`Abd al-Husayns Criticism of the Morality of the Sahabah

Secondly, The Viewpoint of The Shi`ah on the Sahabah of Nabi salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam
December 8, 2015
Scrutiny of Shi`ah Narrators Part 3
December 8, 2015

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‘Abdul Hussain’s Criticism of the Morality of the Sahabah

As for his claim that there exists no evidence to prove the morality of the Sahabah, which he claims in statements such as this:

 

This is our opinion regarding the narrators of hadith irrespective of whether they were Sahabah or not. The Qur’an and Sunnah have echoed this opinion. The majority have exceeded the bounds in venerating all those who they name ‘Sahabah’, thus overstepping the limits of justice. They take all their narrations to be proofs.

 

Indeed, his discussion regarding Abu Hurairah will reveal the degree of preservation and defence that he offers regarding the Sunnah. Defence and reverence of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam cannot co-exist with abusing, belying, accusing and ridiculing his Sahabah, as the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is the one who said, “Do not condemn my Sahabah” and “Guard me by revering my Sahabah.” Thus, I will discuss the subject, ‘Integrity of the Sahabah’ in the light of the views of three sects, i.e. the Ahlus Sunnah, the Imamiyyah Shia, (the mazhab of the author, who claims that he is following the Ahlul Bayt) and the Mu’tazilah. Before moving onto that; it is necessary to discuss the definition of the word ‘Sahabi’, as well as the position granted to them in Islam.

 

The Definition of Sahabi and their Position in Islam

The ‘Ulama’ and Imams of hadith have defined a Sahabi to be “one who met the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam whilst believing in him and passed away in that condition.” Therefore, those who turned apostate; will cease to be among them, whereas those who apostatised and thereafter repented and returned to Islam will retain the title. Similarly, those who acted like Muslims, but were in fact hypocrites, are not granted the honorary title of Sahabah. Allah and His Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam have fulfilled the responsibility of exposing these individuals.

The majority of ‘Ulama’ are of the opinion that lengthy companionship, jihad and spending in the way of Islam are not a pre-requisite for being a Sahabi. However, some ‘Ulama’ are of the opinion that being a Sahabi is conditional to spending lengthy periods in the companionship of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, interacting with him, and joining him on one or two expeditions. Although the majority do not agree with this, they do accept that one who has spent more time in the company of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, heard from him, fought at his side, or spent his wealth and life in helping him has a greater virtue and is given preference over the one who has not done so.

Al Hafiz Ibn Hajar writes in Sharh Nukhbat al Fikr:

 

It is quite obvious that the one who stayed in his company and fought along with him or fought under his banner is of a greater rank than the one who did not accompany him equally or witness an expedition along with him. The rank of those who only had a brief conversation with him, walked with him a few metres, seen him from a distance or in the state of childhood is also apparent. However, the honour of being counted among the Sahabah will apply to all of them. The narrations of those who did not hear from him, from amongst them, will be classified mursal. Despite this they will be considered Sahabah, since they were blessed with noble companionship. The following verse indicates towards this:

 

لَا يَسْتَوَىْ مِنْكُمْ مَّنْ أَنْفَقَ مِنْ قَبْلِ الْفَتْحِ وَقٰــتَلَ أُوْلَئكَ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً مِّنَ الَّذِيْنَ أَنْفَقُوْا مِنْۢ بَعْدُ وَقٰـتَـلُواْ وَكُلاً وَعَدَ اللّٰهُ الحْسُنٰى وَاللّٰهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُوْنَ خَبِيْر

None of you can equal those who spent and fought before the conquest. These people are greater in status than those who fought after. However, Allah has promised good for all and Allah is informed of what you do.[1]

 

The View of the Majority Regarding the Sahabah

Majority of the Muhaddithin, Fuqaha’, and theologians have stated that all the Sahabah are ‘udul. What they mean by this is that they will not intentionally attribute something falsely to Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This is because of the great characteristics that they possessed, such as strong iman, taqwa, scrupulousness, lofty character, and refraining from trivial activities. It does not mean that they are divinely protected from sins, forgetting, or mistakes. That is not the view of any of the scholars. None have disputed their integrity except a few of the innovators and followers of their desires. Their views do not deserve any attention as they are not backed by any proof besides the face of Shaitan, as will be explained, Allah willing.

The morality of Sahabah is established and well-known, as Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has extolled. The verses which announce their praise, testify to their iman and abundant virtue are well-known.

From among the verses in which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala informs us of their purity and that they are the best of nations, as well as the most refined and pious of people, are:

 

وَكَذلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَّسَطًا

Thus, We have made you such a group that is moderate in nature.[2]     

 

Al wasat refers the exemplary and balanced ones. The wasat of something is the finest and balanced part of it.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala further says:

 

كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُوْنَ بِالْمَعْرُوْفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُوْنَ بِاللّٰهِ

You are the best of all nations, who have been raised for mankind you command what is right, forbid from evil, and believe in Allah.[3]

 

There can be no doubt that the first addressees of these two verses were the Sahabah.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

وَالسَّابِـقُونَ الأوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهٰجِرِيْنَ وَالأنصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوُهُم بِإحْسَـنٍ رَضِىَ اللّٰهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ

Allah is pleased with the first to lead the way from the Muhajirin, the Ansar and those who followed them with sincerity and they are pleased with Him.[4]

 

لَقَدْ رَضِىَ اللّٰهُ عَنِ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ إِذْ يُبَايِعُوْنَكَ تَحْتَ الشَّجَرَةِ

Allah was well pleased with the Mu’minin when they pledged their allegiance to you beneath the tree.[5]

 

مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰهِؕ    وَ الَّذِیْنَ مَعَه اَشِدَّآءُ عَلَی الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَآءُ بَیْنَهُمْ

Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is Allah’s Rasul and those with him (the Sahabah) are stern against the disbelievers and compassionate among themselves.

 

لَقَدْ تَّابَ اللّٰهُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ وَ الْمُهٰجِرِیْنَ وَ الْاَنْصَارِ الَّذِیْنَ اتَّبَعُوْهُ فِیْ سَاعَةِ الْعُسْرَةِ مِنْۢ بَعْدِ مَا کَادَ یَزِیْغُ قُلُوْبُ فَرِیْقٍ مِّنْهُمْ ثُمَّ تَابَ عَلَیْهِمْؕ    اِنَّه بِهِمْ رَءُوْفٌ رَّحِیْمٌ

Allah has certainly turned in mercy towards the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and towards the Muhajirin and the Ansar, who followed him in the hour of difficulty after the hearts of some of them were almost shaken (causing them to hesitate). Without doubt, He is Most Compassionate and Most Merciful towards them.[6]

 

The hour of difficulty, the expedition of Tabuk. The Muhajirin refers to those who migrated before the conquest of Makkah, those who migrated later and all the others who were with them besides the Ansar. None stayed behind in Madinah besides those who were unable to join, or those who were commanded to remain behind.[7] It has been narrated in Sahih al Bukhari that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, whilst returning from Tabuk said, “Indeed in Madinah, there are some who cannot join you but they will be equally rewarded for every piece of land that you traverse and every valley that you cross… they have been held back by a valid excuse.”

It is stated in al Fath that al Muhallab proved the meaning of this hadith from the verse:

 

لَا يَسْتَوِى الْقٰـعِدُوْنَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ غَيْرُ أُوْلىِ الضَّرَرِ والْمُجٰــهِدُوْنَ

The Mu’minin who sit back without excuse cannot be equal to those who strive in Allah’s way.[8]

 

This is a wonderful proof, but those who were commanded to stay behind will deserve greater virtue.

In this verse as well as other verses, the Muhajirin and those who joined them later have been praised. There is no proof pointing out that this praise applied to specific individuals only. As far as the Ansar are concerned, the verse includes all those who went out to Tabuk, those who stayed behind (and were later forgiven) as well as those who were unable to go out. The only people who were not included were the group of hypocrites.

Al Bukhari narrates, in the hadith of Ka’b ibn Malik, who was one of the three whose matter was delayed:

 

When I would go out and wander amongst the people, after the departure of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, I would be saddened by the fact that I would only see the despicable hypocrites or those who Allah had excused due to their feebleness.

 

This proves that the hypocrites were well-known even before the expedition of Tabuk. Their failure to join the expedition further exposed their realities, and thereafter Surah al Bara’ah was revealed which defaced them to the core. All of the above makes it quite clear to us that they were referred to in person even before the demise of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

This verse may raise doubts:

 

لاَ تَعْلَمُهُمْ نَحْنُ نَعْلَمُهُمْ

You do not know them but We know them.[9]

 

The word ‘know’ here means certainty, i.e. you do not know with certainty. And Allah knows best. This does not contradict the fact that they were doubted and suspected of being hypocrites. At most, this verse could be explaining that some of those who were being doubted were in fact innocent. Another verse pointing them out is:

 

وَلَتَعْرِفَنَّهُمْ فيِ لَحْنِ الْقَوْلِ

You will surely recognise them by their manner of speech.[10]

 

Further, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala exposed a group of them by describing their characteristics in detail in Surah al Tawbah. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also pinpointed and named a few of them. Therefore, it is highly possible that after saying, “You do not know them,” Allah later informed the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam regarding them.

Nevertheless, the Sahabah were aware of the hypocrites even before the demise of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The hypocrisy of some was known with certainty, whilst others were doubted and suspected. Thus, none of the hypocrites went unnoticed. A further indication towards the fact that they were known, despised and only a few in number is that they were impassive regarding the demise of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. With this being their condition, they could not muster the courage to narrate from Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as this would only strengthen the suspicion against them and it would definitely bring upon them unpalatable situations. The historians have recorded the names of a group of hypocrites. No narrations can be authentically traced to them. As far as the narrators are concerned, all of them were well-known to be amongst the cream of the Sahabah.

The matter of the village-dwellers was also clarified. Allah exposed them upon the demise of His Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Those who were hypocrites apostatised, stripping them of the title of Sahabi which they earned through the companionship of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

The matter of those who accepted Islam upon the conquest of Makkah has been misconstrued by those who ask: “How is it possible that all of them accepted Islam overnight?” This doubt is backed by the presumption that they only accepted Islam as they were under duress and remaining upon shirk would have been detrimental to their comfort. The truth is that Islam began penetrating the hearts as soon as it was revealed. Many indications can be cited to prove this, including:

Their statements which Allah conveys:

 

لاَ تَسْمَعُوا لِهٰذَا الْقُرْءَانِ وَالْغَوْا فِيهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَغْلِبُون

Do not listen to this Qur’an and make a noise so that you may be victorious.[11]

 

and:

 

إِنْ كَادَ لَيُضِلُّنَا عَنْ أٰلِهَتِنَا لَوْلاَ أَنْ صَبَرْنَا عَلَيْهَا

He would have led us away from our gods if we had not persevered with them.[12]

 

Those narrations which inform us of their effort on stopping people from listening to the Qur’an, to the extent that no visitor entered Makkah except that they warned him against listening to Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Also, the condition stipulated by them for the one who took the responsibility of protecting Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, that he should prevent Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu from reciting the Qur’an in a way that others could hear.

This is the clearest of all. A large group of the sons of the prominent members of the Quraysh accepted Islam and left their fathers even before the Conquest of Makkah. Amongst them were, ‘Amr and Khalid, the two sons of Abu Uhayhah, Sa’id ibn al ‘As, al Walid ibn al Walid ibn al Mughirah, Abu Hudhayfah ibn ‘Utbah ibn Rabi’ah, Hisham ibn al ‘As ibn Wa’il, ‘Abdullah, and Abu Jandal, the sons of Suhayl ibn ‘Amr, etc. These were the sons of some of the leaders, dignitaries and wealthy men of the Quraysh. They forsook them for the sake of Islam.

Usually, authors only mention the names of the less influential when discussing those who accepted Islam in the early stages. This leads the reader to assume that they accepted Islam only as a result of their weakness and vendetta against the prominent individuals. If the reader does not get this impression, then the least that he deduces from it is that there was nothing to prevent them from accepting the truth and undertaking difficulties in its path, such as honour and wealth.

The truth, as you have seen, is far too great for this to be the case. The only reason why it was not readily accepted was because the leaders were held back by their obstinacy and pride, and majority of the masses simply followed in their footsteps. This is despite the fact that they were greatly influenced by Islam. However, there were those amongst the youngsters who were of high morale and courage. Thus, they sacrificed their leadership, honour, and wealth, embracing the difficulties that were to come, while the rest were continuously drawing closer to Islam.

Islam continued to spread amongst them until the hijrah of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Thereafter, the treaty of Hudaybiyyah took place, which played a pivotal role in the spread of Islam, as it afforded the Muslims the opportunity of intermingling with the Mushrikin and inviting their close ones to Islam. In this way, Islam began to spread to the degree that leaders such as; Khalid ibn al Walid, ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, and ‘Uthman ibn Talhah among others, embraced Islam. The rest were also beginning to consider Islam.

Thus, we can say without doubt that Islam dispelled shirk and its dirty baggage from the intelligent ones before the Conquest of Makkah. They were only being held back by their obstinacy. As soon as Makkah was conquered, this obstinacy was extinguished and they accepted Islam, which had been growing in their hearts.

The love of Islam continued to grow in their hearts due to the kind treatment that they received until the remaining obstinacy was completely removed. Later, after the demise of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the Quraysh were challenged regarding the matter of Caliphate by the Ansar. However, it remained amongst them, without being specific to any household. All of the above, as well as the fact that all the Arabs as well as the non-Arabs surrendered to them further deepened their love for Islam.

How could this not be the case when it gathered for them every metre that they revered from the valleys of Makkah and thousands of miles beyond that as well? They were granted the honour of being the kings of this world as well as the hereafter. This love is easily proven from the fact that those who were extremely obstinate up until the day of the Conquest, later proved themselves to be the most truthful of people on the battlefield; such as Suhayl ibn ‘Amr, ‘Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahal, his uncle al Harith, and Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan.

Many authors have painted a picture of tribal fanaticism between the Banu Hashim and the Banu Umayyah. Compare that to the reality which is as follows: Islam comprised of members from both tribes. Just as many of the Banu Hashim accepted Islam in the early days, similarly, many of the Banu Umayyah accepted Islam in its early days, the likes of the two sons of Sa’id ibn al ‘As, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan and Abu Hudhayfah ibn ‘Utbah. While many of the Banu Hashim only accepted Islam later on along with certain members of the Banu Umayyah. There were those amongst the Banu Hashim who had enmity for the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam such as Abu Lahab and Abu Sufyan ibn al Harith ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib. Revelation came down in the form of Qur’an condemning Abu Lahab, yet no verse was revealed regarding any specific individual from the Banu Umayyah. Further, the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam married the daughter of Abu Sufyan, the Umawi, whilst he did not marry anyone from Banu Hashim. Three of his daughters were married to men from Banu Umayyah and only one was married to a Hashimi.

Islam was not specific to either of the two tribes, which could have caused one tribe to use it as an excuse to hate and target the other tribe. In fact, Allah united their hearts on the basis of Islam, and, thus, they became by means of his clemency, brothers. Islam was the reason behind their unity and brotherhood. Each one of them loved it, revered it, and regarded it a great honour to be among its adherents. They tried their utmost to receive a full and complete share in serving Islam.

There were no ill-feelings between the two parties from the conquest of Makkah right up until the Caliphate of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. When the post of Caliphate was to be decided by mutual consultation and none remained candidates besides ‘Uthman and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, after which ‘Uthman was elected, negative judgements began finding their paths into the minds. Adding to that suspicion were the complaints that surfaced about his governors—who belonged to his family—which were accompanied by statements attributed to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he warned of dismissing them, taking away their wealth and so on, if he were to be appointed as the khalifah.

This was where the trouble started, in which some who claimed affiliation with ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had a fair share in stirring up. This continued until ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was eventually assassinated, after which his assassins pushed for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to be appointed as the next khalifah. Thus, he was appointed to the post and many of them remained in his army. Pondering over the above-mentioned events will reveal the strong role played by these external factors in all that took place after this.

None felt the need to rekindle the losses experienced at Badr and Uhud, as Islam had effaced all ill-feelings. Those narratives which indicate that these feelings were rekindled have no basis and are unauthentic, and are the provocation of wayward poets in the era of Banu ‘Abbas, which was a result of exceeding the limits in opposing the other group. It was not amongst the causes of the differences. Furthermore, whatever happened between Talhah and Zubair is well known. What revenge did they seek from Banu Hashim?

This further highlights that there were no grounds for interpreting the differences of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu to be an attempt of avenging those members of his family who were killed at Badr, which then leads to questioning the sincerity of his Islam and the Islam of those who took the same viewpoint as him. If anyone objects by saying: Whatever the status of the Sahabah may have been, they were not infallible. Therefore, the rule that should apply to them is that they will all be regarded as people of integrity unless proven otherwise. Why then, do we find the scholars of hadith commending those of them who committed such acts which necessitate criticism?

This can be answered in a few different ways:

They found that these incidents were of one of the following three categories; the narration regarding this was not authentically transmitted, it was a error from which the Sahabi repented, or he understood the matter in a different way.

The Qur’an states that false attribution of anything to Allah is kufr. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

وَ مَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرٰى عَلَى اللّٰهِ كَذِباً أَوْ كَذَّبَ بِالْحَقِّ لَمَّا جَآءَهُ أَلَيْسَ فِيْ جَهَنَّمَ مَثْوًى لِلْكٰـفِرِيْنَ

Who can be more unjust than the one who invents lies against Allah or rejects the truth when it comes to him? Is there not an abode for the disbelievers in Jahannam?[13]

 

Forging lies against the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the matters of din and the unseen is in fact forging lies against Allah. That is why some of the scholars have unequivocally stated that it is kufr, whilst others regard it to be among the greatest of sins.

Ibn Taymiyyah differentiated between the one who narrates directly from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the one who does not do so. He was inclined to the opinion that the first one will be committing kufr and he was uncertain regarding the second one. The fact that they slipped up or did something that was inappropriate does not, in any way, indicate that they could have committed kufr. Even if we have to take into consideration the view of those who say that forging lies against the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is not kufr, then too it is a far greater sin than all that was authentically narrated regarding them.

The scholars of hadith have weighed the narrations of those whose integrity could have been doubted in the light of the Qur’an and that which was narrated by others, taking into consideration their condition as well as their possible motives. The result was that they found nothing worthy of consideration that could have been grounds for discrediting them. In fact, they found that most of that which was narrated was also narrated by other Sahabah, against whom no accusations can be levelled, or the same has been stated elsewhere in the shari’ah.

Take a look at al Walid ibn ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt. The sceptics say he was neither from the Ansar nor from the Muhajirin, and that he accepted Islam at the time of the Conquest of Makkah. They further allege that when the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commanded that his father be killed after the battle of Badr, he asked, “O Muhammad, who will be there for his children?” The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam replied: “Hellfire is their destination.” They also claim that he is the person regarding whom the following verse was revealed:

 

يٰأَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ أٰمَنُوْا إِنْ جَآءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌۢ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوْا

O you who have iman! If any sinner brings you any news, then verify it.[14]

 

And that the Qur’an has emphatically commanded us to verify his narrations. Another claim regarding him is that he was the governor of Kufah during the era of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. During this period, testimony was given against him that he consumed wine. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu brought the matter to the attention of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu who instructed him to lash al Walid, and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in turn instructed ‘Abdullah ibn Jafar to carry out this duty. ‘Abdullah obliged and meted out the punishment to him. Some of them add onto this that he once performed four rak’ats whilst leading Salat al Fajr and thereafter turned around and offered, “Should I increase it for you?” Al Walid was the half-brother of ‘Uthman. When ‘Uthman was assassinated, he began composing poetry in which he accused ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu of being a co-conspirator in the assassination of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and he would encourage Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu to kill ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu [as alleged by some].

Those who are unsatisfied with the view that the integrity of all the Sahabah is beyond question, have singled out al Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu as the greatest reason to oppose this view. However, after studying his narrations to find how many narrations he reported in favour of his brother and benefactor ‘Uthman, or in condemnation of the one who plotted against him and according to him was one of the accomplices guilty of murdering his brother (i.e. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu), or if he narrated anything to exonerate himself after becoming infamous for consuming alcohol, we were taken aback by the fact that we could not even find one narration authentically attributed to him.

Yes, we found one narration attributed to him. However, this narration is neither authentic, nor is it related, in any way, to the points mentioned above. It is narrated by Abu Dawood and Ahmed from a person by the name of Abu Musa ‘Abdullah al Hamdani who narrates it from al Walid ibn ‘Uqbah:

 

لما فتح النبى صلى الله عليه و سلم مكة جعل اهل مكة ياتونه بصبيانهم فيمسح على رؤوسهم و يدعوا لهم فجيء بى اليه وانا مطيب بالخلوق فلم يمسح رءسى ولم يمنعه من ذلك الا ان امى خلقتنى بالخلوق فلم يمسنى من اجل الخلوق

On the occasion of the conquest of Makkah, the people of Makkah brought their children to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who passed his hand over their heads and supplicated for them. I was also brought to him, but he did not touch my head. Nothing prevented him from doing so besides the fact that my mother applied perfume to my hair and, thus, my hair was giving off perfume. There was nothing besides the perfume that prevented him from touching me.

 

This is all that we managed to find from the narrations of al Walid from Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. If the isnad of this narration is scrutinised, it will be found that it is not sahih (authentic) due to al Hamdani being an unknown individual. Further, if we have to scrutinise the text of the hadith, then too there is nothing peculiar in it and it cannot be used to discredit al Walid. In fact, if this is established, it can be used in his favour as he did not mention that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam supplicated for him but stated that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not pass his hand over his head. It is due to this very narration that some of the opposition assert that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knew what his condition was going to be and, thus, deprived him of the blessings of the hand of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Do you not see, as I do, a clear sign in that which was mentioned above that there was a strong barrier between the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and the grave sin of attributing something falsely to Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?[15]

Indeed, it is a great calamity to claim that the majority of the Sahabah were not people of integrity, or reject their narrations or pass the verdict of kufr against them simply due to their participation in the dispute between Muawiyah and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. How are their political views and errors relevant to that? Is that not similar to discrediting one of the local activists who fought tooth and nail, using his pen, wealth, and life against colonial rule and to strip him of his nationality and all his virtue simply on the basis of the fact that he later joined a party who made a few errors whilst governing? Or because he had a dispute with one of the other activists, which was in reality a provocation by the enemy?

If this, in the light of history, justice, and truth is inconceivable, then the view of the Shia and Khawarij regarding the Sahabah, who did not agree with ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in certain political matters, deserves to a greater degree to be rejected. These views include discrediting them of their integrity, disparaging them regarding their narrations, describing them using such derogatory terms the likes of which cannot even be used for common people, and declaring all of them with the exception of three or five to be kafir, as stated by al Kashshi. How can this be done to the Sahabah of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who duly and sincerely served the cause of Islam and supported the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? These services are indispensable to the cause of Islam, to the degree that had it not been then we would have been wandering in the darkness without the slightest clue of how to navigate ourselves out of it![16]

That which we have presented explains and distinguishes the truth from falsehood on the subject of Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. I have also repeatedly explained that the Muslims were aware of the exact condition of the hypocrites as Allah and his Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam shredded their veils. As far as the renegades, who turned apostate within the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam or after his demise, and did not return to Islam until their death, they have no share in this great honour of being Sahabah. Obviously, this means that they are not referred to in the statement of the vast majority of the ‘Ulamaʼ when they say that the integrity of all the Sahabah is beyond question.

In fact, the very definition of the word Sahabi as explained by the ‘Ulama’ necessitates that these individuals should be excluded. Similarly, I have repeatedly explained that integrity is not synonymous to being infallible. Those who have stated that the Sahabah were all people of integrity have not claimed for a moment that they were divinely protected from sins, mistakes, omissions, and forgetfulness. The intended meaning of the statement of the ‘Ulama’ is that the Sahabah were far too noble to intentionally forge lies against Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Even those who were prosecuted due to a violation of the law, or sinned and repented thereafter, or were caught up in the trials and wars that took place cannot be suspected of intentionally attributing something falsely to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. It is important to note that those who committed a sin and then repented are an absolute minority. It is inappropriate to apply this stereotypical image to the remainder who remained steadfast upon the straight path. They refrained from all types of vice and sin, be it minor or major, apparent or hidden. Authentic history is the greatest witness to this.

Amongst those whom the critics of the Sahabah have singled out as justifications for their criticism are such individuals from whom even one narration cannot be traced. Some of them narrate one or two ahadith, all of which are well-known and established by the means of the ahadith of others. Thus, neither are any primary nor subsidiary matters of din based on their narrations. This further convinces the objective researcher of the accuracy of the view of the ‘Ulama’ regarding the integrity of the Sahabah.

Can there be a greater proof than the situation of Busr ibn Artat whose suhbah (being a Sahabi) is debated. He only narrates two ahadith. The first one, which explains that a thief’s hand will not be severed whilst on a journey, appears in Sunan Abi Dawood. The second one is regarding a supplication. Ibn Hibban has reported that he heard the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam supplicating:

 

اللهم أحسن عاقبتنا في الأمور كلها وأجرنا من خزي الدنيا وعذاب الآخرة

O Allah! Let all our matters conclude in the most favourable manner and protect us from the disgrace of this world as well as the punishment of the afterlife.

 

We, who believe in the integrity of all the Sahabah, believe that this applies especially to their narrations. As for getting involved in the trials and wars, and supporting Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, these were all matters wherein difference of opinion was allowed. All of this took place during the era of that trial which left the perspicacious baffled. Hence, it does not have any negative implications on their integrity. May Allah forgive us and them. May Allah shower his mercy upon the one who said, “Allah kept our swords clean from this blood, so let us not pollute our tongues by disparaging them.”[17]

 

NEXT⇒ Secondly, The Viewpoint of The Shia on the Sahabah of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam


[1]  Surah al Hadid: 10.

[2]  Surah al Baqarah: 143.

[3]  Surah Al ‘Imran: 110.

[4]  Surah al Tawbah: 100.

[5]  Surah al Fath: 18.

[6]  Surah al Tawbah: 117.

[7]  This excludes the following Sahabah, Ka’b ibn Malik, Murarah ibn Rabi’, and Hilal ibn Umayyah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, who stayed behind without a valid reason. They were duly taken to task (which included a social boycott against them) after which the acceptance of their repentance was declared in the Qur’an:

 

وَ عَلٰى الثَّلَاثَةِ الَّذِيْنَ خُلِّفُوْا…ثُمَّ تَابَ عَلَيْهِمْ لِيَتُوْبُوْْا

And upon the three whose matter was postponed… then Allah turned towards them so that they would turn to Him. (Surah al Tawbah: 118)

 

Further details may be found in Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.

[8]  Surah al Nisa’: 95

[9]  Surah al Tawbah: 101.

[10]  Surah Muhammad: 30.

[11]  Surah al Fussilat: 26

[12]  Surah al Furqan: 42.

[13]  Surah al ‘Ankabut: 68.

[14]  Surah al Hujurat: 6.

[15]Al Anwar al Kashifah, pg. 259-264.

[16]Al Sunnah wa Makanatuha fi l-Tashri’ al Islami, pg. 133.

[17]  Abu Shahbah: Difa’ ‘an al Sunnah, pg. 247.

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