The mumayeen (those who soften and melt (i.e. water down) the manhaj of the salaf towards ahlu bidah) often claim the salafis are harsh in the asspect of jarh (criticism) and refuting the people of falsehood ahlu bidah. They would the salafis to be like themselves lent towards ahlu bidah.
The reason they say the salafis are harsh and in particular the salafi scholars especially those known for refuting ahlu bidah is these scholars can labeled as mutashadideen (those known to have something from harshness in passing verdicts upon people).
When the Muslims hold this to be true then the mumayeen bring an Islamic principle form the science of jarh wa tadeel which is “if a scholar is known to be from the mutashadideen (those known to have something from harshness in passing verdicts upon people) we do not accept his jarh until we first analyse the positions of the other scholars (referring to the mutawasiteen (those known to be well balanced in their verdicts), and the mutasaahileen (those known to be some what easy going in passing verdicts of ta’deel upon narrators) if his verdict is in accordance with the other categories of scholars it is accepted while if it is in opposition it is rejected.”
This principle is used in jarh wa tadeel in relation to narrators of hadeeth. Shaykh Bazmool said (in a transcription of his talk called That which in obligatory for the Salafee to know from the Principles of the Salaf, which can be found on SunnahPublishing.net) “…For verily the Scholars catagorised those who speak of al-Jarh wa-Tadeel into three catagories. Those who are easygoing (mutasaahileen), those who are in the middle (mutawasiteen) and those who are harsh (mutashadideen)…”
The mumayeen seek to use this principal to reject any jarh muffassar (detailed crtisim) made by some of the scholars of ahlus sunnah made on those who used to be upon the manhaj of the salaf and then deviated (often those who are now from the mumayeen).
So they claim that the scholars who made these jarhs are mutashadideen (those known to have something from harshness in passing verdicts upon people) and therefore they hope to cast doubt on these scholars jarh on some of the mumayeen by casting doubt on the general rule in jarh wa tadeel which is the jarh mufassar takes precedence over the tadeel, no matter how many scholars made tadeel (Shaykh Muqbil bin Haadee in Ijaabat us-Saa’il Alaa Ahammil-Masaail pp.497-pp.499 said “the likes of this Jarh Mufassar is given precedence over tadeel…As for given precedence to the tadeel of the many, then it is not correct. Because the criticiser (one making the jarh) has observed what the appraiser (mu’addil) has not observed…If ten people were to declare him thiqah (trustworthy), and then a single person has made criticism (jarh) of him with a “Jarh Mufassar”, then the Jarh Mufassar is accepted…”)
However these Muslims fail to understand that this rule only relates to jarh wa tadeel in realation too the narrators of hadith and the chains of transmission of hadith. But in relation to jarh which is realted to ahlu bidah (which is in reality is radd alal mukhaalif and tahdheer min al-bidah (refuting the opposer of ahlus sunnah and warning from the people of bidah)) this rule does not apply (examples of classical texts which outline the correct creed of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah and include radd alal mukhaalif and tahdheer min al-bidah of various deviant sects are Usool us-Sunnah of Imaam Ahmad, Aqidah at-Tahawiyyah of Imam Tahawi, Sharh us-Sunnah of al-Barbahaaree, I’tiqaad Ahl as-Sunnah of Abu Bakr al-Ismaa’eelee, Sharh Usool al-I’tiqaad of al-Laalikaa’ee, Aqidah al-Hamawiyyah of Ibn Taymiyyah, Aqidah al-Waasitiyyah of Ibn Taymiyyah and Aqidah at-Tadmuriyyah of Ibn Taymiyyah).
The reason for this is that when it came to refuting ahlu bidah and those who opposed the manhaj of the salaf, the salaf where harsh in this. So when it came to radd alal mukhaalif and tahdheer min al-bidah there was not three categories of scholars (i.e. those who are easygoing (mutasaahileen), those who are in the middle (mutawasiteen) and those who are harsh (mutashadideen). Instead the salaf where all harsh in refuting ahlu bidah as well. This does not mean that the salaf use to criticise without a valid reason in fact they refuted the ahlu bidah harshly but with proof and evidences on that issue while mentioning the reason why they made their Jarh.
Shaykh Rabee ibn Hadee Umayr Al-Madkhali said (in a lecture he delivered in Masjid Al-Qiblatayn, Medinah (28 Shawwal 1431 / 7 October 2010) – original on Sahab.Net and this translation is taken from SalafiTalk.Com),
“Amongst the Salaf there were those who were harsh and those who were lenient but they never used to hold it against each other. Rather, they used to respect those who were harsh against the followers of falsehood…Being harsh against the people of falsehood used to be a virtue according to the Salaf. But since the People of Bid’ah and misguidance have come and taken over the minds of many of the youth, very regrettably, being harsh against the people of falsehood has become a vice and a defect, and being relaxed and flexible [with them] has become a distinction and an honourable trait…You must] adhere to the Salafi Manhaj and take the Salafi position towards the People of Bid’ah. It is not wrong to call them to Allah wisely and through good exhortation. If they respond, thanks and praise be to Allah. If they do not, there is no wrong in being harsh against them and …
The Salaf were harsh against them, and [in some cases] ordered some of them to be executed … [the Salaf] wrote many works [in refutation of them]…Either we reject the Manhaj of the Salaf and follow the People of Bid’ah or we say we are Salafis and we follow the path of [those Salaf] in taking the decisive and resolute positions towards the People of Bid’ah. Yes, call to Allah with proofs and conclusive arguments, explain and clarify;…
[The scholars of the Salaf used to say] ‘So and so is a liar, he is like this and he is like that’ Allah bless you; they used to state it clearly. Look in the books of Jarh and Ta’deel, in the books of ‘Aqeedah, we cannot reach the level [the Salaf reached] in their Jihad against the People of Bid’ah and Shirk. By Allah we cannot reach that level now, why? Because now there stand against us those who associate themselves with the Salafi Manhaj [but] fight against this opposition [to the People of Bid’ah] and describe it as harshness…
Be men; if you are Salafis, study the Manhaj of the Salaf from its original sources and adhere to it strictly and tightly, and do not fear the blame of the blamers if you speak sincerely for Allah. If your father or your brother deviates, the closest person to you, explain the reality of [the deviation] he has. This is the meaning of being sincere (naseehah) to Allah.
(The prophet said) “The religion is naseehah to Allah, His Book, His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and the Muslim public.” (Saheeh Muslim), (and Allah said) “O you who believe! Be just and fair and witnesses for Allah, even against yourselves, your parents or your closest kin.” (Al-Nisa 4:135)…
This is the Manhaj of the Salaf. I ask Allah to make us and you all firm upon it, and to provide us true knowledge and insight of the religion, verily our Lord is the one who hears and answers the prayers. And may Allah’s praise and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon his Family and Companions.”
A student of knowledge Shaykh Dr. Khaalid adh Dhafairi (who has a doctorate from the Islamic University of Madeenah. and is the administrator of Shaykh Rabee’s website www.rabee.net and has his own website www.aldhafiri.net) in his book Ijma’ al Ulemah ala al-Hajr wa Tahdheer min Ahlul Hawa (The concensus of the ulamaa upon boycotting and warning against the people of desires), which has introductions from Shaykh Rabee bin Hadi al Madkhalee, Shaykh Ubayd al-Jaabiri and Shaykh Zaid al-Madkhalee, dedicates a whole chapter in this book on the position of the salaf regarding shiddah (harshness) with the people of bidah.
In this chapter some of that which he mentions is as follows:
He mentions the statement of Imaam Dhahabi : “…Imaam Ahmad said : if you see a man slandering hamaad ibn salamah (167h) then suspect his islaam, for indeed he was ‘shadeed’ (harsh) upon the people of bid’ah”
Likewise concerning Bilaal ibn abi Burdah (120h) he mentions the statement of Imaam Dhahabee he says after mentioning that Khalid ibn Abdillah al Qasri utilised him in the affairs of judging and other than that while he was in charge of the affairs of the muslim then Imaam Dhahabee says: “….and Bilaal ibn Abi Burdah was ‘shadeed’ (harsh) upon ahul bid’ah”
He likewise mentions the statement of Imam Az-Zawaawi about Imaam Abdur Rahmaan ibn hurmuz al a’raj(117h) :…Ibn Hurmuz was little in speech and was ‘shadeed’ (harsh) against ahul bid’ah”
As for the famous qaadi (judge) Shreek ibn Abdillah an Nakha’i’ (177h) he quotes the statement of Imaam Ahmad “…he was intelligent, trustworthy, a muhadith (scholar of hadeeth) and was shadeed(harsh) upon the people of doubt and bid’ah”
Concerning Imaam Shaafi’ee (204h) he quotes the statement of al imaamul baihaqi concerning him in ‘manaaqibush shaafi’ee’’ vol 1 page 469: “Ash-shaafi’ee radhiyallahu anhu was ‘shadeed’(harsh) upon the people of heresy and and bid’ah making his hatred and boycotting of them apparent”
About Abdillah ibn Abi Hisaan al Yahsibi (226h) “…he was generous, eloquent, strong in debate, a defender of the sunnah a follower of the way of imaam maalik ‘shadeed’(harsh) upon ahlu bid’ah”
So from the above it is clear that many of the salaf where harsh in refuting ahul bidah and used to hold it as a virtue to be harsh in refuting ahlu bidah. Also the three categories of scholars (i.e. those who are easygoing (mutasaahileen), those who are in the middle (mutawasiteen) and those who are harsh (mutashadideen)) is only in relation to jarh wa tadeel in connection too hadith and not in relation to jarh wa tadeel that is connected to radd alal mukhaalif and tahdheer min al-bidah.