There is no doubt that praising them will deceive the masses and slandering will takes the masses away. So, if you were to deceive the masses by praising those who are not deserving, there is no doubt that this is [a form of] cheating. And your slandering those who do can benefit the masses, there is no doubt that this is cutting off the roads – i.e. if there is a scholar through whom Allaah brings benefit and is upon the correct way and you say that knowledge should not be taken from so-and-so, this is cutting of the roads.
It is upon the students of knowledge to benefit from this scholar.
For you to be deceived with undue praise to those who do not deserve it is cheating.
The people of knowledge affirm, in explanation of the hadeeth “The religion is advice”. And from the deception of those in authority is to praise them incorrectly, and this is not permissible. Yes – some may strive to praise them in order to achieve a greater benefit and this has been done by some of the scholars who are our contemporaries – they praise those in authority so that their hearts may open and that good deeds may spread and more result than if this praise had not been given. And in any case, matters are carried out in accordance to what is best in the situation.
So praising the innovator and deceiving the masses is cheating – rather, it is from the greatest forms of cheating – if it is prohibited to cheat when it relates to the deenaar and dirham, that it is prohibited in matters related to the people’s religion is more likely – so that so-and-so from the people of innovation is praised, especially in the regard in which they are an innovator.
However, if they praise them by saying they excel in Arabic grammar, for example, but are from the Asharees, they can be praised in this respect but the innovation they have is noted, this is not impermissible in sha Allaah.
There are shuyookh from the Imaams of Islaam in other branches of knowledge, and by knowledge I do not mean Allaah said, His messenger said, who have an element of innovation. The Imaams, at the head of whom, al-Bukhaari and Muslim, narrated on individuals who had an element of innovation. However, they did so in that which did not support their innovation and explained their innovation, warning against it. So there is a difference if this knowledge is not to be found with any save this person, in which case, it is to be taken from him, but while explaining the true state of affairs.
As for praising them unrestrictedly, mentioning the good they have but not mentioning their innovation, this is deception, as the innovation that he has may be taken from him. Those who heard this praise may be fooled and take all that he has, including the innovation he believes and calls to, and Allaah is the One who aids.
Translated by Akeel Ahmed