Does speaking against of a scholar’s Bitânah (inner circle/entourage) necessitate and constitute speaking against that scholar?
Speaking against/criticizing a scholar’s Bitânah (inner circle/entourage) does not necessitate (nor equates to) speaking against that scholar. It is possible that this (inner circle/entourage) may come with a deceptively obscure or (an outwardly) good appearance in order to obtain a specific objective and goal they are trying to reach. So you will find a scholar, and those surrounding him may (in fact secretly) turn against him and oppose him, either due to fear of one or a number of (negative) things occurring, or because of something by which they (may obtain) benefit from.
(Consequently), this Bitânah (inner circle/entourage) may bring something to this scholar in contradiction to its reality (i.e. they may lie to him or deceive him), and this has occurred. For this reason, Allah ordered His Prophet (ﷺ) not to take a Bitânah except from the righteous. (The possibility of having an evil inner circle) occurred with the Prophets, so what do you think about the scholars; (do you think this is not possible)?
You may find individuals in the gatherings of knowledge who are close (to a scholar), are in fact (undercover) intelligence agents. A scholar does not have the ability to discern that which the souls conceal (from evil).
The scholar has a message and an objective which may include (but is not limited to): the actualization of Tawheed, correcting the people's worship, etc etc; he isn't capable to encompass full knowledge of every single person (and know what they are truly about).
Whoever says that speaking ill of and criticizing a scholar’s Bitânah (inner circle/entourage) is (tantamount to) speaking against the scholar is mistaken, unless the scholar (himself) is being belittled or the intent (behind) the defamation (of his Bitânah is to in fact to defame) him.
You will find a person remaining for 10 years -or a very long duration- with a scholar, writing for him and then (suddenly) that scholar expels him (from his gatherings) … why? Because there was something within him (that that scholar discovered after that duration).
For instance this Imam -Imam Malik- when the questioner asked about Al Istiwaa (“…and how is it that Allah is above His throne?” Imam Malik from that point knew what this man was really upon). Had (this man) not asked concerning it, he would have remained with (Imam Malik). However, Imam Malik became aware of him (and his true condition) as a result of his question.
(As the poet says),
And how could you be amazed by one who is quiet (and has not spoken) unto you a word; when his elevation or debasement (could only be determined by way of his) words?
1) There are those who paint the picture that speaking about a scholar's inner circle/entourage is speaking against that scholar himself. This is what is being done regarding the Jarh of Shaykh Muhammad bin Hādi against the likes of 'Abdul Wahid Al Madkhali (who is near to Shaykh Rabee') and ‘Arafat Al Muhammady (who is near to Shaykh 'Ubayd), who have good standing with these two mountains حفظهما الله.
This is nothing but a doubt being used to turn the people away from the details presented by Shaykh Muhammad bin Haadi (may Allaah preserve him and protect him from the evil of those who plot against him) against these individuals and those with them from the Sa'aafiqah. Al-'Allammah Rabee Al Madkhali himself has previously spoken out against the inner-circle/entourage of other major scholars and warned against them. Does this mean that Shaykh Rabee' was attacking those scholars or was he simply standing up for the truth?
Pay attention O Salafi!
2) There are those who wish to deceive the Salafis in the Western World and convince them that anyone who disparages/refutes those surrounding a particular scholars have no other intention but to revile the Scholars whom these individuals surround. They attempt to convince the common Salafi by using a very deceptive tactic. This tactic is to compare them to people of innovation as an attempt to cast doubt around them so that it becomes difficult for the common folk to accept what they present as proof. They malign them and distort their image with deceptive tactics and lies in order to convince the common person that these individuals are similar to the people of innovation, all the while avoiding calling them innovators in an explicit manner. The comparison is sufficient to cast enough doubt for them to not accept.
This is a blatant lie and a weak attempt to pull the wool over the peoples' eyes.
To claim that whoever refutes and/or criticizes those surrounding a particular scholar, whether it be Shaykh Rabee' -or other than him from the people of knowledge and virtue- have resembled the Qutbis, Sururis, and Haddadis, or other than them from the people of innovation, such as Abul Hasan Al Ma'ribi; then this -in its best case- is an erroneous analogy (قياس مع الفارق) and illustrates their lack of understanding.
3) According to the speech of Shaykh Muhammad 'Ali Ferkous, where has Shaykh Muhammad bin Hādi attacked Shaykh Rabee' and Shaykh ‘Ubayd?! Where is the proof that Shaykh Muhammad bin Hādi, or those who stand alongside him in this fitnah against the Sa'aafiqah, intend to attack Shaykh Rabee' and Shaykh 'Ubayd by warning against some of those who are around these two noble Scholars?! Rather, we find that Shaykh Muhammad bin Hādi only honors these two noble scholars and mentions them with good. Whoever says other than that, let him bring his proof or be considered a liar and from the people of fitnah!
Will these same individuals dare to accuse the likes of Shaykh Muhammad 'Ali Ferkous of resembling the Qutubis, Sururis, and Haddadis for refuting this false and innovated principle of theirs?
Will these same individuals accuse Shaykh Rabee' حفظه الله of having reviled other scholars who he mentioned had around them evil people?
Will the sincere Salafi not compare the speech of a major scholar, the likes of Shaykh Muhammad 'Ali Ferkous (may Allah preserve him) to some of what we see being spread on social media by certain individuals, in the name of Salafiyyah?