It always saddens me to see serious disagreement and division among the mashāyikh and students ascribed to as-Salafiyyah.
However, If this happens, supporting the truth is more beloved to me than defending the personalities of those ascribed to as-Salafiyyah without considering if they are right or wrong. This undoubtedly is the partisanship from which we have fled. And this is similar to what a poet said:
” وما أنا إلا من غزية إن غوت * غويت وإن ترشد غزية أرشد “
( I am but from [the tribe] of Guzayyah. If they stray I shall stray. And if Guzayyah go right, I shall go right.)
Al- imam Ibn al-Qayyim actually spoke the truth when he said:
” شيخ الإسلام حبيب إلينا ولكن الحق أحب إلينا منه “
( Sheikh al-Islam ( referring to Abu Ismāīl al-Harawī) is beloved to us but the truth is more beloved to us than he.)
Yes, a person may truely be upon al-Kitāb and an-Sunnah based on the understanding of the Righteous Predecessors, and all of a sudden he gets swayed by desires; or he may be -as it appears to the people- upon al-Kitāb and an-Sunnah and the understanding of the Righteous Predecessors, and later events and tribulations expose their real manhaj to the people-We ask Allāh for safety and good end.
A lot of scholars such as al-Albāni, Ibn Baaz, Ibn al-Uthaimīn and al-Fawzan, have praised many famous callers ascribed to as-Salafiyyah; they defended them tremendously and refuted those who spoke against them. For instance, ash-sheikh al-Albāni beautifully spoke good of Salmān al-‘Awdah in the muqadimmah of his book ” Sifat Salat an-Nabiyyi” when he refuted al-Gazāliyy( the Ikhwāni) who was speaking ill of some ahādīth of the Prophet, sallā Allāhu alayhi wa sallam, and making jest of them.
He ( al-Albāni) also defended him ( Salmān) in some of the sittings of Silsilatatu al-Hudā wan-Nur; he objected to his being an ikhwāni. However, when his true colour later became clear to him, he recanted and strongly held it that his manhaj is ikhwāni although he may not be a member organizationally.
This was also his stand initially on Safar al-Hawāli; he defended him seriously when he was accused of calling to demonstrations / protests in Algeria. He heavily refuted the brother who was discussing his matter with him. Later, it became clear to the sheikh that he ( Safar) was actually calling to khārijism with a modern methodology, according to the terminology of the sheikh ( modern khārijism).
Ash-sheikh Ibn Bāz and Ibn al-Uthaimeen would also speak well of Salmān al-‘Awdah and Safar al-Hawāli so much so that Ibn Bāz would call the latter ” Ibn Taymiyyah junior”. Later, both of them recanted and withdrew their commendation and warned the youths from them when they saw that both Safar and Salmān were instigating the youth against the rulers.
Ash-sheik al-Fawzān would also praise al-‘Arīfi and al-‘Awdah before; he later warned the youths from them so that they won’t be deceived by them.
Consequently, the ascription of a person to as-Salafiyyah and the call to it does not mean they have gotten immunity not to speak against them when they deviate from the right path– We ask Allah to save us. If ordinary ascription is enough, then warning of these scholars from these people mentioned will be meaningless.
Finally, I would like to say, that which is clear to other than you about the condition of a particular person may be hidden from you; take it easy before taking a position study the matter a study that is devoid of the prior love you have for either party.
This reminds me of what happened to me personally with one of the students of al-Albāni when I visited him during one of the Hajj periods in the hotel which he and a friend of his who happened to be a student of al-Albāni too used to lodge. There was also a visitor with them and their discussion centered around the dispute that was going on between them on the one hand, and another friend of theirs [ another student of al-Albāni too] on the other hand. The visitor was a kind of trying to appeal to them to bring this dispute to an end while both of them were narrating what they had borne concerning their old friend.
The reference point in the story is that after the visitor had left and one of the two sheikhs also left for his room,I started appealing to the other sheikh to take patience and overlook for the general interest of dawah. There and then he said to me, ” Friendship of thirty years is not a trivial thing. However, we defended him until we were soiled through his defence “
When I heard this, I kept mute and discontinued the discussion with him on that topic because I knew it is not strange that something of this nature happens between friends.
[ Translation of A Write- up Written in Arabic Two Years Ago]
Written by: Sheikh ‘AbdulGaniy Jum’ah, Hafidhahullah.