All praises are for Allah and May Allah shower His praise, in the highest assembly of angels, on Messenger of Allah ﷺ

One of the greatest deception of Iblīs on the people in our era is regarding scholars. Shaitan has different traps which he uses and repeats in every era in different forms. And in the last few decades, we have seen that one of his traps is to keep people away from true scholars. The deception that I wish to talk about in this post is slandering true scholars under the label of al-Jarh wa Tadeel.

Al-Jarh Wa Tadeel is a noble science through which Muslim scholars have kept the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ free from lies and discrepancies. It was majorly used on the narrators of ahadeeth in order to ascertain which hadeeth to accept, and which ones are to be rejected. However, misusing the terminology of this noble science has caused a lot of strife among the Muslims.

Imam Ibnul Jawzi said in his book Talbees Iblees:

One of the deceptions and traps used by Shaitan upon people who used to narrate & compile Hadeeth is that they used to slander each other out of revenge under the garb of Jarh wa Tadeel, which was actually used by the predecessors of this Ummah to preserve the Shariah & its texts from distortion.

(Talbees Iblees p. 105)

Allah has commanded a common Muslim to return to scholars when he doesn’t know the ruling of Allah in some issues which takes place with him . So, it is an honor given to them by Allah himself and therefore we must behave well with them, for they are the actual Awliya of Allah 

وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن قَبۡلِكَ إِلَّا رِجَالٗا نُّوحِيٓ إِلَيۡهِمۡۖ فَسۡـَٔلُوٓاْ أَهۡلَ ٱلذِّكۡرِ إِن كُنتُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ

We did not send ˹messengers˺ before you ˹O Prophet˺ except mere men inspired by Us. If you do not know، then ask those who have knowledge ˹of the Scriptures˺.

-Surah An-Nahl, Ayah 43

إِنَّمَا يَخۡشَى ٱللَّهَ مِنۡ عِبَادِهِ ٱلۡعُلَمَٰٓؤُاْۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ غَفُورٌ

Of all of Allah’s servants, only the knowledgeable ˹of His might˺ are ˹truly˺ in awe of Him. Allah is indeed Almighty, All-Forgiving.

-Surah Fatir, Ayah 28

أَلَآ إِنَّ أَوۡلِيَآءَ ٱللَّهِ لَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا هُمۡ يَحۡزَنُونَ

There will certainly be no fear for the Awliya (close servants/worshippers) of Allah, nor will they grieve.

ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَكَانُواْ يَتَّقُونَ

˹They are˺ those who are faithful and are mindful ˹of Him˺.

-Surah Yunus, Ayah 62-63

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم

‏‏إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَالَ مَنْ عَادَى لِي وَلِيًّا فَقَدْ آذَنْتُهُ بِالْحَرْبِ‏‏‏

Narrated Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, Allah said:

‘I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a Walī (pious worshipper) of Mine’

صحيح البخاري ٦٥٠٢

:قال ابن حجر رحمه الله تعالى

. المراد بولي الله العالم بالله المواظب على طاعته المخلص في عبادته

Hafiz Ibn Hajar said:

What is meant by Walī of Allah (in the Hadeeth) is the one who has knowledge about Allah, steadfast in his obedience, sincere in worship .

(فتح الباري ١١/ ٣٤٢)

:عن الإمامين الجليلين أبي حنيفة والشافعي رضي الله عنهما قالا

 إن لم يكن العلماء أولياء الله فليس لله ولي

It has been reported from Imam Abu Hanifah as well as Imam Shafi’e:

If scholars are not the Awliya, Allah has no wali!

(التبيان للإمام النووي ٢٩ الفقيه والمتفقه للخطيب البغدادي ١/ ١٥٠ )

This is clear because Wilāyah (friendship/closeness) of Allah is acquired by His M’arifah which is not possible without knowledge.

It is known from the Sunnah (ways) of Allah that whoever tries to slander Scholars , he is exposed and humiliated like Ibn Asākir says :

إِن لُحُوم الْعلمَاء رَحْمَة اللَّه عَلَيْهِم مَسْمُومَة وَعَادَة اللَّه فِي هتك أَسْتَار منتقصيهم مَعْلُومَة

Indeed the flesh of Ulama is poisonous (i.e. slandering them means eating their poisonous dead flesh), and it is known that the way of Allah regarding those who slander them is that they are exposed / humiliated.

(تبيين كذب المفتري ٢٩)

Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen said:

الشيطان هو الذي يؤز هؤلاء على أن يقدحوا العلماء، لأنهم إذا قدحوا في العلماء سقطت أقوالهم عند الناس ما بقي للناس أحد يقودهم بكتاب الله. ومن يقودهم بكتاب الله إذا لم يثقوا بالعلماء وأقوالهم؟ تقودهم الشياطين وحزب الشيطان، ولذلك كانت غيبة العلماء أعظم بكثير من غيبة غير العلماء، لأن غيبة غير العلماء غيبة شخصية، إن ضرت فإنها لا تضر إلا الذي اغتاب والذي قيلت فيه الغيبة، لكن غيبة العلماء تضر الإسلام كله؛ لأن العلماء حملة لواء الإسلام، فإذا سقطت الثقة بأقوالهم؛ سقط لواء الإسلام، وصار في هذا ضرر على الأمة الإسلامية.

Shaitān incites these people to slander the scholars, so when they will slander the scholars, then people will consider their statements nothing. No one will remain for the people to lead them with the book of Allah. And who will lead them with the book of Allah if they will not trust the scholars & their statements?!

Shaitān & his party will lead them, this is why backbiting of scholars is very tremendous than the backbiting of those who are not scholars, because backbiting of those who are not scholars is a personal backbiting, if it harms then it harms only that person who backbit & who has been backbitten, but backbiting of scholars harms Islam altogether; because scholars are the carriers of the banner of Islam, so if the trust upon their statements will fall, then the banner of Islam will fall (due to it) & in this is a harm for the Islamic nation.

(شرح رياض الصالحين ١/ ٢٥٦)

These people that sow dissension between the people of knowledge and create enmity and discord, taking and rejecting in the matters in which their is room for Ikhtilaaf for they are based on Ijtihaad – these people in reality are from the enemies of Muslims. They think that they are rectifiers but they are those that cause corruption. Because belittling those who carry the Ilm of Shariah is in reality belittling of the Shariah.

So, if we belittle/disparage those who carry the Ilm of Shariah and make them as adversaries against each other. It means that we have belittled the Shariah completely. And people will start not to trust anyone, whenever anyone wants to present the speech of a scholar from the Ulama of Muslims, they say, “But look at what he said, so and so spoke about him, look at what (evil) has he has caused, and look at the refutation of so and so against him.”

And this without a doubt is an evil matter. And this is from the inspiration of Shaitān to these gullible people those whom we deem to be weak in intellect and foolish in insight.

It is obligatory upon the Muslims when they see rift between them, especially among their scholars that they do reconciliation between them, and bridge the gaps between them, and unite the word (remove the Ikhtilaaf) until the people become one Ummah, as Allah says :{Verily this Ummah of yours is one Ummah} Surah al Anbiya: 92).

And you, O Youngsters, upon you is that if you see these people who cause corruption that you warn the people from them, from their way, and explain that these people are severe in causing harm, and not only upon the person they are attacking against, rather it’s harmful for the Muslims and Islam. As for these people their efforts are in vain, and they think that they are doing something good. Refuge is sought with Allah.

(التعليق على القواعد الحسان ١٩٨-١٩٩)

Prophet Muhammad (May Allah praise him in the highest assembly of angels) said:

ليس منَّا مَنْ لم يُجِلَّ كبيرَنا ، ويرحمْ صغيرَنا ويَعْرِفْ لعالِمِنا حقَّهُ

He is not from us who doesn’t venerate our elders, doesn’t show mercy to our small ones and doesn’t appreciate the right of our scholars.

صحيح الجامع ٥٤٤٣

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