Demolishing the False Principle of Muwaazanah – Shaykh Saalih Al-Fawzaan

AUTHOR: Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan
SOURCE: Al-Ajwibat-ul-Mufeedah ‘an As’ilat-il-Manaahij-il-Jadeedah (pg. 28-33) [2nd Edition]

[19] Question: It has become widely spread amongst the youth in these days: That one is required to make Muwaazanah (balance between good and bad qualities) when criticizing. So they say: “When a person is criticized for his innovation, and his errors are clarified, you are required to mention his good qualities. This is for the sake of fairness and balancing between his good and bad qualities.” So is this methodology for criticizing correct, and am I required to mention a person’s good qualities when criticizing?

[19] Answer: I have already answered this question previously. However, if the person being criticized is from Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, and he has erred in matters that do not violate the Creed, then yes, this person’s good qualities and traits should be mentioned. So his faults will be covered by his aiding of the Sunnah.

But if the person being criticized is from the people of misguidance and deviance or from the people of destructive and doubtful ideologies, then it is not permissible for us to mention this person’s good qualities, if he does have good qualities. This is since if we mention his good qualities, this would mislead the people, and so they would have good thoughts about this deviant individual or this innovator, or this pretender or this partisan (hizbee). And they would then accept the ideologies of this deviant or that partisan.

Allaah, Mighty and Sublime, has refuted the disbelievers, criminals and hypocrites and not mentioned any of their good qualities. Likewise, the Imaams amongst the Salaf would refute the Jahmiyyah, the Mu’tazilah and the people of deviance and not mention any of their good qualities while doing so. This was since their good qualities were outweighed by their misguidance or their disbelief or their heresy or their hypocrisy. So it is not proper that you refute a deviant or an innovator and then mention his good qualities, such as by saying: He is a good man, he has good qualities, he has such and such, however he has erred!!

We say to you: Your praising him is worse than his deviance, since the people will rely on your praise for him. So if it circulates and spreads around that you praised this deviant innovator, then you have deceived the people and this is opening the door to the acceptance of the ideologies of the misguided ones. [1]

And if the one who being refuted is from Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, then the refutation should be done with good manners. And he should be cautioned about his errors in matters of Fiqh, the derivation of rulings and matters of legal judgement. So we say: “So and so has erred in such and such issue and the correct view is such and such based on this proof…may Allaah forgive him…This was his Ijtihaad (legal judgement)…etc” This was the way refutations were done between the Fiqh scholars of the four madhaahib and others.

This does not destroy his position in knowledge, if he is from Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. The members of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah are not infallible, they commit errors also. Perhaps one of them was not aware of the proof or he fell short when deriving a ruling. So we don’t remain silent with his error, rather we clarify it whilst making excuses for him. This is based on the Prophet’s saying: “When the judge makes a ruling, exerting his judgement, and is correct, he gets two rewards. And when he makes a ruling, exerting his judgement, and is incorrect, he gets one reward.” [2] This is with regard to matters related to Fiqh.

As for matters related to Creed, then it is not permissible for us to praise the misguided ones and those who oppose Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, such as the Mu’tazilah, the Jahmiyyah, the heretics, the apostates, and the deviant individuals in this time – and how many they are!

The origin of this misconception – that of making a balance between a person’s good and bad qualities when criticizing him – was stated by some of the youth and a treatise was written about it, so this overjoyed some of the youth. I came across this treatise in which the author claims that thisMuwaazanah is required. And I came across the treatise of Shaikh Rabee’ bin Haadee Al-Madkhalee [3] in which he comprehensively refutes this treatise whose author claims that Muwaazanah is necessary. In this book, he clarified the incorrectness and the spreading of falsehood found in this view (of Muwaazanah), and he explained the methodology of the Salaf in criticizing and that they refuted misguided individuals and didn’t praise the, because if they had praised them, this would have been seen as a contradiction.


[1] I will present here, my brother, a real-life incident that confirms the extent of the danger of deluding people by praising the people of innovation. This event was reported by Imaam Adh-Dhahabee and others:

Abul-Waleed Al-Baajee said in his book “Ikhtisaar Firaq-ul-Fuqahaa”, whilst talking about the Judge Abu Bakr Al-Baaqilaanee: “Once when I asked Abu Dharr Al-Harawee, who inclined towards the Ash’aree beliefs, ‘Where did you adopt these beliefs from’, he informed me: ‘I was once walking with Abul-Hasan Ad-Daaraqutnee when we came upon the judge, Abu Bakr Ibn At-Teeb – the Ash’aree. So Ad-Daaraqutnee embraced him and kissed him on the face and eyes. So when we separated from him, I asked him: ‘Who is this person for whom you did that which I didn’t believe you would do, since you are the Imaam of your time?’ He replied: ‘He is the Imaam of the Muslims and the defender of the Religion: The Judge, Abu Bakr Ibn at-Teeb.’ So from that point on, I always went to see him and ended up following his (Ash’aree) beliefs.’” [Tadhkirat-ul-Huffaadh (3/1104-1105) and Siyar A’alaam an-Nubalaa(17/558-559)]

I say: So you see from this story that when Ad-Daaraqutnee did what he did with the Ash’aree Al-Baaqilaanee, praising him, calling him the “Imaam of the Muslims” and so on, those who saw him were deluded by it and adopted the Ash’aree beliefs because of that. This is the same case with everyone that praises the people of innovations and desires, for he will cause great amounts of people to enter into their beliefs, especially if he is regarded as one of the righteous and pious individuals, and Allaah knows best.

[2] Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree (6919) and Saheeh Muslim (1716)

[3] He is referring to the book “The Methodology of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah in Criticizing Individuals, Books and Groups.” It was released in a new format in its second edition and contains several important additions. We advise the student of knowledge to read it.

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