern ones who want to give themselves the position of authenticating and weakening based on what they desire, and Allah’s help is sought.