Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimîn on Speaking About Individuals
October 27, 2007 5 Comments
I was sifting through one of my temporary folders and came across this article which I translated a few years ago taken from something originally posted on the as-Sâhah al-‘Arabiyyah forums. I thought it would be good to edit and post it here for you guys. Allah willing, it will provide some benefit for those who choose to read it.
In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
Shaikh Muhammad bin Sâlih al-‘Uthaimîn’s Methodology Regarding Speaking About Individuals
Question: Esteemed shaikh, you know what Shaikh … has of good efforts in the da’wah, so we want a declaration from your excellence, of what you know about this shaikh since some have begun speaking about him, may Allah reward you with good.
Answer: It is not any of our concern in this meeting to speak about a specific person. We say, however, firstly, every person in this [Muslim] nation has truthfulness in calling to Allah, from the beginning of this nation, until its end. There is no doubt that he is praised for whatever good he performed.
Secondly, we say every person—whatever he attained of knowledge and godliness—surely he is not devoid of slips, whether their cause be ignorance, negligence, or other than that. The fair person, however, is just as Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy on him) said in the address of his Kitâb al-Qawâ’id, “The fair person is [the one] who forgives the person’s few mistakes in [light of] his many correct [deeds].” No one takes the errors and neglects the good deeds except he would resemble women. For surely if you are good to the woman all the time, then she saw one misdeed from you, she would say, “I never saw any good from you, at all.” There is no man who wants to be of this manner, meaning like the manner of the female: he takes the one slip and neglects the many good deeds. So the principle is just as I said, that we do not speak about specific individuals in praise or dispraise, not in our gatherings in the place of teaching, not in the meetings, nor in what is mentioned to us by way of questions. We are incisive on that, if Allah wills. And we hope that Allah, glorified and exalted is He, makes us firm upon it, because speaking about the specific individual might stir up partisanship and bigotry, and because it might change his situation to good from what he was upon. The obligation is that we attach the judgements to the characteristics, not to the individuals. So we say whoever did such, then he deserves such, and whoever did such, he deserves such, of good or of evil. When we want to correct the person, however, then we must mention the good qualities and the shortcomings, because this is the just scale. When we caution against the mistake of a person, then we mention the mistake only, because the place is a place of cautioning. It is not wise that we mention the good qualities in the place of cautioning, because if you mention the good qualities, then surely the one listening will remain wavering. So every place has a saying.
Source: Liqâ’ât al-Bâb al-Maftūh (3/455-456), prepared by Dr. ‘Abdullah at–Tayyâr.
 In the original [statement by Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimîn] is ‘his reward’. The correction is from Kitâb al-Qawâ’id by Ibn Rajab.