Exposing Someone’s Evil and Propagating it under the Pretense of Advising – Imam Ibn Rajab
From the apparent signs of condemning is: Exposing someone’s evil and propagating it under the pretense of advising, while claiming that it is only these defects that are making him do it, general or specific. Meanwhile, on the inside, his aim is only to condemn and cause harm.
So he is from the brothers of the hypocrites, those whom Allaah has disparaged in His Book in many places, for indeed Allaah disparages those who outwardly display a good action or saying, while intending inwardly to accomplish a mischievous and evil goal. And He has counted that as one of the aspects of hypocrisy, as is stated in Surah Baraa, in which He humiliates the hypocrites and exposes their despicable attributes:
“And as for those who set up a masjid in order to cause harm, (spread) disbelief, disunite the believers and to make it as an outpost for those who made war against Allaah and His Messenger since aforetime, they will indeed swear that their intention is nothing but good. But Allaah bears witness that they are certainly liars.” [Surah At-Tawbah: 107]
And Allaah says:
“Think not that those who rejoice in what they have done, and love to be praised for what they have not done – do not think that they are rescued from the torment. And for them is a painful punishment!” [Surah Aali ‘Imraan: 188]
This ayah was sent down concerning the Jews, when the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم asked them about something and they concealed knowledge of it informing him instead of something else. Yet they showed to him that they had indeed informed him about what he had asked them. And they sought praise from him صلى الله عليه وسلم because of it and became joyous at what they gained by concealing it and because he صلى الله عليه وسلم asked them. This is what Ibn ‘Abbaas (radhi Allaahu anhu) stated and his hadeeth concerning that is transmitted in the two Saheeh collections. 
Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudree (radhi Allaahu anhu) said:
“There was a group of men among the hypocrites who when the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم would go out to fight in the (military) expeditions, would refrain from going with him. And they would be happy with opposing the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم with their sitting (instead of fighting). So when Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم would arrive, they would make excuses for themselves and swear to him. And they loved to be praised for that which they did not do. So this ayah was revealed.” 
Therefore, these characteristics are the characteristics of the Jews and the hypocrites. And it is that someone outwardly displays a saying or an action, while presenting an image in which he appears to be upon good. Yet his intention in doing that is to accomplish an evil goal. So he is praised for what good he has made manifest outwardly, while accomplishing by it, the evil goal he has kept hidden inwardly. And he basks in the praise he receives for that which he has outwardly portrayed as being good, which is in fact evil on the inside, and he is happy that his evil hidden objective has been achieved. So his benefit is perfected for him and his scheme is carried out effectively by this deception!!
Anyone with this characteristic definitely falls under the (threat) of this ayah – thus he is threatened with a painful torment. An example of this is:
When someone desires to defame a man, belittle him and expose his faults so that people turn away from him. This is done either because he loves to cause harm to him, because of his enmity towards him, or because he fears him due to a rivalry that exists between them with regard to wealth, leadership, or other blameworthy causes. So he does not find a way towards accomplishing his goal, except by publicly degrading him due to some religious reason.
For example, someone (i.e. a scholar) has refuted a weak opinion from the many opinions of a well-known and famous scholar. So this (evil) individual spreads that amongst those who respect that scholar, saying: “This person (that did the refutation) hates this scholar, and is only defaming and criticizing him.” So by doing this, he (the evil person) deceives all those people that hold that scholar in esteem, making them believe that such a refutation was done out of hatred and with insult on the part of the one refuting, and that his deed was full of audacity and arrogance. So he (the evil person) is (outwardly) defending this scholar and uplifting the abuse from him – and that is an act pleasing to Allaah and in obedience to Him. So he combines this outer facade of advising with two disgusting and forbidden things: 
First: The insinuation that this scholar’s refutation of the other opinion was done out of hatred, seeking to belittle (the other scholar), and as a result of following his desires. But (in reality) he only desires by it to advise the believers and to make known some aspect of knowledge that is unlawful to keep concealed.
Second: He (the evildoer) manifests and magnifies the (scholar’s) criticism (for the other scholar), so that he can fulfill his desire and achieve his evil goal under the pretense of advising and defending the scholars of the Religion.
This type of evil plotting is similar to the injustice and oppression displayed by the tribe of Marwaan and their followers, who won the people’s affection and at the same time, turned these people’s hearts away from ‘Alee bin Abee Taalib, Al-Hasan, Al-Husayn and their offspring, may Allaah be pleased with all of them.
When ‘Uthmaan (radhi Allaahu anhu) was killed, the Muslim nation did not see anyone possessing more right to succeed him other than ‘Alee (radhi Allaahu anhu), so they pledged allegiance to him. So those who sought to turn the people away from him set about their goal by manifesting the outrageous and scandalous murder of ‘Uthmaan. And it was just as they said it was.
But then they added to it that the one who conspired his murder and carried it out was none other than ‘Alee (radhi Allaahu anhu). And this was a lie and a slander against him! And ‘Alee (radhi Allaahu anhu) would swear and reaffirm his oaths in denying this accusation – and he was truthful and innocent in his oath, may Allaah be pleased with him. But they began to fight against him, claiming that their struggle was for the sake of the Religion and that it was pleasing to Allaah, and then they began to fight with his children. These individuals strove hard in publicizing this (lie), propagating it on the mimbars on the days of Jumu’ah, as well as on other occasions in which there were large gatherings. This continued until it settled into the hearts of their followers that the matter was as these individuals said it was, and that the tribe of Marwaan had more right (to the Khilaafah) than ‘Alee and his children due to their closeness to ‘Uthmaan, and that they had more right to avenge his (‘Uthmaan radhi Allaahu anhu) death. So in doing this, they were able to unite the hearts of the people against ‘Alee and his sons and to turn the people to fight against him and his children after him. This asserted the kingship for them and their rule became established as a result of that.
While in privacy, one of them would say to those he confided in, something with the meaning: “No one amongst the Companions was more restrained from (causing harm to) ‘Uthmaan than ‘Alee.” So it would be said to him: “Then why did the people revile him?” So he would respond: “The kingship (i.e. end of the Khilaafah) would not be established if it weren’t for that.”
The meaning of this is that if they did not turn the people’s hearts away from ‘Alee (radhi Allaahu anhu) and his children, and if they didn’t attribute the injustice done to ‘Uthmaan to them, the hearts of the people would not feel sympathy for them (later), due to what they knew of their beautiful attributes and honorable qualities, for they used to rush to follow them and pledge allegiance to them (in the past). And because of this, the Umayyah dynasty came to an end and the people ceased obeying them. 
 This is from the actions of the heart which no one has knowledge of except Allaah, the Most Perfect.
 [Translator’s Note: He means Surah At-Tawbah]
Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (9/301), Muslim (17/123), Ahmad (1/298) and Ibn Jareer (4/207).
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (8/233), Muslim (17/123) and Ibn Jareer (4/205). It must be noted here that Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr mentioned in Al-Fath (9/301) that it is possible to combine these two causes for the ayah’s revelation found in the two hadeeths by saying that it was revealed with regard to both of these groups (Jews and hypocrites). Shaikh Muqbil bin Haadee Al-Waadi’ee said in his As-Saheeh-ulMusnad (pg. 35): “If the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed is more established then that takes more precedence because the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas is from that which the two Shaikhs have been criticized by, as has been stated in Muqaddimat-ul-Fath (20/132) and as is stated in Fath-ul-Baaree (9/302). And there is no point in restricting it to only the People of the Book…”
[Translator’s Note: We ask the noble readers to consider these precious words stated by the author and compare them with the likes of the situations we find today. No doubt the scholars of the Sunnah in these days are accused in such a manner. Such an example can be found in Imaam Muhammad Naasirud-Deen Al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah) and the lies and attacks that were launched against him by Hasan Saqqaf, Kabbani and their likes, who make themselves appear as though they’re advising the Muslim ummah. But yet in reality they are doing no more than discrediting, defaming and belittling a scholar. And the claims that come from them are well known in that these scholars, such as Al-Albaanee, who warn against “blind-following” are labeled as deviants who hate the four Imaams and who want to do away with their teachings! May Allaah give us the ability to see through the false accusations of the ignorant and the unjust.]
 See Al-‘Awaasim min-al-Qawaasim of the Qaadee Ibn Al-‘Arabee al-Maalikee (rahimahullaah) for in there is what is sufficient for one who seeks the truth about this subject, Allaah willing.
Source: From the al-ibaanah eBook: The Difference between Advising and Condemning – Imaam Ibn Rajab