Abu al Ahwas rahimahu Llah mentioned:
If the Romans were to advance, taking control of the Muslim lands until they reach Nukhaylah near Kufah, and then a single person comes forward, repulsing them all by himself and regains control, recovering all the vast tracts of land the Muslims lost. If such a person were to then die but he bears some animosity or hatred for some of the Sahabah radiya Llahu anhum then all this great achievement of his will be of no avail to him.
‘Abdullah ibn Mus’ab rahimahu Llah narrates:
The Khalifah al Mahdi once asked me: “What do you say regarding those who revile and curse the Sahabah radiya Llahu anhum?”I replied: “O Amir al Muʼminin! They are zindiq (heretics).” On hearing my answer, the Khalifah said: “I have never heard anyone saying what you have just said. How did you come to this conclusion?” I replied: “These are people who wanted to discredit Rasulullah salla Llahu alayhi wa sallam but they realised that no one will support or follow them if they did so, so they decided to revile his companions, the Sahabah radiya Llahu anhum. A person having evil associates and companions is sufficient to degrade him, so it is as if they are saying that Rasulullah salla Llahu alayhi wa sallam had evil associates and companions.” The Khalifah agreed with me saying: “It is exactly as you put it.”
I asked my father, ‘Abd al Rahman ibn ‘Abza rahimahu Llah, about the person who reviles Abu Bakr radiya Llahu anhu. He replied: “He should be executed.” “And what about the one who reviles ‘Umar radiya Llahu anhu?” I asked and again he replied: “He should also be executed.”
Imam Malik ibn Anas rahimahu Llah is one of the four great imams of jurisprudence. He passed a ruling stating that anybody who degrades any of the Sahabah radiya Llahu anhum or bears animosity for them will get no share from the booty. In support of this ruling he recited a few verses of Surah al Hashr (which have already been explained in detail). The last verse mentions the supplication of those who come the Muhajirin and the Ansar:
O our Rabb! Forgive us and those who accepted iman before us and do not put in our hearts malice and hatred for the muʼminin.
Therefore, any person who degrades them or bears enmity or malice towards them is not entitled to a share in the booty.
Before mentioning this incident, it is imperative that the last verse of Surah al Fath be explained:
In this lengthy verse, Allah Ta’ala first praises our beloved Nabi salla Llahu alayhi wa sallam by mentioning the greatest quality (risalat), which encompasses all other good qualities, saying:
Muhammad is the rasul of Allah.
Thereafter He praises the Sahabah by mentioning a few qualities, beginning with the lowest quality:
Those with him (i.e. the Sahabah) are severe against the disbelievers, kind and merciful to each other.
In other words, their love and hate is solely for the sake of Allah, and we learn from the ahadith of Rasulullah salla Llahu alayhi wa sallam that a person who loves and hates for the sake of Allah has perfect and complete iman. Now if this love and hatred for the sake of Allah is directed to ones close family and relatives, then this will be of a higher degree, which we term akmal iman or exceptionally perfect faith. This is exactly the case here, since this verse was revealed on the occasion of Hudaybiyyah, where the Sahabah stood in direct opposition to their relatives on the other. We understand from this that the lowest quality of the Sahabah radiya Llahu anhum is a sign of exceptionally perfect iman, then what need be said of the remaining qualities that follow?
Thereafter Allah Ta’ala praises their excessive ‘ibadah (worship) by saying:
You will see them in ruku’ and in sajdah (bowing and prostrating)
i.e. they are so devoted to the worship of Allah that whenever you look at them you find them worshipping Allah, as opposed to the munafiqin (hypocrites) regarding whom Allah Ta’ala says: “They do not remember Allah except a little.”
Since there existed this group of munafiqin, someone could say that all this ‘ibadah was merely done for show and there was no sincerity, not for the sake of Allah. This is why Allah Ta’ala mentions:
seeking the favour and pleasure of Allah
i.e., these acts of ‘ibadah and all other actions are filled with ikhlas (sincerity), in other words attaining the pleasure of Allah was the object of their life.
Their special salient feature is apparent on their faces due to the effects of sajdah.
The nur (celestial glow) due to this sincere ‘ibadah is apparent on their faces also. This is an apparent feature which many of the Ahl Allah (pious men and saints) are gifted with. As for their internal state, it has already been clarified in the sentence before this.
Thereafter, mention is made of the fact that just as the salient features of Sayyidina Rasulullah salla Llahu alayhi wa sallam had been mentioned in the previous divine scriptures, similarly the description and features of the Sahabah radiya Llahu anhum had also been mentioned:
This is their description in the Torah, and their description in the Injil is that of a plantation which brings forth its shoots, then it is strengthened, then it becomes thick and firm, then it stands upright. The farmers are delighted at is sight.
This is a similitude of the condition of the Muslims who were weak in the beginning, then slowly but surely they gained strength. However, the enemies of Islam cannot bear to see the favours and bounties of Allah bestowed upon these devoted servants of His and therefore:
so that the disbelievers, when seeing them, burn with hatred and anger.
After having an overview of the meaning of this verse, we now proceed to mention the incident.
‘Urwah rahimahu Llah narrates:
We were once sitting with Imam Malik rahimahu Llah when mention was made of a certain person who belittles and degrades the Sahabah radiya Llahu anhum. Imam Malik rahimahu Llah proceeded to recite the concluding verses of Surah al Fath (quoted above) until he reached:
So that the disbelievers, by seeing them, burn with hatred and anger.
He then said: “Whoever has in his heart hatred and anger for any of the Sahabah radiya Llahu anhum, he comes under the purview of this verse (which refers to them as “kuffar”).”
Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah rahimahu Llah was the famous master of Hadith in Makkah Mukarramah. He relates:
The Khalifah Harun al Rashid arrived in Makkah Mukarramah to perform hajj. He summoned me and asked me about executing those who revile the Sahabah. I replied: “O Amir al Mu’minin! You may execute them, based upon a verse of the Qur’an.” He asked: “O Sufyan! Where in the Qur’an is there such a verse?” I recited the last verse of Surah al Fath (quoted above) till I reached the words: “So that the disbelievers, by seeing them, burn with hatred and anger.” I then explained to the Khalifah: “O Amir al Mu’minin! So he who is angered by the Sahabah is a disbeliever.”
Ismail ibn Qasim says:
‘Abdullah ibn Sulaiman asked me regarding the person who reviles Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu anhuma and I replied: “He should be asked to repent. If he repents then well and good, otherwise he should be executed.” ‘Abdullah ibn Sulaiman was surprised and asked again to confirm: “If he does not repent should he be executed?” “Yes” I replied. He then asked: “How did you come to this conclusion?” “From a verse in the glorious Qur’an” I answered. He was astonished at my reply and repeated what I said: “From a verse in the glorious Qur’an?” “Yes” I replied. “Where in the Qur’an is there such a verse?” he asked. I then recited the following verse:
إِنَّمَا جَزَاءُ الَّذِيْنَ يُحَارِبُوْنَ اللّٰهَ وَرَسُوْلَه_ وَيَسْعَوْنَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَسَادًا أَنْ يُقْتَلُوْا
Which means that those who wage war against Allah and His Rasul, and they cause mischief in the earth, their punishment is that they should be executed.
I added: “There is no mischief greater than reviling and swearing Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu anhuma.” ‘Abdullah ibn Sulaiman said: “O Ismail! you have explained your ruling in an excellent manner.”