Allah Ta’ala endowed the hearts of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum with a special form of love and affection for one another. Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an:
وَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوْبِهِمْؕ لَوْ أَنْفَقْتَ مَا فِىْ الْاَرْضِ جَمِيْعاً مَّآ أَلَّفْتَ بَيْنَ قُلُوْبِهِمْ وَلٰكِنَّ اللّٰهَ أَلَّفَ بَيْنَهُمْؕ إِنَّهعَزِيْزٌ حَكِيْمٌ
And He brought together their hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have brought their hearts together; but Allah brought them together. Indeed, He is Exalted in Might and Wise.
The extent to which Allah Ta’ala united their hearts knew no bounds. For this reason, we find (in our history) the likes of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, every now and then, reminiscing about those same Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum who passed on. He once said:
Observe, pay attention, and hold firmly onto the mannerisms of your Nabi’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam family. Follow in their footsteps; for you shall neither be misguided therein nor will you ever return to ruin (through their guidance). If they sit, then sit; and if they jump, then jump (with them)! Do not transgress their limits; lest you be led astray, and do not lag behind them; lest you be destroyed.
I also saw the Sahabah of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and none amongst you can ever match them. They would awake in the morning dusty, with their hair dishevelled and unkempt after spending their nights standing (in salah) and prostrating before Allah Ta’ala; only to take rest by slightly tilting their cheeks (while in prostration) on to the ground. Their uncertainty about their final abode and end-result was such that it was as if they were standing on hot coals. Between their eyes and on their foreheads were protruding, blackened marks because of their lengthy prostrations; similar to the marks found on the knees of (white) goats. Whenever the name of Allah Ta’ala was mentioned, their eyes would fill up with tears, causing their chests to become soaked. They would tremble and shudder out of fear of Allah’s Ta’ala punishment and hope of His mercy like a tree would shake while being hit with fierce and violent winds.
In the same book, describing the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu once said:
By Allah, the outlook and farsightedness of the Sahabah was truly blessed! They were the epitomes of forbearance, champions of the truth; they never transgressed anyone’s rights and never did they desire rebellion. They marched forward in the path of Allah Ta’ala and they attained complete goodness and the everlasting bliss of the hereafter.
In yet another place (in the same book), ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said after the events of Laylat al Harir:
Where have those (ref. to the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum) gone who when invited to Islam accepted it sincerely; who read the Qur’an and whole-heartedly, followed the commands it contained; who loved Islam as a she-camel loves her young one and when ordered to fight in defence of Islam, they willingly left their homes and families. Some of them died like martyrs and some survived the ordeal. Success never overjoyed them and death never made them despaired. Sites of human misery saddened their lives, constant absorption of their minds and bodies in performance of the duties towards Allah and men had made them look pale and haggard; and humility manifested itself from their behaviour (as against the vanity of pseudo-pious people). They were brethren unto me. They have gone (are dead). I am justified in desiring to meet them once again and to be sad at separation from them.
On the Day of Siffin, after ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu ordered his people to implement a ceasefire, he radiya Llahu ‘anhu described the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the following way:
We (referring to the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum) together with Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to (at times) be in battle with our own fathers, children, brothers, and uncles; and this did nothing to us but increase us in iman and to strive (even) further. It also renewed our spirits in fighting the enemy. We also learnt sabr (patience), despite our anguish and suffering (at times). One of us would face-off with the enemy; like two stallions, they would compete with one another, each one trying his utmost to deliver the lethal blow; at times, we would get the better of our enemy, and at times, they would get the better of us. Once Allah Ta’ala recognised our sincerity (in fighting for His sake) He granted us His succour and the enemy was left in complete ignominy; thereby allowing Islam to completely establish its identity. I swear by my life, if we (the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhu) behaved like you people, no pillar of Islam would have been raised and the tree of iman would not bear leaves. By Allah, you will exploit our blood and, as a result, face nothing but disgrace!
Jafar ibn Muhammad narrates from his father (Muhammad) that a man once said to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
O Amir al Mu’minin! Who was it that you were referring to in the khutbah (sermon) when you said: “O Allah! Reform us and mend our ways as You did with the (previous) rightly-guided khulafa’”? With teary-eyes, he exclaimed: “They are my beloveds, your uncles, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. They were (leading) men from Quraysh and paragons of guidance. They were to be followed after the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Whosoever emulated them was protected, and whoever followed in their footsteps was guided unto the Sirat mustaqim (straight path). Whoever clung onto them and their normative practices was considered to be from Allah’s Ta’ala (special) group (hizb Allah); and Allah’s Ta’ala group are truly the successful ones.”
It has been reported that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, one day, passed by some masajid in the month of Ramadan that were a lit with candles. Upon seeing the candles, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu remarked:
May Allah Ta’ala illuminate the grave of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu just as He Ta’ala has illuminated our masajid.
Sa’id ibn Zaid reported that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu wept on the occasion of ‘Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu death. He was asked about it, to which he responded by saying:
My weeping is on account of my worry for Islam. The death of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu has left such an indelible gap in Islam that will remain unfilled until Qiyamah.
 Surah al Anfal: 63
 Al Sharif al Radi: Nahj al Balaghah p. 132
 Op. cit. p. 174
 Laylat al Harir refers to a specific night in which an intense fight ensued during the Battle of Siffin. [Translator’s note]
 Nahj al Balaghah p. 91
 Al Sharif Muhammad ibn al Hasan ibn ‘Abdullah al Husayni al Wasti: Majma’ al Ahbab wa Tadhkirat Ulu al Bab (Mukhtasar Hilyat al Auliya’) p. 162-164
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