Shaykh Ahmad An-Najjar said, “Dear Muslims, knowledge is only to be taken from its people, they are those who: combine between knowledge and righteous actions.
You will find a scholar whose knowledge can be applied on his words and actions and that is seen on his tongue and limbs, and you will find that his knowledge leads him to fear Allaah and fear oppressing people and transgressing against them.
Al-Hasan al-Basree said, “A man would seek knowledge and it would not be long until it was seen in his humility, guidance, speech and hand [i.e. action].”
Al-Maroodhee said, “Ahmad [Bin Hanbal] said to me: ‘I have not written down a hadeeth from the Prophet except that I acted by it. I even came across the hadeeth that the Prophet sought Hijaamah and gave the Hajjaam (the person who did the hijjaamah) Aboo Tayyibah a deenar for it. So I got Hijaamah done and gave the Hajjaam a deenaar.’”
This is how the scholars are.
As for those who go to excess in takfeer (declaring some Muslims are kuffar) and tabdee (declaring some Muslims are innovators) then knowledge is not to be taken from them except if there is an overwhelming benefit over a harm in doing so.
Knowledge is not to be taken from such an individual due to their perception and conceptualisation of the truth in what misguides him (being incorrect), due to his fleeing from the truth while accusing other people of falsehood and his lack of manners in dealing with the people (of sunnah).
Therefore, you will see him with the most vile and contemptible of words about people and having terrible manners such as pride, belittlement and scorn of others, alongside other issues.
Whoever has a condition such as this, knowledge is not to be taken from him.
Imam Malik said, “Knowledge is not to be written except from one who memorises, and he could be:
one who seeks knowledge;
sits with the people (of knowledge);
or has knowledge, does righteous actions and has abstinence from haraam and doubtful matters.”
Al-Khateeb said about those during his time who ascribed themselves to knowledge and hadeeth, “They are, with their little number of books in it and their lack full understanding of it, are the worst people in terms of pride and are the most intense of people in self-amazement. They do not have any sanctity for their shaykh and do not grant any protection for a student…this is contrary to what the knowledge which they hear necessitates and opposite to the obligatory course of action which they should be adhering to implement.”
Whoever takes knowledge from them will be affected by them and will take on board their mannerisms, and this is something which has been witnessed.
If you were to go to a group of beginner students of knowledge who take knowledge from those (who have gone to extremes in takfeer and/or tabdee] you will find them harsh and hard-hearted and using words which even a common-person with good manners would be ashamed of uttering. For that reason, and out of averting the harm, the students of knowledge should be shielded from them. Those of them who issue pronouncements (of takfeer and/or tabdee) are many.
Manners should be sought from the scholars as this was the intent of the Salaf because this is what necessitates knowledge.
Ibraaheem Bin Habeeb Ash-Shaheed said, “My father said to me, ‘O my son, go to the scholars of fiqh and the scholars and learn from them, take from their manners, their character and guidance. For that will be more beloved to me for you than (the mere transmission of) many hadeeth.’”
Abdullaah Bin Al-Mubaarak said, “Manners are almost a third of knowledge.”
Rather, they (the Salaf) did not take knowledge except from those who were known for action and manners.
From Ibraaheem An-Nakha’ee who said, “If they went to a man to take knowledge from him, they would look at his silence, his prayer and his condition (i.e. his manners). Then they would take form him.”
To conclude, we have to be cautioned against taking knowledge from those (who go to extreme in takfeer and/or tabdee) even if they come with loads of tazkiyaat (recommendations from Salafi mashaykh).”
Ref: A summarised translation by brixtonmasjid.co.uk from http://www.alngar.com/user/Re_article.aspx?id=5106
Posted by Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie