Are the Issues of alJarḥ wa al-Taʿdīl (criticism and praise) ijtihādīyah (based upon scholarly interpretation)? And how do we respond to the one who claims this, and says: ‘I’m not obliged to accept the statement of shaykh so & so‘? (Shaykh laughing)

Shaykh Rabīʿ ibn Hādī al-Madkhalī:

A group of plotters against the Salafī methodology who deceptively wear the cloak of Salafīyyah have focused on the issue of ‘al-Jarḥ wa al-Taʿdīl’ (saying) “we correct without criticising“, “We want a methodology that is wide and extensive which accommodates the entire Ummah“. – May Allah bless you – (They say) “We correct without destroying” meaning there is no changing of evil (to good) or bidʿah (to Sunnah) or anything of that sort and the entire Ummah is included in this wide and extensive methodology, even the Rawāfidh would be included as our brothers – may Allah bless you.

They have started conspiring to attribute accusations against al-Jarḥ wa al-Taʿdīl and those who apply it – May Allah bless you, some of them even went to the extent of claiming: “Verily al-Jarḥ wa al-Taʿdīl has no evidence in the Book (Quran) or Sunnah.” I said to the one who said this: “How can you utter such a statement?!” to which he replied: “It was a mispronunciation, (just) a mispronunciation.“ After he spread (this doubt) by way of his (audio) tapes, he says: This is (just) a mispronunciation. By Allah this is a (clear) error – not (just) a mispronunciation!

The Qurʾān is full of evidences (in support of) al-Jarḥ wa al-Taʿdīl. (E.g.) The criticism of Firʿaun (Pharaoh), the criticism of the people of Nūḥ, the criticism of the people of Hūd, the people of Ṣāliḥ, the Quraysh, Abī Lahab, and-so-on, etc. -May Allah bless you- The Sunnah is also full of evidence, may Allah bless you. The methodology of the Salaf, this historical methodology, is a weapon in the face of the people of innovation. Therefore they want to demolish this weapon, and to disarm the Salafīs of this weapon, which is derived from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ .

The first one (individual) came waging war on al-Jarḥ wa al-Taʿdīl, and then came the second, then the third, then the fourth, then the tenth, and large crowds followed them. These are the ones (figureheads) whom I have warned you about, as they wear the cloak of Salafīyyah (in disguise) and split the ranks of the Salafīs with these (false) principles and these (false) foundations -May Allah bless you. (If) an individual murders someone, and the crime is witnessed by two just witnesses who both give their testimony to an Islamic Judge – what will his verdict be? His verdict will be ‘Qisās‘ (legal retribution), otherwise he would be opposing The Book and Sunnah of the Messenger ﷺ. (Allah says):

۞ وَأَشْهِدُوا ذَوَيْ عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ وَأَقِيمُوا الشَّهَادَةَ لِلَّهِ

“And take for witness two just persons from among you (Muslims). And establish the witness for Allah” (Q 65: 2)

– May Allah bless you.

The evidences for testimonies and the evidences for al-Jarḥ wa al-Taʿdīl are one (ie. the same thing), for indeed an unjust individual’s testimony is not accepted, and (likewise) an unjust individual’s narration is not accepted. (As well as) the liar, the traitor, the one who is inaccurate in speech – testimony is not accepted from them, nor criticism (Jarḥ) or praise (Taʿdīl). (However) if an individual, (who) is knowledgeable, accurate and precise, criticises a person e.g. He says “so-and-so is a liar” then it is obligatory upon the people to accept his statement (Jarḥ).

The Salaf traversed upon this methodology: (If an individual with the mentioned characteristics said:) “Fulān (so-and-so) is a liar”, then he is a liar! “Fulān has bad memory”, then he has bad memory! “Fulān is like this”, then he is like this! Fulān is an innovator, or Murji, or Kharijī, or Muʿtazilī, etc, then so be it! (When) Aḥmad bin Hanbal said, Yaḥyah bin Maʿīn said, Ibn al-Madīni said, Ibn Mahdi said, al-Bukhāri said, it was accepted (from them). Why?! Because Allah ordered with the acceptance of news from a just individual.

۞ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ

“O’ you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with news, verify it” (Q 49:6)

So you should not verify or examine news except that which is conveyed by a Fāsiq, and this does not mean you are declaring his news a lie, -May Allah bless you- it is possible that it is sound, however you still do not accept it until verifying.

As for the news of a just individual – so long as he is just and accurate and narrates from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, then it is obligatory to accept his news. The archives of the Sunnah are full of statements of these truthful individuals; a truthful just person narrating from another truthful just person, and so on until reaching the Prophet ﷺ. Our religion was established upon this!

These (conspiring) individuals are trying to topple our principles, which our religion was established upon, and the Ḥadīth of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and the narrations conveyed about the Companions, and the narrations conveyed about the Imāms -May Allah bless you- much of this came to us by way of a single trustworthy individual narrating from another trustworthy individual, and so on. This was acceptable (with them), and consequently it is obligatory (upon us) to accept this, the evidence being:

۞ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ

“O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with news, verify it.” (Q 49:6)


۞ وَأَشْهِدُوا ذَوَيْ عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ وَأَقِيمُوا الشَّهَادَةَ لِلَّهِ

And take for witness two just persons from among you (Muslims). And establish the witness for Allah” [Q 65: 2].

In regards to news, it is sufficient that the news is conveyed by only one (trustworthy) individual. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ would send individuals (as a Messenger). He sent an individual to Kisra (King of Persia) and by way of (this single individual) the evidence was established against (Kisra), and he sent an individual to Qaysar (Caesar) and this (sufficiently) established the evidence against (Qaysar), and if they did not enter Islam based upon the message of this single trustworthy truthful person, and rejected Islam and did not follow the (message) of Allah’s Messenger  ﷺ, then Allah’s Messenger would then prepare an army (to fight them) He ﷺ , prepared an army for the battle of Tabūk against the Romans, based upon them rejecting this invitation which was conveyed by one person. Likewise he sent (a messenger) to Bahrain, Oman and Yemen. He would only send one person, and their news would be accepted, the evidence would be established by way of them, and whoever did not accept their news then an army would be prepared for them.

So how is it now, (that when) 10 to 15 Salafīs are in agreement regarding a particular matter, it is rejected and said “An Ijmāʿ (consensus) is a must?!” From their principles is that tabdīʿ of a person (declaring him an innovator) is not accepted – even if ten contemporary Imāms (of Sunnah) say that “Fulān is an innovator due to him having such-and-such” then it is not accepted from them. This (principle) is from those whom I have warned you against. They claim to be upon Salafīyyah, and at the same time they destroy the Salafī methodology and its principles along with its foundations. (Look) how numerous their corrupt principles are! (For example): “I’m not obliged (to accept the Jarḥ)”.

You could be quoting to him from a book, ‘Fulān said in this book on this page such-and-such’ – (highlighting) misguidance which is as apparent as the sun, he then replies to you saying ‘I’m not obliged to accept your speech’. (Even if) tens of people are in support of this speech, he insists on saying “I’m not obliged” (using) this principle: ‘I’m not obliged…’

They have principles for denying the truth, and principles for (falsely) rejecting the truth and the principles of al-Jarḥ wa al-Taʿdīl. So learn the principles of al-Jarḥ wa al-Taʿdīl and look at the methodology of the Salaf, and traverse their methodology, and leave off those who misguide and incite rabble upon the true religion of Allah, the Salafī methodology and its people.