Noble Shaykh, Ahmad an-Najmee – may Allaah preserve you – some people say that you should take the good from a book or a tape and it is upon you to leave the evil and errors present. Is this speech correct and when do we implement (put it into practice) the principle of mentioning the good alone with the bad? Or is this wrong? Can you clarify this to us in the manner you see fit? May Allaah reward you.
With regards to the first part of the question, then we say that there is no doubt that good is to be coveted (means: desire to want or possess something). However, if poison is placed in honey is it possible for you to take this honey and drink it, whilst you say this is good but there is poison in it?
The answer is no because this honey has been mixed with something that will bring about your destruction. The one who mentions this principle (taking the good and leaving the bad) has to have knowledge of the good and knowledge of the evil to begin with in order to avoid it, so in that case there is not an issue; or he examines these tapes to criticise these errors and the likes. But as for him saying that he is going to accept the good and he is unable to differentiate between good and bad, then this individual has surely ruined and destroyed himself.
As for the second part of the question, and this is when do we act on the principle of mentioning the good along along with bad? Then the answer to this question is that mentioned the good along with the bad is not legislated when criticising individuals or groups. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu ‘alayhi was-Sallam) said:
“As for Mu’aawiyah, then he is destitute (poor) and has no wealth, and as for Aboo Jahm, then he beats the women.” [Reported by Muslim in his Saheeh (no. 1480)]
“What made Ibn Jameel refuse to give zakaah though he was a poor man and was made wealthy by Allaah.” [Reported by al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh (no. 1468) and Muslim in his Saheeh (no. 983)]
The Prophet did not mention any of their good qualities. So it is understood from this that it is not incumbent (necessary) to mention the good alone with the bad. Rather this is an innovated and invented principle. And success is with Allaah.
Answer given by: Shaykh Ahmad bin Yahyaa an-Najmee (d. 1429H)
Source: Fataawaa al-Jaliyyah ‘an al-Manaahij ad-Da’awiyyah, no. 33