Hunting for Mistakes and the Vulture Culture - Destroying Correct Cultivation
Words from Shaykh Muhammad Nasir ud-Din al-Albani
"Listen my brother. I sincerely advise you and other youths like you, who stand upon a type of deviation - as it seems to us, and Allah knows best - that do not waste your time in refuting each other, saying that such and such has this in him, and such and such has that in him. This is because; firstly: there is no knowledge at all in this, and secondly: this mannerism only breeds enmity and hatred in the hearts, and causes contempt and rancour to develop in the hearts. So it is upon you to seek knowledge. It is knowledge that will make clear to you the reality of the speech which is in praise of a particular person having many mistakes, and whether he is deserving of being labelled as an innovator. Yet why do we wish to delve into such issues. Indeed I advise you not to delve into such issues. The reality is that we complain about this splitting which has occurred between those who ascribe themselves to the da'wah to the Book and the sunnah - or as we say, ad-da'watus-salafiyyah, the greatest cause of this splitting, and Allah knows best, is the following of whims and desires and the evil dictates of one's soul. It is not due to the presence of differences in thoughts and ideas. So this is my sincere advice."
(s) Silsilatul-Huda wan-Nur (784/1), dated the 1st of Rabi' al Awwal 1414H (9 December 1993)
Words from Shaykh 'Abdul-'Aziz ibn 'Abdullah ibn Baz
"What has become common in this age, is that many of those who ascribe themselves to knowledge and calling to good, fall into belittling many of their brothers who are well-known preachers, and speaking against the honour of the students of knowledge and the preachers. This is done sometimes secretly in their circles, sometimes on cassettes which are then circulated amongst the people, or sometimes publicly mentioned in their gatherings in the mosques. And this matter opposes the command of Allah and His Messenger from a number of angles ... So I sincerely advise those brothers who have fallen into slandering and maligning the preachers, that they should repent to Allah, the Most High, for what they have written with their own hands, and what they have said with their own tongues; which may have been a cause for corrupting the hearts of some of the youths; filling their hearts with hatred and malice, and pre-occupying them away from acquiring beneficial knowledge and calling to Allah, because of being pre-occupied with qil and qal (gossiping and rumour mongering); and with speech about this person and that person; and with hunting for the mistakes of people, and burdening them with this. Likewise, I sincerely advise them that they should redress whatever they have done, and declare themselves free from the likes of these actions, through writing: or methods other than this. They should remove whatever may have entered the minds and thoughts of those who listened to them, and they should take to doing those fruitful actions that will draw them closer to Allah, and which will be of benefit to the worshippers. They should beware of being hasty in pronouncing takfir, tafsiq or tabdi upon people, without the truth being explained, and without the proofs being established. The Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said, 'Whosoever says to his brother: 'O unbeliever' then it will return to one of them.' The authenticity of this hadith has been agreed upon."
(s) Majmu' Fatawa wa Maqalat Mutanawwi'ah (7/311-314), abridged.
Words from Shaykh Muhammad Salih ibn al-'Uthaymin
"It is essential for a student of knowledge to safeguard his time from being wasted. And time wasting occurs in a number of ways: Firstly, that one leaves committing to memory and revising what one has read. Secondly, that one sits with his friends and indulges in vain and idle talk which contains no benefit. Thirdly, and this is the most harmful of them upon a student of knowledge - that he has no concern except pursuing people's statements with he said this and he said that (ma qila wa ma qala) and with what occurred and what is taking place regarding an issue that is of no concern to him. And there is no doubt that this is from a weakness of [his] Islam, since the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said, "Part of a person's good Islam is to leave alone that which does not concern him." And busying oneself with qila wa qala and excessive questioning are time-wasters. And it is, in reality, a disease which, when it comes into man - we ask Allah for well-being - it becomes his greatest concern. Due to this, he may even sometimes show enmity ('ada) to one who does not deserve enmity, or show allegiance (wala) to one who does not deserve allegiance, because of concerning himself with these issues which pre-occupy him away from knowledge, under the pretext of 'championing the truth', whilst this is not the case! Rather, this is part of pre-occupying oneself with an issue that does not concern him. If, however, a report comes to you without you having pursued or sought it, then all people receive news, but they do not busy themselves with it, nor does it become their greatest concern. This is because this pre-occupies the student of knowledge, corrupts his affair and opens up for the 'ummah the door of bigoted partisanship (hizbiyyah), which then splits the 'ummah."
(s) Kitabul-'Ilm (204-205)
Words from Shaykh 'Abdullah al-Ghunayman
Amongst the consequences of the actions of these individuals is that they have confused the thoughts of many of the youth. Thus, as a result, some youths have strayed from the path of guidance and have begun to follow what those - who criticize others, and who have stood in the path of da'wah and blocked the path of Allah - have drawn up for them. Some of the youth, as a result of those individuals who criticize others, now sense a great gap between them and the Scholars, and now harbour great misgivings, causing them to stay away from the Scholars. Some have begun to categorize people according to what he hears from these people, saying: so and so is from the ikhwan, because he talks, visits or sits with a person from the ikhwan; or that such and such is sururi; or such and such is from the profiterors [i.e. those who wish to please everybody, even at the expense of the truth], etc. The amazing thing is that these people imagine that by doing so, they are applying the methodology of al-jarh wat-ta'dil. However, they have adopted in this action, ignorant leaders who are misguided and who misguide others. Thus, it is upon the Muslim to fear Allah regarding himself and those poor souls who are not even a quarter, or a tenth of the learned.
There occurs in the authentic hadith, "That Allah guides through you even a single person, is better than the choicest of camels." [Related by al-Bukhari (2942), from Sahl ibn Sa'd, radiallahu 'anhu]
Meaning that it is better for you in this world. Likewise, whosoever misguides even a single person, will bear a great burden; as Allah, the Most High, said, after mentioning the story of one of the Adam's children killing his brother:
"Because of that, We ordained for the Children of Isra'îl that whosoever kills a person, not because of a life for a life; or killed a person in order to spread corruption upon the earth, it is as if he has killed the whole of mankind." [Al-Qur'an 5:32]
Thus, to send someone astray in his religion is far far greater than killing him. So statements regarding matters of religion must be stated along with their proofs from either Allah's Book, or the sunnah of His Messenger, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, and that when making such statements one should seek by that the Face of Allah Alone; and also one should ascertain if the harm resulting from such speech is not greater than the benefit, or that one's intention is not due to envy of a particular individual, or due to the following of one's desires.
(s) Al-Hawa wa Atharuhu fil Khilaf (33-34)
(t) Abu Umar al-Jurjaani
(w) Maktabah Al-Salafiyah (no longer available)