Introduction

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Introduction

 

All praise is to Allah, who sent rays of celestial light into this world by means of prophethood and removed darkness from the creation through divine revelation. I praise His magnificence, which every tongue and language is unable to express, just as every pen and quill is unable to encompass.

I send peace and salutations upon His Noble Messenger, whose prophethood brought an end to the Chosroes, whose religion annihilated the Caesars, whose creed purified the filth of polytheistic ideologies, and divine light extinguished the roaring fire temples. May there be peace upon his family, Companions, and those that follow him.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala selected Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from the men of the world and gave him Companions, the best of any Companions to their prophet. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala praises them in His divine book announcing therein their forgiveness; the first and last. He has paid tribute to them in a most eloquent manner. Taking note of their actions, words, lives, and mannerisms, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala declares their honour as predestined in the Torah and Gospel, thus inclusive of all, great and otherwise.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

وَالسَّابِقُوْنَ الْأَوَّلُوْنَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِيْنَ وَالْأَنْصَارِ وَالَّذِيْنَ اتَّبَعُوْهُم بِإِحْسَانٍ رَّضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوْا عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِيْ تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِيْنَ فِيْهَا أَبَدًا ذٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيْمُ

And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajirin and the Ansar and those who followed them with good conduct – Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment.[1]

 

Furthermore Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

لِلْفُقَرَاءِ الْمُهَاجِرِيْنَ الَّذِيْنَ أُخْرِجُوْا مِنْ دِيَارِهِمْ وَأَمْوَالِهِمْ يَبْتَغُوْنَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا وَيَنصُرُوْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُوْلَهُ أُولٰئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُوْنَ

For the poor emigrants who were expelled from their homes and their properties, seeking bounty from Allah and [His] approval and supporting Allah and His Messenger, [there is also a share]. Those are the truthful.

 

وَالَّذِيْنَ تَبَوَّءُوا الدَّارَ وَالْإِيْمَانَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ يُحِبُّوْنَ مَنْ هَاجَرَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَا يَجِدُوْنَ فِيْ صُدُوْرِهِمْ حَاجَةً مِّمَّا أُوْتُوْا وَيُؤْثِرُوْنَ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَلَوْ كَانَ بِهِمْ خَصَاصَةٌ وَمَنْ يُوْقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُولٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُوْنَ

And [also for] those who were settled in al Madinah and [adopted] the faith before them. They love those who emigrated to them and find not any want in their breasts of what the emigrants were given but give [them] preference over themselves, even though they are in privation. And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul – it is those who will be the successful.

 

وَالَّذِيْنَ جَاءُوْا مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ يَقُوْلُوْنَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِيْنَ سَبَقُوْنَا بِالْإِيْمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِيْ قُلُوْبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوْفٌ رَّحِيْمٌ

And [there is a share for] those who came after them, saying, “Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.”[2]

 

In another verse Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala speaks of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum:

 

مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِيْنَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ تَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَبْتَغُوْنَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا سِيْمَاهُمْ فِيْ وُجُوْهِهِمْ مِّنْ أَثَرِ السُّجُوْدِ ذٰلِكَ مَثَلُهُمْ فِيْ التَّوْرَاةِ وَمَثَلُهُمْ فِيْ الْإِنجِيْلِ كَزَرْعٍ أَخْرَجَ شَطْأَهُ فَآزَرَهُ فَاسْتَغْلَظَ فَاسْتَوَىٰ عَلَىٰ سُوْقِهِ يُعْجِبُ الزُّرَّاعَ لِيَغِيْظَ بِهِمُ الْكُفَّارَ وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا وَعَمِلُوْا الصَّالِحَاتِ مِنْهُمْ مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيْمًا

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration. That is their description in the Torah. And their description in the Gospel is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them, so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers – so that Allah may enrage by them the disbelievers. Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds among them forgiveness and a great reward.[3]

 

The Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum raised the flag of Islam at the ends of the world. They conquered cities and lands, growing their influence. They expended the prime of their youth in elevating the peak of the Islamic empire. They sacrificed their lives in carrying the creed of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala to the people of the earth whilst their armies shook the thrones of realms and their squadrons levelled haughty kingdoms.

How many of the victims of Shaitan did they not revive? How many of the ignorant and heedless did they not guide? They expelled from the Book of their Lord the distortions of the extremists, the fabrications of the liars, and the wrong interpretations of the ignorant. They did not leave any road leading to the love of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala except that they treaded on it, entering every doorway to the pleasure of their Lord. They surpassed men in good actions and sublime character whilst warning the creation of evil and vile character. They sincerely advised the ummah in its small and big matters together with clarifying the subtleties of the shari’ah.

They protected the book of the King of all Kings, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, and presented it to us ready to derive benefit from. They recited and spread it to the far corners of the globe. Similarly, they narrated the traditions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam verbatim, extracting from it pearls of wisdom.

They gathered, prepared, and memorized the manuscripts of the Qur’an, committed to heart the narrations of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, conquered the world, spread the pristine faith of Islam, and stood as protectors to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his prophethood. Not even one shirked of his duty, nor did any of these noble personalities fail to give their all. Heart, soul, and body. It is for these reasons that we find the narration of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in many texts:

 

الله الله في أصحابي

Fear Allah! Fear Allah regarding my Companions.[4]

 

The just caliph, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd ‘Aziz rahimahu Llah said:

 

فارض لنفسك ما رضي به القوم لأنفسهم، فإنّهم على علم وقفوا، وببصر نافذ كفوا، ولهم على كشف الأمور كانوا أقوى، وبفضل ما كانوا فيه أولى، فإن كان الهدى ما أنتم عليه لقد سبقتموهم إليه. ولئن قلتم: «إنّما حدث بعدهم» . ما أحدثه إلّا من اتّبع غير سبيلهم، ورغب بنفسه عنهم؛ فإنّهم هم السّابقون، فقد تكلّموا فيه بما يكفي، ووصفوا منه ما يشفي، فما دونهم من مقصر، وما فوقهم من محسر، وقد قصّر قوم دونهم فجفوا، وطمح عنهم أقوام فغلوا، وإنّهم بين ذلك لعلى هدى مستقيم

So accept for yourself what the people (Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum) had accepted for themselves, for they had complete knowledge of whatever they were informed, and by penetrating insight they forbade to do prohibited acts; they had more strength than us to disclose the matters of religion, and they were far better by virtue of their merits. If right guidance is what you are following, then they have surpassed you to it. And if you say it is innovations that occurred after them, then it was introduced by those who followed a way other than theirs and disliked them. It is they who have preceded you, and talked about it (predestination) sufficiently, and gave a satisfactory explanation for it. Falling short of them is unscrupulousness and going beyond them is worthless exhaustion. Those that fell short turned away from their path, and those that rose beyond fell into extremism. They (the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum) were between the extremes on the right path.[5]

 

Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu is reported to have said:

 

لا تسبوا أصحاب محمد فلمقام أحدهم ساعة خير من عمل أحدكم عمره

Do not speak ill of the Companions of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, for the merit of an hour in their life is better than good acts you may do your entire life.[6]

 

Seeking forgiveness on their behalf is also an injunction of our faith. The first to comply with which was Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِيْ الْأَمْرِ

So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter.[7]

 

Umm al Mu’minin ‘Aisha Siddiqah radiya Llahu ‘anha says:

 

أمروا أن يستغفروا لأصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فسبوهم

They were commanded to seek forgiveness on behalf of the Companions of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, they however speak ill of them.[8]

 

Even though there might have been difference of opinion, arguments, and fights between them, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala calls them all believers; nay, brothers:

 

وَإِنْ طَائِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ اقْتَتَلُوْا فَأَصْلِحُوْا بَيْنَهُمَا فَإِنْ بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الْأُخْرَىٰ فَقَاتِلُوْا الَّتِيْ تَبْغِيْ حَتَّىٰ تَفِيءَ إِلَىٰ أَمْرِ اللَّهِ فَإِنْ فَاءَتْ فَأَصْلِحُوْا بَيْنَهُمَا بِالْعَدْلِ وَأَقْسِطُوْا إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِيْنَ

And if two factions among the believers should fight, then make settlement between the two. But if one of them oppresses the other, then fight against the one that oppresses until it returns to the ordinance of Allah. And if it returns, then make settlement between them in justice and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.

 

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy.[9]

 

Ibn Battah narrates from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma in an authentic tradition:

 

لا تسبوا أصحاب محمد ، فإن الله عز وجل قد أمر بالاستغفار لهم ، وهو يعلم أنهم سيقتتلون

Do not speak ill of the Companions of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala commanded you to seek forgiveness on their behalf knowing well that they would fight.[10]

 

Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah radiya Llahu ‘anhu says:

 

عن جابر بن عبد الله قال قيل لعائشة إن ناسا يتناولون أصحاب رسول الله ( صلى الله عليه وسلم ) حتى إنهم ليتناولون أبا بكر وعمر فقالت أتعجبون من هذا إنما قطع عنهم العمل فأحب الله أن لا يقطع عنهم الأجر

It was said to ‘Aisha al Siddiqah radiya Llahu ‘anha, “People are speaking ill of the Companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to the extent that they speak ill of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma!”

She said, “Does this surprise you? The companions have passed on and so have their actions. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala wished for their rewards to continue accumulating and so these people speak ill of them by means of which their good deeds go to the Companions.”[11]

 

Ibn Taymiyyah writes in his book al ‘Aqidah al Wasitiyyah writes:

 

ويمسكون عما شجر بين الصحابة ويقولون: إن هذه الآثار المروية في مساوئهم منها ما هو كذب، ومنها ما قد زيد فيه ونقص، وغير عن وجهه، والصحيح منها هم فيه معذورون: إما مجتهدون مصيبون، وإما مجتهدون مخطئون، وهم مع ذلك لا يعتقدون أن كل واحد من الصحابة معصوم عن كبائر الإثم وصغائره، بل يجوز عليهم الذنوب في الجملة، ولهم من السوابق والفضائل ما يوجب مغفرة ما يصدر منهم إن صدر، حتى أنهم يُغفر لهم من السيئات ما لا يُغفر لمن بعدهم، لأن لهم من الحسنات التي تمحو السيئات ما ليس لمن بعدهم، وقد ثبت بقول رسول الله صَلَّى الله عليه وسلم أنـهم خير القرون، وأن المُدَّ من أحدهم إذا تصدق به كان أفضل من جبل أحد ذهبًا ممن بعدهم، ثم إذا كان قد صدر عن أحد منهم ذنب فيكون قد تاب منه، أو أتى بحسنات تمحوه، أو غُفر له بفضل سابقته، أو بشفاعة محمد صَلَّى الله عليه وسلم الذي هم أحق الناس بشفاعته، أو اُبتلي ابتلاء في الدنيا كفر به عنه، فإذا كان هذا في الذنوب المحققة فكيف الأمور التي كانوا فيها مجتهدين، إن أصابوا فلهم أجران، وإن أخطأوا فلهم أجر واحد، والخطأ مغفور،

The path of the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah is distancing oneself from the discussion that surround the disagreements of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Furthermore, professing that the traditions which speak of their supposed bad deeds are made up of lie and interpolations. The correct belief is that the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum are excused in their disagreements; as authorities in Islamic law they either were correct in their judgment or not. The Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were not infallible and the possibility of sin, both big and small, remained. However, their virtue and precedence necessitate their forgiveness, if they had done any wrongs. The wrongs, if any, done by them are more so forgivable than for others to come. This is because their good actions are many times more than those who came after them, and the rule of thumb is; good deeds erase bad deeds. Furthermore, the narrations establish Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to have prized them over all other eras, with a single mudd of Sadaqah from them wielding more reward than a mountain of gold from others.

If any sin was committed, they would have asked for forgiveness, or done such good that would have effaced it, or would have been forgiven by virtue of their precedence, or by the intercession of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam [and they are most worthy of it], or they would have been tested in this world by such that would have erased the sin.

If this is the case in sins committed, then what of differences in matters of Islamic law wherein they were authorities? If the conclusion reached by them was correct they would receive a two-fold reward. And if their conclusion wasn’t such, they would receive a single reward. The mistake though would be forgiven.[12]

 

He further states:

 

ثم إن القدر الذي ينكر من فعل بعضهم قليل نزر مغمور في جنب فضائل القوم ومحاسنهم من الإيمان بالله ورسله والجهاد في سبيله والهجرة والنصرة والعلم النافع والعمل الصالح، ومن نظر في سيرة القوم بعلم وبصيرة، وما من الله عليهم به من الفضائل؛ علم يقيناً أنهم خير الخلق بعد الأنبياء، لا كان ولا يكون مثلهم، وأنهم الصفوة من قرون هذه الأمة التي هي خير الأمم وأكرمها على الله

The matter of those acts of theirs that some dispute, are trivial and negligible in comparison to their virtues, deep faith, jihad, hijrah, assisting the faith, sound knowledge, and pious deeds. Whoever studies their lives and divinely bestowed merits, will conclude that without doubt they are the best of creation after the Prophets. There was no one like them nor will there be. They are the cream of the best era of the best ummah.[13]

 

They defended the faith on the day some hypocrites and Arabs turned apostate. What is worthy of note, is that there is no mention of a single hypocrite being martyred in the era of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, nor any glad tidings of paradise given to them, and neither did they narrate anything of the Qur’an and Sunnah. The contrary however rings true. Verses were revealed disgracing and exposing their devilish practices. This sign is a result of the promise Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has made to protect this faith and keep it in its pristine form till the Last day.

In conclusion, the narrations that speak of the virtues of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum are many. Gathering them all would be a tedious task. I have taken it upon myself to gather forty authentic narrations of this sort. Narrations that are clear in conveying their meaning, from renowned collections of Ahadith that have been read and heard by the ummah over centuries. I have commented on these narrations, thereby extracting its pearls and hidden meanings.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala be pleased with them all, raise their status in the hereafter, and unite us with them in the records of the pious with the followers of the Prophets.

And all praises are for Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, the Lord of the worlds.

 

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[1] Surah al Tawbah: 100.

[2] Surah al Hashr: 8-10.

[3] Surah al Fath: 29

[4] Jami’ al Tirmidhi, Hadith: 3861.

[5] Sunan Abi Dawood, Hadith: 4612.

[6] Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith: 157.

[7] Surah Ali ‘Imran: 159.

[8] Sahih Muslim, 3022.

[9] Surah al Hujurat: 9-10.

[10] Musannaf ibn Abi-Shaybah, 34547; Minhaj al Sunnah.

[11] Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 44 pg. 387.

[12] Al ‘Aqidah al Wasitiyyah, part. 26 pg. 3.

[13] Ibid.