Imaam Ahmad b. Hanbal and al-Karabeesee: How Men of Standing Fall When They Deviate
Al-Marwazee (rahimahullaah), from the great Scholars and companions of Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal (rahimahullaah) said:
‘I departed to go see Al-Karabeesee, at the time when he was of good standing, for he used to defend the Sunnah and demonstrate support for Abu ‘Abdillaah (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal).
So I said to him: ‘Indeed, the people wish to present this book Al-Mudalliseen to Abu ‘Abdillaah (Ahmad bin Hanbal). So it is best that you regret what you wrote or I will inform Abu ‘Abdillaah.‘
So he said to me: ‘Indeed, Abu ‘Abdillaah is a righteous man, a man of his status has been granted the ability to attain the truth. And I am very pleased that my book will be presented to him. Abu Thawr, Ibn ‘Aqeel and Hubaish have already asked me to destroy this book, but I refused and said to them: Rather, I will intensify my promotion of it!’
So he persisted in that and he refused to go back on what he wrote in it. So I brought the book to Abu ‘Abdillaah (Imaam Ahmad), while he was unaware of who authored it. And in the book, there was disparaging of Al-A’mash and support in favour of al-Hasan Ibn Saalih. And there was written in it: ‘If you say that Al-Hasan Ibn Saalih took the views of the Khawaarij, then this Ibnuz-Zubair is truly the one who has accepted the views of the Khawaarij!’
So when it was read to Abu ‘Abdillaah Ahmad bin Hanbal (rahimahullaah), he said: ‘This book compiles, for those who oppose (the Sunnah), that which they are not able to use as substantial proof. Warn others about this book!‘ And he renounced it.’” Sharh ‘Ilal-ut-Tirmidhee (2/806-808)
Can you see, O Salafi, how this al-Karabeesee used to be a man of good standing with the Scholars? Karabeesee used to defend Imaam Ahmad, then he deviated, so he was warned against, so much so that it is narrated: Abu Ahmad bin ‘Adee said: I heard Muhammad bin ‘Abdillaah as-Sairafee ash-Shaafi’ee saying to them, i.e. to his students:
“Take a lesson from these two: Husayn al-Karabeesee and Abu Thawr. The knowledge of Abu Thawr was not even a tenth of Husayn in his knowledge and memorisation – Yet [Imaam] Ahmad spoke against him (i.e. al-Karabeesee) in the issue of the utterance of the Qur’aan (whether it is created or not), so he fell [in rank] – and he praised Abu Thawr [for his adherence to the Sunnah] so he rose [in rank].”
Tabaqaat ash-Shaafi’yyeen of Ibn Katheer and Tabaqaat ash-Shaafi’iyyah al-Kubraa of al-Subkee.