Shaikh Raslaan (may Allaah preserve him) stated:
And from his (i.e. Al-Maribi) heedlessness is that he blames the one who makes a distinction between a Wasf (i.e. a specific description of a person or something) and Jarh (disparagement). Al-Maribi said: ”Is disparagement anything else other than a description, and is commendation anything else other than description?”
He (i.e. Al-Maribi) – the indigent one- did not know that there are generalities and specifics between disparagement and description. Every disparagement is a description and not every description is a disparagement, otherwise the description ‘Al-A’mash (i.e. the bleary-eyed one) would have been a disparagement against Sulaymaan Bin Mihraan the bleary-eyed, and he was a reliable narrator and a Haafidh.
(And had it been the case that every description is a disparagement), then Al-Ahdabu (i.e. the hunched-backed one) would have been a disparagement against Waasil Bin Hayyaan the hunched-backed, and he was a reliable narrator and a steadfast (person).
(And had it been the case that every description is a disparagement), then Al-Aqra’u (the bald-headed one) would have been a disparagement against Naafi Bin Abbaas the servant of Abu Qataadah, and he (Naafi) was reliable.
(And had it been the case that every description is a disparagement), then Al-A’raj (i.e. the one with lame limbs causing him to limp) would have been a disparagement against Abdur-Rahmaan Bin Hurmooz, the limping one, and he was reliable, steadfast and a scholar.
And the nick name Ad-daal (i.e. ‘the misled one’ was given) to Mu-aawiyyah Bin Abdul Kareem Ath-Thaqafee and he was a truthful person; (but) he was neither misled in his narrations nor in his acts of worship, rather he was misled on the road (i.e. got lost) when he was young and was found; so he was nick-named Ad-daal (the misled one).
The scholars are acquainted with the link between the generalities and specifics between descriptions and disparagement, and likewise between descriptions and commendations. This is an old (affair) that has been firmly in place from the era of the science of scrutinizing narrators and the chains of transmission up to this era of Abul Fitan Al-Maribi (i.e. Abul Hasan Al–Maribi); however he has innovated a methodology for the people in this (affair), such as his lack of making a differentiation between the statement of a critic scholar in the biography of a man and his statement in disparagement against (a man).
In the biographies, the scholars mention what is in favour and against a person even if he is from the leaders of misguidance and a heretic, just as Imaam Dhahabi did in Siyar A’laam An-Nubulaa. Ibn Abee Du’aad—a leader from the leaders of misguidance and an enemy of Imaam Ahmad, and Ibn Sinaa whose state of affairs is well known and those similar to him– were they from those who were exalted in rank (with regards to their adherence to the Book and the Sunnah)? Were they from those exalted in rank (in the first place), let alone from the knowledgeable ones?! (However), these two people (i.e. Ibn Abee Du’aad and Ibn Sinaa) and their likes have biographies in Siyar A’laam Nubulaa (of Imaam Dhahabi). This is with regards to a biography- in it a person is described with what he is, and he is even described with what he is (with regards to) his physical attributes, and none of the scholars in our era have ever said that describing (such a person) with what he is (with regards to) his physical characteristics is (tantamount) to finding fault with Allaah’s creation!
As for disparagement of a narrator – disparagement and commendation, then a man is not mentioned except with what he deserves in relation to knowledge and the science of scrutinizing narrators and chains of transmission. And if he was one who has been declared disparaged (due to being a liar, unreliable etc), then his good deeds are never mentioned, regardless of the extent of his good deeds. (Therefore) compare Imaam Dhahabi’s work in Al-Meezaan and in As-Siyar and you will be acquainted with this knowledge.
Indeed, he (i.e. Abul Hasan Al-Maribi) conveys confusion in these affairs by way of increasing in the innovated speech of Muwaazanah and other than it of corrupt principles. And whenever he is facilitated with understanding, he does not understand. And whenever he is (facilitated) with a return (to correctness), he does not return; rather he refuses, except that he increases upon an evil understanding. [slightly paraphrased and abridged]
The statements of the scholars regarding the bidah of Muwaazanah