Who is Rabi’ al-Madkhali?
He’s about 78 years old, graduated from Madinah University, then went on to Master’s and PhD in Hadith.
His master’s was an assessment of those hadiths of Sahih Muslim that were critiqued by al-Daraqutni. It is a decent work, but he has some blunders in there. [More on that later]
His PhD was to do tahqiq of al-Nukat Ala Kitab ibn al-Salah, by ibn Hajar. Again, a decent work, but it seems that he made a good share of mistakes in reading the manuscripts. That’s not that unusual though as this is common with Master’s/PhD students, especially as they are usually doing tahqiq of manuscripts for the first time. Again, nothing groundbreaking here except that the text itself is quite an important one.
The only other works related to hadith sciences that he’s actually written are, in fact, refutations, most of them quite lousy. Actually, come to think of it, in his refutation of al-Malibari, he actually declares that al-Malibari is seeking to destroy the Sunnah because he holds an opinion that Rabi’ himself endorsed in his Master’s thesis!
Otherwise, he has a good number of refutations on Syed Qutb, Abul-Hasan al-Ma’ribi, Abdur-Rahman Abdul-Khaliq, Salman al-Awdah, Adnan Ar’ur, al-Maghrawi, al-Malibari and others. In the case of al-Malibari, he published a refutation of a discussion that occurred in a private exchange of letters, effectively making him famous. At least something good came out of his refutations. In the case of Abu’l-Hasan and al-Malibari, both of them tore him to shreds in their responses to his attacks.
He was the head of the hadith department in Madinah University. Since that time, it has been known as a hotbed for Madkhali thinking. Non-Madkhali students generally avoid it now because of the bias of many of the instructors and students. This was particularly the case in the Golden Age of Madkhalism (circa the late ’90’s), although the environment has become toned down in recent years.