Which of the two has precedence:
The detailed disparagement of a student of knowledge
The appraisal of a Shaykh who is well known to have extensive knowledge in the sciences of al-Jarh wat-Ta’dīl?
The statement of he who establishes the proofs is preceded, and this is what Allah has commanded us with, Allah, the Most High, said:
(ٱتَّبِعُوا۟ مَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُم مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا۟ مِن دُونِهِۦٓ أَوْلِيَآءَ ۗ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَذَكَّرُونَ)
“Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord (the Quran and Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah), and follow not any Auliya’ (protectors and helpers, etc. who order you to associate partners in worship with Allah), besides Him (Allah). Little do you remember!”
The Imāms of al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel from the time of our righteous predecessors until today, do not know of these types of differentiation.
They wouldn’t precede the statement of anybody who was not infallible, over the truth.
And they would accept the truth whoever was to manifest it, be them small or big, as they considered the truth bigger.
As mentioned by Imām Ibn Rajab, may Allah have mercy upon him, and others, this can be found in his book “the difference between advising and shaming”.
This newly introduced path dismantles much of the ordering of the good and forbidding of the evil, and similarly dismantles this from a large part of the society.
The affair is as such that the younger companions, may Allah be pleased with them, could perhaps rebuke the older, and their statement would be preceded over the other, as found in the two Sahīhs
On the authority of ‘Ubayd bin ‘Umayr, that Abu Mūsā sought permission from ‘Umar (to enter the house) three times, and it was like he found him to be busy so came back, whereupon ‘Umar said (to those with him in his house):
Did you not hear the voice of ‘Abdullaah bin Qays (i.e Abu Musa Ash’ari)? Permit him to enter, So he was called back. And he (‘Umar) said: What prompted you to do what you did? Thereupon, he said: This is how we have been commanded to act. He (‘Umar) said: Bring evidence in support of it, otherwise I shall deal strictly with you. So he (Abu Mūsā) set out and came to the meeting of the Ansār and asked them to bear witness before ‘Umar about this. They (the Companions present there) said: None but the youngest amongst will bear out this fact.
So Abu Sa’id Khudri (who was the youngest one in that company) said: We have been commanded to do so.
Thereupon ‘Umar said: This command of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ had remained hidden from me up till now due to (my) business in the market.
So when knowledge of the reasons which warrant disparagement and appraisal is found within a person, and having War’ (refraining of what could result in harms in the hereafter), while having sound creed and methodology.
Regardless if the one disparaging is young or old, a student of knowledge who is Mutamakin (established), or a scholar.
It’s a must that their disparagement or appraisal is accepted, in light of what is well known in the principles of this science. And the evidences of the Book and the Sunnah encompass both of these two categories of people.
As found in Sahih Muslim on the authority of Ruqiya Tamīm bin Auws Ad-Dāri, may Allah be pleased with him:
(الدين النصيحة، الدين النصيحة)
“The religious is sincere advise, the religion is sincere advise”
We said, to whom?
He ﷺ said:
(لله ولكتابه ولرسوله، ولأئمة المسلمين وعامتهم)
“To Allah, to His Messenger, to the leaders of the Muslims and the general Muslims”
And Imām Al-Wādi’ī, may Allah have mercy upon him, and Shaykh Rabee’ Al-Madkhali (click on link t.me/AbuHaatimEn/25), and The ‘Allāmah Yahya bin ‘Ali Al-Hajoori, may Allah preserve him, and the speech of others from the people of knowledge are many in clarification of this.
We have mentioned a number of this in our book “Misbaah Adh-Dhulaam..”
And I have an audio from Shaykh Rabee'(https://t.me/AbuHaatimEn/25) stating when he was asked regarding the student of knowledge speaking and refuting an individual who none of the people of knowledge have spoken about.
He said that what is befitting is that his speech is accepted if it was with binding evidences, and the fact that the people of knowledge didnt refute him or spoke about him, is not an evidence to abandon the establishment of the truth, or with words to this effect.
And this doesn’t mean that a student of knowledge is to separate himself from the scholars, and to not return to them!
Rather if an affair was to be dubious to him, he is to present what he has to the scholars and to seek their advise.
Shaykh Abu Hatim Yusuf Al-‘Inaabi Al-Jazaa’iree – may Allaah preserve him.
Abu ‘Abdirrahman ‘Abdullaah bin Ahmed Ash-Shingaani.