“If you see a man praising evil people and the scholars of misguidance…know that he is disobedient, corrupt and astray…”
All praise is due to Allah, and may exaltation and safety be granted to Muhammad, his family, his companions, and those who aid them. To proceed:
Al-Imam al-Barbahaaree [d. 329 A.H.] (1), may Allah have mercy on him, said in his monumental work, Sharh as-Sunnah, point #141:
If you hear a man speak well of Ibn Abee Du’aad (2), Bishr (3), Thumaamah (4), Abul-Huthayl (5), Hishaam al-Futee (6), or any of their followers and supporters, scrutinize [him], and beware of him, for indeed, innovation is with him. These people were upon apostasy, so abandon this man who spoke well of them…(7)/(8)
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan, may Allah protect him, commented on this passage by saying:
“If you see a man praising evil people and the scholars of misguidance, such as the hatchlings of the Jahmiyyah, know that he is disobedient, corrupt and astray. This is because he would not have praised them if he did not love them and approve of their path. And if you see a man applauding the likes of al-Imam Ahmad and [al-Imam] Ibn Mubaarak; likewise, he applauds the scholars of the Taabi’een and those who came after them, know that he is a person who has good with him. This is because he only applauds the people of the Sunnah because he loves the Sunnah and firm adherence to it.
This teaches us a lesson: Some brothers or some students of knowledge praise some of the people of innovation or the people of desires and deviant views. He does not thoroughly examine their views and their course. Yet, he belittles and speaks ill of those who are good people. This happens because he lends an ear to those who belittle them, and [as a result], he believes them. This is extremely dangerous if a person degrades good people, the people of knowledge and the people of the Sunnah; yet, he applauds people with deviated views and ways. This is extremely dangerous.
If only he would not have sat with them. This is some of what al-Imam al-Barbahaaree warns us about from that which people have fallen into now.” (9)
Shaykh Rabee Ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee, may Allah protect him, said:
“Regretfully, the affair has been turned upside down. We find many who connect themselves to the Salafi methodology befriending the people of innovation. They show concern for them, their methodology and their books, and they defend all of the aforementioned. However, you notice them fleeing, chasing [people] away and warning against those who uphold the truth and the Sunnah. Indeed, we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return!” (10)
(1) A well-known Imam of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah.
(2) Ibn Abee Du’aad al-Mu’atazilee [d. 240 A.H.] was a figurehead of misguidance. He incited the government [during his time] to test the people about the creation of the Qur’aan.
(3) Bishr al-Mareesee [d. 218 A.H.] was from the shuyookh of the Mu’tazilah, and he was a caller to the statement that the Qur’an is created.
(4) Thumaamah Ibn Ashrar [d. 213 A.H.], the philosopher, he was a leader of the Mu’atazilah.
(5) Muhammad Ibn al-Hutayl al-Basree, he was one of the shuyookh of the Mu’tazilah and a head of innovation. [d. 235 A.H.]
(6) Hishaam al-Futee, he was one of the shuyookh of the Mu’tazilah. He also had followers called Hishaamiyyah.
(7) Al-Barbahaaree, Sharh as-Sunnah, 122-123 (Maktabah Daar al-Manhaaj)
(8) The biographies mentioned are summarized and taken from ‘Abdur-Rahman al-Jamyizee’s verification of Sharh as-Sunnah, Maktabah Daar al-Manhaaj.
(9) Saalih al-Fawzaan, An Explanation of Sharh al-Sunnah, pg. 412 (Daar Ibn Hajr)
(10) Rabee’ al-Madkhalee, The Methodology of Ahulus-Sunnah in Critiquing Men, Books and Sects, 27