The Status of the Sahaba in the Noble Qurʼan
Take note of the following verses in the Noble Qurʼan:
كُنْتُمْ خَیْرَ اُمَّةٍ اُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ
You are the best of all nations who have been raised for mankind.
وَکَذٰلِکَ جَعَلْنٰكُمْ اُمَّةً وَّسَطًا لِّتَكُوْنُوْا شُهَدَآءَ عَلَی النَّاسِ
Thus, We have made you such a group that is moderate in nature so that you may be witnesses over people.
The direct addressees of these two verses are the Sahaba themselves. In the first verse, they are crowned with the title of the “best of all nations”, classified as the role models and guides of the entire Ummah. In the second verse, along with being praised with the words, “moderate in nature”, a unique honour is mentioned for them: just as Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will be a witness for the Sahaba, so too will the Sahaba serve as witnesses and exemplars for those after them.
مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللهُ وَ الَّذِیْنَ مَعَ اَشِدَّآءُ عَلَی الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَآءُ بَیْنَهُمْ تَرٰىهُمْ رُکَّعًا سُجَّدًا یَّبْتَغُوْنَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللهِ وَ رِضْوَانًا سِیْمَاهُمْ فِیْ وُجُوْهِهِمْ مِّنْ اَثَرِ السُّجُوْدِ ذٰلِکَ مَثَلُهُمْ فِی التَّوْرٰىةِ وَ مَثَلُهُمْ فِی الْاِنْجِیْلِ کَزَرْعٍ اَخْرَجَ شَطْئَه فَاٰزَرَه فَاسْتَغْلَظَ فَاسْتَوٰی عَلٰی سُوْقِه یُعْجِبُ الزُّرَّاعَ لِیَغِیْظَ بِهِمُ الْكُفَّارَ وَعَدَ اللهُ الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ مِنْهُمْ مَّغْفِرَةً وَّ اَجْرًا عَظِیْمًا
Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is Allah’s Rasul and those with him are severe against the kuffar and compassionate among themselves. You will see them sometimes bowing, sometimes prostrating, seeking Allah’s bounty and His pleasure. Their hallmark is on their faces because of the effect of prostration. This is their description in the Torah. Their description in the Injil is like that of a plant that sprouts its shoots and strengthens it, after which it becomes thick and stands on its own stem, pleasing the farmer. So that the kuffar may be enraged by them. Allah has promised forgiveness and a grand reward for those of them who have iman and who do good deeds.
In this verse, the phrase “Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is Allah’s Rasul” is a claim and the phrase “And those with him…” is the proof of that claim. The later phrase includes the entire assembly of the Sahaba. Allah presents them as evidence of Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam nubuwwah whilst also attesting to their piety, credibility and integrity. Whosoever criticizes the Sahaba not only finds fault in the nubuwwah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, but rather denies the claim of the Noble Qurʼan. It is evident from this verse that anybody who harbours anger and fury against the Sahaba could only be a disbeliever. It is as if though the very existence of the Sahaba was a cause of rage for the disbelievers. Lastly, Allah has promised forgiveness and an immense reward for the Sahaba on the basis of their faith and virtuous deeds.
وَالسّٰبِقُوْنَ الْاَوَّلُوْنَ مِنَ الْمُهٰجِرِیْنَ وَالْاَنْصَارِ وَالَّذِیْنَ اتَّبَعُوْهُمْ بِاِحْسَانٍ رَّضِیَ اللهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوْا عَنْهُ وَ اَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنّٰتٍ تَجْرِیْ تَحْتَهَا الْاَنْهٰرُ خٰلِدِیْنَ فِیْهَا اَبَدًا ذٰلِکَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِیْمُ
And the foremost pioneers of the Muhajirin (those who migrated from Makkah to Madina) and the Ansar (the citizens of Madina who helped the Muhajirin) and also those who followed them exactly in virtue; Allah is well-pleased with them and they are well-pleased with Him.
He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.
In this verseو Allah has described two categories of the Sahaba. The first are the “Muhajirin” and the second are “Ansar”. They have unconditionally been assured four bounties together with the glad tidings of a “great success”. These four promises are:
- Allah is forever pleased with them.
- They are always pleased with Allah.
- Jannat (Paradise) has been prepared for them.
- They will abide in Jannat forever.
وَ اِذَا قِیْلَ لَهُمْ اٰمِنُوْا کَمَا اٰمَنَ النَّاسُ قَالُوْا اَنُؤْمِنُ کَمَا اٰمَنَ السُّفََها ءُ اَلَا اِنَّهُمْ هُمُ السُّفَها ءُ وَلٰکِنْ لَّا یَعْلَمُوْنَ
And when it is said to them (the hypocrites): “Believe as the people (Sahaba) have believed,” they say: “Shall we believe as the fools have believed?” Verily, they (the hypocrites) are the fools, but they know not.
This verse declares the iman of the Sahaba as being complete as well as being of the required standard in the sight of Allah. People’s iman will not be complete until it is measured on the scale of the iman of the Sahaba. The acceptable standard of iman is that of the Sahaba, therefore a person who criticises the iman of the Sahaba is treading the path of the hypocrites. Whosoever considers the Sahaba to be foolish and dumb, then in the sight of Allah such a person is in fact foolish and dumb. Whichever people find fault in the Sahaba do so out of their sheer ignorance, shallowness, oblivion and lack of knowledge.
My purpose is not to encompass all the verses concerning the status of the Sahaba and it will be sufficient to conclude from what has been mentioned that they are accepted in the sight of Allah and have been promised Jannat. For those who are willing to accept, five verses are more than sufficient. As for those not willing to accept, the entire Qurʼan may be quoted and yet it will still be insufficient.
The Status of the Sahaba in Hadith
Take note of the following ahadith:
عن عبد الله رضي الله عنه أن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال : خير الناس قرني ثم الذين يلونهم ثم الذين يلونهم
‘Abdullah radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “The best people are those of my era, then those who are after them and then those who are after them.”
عن عمر رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم أكرموا أصحابي فإنهم خياركم
‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu reported that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Honour my Sahaba for certainly they are the best of you.”
و عن جابر رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال لا تمس النار من رآني أو رأى من رآني
Jabir radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrated that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “The fire of Jahannam will not touch that Muslim who has seen me nor the one who has seen someone who has seen me.”
عن أنس رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم مثل أصحابي في أمتي كالملح في الطعام لا يصلح الطعام الا بالملح
Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu reported that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “The likeness of my Sahaba in my Ummah is as the likeness of salt in food. Food is not delicious unless salt is added to it.”
… فمن أحبهم فبحبي أحبهم و من أبغضهم فببغضي أبغضهم
Whosoever loves my Sahaba, it is on account of his love for me, and whosoever has enmity for my Sahaba, it is on account of his enmity for me.
Prohibition Against Maligning the Sahaba
Just as the ahadith expound the innumerable virtues of the Sahaba, so too has a prohibition been directed against maligning them. Consider the following narrations:
الله الله في أصحابي، الله الله في أصحابي، لا تتخذوهم غرضا من بعدي
Fear Allah! Fear Allah, regarding my Sahaba! Fear Allah! Fear Allah, regarding my Sahaba! Do not make them a target of criticism after me.
لا تسبوا أصحابي فلو أن أحدكم أنفق مثل أحد ذهبا ما بلغ مد أحدهم و لا نصيفه
Do not curse my Sahaba! If any of you were to spend the amount of gold equivalent to the mountain of Uhud in charity, you would still not reach their reward of spending in charity of even a mudd, nor even half of it.
إذا رأيتم الذين يسبون أصحابي فقولوا لعنة الله على شركم
When you see those people who curse my Sahaba then say to them: “May the curse of Allah be upon the one who is the more evil between you.”
Whilst explaining this narration my mentor- Molana Yusuf Ludhiyanwi rahimahu Llah, shared the following gems of knowledge, which are inspired only upon the hearts of the pious:
1. The word “curse” in this narration does not merely mean using vulgar language but includes any word of scorn which may belittle the Sahaba in any way. From this it is understood that it is not permissible to malign or disrespect the Sahaba. A person who does so will be accursed and expelled from the mercy of Allah.
2. Showing contempt towards the Sahaba causes pain to the blessed heart of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This is clear from his statement: “Whosoever has caused harm to them has harmed me”. By causing grief to the blessed heart of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam there is a danger of the reward of good deeds being wiped away.
Allah says in the Noble Qurʼan:
اَنْ تَحْبَطَ اَعْمَالُكُمْ وَ اَنْتُمْ لاَ تَشْعُرُوْنَ
Lest your deeds will be wiped off while you do not know.
Thus, vilifying the Sahaba can very likely be a cause of losing one’s iman.
3. Defending the honour of the Sahaba and responding to the accusations levelled against them is a religious obligation.
4. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not say that a detailed response should be given to each and every criticism against the Sahaba, as this will result in an endless process of answers and counter answers. However, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that an all-comprehensive and principled response should be given which is: “May the curse of Allah be upon the one who is the more evil between you.”
5. There are two possible meanings of the phrase- “the more evil between you”. In this phrase, the word “evil” is connected to a personal pronoun (i.e. you) which would imply: “May the curse of Allah be upon your evil which is spread all over!” The second possible meaning would be that the word “evil” denotes a degree of intensity and comparison. This would imply that between yourselves and the Sahaba whosoever is more evil, may the curse of Allah be upon them. In this phrase, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has made a subtle inference to those who vilify the Sahaba. Whosoever ponders over this will realise that the root of those who disregard the Sahaba has been severed. This much is clear that whatever the Sahaba may be, in essence they will always be better than you. You may be able to fly in the air, reach the sky, or live a hundred lives but you will never reach the status of the Sahaba. Where will you get such eyes that had seen the beautiful countenance of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Where will you get such ears that were honoured to hear the words of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Where will you get such hearts that were enlightened with the effulgence of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Where will you get such minds that were inspired by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Where will you get such hands that touched the blessed skin of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and it remained scented for the rest of their lives? Where will you get such feet that were blistered in going towards his blessed company? Where will you get such a place where the leader of the world was in authority? Where will you get such a gathering where the goblets of success of both worlds were being served? Where will you get such an environment where the sensation of ‘it is as if I am seeing Allah before me’ is always present? Where will you get such a gathering in which the ambiance was ‘as if though birds are perching on our heads’? Where will you get that fragrance of ambergris whose breeze scented the streets and alleys of Madina Munawwarah? Where will you get such love that prevented the lover from sleep just to glance at the beloved? Where will you get such iman that lit up the entire world? Where will you get such actions that were carried out precisely according to the standard approved by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Where will you get such character that was beautified by emulating the example of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Where will you get such a colour that was toned in ‘the colour of Allah’? Where will you get such demeanour that inspired onlookers to emulate them? Where will you get such a salah wherein the imam was the Imam of all the Prophets alayhim al-Salam? How will you form such a congregation whose leader was the leader of all the Prophets alayhim al-Salam? You may revile the Sahaba a hundred thousand times, but look closely into your hearts and admit: Are you not worse than them? If they are deserving of scorn and rebuke, then are you not deserving of anger and curses? If you are just and have any trace of modesty, then search your soul and keep silent regarding the Sahaba.
Allamah Tibi rahimahu Llah quotes a unique poem of Sayyidina Hassan ibn Thabit radiya Llahu ‘anhu and in the commentary of this narration mentions:
Do you revile Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam when you are not equal to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? May the worst among you two be sacrificed for the one who is better than you.
6. It is also understood from this narration that one who reviles the Sahaba is proud, conceited and vane. If anybody criticises the actions of another, he implies that the latter is inferior to him in relation to a particular trait. So if for instance, a person comments that a certain Sahabi did not fulfil the demands of justice and equity, it would mean that if this person was in the same position as that Sahabi radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he would have fulfilled the requirements of justice in a better manner, as if though he had a higher calibre of fairness than that Sahabi. This is the evil of pride and the lewdness of the ego which drives one to revile the Sahaba. This evil requires reformation, which Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam hints at in this narration.
7. The etiquette of engagement and debate is also explained in this narration. An opponent should not be directly addressed with the words “May you be cursed!” Instead it should be said to him: “May the one who is the worst between you be cursed!” This is such a neutral approach which all will concur with and there is no possibility for anyone disputing it. It still remains, who is referred to by the phrase “the one who is the more evil between you”? The critic? Or the one whom he is criticising? The answer to this is not difficult and keeping in mind the collective circumstances of each of the two, any simple minded person will be able to easily conclude whether the Sahaba are evil or the foolish critic?
8. In this narration, the instruction is given to the Ummah to- “say to him”, which implies that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not consider the critic of the Sahaba to be part of this Ummah. On the contrary, the critic is from an opposing faction to this Ummah. This is a severe warning to those who vilify the Sahaba, similar to other transgressions for which the admonition: “He is not from us” has been directed.
9. It is also understood from this narration that in the same manner as Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was concerned with the honour of the injunctions of Islam, similarly he was concerned of protecting the honour of the Sahaba. The very foundation of Islam rests upon them. The narration also informs us that those who speak ill of the Sahaba are like those who have detracted from Islam. The Ummah has been given the instruction to rebuke such people. This subject matter is clearly mentioned in several other narrations as well:
May the curse of Allah, His Angels and all the people be upon whoever curses them (the Sahaba). Allah will not accept any good deed from him on the Day of Resurrection, be it compulsory or optional.
The Sahaba in Their Own Words
Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu, one of the ten Sahaba who were given the glad tidings of Jannat, states:
و الله لمشهد رجل منهم مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يغبر فيه وجهه فيه خير من عمل أحدكم عمره و لو عمر عمر نوح
“By Allah! The short period of time any companion of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam may have spent in his company on a battlefield through which his face may have been covered in dust, is more valuable than the life’s worship of any of you (a non-Sahabi), even if you be granted the lifespan of Nuh ‘alayh al-Salam.”
Prohibition Against Maligning the Sahaba in Light of ‘Aqidah
In addition to the discussion regarding this matter in the Noble Qurʼan and ahadith, the books of ‘aqidah of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah emphatically state that the Sahaba were upright and trustworthy, together with them being above any form of condemnation. Whoever maligns them, his iman and Islam is questionable and such a person is deserving of punishment. All praise be to Allah, the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah (whether they be from the Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki or Hanbali schools of thought) are all unanimous in their belief and there are no divergences among them.
We should take note of references from the books of ‘aqidah of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah, wherein prohibition against maligning the Sahaba is mentioned. Make these the principles of your life and at the same time be aware of the religious verdict regarding those who malign the Sahaba.
The treatise titled Al ’Aqidah al Tahawiyyah is a reliable work of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah. In it Imam Abu Jafar al Tahawi rahimahu Llah (d. 321 A.H) has concisely compiled the beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah, in accordance with the methodology of the scholars of hadith, as well as the statements of the three Imams- Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah (d. 150 A.H), Imam Abu Yusuf rahimahu Llah (d. 182 A.H) and Imam Muhammad rahimahu Llah (d. 189 A.H). All the followers of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah have accepted this exemplary compilation throughout the generations and it continues to be studied and taught throughout. Even in the present era, this treatise is taught in Saudi Arabia.
It is stated in this book:
و نحب أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم و لا نفرط في حب أحد منهم ، و لا نتبرأ من أحد منهم ، و نبغض من يبغضهم و بغير الحق لا نذكرهم، نذكرهم الا بخير ، و حبهم دين و ايمان و احسان ، و بغضهم كفر ونفاق و طغيان … الى قوله … و من أحسن القول في أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم و أزواجه و ذريارته فقد برئ من النفاق
“…and we love all the Sahaba of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. We do not go to the extreme in our love for any one of them nor do we discard any of them. We abhor anyone who harbours hatred or speaks ill about them. We only refer to them with goodness. Love for them is part of religion, Islam and piety. Hatred for them is tantamount to disbelief, hypocrisy and evil… Whosoever speaks well of the Sahaba of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his wives and his family is free from hypocrisy.”
It is narrated from Imam Malik rahimahu Llah (d. 179 A.H):
و من شتم أصحابه ادب و قال أيضا من شتم واحدا من أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم ابا بكر او عمر او عثمان او معاوية او عمرو بن العاص فان قال كانوا في ضلال قتل و ان شتم بغير هذا من مشاتمة الناس نكالا شديدا
Whosoever reviles the Sahaba should be disciplined. Whosoever says that any of the Sahaba, whether it be Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu or ‘Amr ibn al ’As radiya Llahu ‘anhu, were misguided should be executed. Whosoever is vulgar against any of the Sahaba should be severely punished.
Maymuni reports that he heard Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal rahimahu Llah say:
و قال الميـموني سمعت احمد يقول : ما لهم و لمعاوية رضي الله عنه نسئل الله العافية و قال يا ابا الحسن إذا رايت أحدا يذكر أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم بسوء فاتهمه على الاسلام
What is wrong with people that they speak ill about Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu? We beseech Allah for ease!” Then he said: “O Abu al Hassan! Whenever you see someone mentioning the Sahaba inappropriately, you should doubt his Islam.”
Imam Abu Zur’ah al Razi rahimahu Llah (d. 261 A.H) states:
إذا رايت الرجل ينتـقص أحدا من أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فأعلم أنه زنديق
If you see a man condemning any of the Sahaba, you should know with certainty that he is a zindiq (renegade).
Imam Abu Bakr al Sarakhsi rahimahu Llah (d. 483 A.H) writes:
إن الله تعالى أثـنى عليهم في غير موضع من كتاب كما قال تعالى “محمد رسول الله و الذين معه” (الاية) و رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم وصفهم بأنهم خير الناس فقال “خير الناس قرني الذين أنا فيهم” و الشريعة انما بلغتـنا بنقلهم ،فمن طعن فيهم فهو ملحد منابذ للإسلام دواؤه السيف إن لم يتب
Certainly Allah has praised the Sahaba in several instances in the Noble Qurʼan, for example: “Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is the Rasul of Allah…” Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has described them as the “best of people” in his statement: “The best people are those of the era in which I am.” The laws of Islam have reached us through their transmission, so whoever reviles them as being transgressors has turned against Islam. If he does not relent, the only cure for him is the sword.
The Sahaba and Imam Abu Hanifah
Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah (d. 150 A.H) states:
و لا نذكر الصحابة الا بخير
We only mention the Sahaba with goodness.
The Sahaba do not Need Accreditation
It is unanimous and undisputed that the Sahaba are upright and the most excellent of this Ummah. Their credibility does not need to be attested to by any person of this Ummah since Allah, who was All-Aware of their inner-selves, had confirmed their trustworthiness. Senior scholars have with great clarity discussed this matter in their books.
Hafiz Abu Bakr Al Khatib al Baghdadi rahimahu Llah (d. 463 A.H) explains:
فلا يحتاج أحد منهم مع تعديل الله تعالى لهم ، المطلع على بواطنهم الى تعديل أحد من الخلق
The Sahaba are not in need of anyone of the creation to declare their righteousness, when Allah who is aware of their inner-selves has already done so.
Ibn al Athir al Jazari rahimahu Llah (d. 630 A.H) writes:
و الصحابة يشاركون سائر الرواة في جميع ذلك الا في الجرح و التعديل فانهم كلهم عدول لا يتطرق اليهم الجرح لأن الله عز و جل و رسوله زكاهم و عدلاهم و ذلك مشهور لا نحتاج لذكره
The Sahaba are similar to other narrators in all aspects except in their credibility, since all of them were reliable and credible. They cannot be criticised since Allah and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam have declared their integrity. Their authenticity is well-known and needs no elaboration.
The famous historian, Ibn Khaldun al Maghribi rahimahu Llah (d. 808 A.H) states:
هذا هو الذي ينبغي أن تحمل عليه أفعال السلف من الصحابة و التابعين فهم خيار الأمة و إذا جعلناهم عرضة القدح فمن الذي يختص بالعدالة و النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول خير الناس قرني ثم الذين يلونهم مرتين أو ثلاثا ثم يفشوا الكذب فجعل الخيرة و هي العدالة مختصة بالقرن الأول و الذي يليه فإياك أن تعود نفسك أو لسانك التعرض لأحد منهم
It is only appropriate that the actions of our predecessors- the Sahaba and Tabi’in, are interpreted with goodness since they were the best of this Ummah. If we make them the target of criticism, then who will be distinguished with integrity? Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has stated: “The best people are those of my era, and then those who followed them. (He repeated it twice or thrice.) Then falsehood will become widespread.” Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam attributed goodness to the first and second (or third) era, by this he implied their credibility. Beware of harbouring ill-feelings against any of them or uttering a word of scorn against them.
The Probability of Sin Falls Under Divine Wisdom
It is clear from the Noble Qurʼan, the ahadith and the sayings of the pious predecessors that the Sahaba earned the praise of Allah and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The revelation of Allah is abundant in describing their accomplishments and qualities and thus they are not in need of endorsement of their credibility from anyone. When they entered into the fold of Islam, their hearts were illuminated with the effulgence of revelation from Allah. By token of this, they had elevated to such a position of purity and integrity that they became a source of envy for the angels. If any rare misdeed was committed by them, which was almost non-existent, then too the Divine Wisdom of Allah played a role in this.
Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah (d. 150 A.H) says:
ما قاتل أحد عليًا إلا و علي أولى بالحق منه ، و لولا ما سار علي فيهم ما علم أحد كيف السيرة في المسلمين
Nobody engaged in battle against ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu except that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was closer to the truth in that regard. If ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not interact with them in such a manner then nobody would have known how to react in an instance when there is a clash between Muslims.
Molana ‘Ashiq Ilahi Mirthi rahimahu Llah while discussing the life of Shah ‘Abd al Rahim Raipuri rahimahu Llah in Tadhkirat al Khalil writes:
As per his usual habit, one day after ‘Asr salah, he was sitting on a bedstead in the patio of the garden, surrounded on all sides by attendants and a large group of people, some of whom were seated on reed stools. At this instance, Rao Murad ‘Ali Khan brought up the subject of conflict between the Sahaba. People began expressing their opinions, someone said that so-and-so was wrong and so-and-so should not have acted in such a manner. When it reached this point, Hadrat (referring to Shah ‘Abd al Rahim Raipuri rahimahu Llah) became enraged and broke his silence in a trembling tone, saying: “O Rao! Listen to my few words. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came to this world to inform the creation of all their necessities relating to their religion as well as to their worldly life that will arise until the Day of Resurrection. It is evident that he was granted a very short life span to pass on such a great message and to accomplish his role of informing the creation of every type of circumstance and eventuality that would arise. Through the outcome of these circumstances the world would learn how to conduct themselves in a particular situation.
In principle, no irrelevant incident occurred during the era of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. These occurrences were of two types. Firstly, there were those incidents which did not contradict the position of nubuwwah. Secondly, there were those that were in conflict with the prominent position of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself experienced the incidents which were from the first category, for example, marriage, having offspring, demise, burial, etc. Through all the incidents of happiness and sadness which Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam experienced, the world learnt the lessons of how to behave in these situations. When a relative passes away, for example, which actions are appropriate and which are not. At the time of birth or marriage of someone or at any other joyous occasion, what is permissible and what contradicts the Sunnah.
There were also those incidents which would be in conflict with the prominent position of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. If they were to occur with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself (which they did not) then the position of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would be undermined. For example, if adultery, stealing, etc, takes place, how should a penalty be executed, or if a conflict breaks out or an argument based on self-interests was to occur, how should reconciliation take place. It would be inappropriate if these occurrences were to happen to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself, while at the same time there was a need for them to occur.
The Sahaba presented themselves as servants of this din for this very reason. It was as if they agreed for such occurrences to happen to them, which were in conflict with the prominent position of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This was in order for the outcomes of these incidents to be defined so that Islam could reach its completion. Therefore all such things happened to the Sahaba which would serve as a means of guidance to all those to come after them until the Day of Resurrection. Through these events, every ordinary person would come to know how to act in such a scenario.
Are there any such courageous and devoted souls willing to endure every disgrace as honour, and defects as strength, together with bearing the brunt of criticism, solely for the completion of the religion of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? It is as if though their actions spoke out:
“Everybody desires fame, honour and prominence, but ask a lover what is the sweetness of devotion and what is the enjoyment experienced in enduring disgrace along the path of the beloved.”
Such true lovers sacrificed their honour and self-respect for the sake of our guidance and reformation. Yet, after thirteen hundred years, we sit like commissioners over their tribunals to pass a judgement on them. We find fault with them and spoil our own destiny. What will we get out of this? If we cannot appreciate these gems of the Sunnah, then at the least we should keep our mouths silent from criticising them.
Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Fear Allah! Fear Allah, regarding my Sahaba! Do make them the target of criticism after me!”
For a long while he continued his speech in this vain, as if though petals were being sprinkled from his mouth and the listeners were being captivated by its scent.
At this point I would like to refer to another related matter, a few years ago while compiling my treatise on a comparative study between Islam and Shi’ism, in the course of perusing through various resources for and against Shia doctrines, I came across references being made to a book by Nasir al din Nasar Gholrawi, entitled Nam wa Nasab. This occurred concurrently with my reading of another book entitled Sunni Mowqaf, which is a compilation of the discourses of Molana ‘Ali Sher Haydari rahimahu Llah. I was curious to find out who was this person who has written a book against Shi’ism entitled Nam wa Nasab.
After purchasing the book I realised that the contents of the book was not specifically against Shi’ism, but rather a response to the Shia scholar- Najm al Hassan Kararwi, who made certain allegations against the lineage of Sheikh ‘Abd al Qadir al Jilani rahimahu Llah (d. 561 A.H). Only 119 pages in the eleventh chapter of the book was related to the subject, whilst the remainder (despite its volume) was unrelated to the discussion. The book comprises of a total of 946 pages excluding the pages with illustrations. While reading the book, I realised that the eighth chapter is specifically written against Shi’ism and in it I read the following passage:
Regrettably the beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah are being influenced by that of the Shia and Khawarij. Some people of Ahlus Sunnah have gone to such an extreme in opposing Shia beliefs that they have become vulgar and impolite just as the Khawarij. While some Ahlus Sunnah have become so obsessive in opposing the Khawarij that they have become impolite like the Shia. This is because the Khawarij malign the Ahlul Bayt while the Shia malign the Sahaba. It is for this reason that in this book the corrupt beliefs and false perceptions of both have been strongly refuted. The Ahlus Sunnah should desist from the beliefs of both the Khawarij and that of the Shia, and adopt moderation in their love for the Ahlul Bayt as well as for the Sahaba. Admiration for the one should not result in disregard for the other.
He mentioned further:
We calmly listen to an array of abusive statements by people. By Allah! We have not accorded our predecessors a more lower status than this, whose nobility is enshrined in the Noble Qurʼan and the Sunnah within the limits and boundaries prescribed by the principles of Islam. The Prophets of Allah are after all the Prophets, but still we should perceive ourselves to be the slaves of the Sahaba, which most of the pious auliya openly did in their discourses. We have never taken any Sahabi or pious saint to be infallible. It is a unanimous fact that only the Prophets are infallible, however the Ahlul Bayt, the Sahaba and other pious persons of this Ummah are at times guarded against sin. The difference between infallibility and being guarded against sin is well-known to people of knowledge. I appeal to those Muslim brethren who have not adopted the beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah to choose the methodology of the Ahlus Sunnah. A Sunni is not someone who merely adopts certain beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah but rather adheres to all its beliefs, and inclusive in the beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah is respecting the Ahlul Bayt and honouring the Sahaba. Detesting the Ahlul Bayt is tantamount to the beliefs of the Khawarij and hatred for the Sahaba is Shi’ism. Admiration for the Ahlul Bayt, respect for the Sahaba and reverence for the pious is part of Ahlus Sunnah. Pondering over these statements, one will realise that the Khawarij have taken to the Sahaba but abandoned the Ahlul Bayt. The Shia have accepted the Ahlul Bayt and have rejected the Sahaba. The refuters of taqlid and the Wahabi have mostly taken to the Sahaba and significantly left out the Ahlul Bayt. Together with this, they have consciously disregarded and denigrated the pious servants of Allah. Those who espouse the beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah, whether Chisti, Nizami, Qadri, Saharwardi or Naqshbandi, all have kissed the feet of these devout souls and have afforded them their due respect.
In the approach of the Ahlus Sunnah one will find respect for the pious and for the Imams, reverence for the Sahaba as well as admiration for the family of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha. Fellow brothers in faith! Adopt the approach of the Ahlus Sunnah. This approach has been transmitted to us, it is rational and is acceptable in the court of truth (Allah).
In the world of Islam, the Sahaba are granted the highest esteem and this extraordinary reverence for them is on account of the honour of being the close companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Honouring them is in reality honouring the leader of the worlds- Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Honourable readers! Reading the words of Nasir al Din brings us great joy since it seems that he has stood clear from any extremities and has composed his thoughts regarding the Ahlul Bayt and Sahaba in his book. This positive perception of him did not remain for long as his claims of refuting Shi’ism and the beliefs of the Khawarij proved to be nothing more than empty. While at one instance he makes the following supplication:
O Allah! Grant us abundant love and admiration for both, the Ahlul Bayt and the Sahaba. Whatever was the rank of any particular Sahabi in the eyes of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, grant us that level of admiration for that Sahabi. This is Islam. This is obedience. This is iman.
What he went on to write clearly contradicted this supplication.
Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself prevented the Sahaba from relating to him any complaint or grievance concerning another Sahabi. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
لا يـبلغني أحد من أصحابـي عن أحد شيئا فإني أحب أن أخرج إليكم سليم الصدر
None of you should complain to me regarding any companion of mine. I would like to come out to meet you with a clear heart (conscience).
This was the instruction given to the Sahaba. Furthermore, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam advised the ummah:
الله الله في أصحابـي الله الله في أصحابـي لا تتخذوهم غرضا من بعدي
Fear Allah! Fear Allah, regarding my Sahaba! Fear Allah! Fear Allah, regarding my Sahaba! Do not make them the target of criticism after me.
As for the pious predecessors, Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah (d. 150 A.H), whom Allah had blessed with such traits which were an embodiment of the grandeur and dignity of Islam, had witnessed the final years of the era of the Sahaba. Not only did he have a deep insight into the lives of these esteemed souls, but he was also blessed with their company. It was through his efforts that Islamic Jurisprudence was first consolidated. He was the appropriate purport of the hadith which signified glad tidings for the person who would even go to the stars in search of knowledge.
Concerning the differences which arose among the Sahaba, Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah made a very profound, concise, sensible and wise statement.
Imam Shams al Din Muhammad ibn Yusuf al Salihi al Dimashqi al Shafi’i (d. 947 A.H) writes:
سئل أبو حنيفة عن علي و معاوية و قتلى صفين ، فقال أخاف أن أقدم على الله تعالى بشيء يسألني عنه ، و إذا أقامني يوم القيامة بين يديه لا يسألني عن شيء من أمورهم ، يسألني عما كلفـني ، فالإشتغال بذلك أولى
Somebody asked Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah concerning ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and those who were slain in the Battle of Siffin. Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah answered: “I fear to make such an utterance before Allah regarding which I will be questioned about. When Allah makes me stand before Him on the Day of Resurrection, He will not question me concerning these people (i.e. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu) and those who were slain in the Battle of Siffin. However, Allah will question me regarding those aspects which I am responsible for. It is more appropriate for me to be preoccupied in preparation for those things.
Muhammad ibn Nadra said regarding ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al ’Aziz rahimahu Llah:
قال (محمد بن النضر) ذكروا اختلاف أصحاب محمد صلى الله عليه و سلم عند عمر بن عبد العزيز فقال : أمر أخرج الله أيديكم منه ما تعلمون ألسنـتكم فيه؟
In the presence of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al ’Aziz rahimahu Llah, the differences which arose among the Sahaba were mentioned. He said: “It is a matter which Allah has shielded your hands from, so what do your tongues know about it?”
He is also reported to have said:
تلك دماء كف الله يدي عنها و انا أكره أن أغمس لساني فيها
This is such blood which Allah has protected my hands from, so I dislike that I should soil my tongue with it.
Imam Shafi’i rahimahu Llah states:
تلك دماء طهر الله عنها أيديـنا فلنطهر عنها ألسنتـنا
Allah has kept our hands pure from such blood (which was spilt in the Battles of Siffin and Jamal), so we should also keep our tongues clean from it as well.
Ibrahim al Nakha’i rahimahu Llah (d. 95 A.H) states:
تلك دماء طهر الله أيدينا منها افـنلطخ ألسنتـنا
That is such blood with Allah has kept our hands clean from, are we going to now pollute our tongues with it?
Hassan al Basri rahimahu Llah (d. 110 A.H) says:
قتال شهده أصحاب محمد صلى الله عليه و سلم و غبنا ، و علموا و جهلنا ، و اجتـمعوا فاتبعنا ، و اختلفوا فوقـفنا
These were battles that the Sahaba engaged in and we were not present. They were fully aware of all the circumstances relating to them and we are ignorant of that. We follow the Sahaba in whichever matter they were unanimous. We adopt silence concerning any matters about which they disputed.
It is for these reasons that our predecessors did not allow any unnecessary discussion regarding the disputes of the Sahaba. However, certain ‘enlightened’ minds have chosen to ignore the instruction of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the teachings of the pious predecessors, by bare footedly stepping into the complex and intricate realm of the differences which arose among the Sahaba.
The author of Nam wa Nasab, through his own conjecture, in the process of admiration and defending the Ahlul Bayt has grossly denigrated and attacked the honour of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Whereas Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, whom the author passionately admires, has instructed:
لا تقولوا إلا خيرا
Do not utter anything but good (regarding Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his companions).
It seems that the author has to a large extent forgotten the principle that love demands obedience. It is therefore obligatory upon one who claims to love Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to also obey him. A poet says:
لو كان حبك صادقا لاطعته إن المحب لمن يحب مطيع
If your love was true, then you would obey your beloved; since a lover is always obedient to the beloved.
The author of Nam wa Nasab has in no way fallen short with his tongue or pen in emphasising to follow the pious predecessors, honour the Sahaba and love the family of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. With regards to his practice, it does not make any sense why he did not heed his own advice. Why are the standards of give and take different?
The manner in which Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu is denigrated, under the guise of refuting the Nawasib, reveals the level of which one has become tainted in the hue of the Shia and their clamour. The only difference is that when the Shia object to Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu they only refer to him as “Muawiyah”, while the critics, who conceal themselves under the label of the Ahlus Sunnah, refer to him as “Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu”.
The greatest sorrow is that while the author of Nam wa Nasab has considered the accusations made upon the lineage of Sheikh ‘Abd al Qadir al Jilani rahimahu Llah to go against his religious allegiance and loyalty to his spiritual affiliation, he does not show the same regard for Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. After five years of continuous effort he prepared a refutation to those allegations in a dissertation of 946 pages. We have no objection to this in the least nor does it harm us — if he had not reviled a Sahabi of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. In fact every Muslim, including us, would have appreciated his effort and commended him. Conversely, in this book the author has dedicated an entire chapter in which he has criticised and maligned Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
In reality, Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu was a Sahabi while Sheikh ‘Abd al Qadir al Jilani rahimahu Llah was a saint, and no matter how lofty the status of sainthood may be, it cannot equate to a fraction the status of being a Sahabi.
Sheikh Mujaddid Alf-e Thani rahimahu Llah (d. 1024 A.H) states:
و فضيلة الصحبة فوق جميع الفضائل و الكمالات و لهذا لم يبلغ اويس القرني الذي هو خير التابعين مرتبة ادنى من صحبه عليه الصلاة و السلام فلا تعدل بفضيلة الصحبة شيئا كائنا ما كان فان ايمانهم ببركة الصحبة و نزول الوحى يصير شهوديا
The excellence of the companionship of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam supersedes all other virtues and accomplishments. It is for this reason that Uways al Qarni rahimahu Llah, who was the highest ranking Tabi’i, cannot reach the status of the lowest ranking Sahabi. Do not equate anything whatsoever to the status of the companionship of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Their iman was on account of the blessings of their companionship with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. As a result of them witnessing the revelation descending they became eye-witnesses.
Ibn Hajar al Makki (d. 944 A.H) mentions:
ان فضيلة صحبته صلى الله عليه و سلم و رؤيته لا يعدلها شيء
The companionship and sight of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam cannot be equated to anything.
Shah ‘Abd al Quddus Ghanghohi rahimahu Llah (d. 944 A.H) says:
It is part of our belief that a person who is not a Sahabi, even though he may achieve a lofty rank in sainthood and is endowed with great powers and bounties, will still not reach the status of the Sahaba. The excellence of the companionship of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is an all-inclusive virtue, whilst sainthood is a partial virtue. A partial virtue can never be equal to an all-inclusive virtue.
Allamah Khalid Mahmud states:
It is the belief of the Ahlus Sunnah that being a Sahabi is an honour in its own right that is not based upon any academic excellence or achievement. Be it the knowledge, piety or achievement of the likes of Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik, Junaid al Baghdadi or Bayazid al Bustami rahimahumu Llah, it cannot equate to the status of the companionship of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Yet some will consider extolling the innocence of a saint as a means of salvation while deriding a Sahabi of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is deemed acceptable. Is this called honouring the Sahaba?
Sheikh ‘Abd al Qadir al Jilani rahimahu Llah (d. 561 A.H) states regarding Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
If I were to sit in the pathway of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the dust from the hoof of the horse of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu were to fall upon me, I would consider this as a means of my salvation.
Similarly, Sheikh ‘Abd al Qadir al Jilani rahimahu Llah states the following regarding the differences which arose between the Sahaba:
و اما قتاله رضي الله عنه لطلحة و الزبير و عائشة و معاوية رضي الله عنهم فقد نص الإمام أحمد رحمه الله على الإمساك عن ذلك و جميع ما شجر بينهم من منازعة و منافرة و خصومة ، كما قال عز و جل : وَنَزَعْنَا مَا فِي صُدُورِهِم مِّنْ غِلٍّ إِخْوَانًا عَلَى سُرُرٍ مُّتَقَابِلِينَ
With reference to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu engaging in battle against Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu, ‘Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha and Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu; Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal rahimahu Llah has stated: “It is better to remain silent regarding all the conflicts, arguments and altercations which occurred between the Sahaba. On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will free them from all these differences which occurred between them, as Allah states: “And We shall remove from their breasts any deep feeling of bitterness (that they may have). (They will be like) brothers facing each other on thrones.”
Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu is that Sahabi concerning whom Sheikh ‘Abd al Qadir al Jilani rahimahu Llah expressed such sentiments that he considered the dust from the horse of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu to suffice for his good fortune and salvation. Sheikh ‘Abd al Qadir al Jilani rahimahu Llah even prevented the discussion regarding the differences among the Sahaba.
Presently, some foolish people malign Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu even after noting the advice of Sheikh ‘Abd al Qadir al Jilani rahimahu Llah concerning him. This is despite them claiming to have intense love for Sheikh ‘Abd al Qadir al Jilani rahimahu Llah. They are not perturbed at branding Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu an innovator. How then can they hope that their writings would please Sheikh ‘Abd al Qadir al Jilani rahimahu Llah?
Sheikh ‘Abd al Qadir al Jilani rahimahu Llah would recite the following couplet at the end of his supplication:
و من يترك الآثار قد ضل سعيه و هل يترك الآثار من كان مسلما
Whosoever detracts from the footsteps of the pious predecessors, his efforts are wasted. Is it possible for a Muslim to stray from the footsteps of the pious predecessors?
The author of Nam wa Nasab has not presented any newfound research in this chapter, rather he has pilfered the earlier criticisms from the books of other likeminded role models of his such as Maududi and the Shia. The senior scholars of Islam have long ago concluded the responses to these criticisms.
The Sahaba are described in hadith as the “stars of guidance and righteousness” and the Ahlul Bayt as the “ark of salvation and success”. In light of what Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has said, the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah consider admiration for the Sahaba and for the Ahlul Bayt to be indispensable of each other.
The Ahlus Sunnah are convinced that whoever distances himself from the ark of the Ahlul Bayt will be drowned in the sea of misguidance. Similarly, whoever embarks on the ark of the Ahlul Bayt but is deprived of the light of guidance from the stars of the Sahaba, he too will drown in the ocean of misguidance. There is darkness in the ocean and the glow of the stars serve as a means of guidance for the traveller.
In his commentary of Mishkat entitled- Mirqat, Mulla ‘Ali Qari rahimahu Llah (d. 1040 A.H) has quoted this statement of Imam Fakhr al Din al Razi rahimahu Llah (d. 606 A.H), which is the mark of distinction of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah:
نحن معاشر اهل السنة بحمد الله تعالى ركبنا سفينة محبة اهل البيت و اهتدينا بنجم هدى اصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم فنـرجوا النجاة من اهوال القيامة و دركات الجحيم و الهداية الى ما يوجب درجات الجنان و النعيم المقيم
All praise is due to Allah, we the Ahlus Sunnah have boarded the ark of love for the Ahlul Bayt and we are guided by the stars of guidance which are the Sahaba. Thus, we are hopeful of attaining salvation from the terrors of the Day of Resurrection and from the trenches of the fire. We are hopeful of attaining that guidance which will make us deserving of the stages of Jannat and everlasting favours.
Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahu Llah (d. 728 A.H) writes:
و أما اهل السنة فيـتولون جميع المؤمنين ، و يتكلمون بعلم و عدل ، ليسوا من اهل الجهل و لا من اهل الاهواء و يتبرؤن من طريقة الروافض و النواصب جميعا و يتولون السابقين و الأولين كلهم و يعرفون قدر الصحابة و فضلهم و مناقبهم و يرعون حقوق اهل البيت شرعها الله لهم
The Ahlus Sunnah befriend all the believers and they speak on the strength of knowledge and justice. They are not from among the ignorant, nor are they from among those who follow their whims. They are exonerated from the paths of both, the Rawafid and the Nawasib. They have a high regard for all the predecessors and acknowledge the lofty position, honour and virtue of the Sahaba. Together with all of this, they consider it necessary to fulfil the rights of the Ahlul Bayt, as has been established from the Shari’ah.
The spiritual mentor of this humble servant- Molana Yusuf Ludhiyanwi rahimahu Llah (d. 1421 A.H) said:
I consider it an important component of iman to have admiration and respect for all the Ahlul Bayt and Sahaba. I regard the slightest disrespect shown to any of them as a sign of depravation of iman, even if it be it in the semblance of inferring. This is my conviction and I would like to be presented in the court of Allah with this conviction.
It is worth writing the statements of Imam al Razi rahimahu Llah, Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahu Llah and Molana Yusuf Ludhiyanwi rahimahu Llah in gold. In this day and age when maligning the pious predecessors has become common place, these statements will serve as a guide for forthcoming generations. May Allah grant us death in such a state while we still hold fast to these beliefs and actions.
I would like to mention another aspect which requires thought. Namely, whenever such allegations are refuted with various references, the following assertion is made:
These are all fictitious fables and poisonous spurts that have been plagiarized from the books of the Khawarij that no rational person will accept.
Why was the same principle not kept in mind when objections against a companion of Rasulullah radiya Llahu ‘anhu were raised? Why do such critics never say:
These are all fabricated tales and poisonous spurts that have been plagiarized from the books of the Shia that no rational person will accept.
Why are double-standards adopted between the Sahaba and the Ahlul Bayt? A poet says:
He sits in stringent seclusion behinds screens; but he is not properly concealed nor does he make an appearance.
It is extremely crucial to rely upon reputable sources, specifically with regards to Sayyidina Muawiyah rahimahu Llah. There are two reasons for this:
- A great deal of propaganda against Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu had taken root in his era already. Once someone asked Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu : “Why is it that you have aged so quickly?”, and he responded:
كيف لا و لا ازال ارى رجلا من العرب قائماعلى رأسي يلقح لي كلاما ما يلزمني جوابه ، فإن اصبت لم احمد و إن أخطأت سارت بها البرود
Why should it not be so when there is still an Arab man constantly standing upon my head who fabricates such things for which I am compelled to answer? If I do anything correctly nobody acknowledges it, and if I err then the news travels everywhere?
- The Abbasid caliphate began after the Umayyad caliphate in the year 132 A.H (749 CE). Its founder was Abu al ’Abbas al Saffah. He and his successors overthrew the Umayyad caliphate, and made the Banu Umayyah a particular target for their enmity. They even went to the extent of excavating the graves of several leaders of the Banu Umayyah and selectively assassinated many children of the Umayyad rulers and their supporters. The well-known Abbasid khalifah- Ma’mun al Rashid made a declaration:
برئت الذمة ممن ذكر معاوية بخير
We cannot be held responsible for anyone who speaks favourably of Muawiyah.
The Shia historian- Mas’udi, has written about this aspect in his book- Muruj al Dhahab:
و في سنته اثنـتى عشرة و مائتين نادى منادى المأمون : برئت الذمة من احد من الناس ذكر معاوية بخير او قدمه (على احد) من اصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم
In the year 212 A.H, the spokesperson of Maʼmun announced: “The government is not responsible for any person who mentions Muawiyah with praise or considers him superior in rank to any other Sahabi.
This was a period in Islamic history wherein the classical sciences of Islamic learning were being consolidated and documented. One can imagine how challenging the task must have been for the historians to accurately document the attributes and characteristics of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu for Islam and the Muslims in this atmosphere. However, there were a few exceptions. The famous Molana Shah Mu’in al Din Nadwi writes:
The Abbasid caliphate was formed while they were still arch enemies of the Banu Umayyah. The objections raised against the Banu Umayyah in the era of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu continued to gain momentum throughout the reign of the Abbasids. Rather, the uproar became even louder and by then the Abbasid caliphate had expanded from the East to the West. The accusations against Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu had thus spread from one end to the other end of the Muslim Empire. This era was marked by the onset of the compilation of Islamic History and many fabricated narrations, which were in circulation on the tongues of people for a long time, made their way into historical records. Since it was the onset of the documenting of history, it was challenging to put in place processes of verification whereby authentic narrations could be distinguished from fabricated. Through the process of verification many narrations were later excluded which had absolutely no basis and were evidently absurd. Nevertheless, numerous other incorrect incidents still became part of history.
The author of Al ’Awasim min al Qawasim- Muhibb al Din Al Khatib rahimahu Llah (d. 1390 A.H), who is a well-known researcher states:
ان التاريخ الاسلامي لم يبدأ تدوينه الاّ بعد زوال بني أمية و قيام دول لا يسر رجالها التحدث بمفاخر ذلك الماضى و محاسن اهله .فتولى تدوين تاريخ الاسلام ثلاث طوائف : طائفة كانت تنشد العيش و الجدة من التقرب الى مبغض بني امية بما تكتبه و تؤلفه
The documentation of Islamic history began in the period after the fall of the Umayyad caliphate and upon the onset of that dynasty whose leaders were not satisfied with the accomplishments of the past and the integrity of their custodians. The compilation of Islamic history was done by three categories of people. Firstly, there were those whose obsession was animosity and hostility towards the Banu Umayyah, together with finding fault at their achievements in order to win favour with their enemies; namely the Abbasid rulers.
It is worth noting the observation of Molana ‘Abd al Shakur Lucknowi rahimahu Llah (d. 1383 A.H), whereby he concisely and aptly categorised the critics of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu into three groups:
The people who harbour ill-feelings against Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu are of three kinds: The first are the Rawafid whose rancour is not surprising. They harbour malice for such noble personages who cannot be compared to anyone in the Ummah. The second group are the ignorant mystics who consider it the epitome of admiration for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to speak ill about Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. These people consider themselves as Sunni but in reality they contradict the Ahlus Sunnah in this as well as many other matters, be it principled or specific. This often renders them to be part of the Shia sect. The third group are some of the Zahiri supporters of today. At times they do peruse through narrations which may criticise Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. However, due to their literal approach to text, their minds do not delve into the appropriate interpretations of it. The most harmful are the second group who are the ignorant mystics.
After this preliminary discussion, we now focus on providing refutations to the self-conjectured accusations raised against Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
و الأمر بيد الله تعالى و هو الموفق
The matter is in the hands of Allah and He grants the ability (to do good).
Lastly, before we begin our discussion, I would like to say:
Do not hasten in proving your integrity; look into your lap, look into your fastened coat.
Khimar Bara Banki has said:
If you criticise others; first place a mirror in front of yourself.
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 110
 Surah al Baqarah: 143
 Surah al Fath: 29
 Surah al Towbah: 100
 Surah al Baqarah: 13
 Bukhari vol. 1, pg. 515, Muslim vol. 2, pg. 309
 Mishkat, pg. 554
 Tirmidhi vol. 2 pg. 231, Mishkat pg. 554
 Mishkat pg. 554
 Tirmidhi vol. 2 pg. 225, Mishkat pg. 554
 Ibid vol. 2 pg. 225
 A measurement of volume equaivalent to approximately 750ml.
 Muslim vol. 2 pg. 310
 Tirmidhi vol. 2 pg. 227, Mishkat pg. 554
 Bayyinat- monthly periodical, Muharram 1390 A.H
 Tafsir al Qurtubi vol. 16 pg. 297-298
 Abu Dawood pg. 639, Musnad al Ahmed vol. 1 pg. 187
 Al ’Aqidah al Tahawiyyah pg. 11-12
 Rasaʼil Ibn ‘Abidin al Shami vol. 1 pg. 358
 Al Sarim al Maslul pg. 573
 Al Isabah vol. 1 pg. 22
 Usul al Sarakhsi vol. 2 pg. 134
 Sharh al Fiqh al Akbar pg. 85
 Al Kifayah pg. 47, Al ’Awasim min al Qawasim pg. 34, Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqah pg. 210
 Usd al Ghabah vol. 1 pg. 14
 Muqadamah Ibn Khaldun pg. 218
 Manaqib Imam-e A’zam vol. 2 pg. 83-84
 Tadhkirat al Khalil pg. 246-248
 Nam wa Nasab pg. 427
 Ibid pg. 445
 Ibid pg. 470
 Nam wa Nasab pg. 519
 Tirmidhi vol. 2 pg. 252, Abu Dawood vol. 2 pg. 311
 Tirmidhi vol. 2 pg. 225
 Tabyid al Sahifah by Hafiz al Suyuti pg. 20
 ‘Uqud al Jaman pg. 305
 Tabqat Ibn Sa’d vol. 5 pg. 297
 Ibid vol. 5 pg. 307
 Sharh al Mawaqif vol. 8 pg. 374, Maktubat Imam-e Rabbani letter: 251
 Al Nahiyah pg. 6
 Jami’ al Ahkam al Qur’an by Imam al Qurtubi vol. 16 pg. 1322
 Minhaj al Sunnah vol. 3 pg. 61
 Maktubat Imam-e Rabbani letter: 59
 Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqah pg. 213
 Maktubat-e Qudsiyyah pg. 50
 Mi’yar-e Sahabiyat pg. 27
 Imdad al Fatawa vol. 4 pg. 133
 Ghunyat al Talibin pg. 77
 Qalaʼid al Jawahir fi Manaqib ‘Abd al Qadir pg. 41
 Mirqat al Mafatih vol. 10 pg. 553
 Minhaj al Sunnah vol. 1 pg. 165
 Ikhtilaf-e Ummah awr Sirat-e Mustaqim pg. 24
 Nam wa Nasab pg. 537
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol. 8 pg. 140
 Duwal al Islam vol. 1 pg. 129
 Muruj al Dhahab vol. 4 pg. 40
 Siyar al Sahaba vol. 6 pg. 93-94
 Al ’Awasim min al Qawasim Footnote no. 177
 Izalat al Khifa vol. 1 pg. 571