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Misconceptions About the Scholars of the Salaf
  Imaam adh-Dhahabi on Ibn Taymiyyah : Removing the Misconceptions
Author: Shaikh Saleem al-Hilaalee
Source: Al-Kawkab ad-Durree (trans. A. Iyaad)
Article ID : MSC060003  [19456]  
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However, a scholar from among them would do justice to him... with knowledge, and the route of intelligence (in this matter) is to remain quiet about what occurrs between rivals, may Allaah have mercy upon them all. And I am the very least of those whose words speak of his greatness or whose pen makes his (mental and characteristic) composition clear. His associates and also his enemies humble themselves in front of his sciences, acknowledge the swiftness of his understanding, that he is a river which has no banks (i.e. no end), a treasure for which there is no equal, that he had determined generosity and that his braveness had no end. However, they would seek vengeance against him and those who were fair in just in that will be rewarded, those who took the middle course (i.e. were not excessive) will be excused, those who were oppressive will be subdued and overcome, but most of them are in fact deceived, to Allaah do all affairs return and every man can have his saying accepted or rejected. Perfection lies only in the Messengers and decisive proof is only in concensus. So may Allaah show mercy to a man who spoke about the scholars upon knowledge and who assiduously scrutinized their problematic pronouncements out of consideration and good understanding, who then sought forgiveness for them and spoke of excuses for them. And if this is not (the adopted path of an individual) then he is someone who does not know and who doesn't know that he doesn't know. If you pardon the most senior of scholars for their errances and you do not pardon Ibn Taymiyyah for his limited mistakes then you have affirmed for your own soul (the following of) desires and the lack of justice. And if you were to say, 'I do not pardon him because he is a disbeliever, the enemy of Allaah and His Messenger' then a portion from the people of knowledge and deen say to you, 'By Allaah, we do not know of him except that he is a believer who guards his prayers, ablutions, fasting in Ramadaan and who venerates the Sharee'ah both inwardly and outwardly. He would not approach (any matter) with a faulty and evil understanding, rather he had excessive intelligence. And nor would he approach any matter with lack of knowledge, for he was an overflowing ocean, having firm knowledge and insight of the Book and the Sunnah, withouth there being any equal to him in that. And nor was he one who played with the religion. For if he had been like that then he would have deceived his antagonists straight away, (pretending to) agree with them and he would have abandoned contradicting them. And he would not hold unique stances in certain matters due to personal desires and nor would he give a fatwa based upon something that was agreed upon[11], rather he would bring proof from the Qur'aan, the hadeeth or qiyaas (analogy) for all of his unique stances and he would prove them and argue in their favour. He would also narrate all the different opinions held in the issue and would lengthen his investigation of it, following in the footsteps of the imaams before him. If he erred then he has the reward of the one who strives to arrive at the truth amongst the scholars, and if he was correct then he acquires two rewards.


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