Questioner: Noble Shaikh! Is it from the methodology of the Salaf to mention the good qualities/deeds [hasanaat] of a dissenter when one is refuting him? We would like a detailed answer to this question.
Al-Albaani: If the purpose is to clarify the truth concerning an issue that has arisen, then this is something. And if the purpose is to give a biography of someone who we hold to have been mistaken in a certain issue then this is something else. In the first instance it is not a condition when answering someone who opposes [the Sunnah] that his good deeds are mentioned. But if the situation differs from that, and that is what I just alluded to, that the person himself is going to be spoken about, then there is no doubt that the one refuting/making the criticism should not turn to mentioning [just] his mistakes but should couple that with a mention of his virtues and good qualities based upon His Saying, the Blessed and Most High, “… and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just. That is nearer to righteousness.” [Maa’idah 5:8]
As for when just refuting then this [i.e., mentioning the good deeds] is in opposition to the methodology of the Salaf as-Saalih and in opposition to what is known from the Prophet’s responses عليه السلام to whoever had made a mistake from his Companions. And in my opinion, if the hadiths that have been reported concerning this issue were to be collected they would form a treatise.
For example, he said to the person who praised his brother to his face …