Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrated that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
إن الأنصار عيبتي التي أويت إليها ، فاقبلوا من محسنهم ، واعفوا عن مسيئهم ، فإنهم قد أدوا الذي عليهم وبقي الذي لهم
The Ansar are my near companions to whom I confided my private secrets; so accept the good of the good-doers amongst them and excuse the wrong-doers amongst them. They have fulfilled their responsibilities whilst their rights remain unfulfilled.
This narration is authentic as recorded by Imam Ahmed.
The narration of Sahih al Bukhari as narrated by Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu is as follows:
مر أبو بكر والعباس رضي الله عنهما بمجلس من مجالس الأنصار وهم يبكون فقال ما يبكيكم قالوا ذكرنا مجلس النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم منا فدخل على النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فأخبره بذلك قال فخرج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وقد عصب على رأسه حاشية برد قال فصعد المنبر ولم يصعده بعد ذلك اليوم فحمد الله وأثنى عليه ثم قال أوصيكم بالأنصار فإنهم كرشي وعيبتي وقد قضوا الذي عليهم وبقي الذي لهم فاقبلوا من محسنهم وتجاوزوا عن مسيئهم
Abu Bakr and ‘Abbas passed by one of the gatherings of the Ansar who were weeping then. He asked, “Why are you weeping?”
They replied, “We are weeping because we remember the gathering of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam with us.”
Abu Bakr went to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and told him of that.
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came out, tying his head with a piece of the hem of a shawl. He ascended the pulpit which he never ascended after that day.
He glorified and praised Allah and then said, “I request you to take care of the Ansar as they are my near companions to whom I confided my private secrets. They have fulfilled their obligations and rights which were enjoined on them but there remains what is for them. So, accept the good of the good-doers amongst them and excuse the wrongdoers amongst them.”
Commentary and Lessons Learnt from this Narration:
1. There is great virtue and honour in favour of the Ansar this narration:
a. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam proclaimed them his close and trusted ones.
b. The command of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to accept their good and overlook their mistakes. This is an honour specific to them.
c. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam bore testimony to them having fulfilled their responsibilities.
d. The advice of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in their favour, from the pulpit saying, “I request you to take care of the Ansar”
e. The great love and reverence the Ansar possessed for Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
2. This refutes the claim of the Batiniyyah Shia that the Ansar were hypocrites. If this were true, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would never take them as his confidants!
Question: Perhaps they had become hypocrites after the passing of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?
Answer: If this was so, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would not have advised the ummah to take good care of them, recognise their good, and overlook their faults. Furthermore, he would not have proclaimed them to have fulfilled their responsibilities whilst their rights still remained unfulfilled.
3. The intent of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in commanding the ummah to overlook their mistakes was in those matters that can be overlooked. As for those mistakes that cannot be overlooked, they and others remain the same. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is reported to have said:
لو أن فاطمة بنت محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم سرقت لقطع محمد يدها
If Fatimah bint Muhammad would steal, Muhammad would cut her hand (Allah forbid).
Therefore, those matters that can be overlooked and are the rights of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala would be overlooked.
4. If there is a need to praise a group of people from the pulpit it is permissible to do so, nay it is desirable to do so.
5. Defending the honour of the scholars and pious forms part of sublime character.
6. “They have fulfilled their obligations and rights which were enjoined on them but there remains what is for them.” This refers to the responsibilities fulfilled by the Ansar from the very first pledge of ‘Aqabah till Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam breathed his last. Their every moment was to protect and assist the Islamic faith. There is no fulfilment greater than one who gives his or her word to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala to assist the faith and sticks to it throughout their life, even though their own rights are not being fulfilled!
The Ansar have, without doubt, surpassed anyone who has assisted their faith; an honour afforded to them by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.
7. Another narration states:
وإن الناس سيكثرون ويقلون
People will go on increasing but the Ansar will continue to decrease.
The narration of Sahih al Bukhari refers to this decrease by the similitude of salt in food. This prediction of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam rings quite true. As the other tribes increased in number, the Ansar were forever decreasing. Take for example the Ahlul Bayt, they are in much greater multitudes now than ever before. This is also a manifestation of the supplication of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam which the ummah continuous to make till today:
اللهم بارك على محمد وعلى آل محمد
O Allah, shower your blessings upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad.
8. The desirability for the Imam to have confidants whom he trusts in issues pertaining to religious and worldly affairs.
9. The desirability of recounting that which would lead to others praising and loving one’s brother.
10. The desirability of having circles of knowledge is taught and lectures be given.
11. The piety and political acumen of an Imam would demand from him, at the end of his tenure, a reminder to the masses regarding such people whose rights he predicts will not be fulfilled.
 Fada’il al Sahabah: 1272.
 Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 3588.
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