Ibn Qutaybah follows Ash-Shaafi’i in the response to the enemies of the Sunnah.
We have already gone through the interlocution of Imam Ash-Shaafi’i concerning those who deny the Sunnah. Then came the third century AH, in which of Imam Ash-Shaafi’i died on the fourth year of its beginning, to mark the golden age for the compilation of the Sunnah, its purification and its chronicling, where the Musnad of Imam Ahmad has been chronicled, the two Sahihs, the four books of the Sunan and other books.
Nevertheless, that century also included the attempted destruction of the hallowed Sunnah. If we look for example to the book (Ta’weel Mukhtalif Al-Hadith) (Interpretation of Conflicting Narrations) by Ibn Qutaybah, who died in 276 AH, we see that he made his book on the response to the enemies of the people (adherents) of the Sunnah, and the combination between the reports, which they alleged were waning and conflicting, and the reply to what they set forth from calumnies, with regard to certain comparable reports, or the issue to start with. Ibn Qutaybah does not content himself to replying to the calumnies and to clarify the misunderstanding of those who kindle those calumnies, but talks about the persons themselves, who kindled them, so that the reader grasps the cause of their hostility towards the people (adherents) of Hadith.
He cited An-Nadh-Dhaam, and says: An-Nadh-Dhaam existed as a cunning, sly person from the Shuttaar (a crime syndicate which emerged in Baghdad in 201 AH). He goes out drunk and comes back drunk, spends the night sipping it flowingly, embraces defilements, commits obscenities and shameful acts, etc...
He cited that An-Nadh-Dhaam broke away from the consensus of the community, slandered Abu Bakr, Omar, Ali, Ibn Mas’ood and Abu Hurayrah. Ibn Qutaybah then commented, following this, by saying: This is what he says - An-Nadh-Dhaam - in the Companions of the Messenger of Allah - peace be upon him - and may He be pleased with them, as if he did not hear of the statement of Almighty Allah in His Holy Book: (Mohammed is the Apostle of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other...) to the end of the Surah (1), and did not hear of the statement of the Almighty: (Allah was pleased with the Believers when they swore allegiance to you under the Tree: He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down Tranquillity to them...) to the end of the verse (2).
After talking about An-Nadh-Dhaam and his response to him, he says: "Then we come to the word of Abu Hudheil Al-‘Allaaf, we find him a liar and a scandalmonger, etc... (3), thus continued Ibnd Qutaybah in his book.
(1) Al-Fath, 29.
(2) Al-Fath, 18.
(3) See: Ta’weel Mukhtalif Al-Hadith (Interpretation of Conflicting Narrations), p. 17/42.