From Allâh’s mercy and kindness to His servants and from His favor upon them is that He sent to them a Messenger from amongst themselves, to convey to them the Message from their Lord, to guide them to everything that benefits them, and to warn them from everything that harms them.
Indeed the Prophet ﷺ fulfilled his duty of conveying the Message in the most complete and perfect of manners – he directed his Ummah towards every good, and he warned them against every evil.
Allâh chose for accompanying him and taking knowledge from him a people who are the best of this nation, which is itself the best of all nations. Allâh honored them by allowing them to accompany His Prophet ﷺ. He favored them in this worldly life by giving them the opportunity to see him and hear his hadîth directly from his noble mouth. This is the bounty of Allâh which He bestows upon whom He wills, and Allâh possesses the greatest of bounties.
Indeed the Companions conveyed from Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ that which he was sent with from guidance in the most complete and perfect form. They will have the greatest of rewards due to their companionship of Allâh’s Messenger, their fighting in Jihâd along his side, and their noble actions in spreading Islâm.
And they will also accumulate the rewards of those who come after them since they served as the intermediaries between them and Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ. This is due to his saying:
“Whoever calls towards guidance, he will have a reward equal to the reward earned by those who practice that guidance after him, and it will not reduce anything from their reward.”Sahîh Hadîth: Reported by Muslim (2674), Abu Dawûd (4609), At-Tirmidhî (2676), Ibn Mâjah (206) and others.
This hadîth has been related of the Prophet by Muslim in his Sahîh. Allâh praised the Companions in His Mighty Book, and the Messenger of Allâh praised them in his purified Sunnah, and this is enough for them as a virtue and honor.
“And the foremost to embrace Islâm of the Muhâjirîn and the Ansâr and also those who followed them in goodness, Allâh is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. Allâh has prepared for them gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise) to dwell therein for- ever. That is the supreme success.”[Sûrah At-Tawbah: 100]
And He says:
“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allâh. And those who are with him are severe against the disbelievers, merciful towards one another. You can see them bowing and prostrating (in prayer), seeking Bounty from Allâh and (His) Good Pleasure. Their marks (of Faith) are on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of prostration. This is their description in the Torah. But their description in the Gospel is like that of a cultivated seed, which sends forth its shoot, then makes it strong and becomes thick, and it stands straight on its stem, pleasing the farmers, that he may enrage the disbelievers with them. Allâh has promised those among them who believe and do good deeds, forgiveness and a mighty reward.”[Sûrah Al-Fat’h: 29]
In Allâh’s saying concerning the Sahâbah, “…that he may enrage the disbelievers with them,” is the severest ruling, the harshest threat and the worst of warnings for those who are enraged by the Sahâbah or those who have some hatred for them in their hearts.
“Not equal among you are those who spent and fought before the Victory (Treaty of Hudaybiyah) [i.e. they are not equal to those who came after the Victory]. They are higher in degree than those who spent and fought (in Allâh’s Cause) afterward. But to all, Allâh has promised the best reward. And Allâh is All-Aware of what you do.”[Sûrah Al-Hadîd: 10]
Concerning the distribution of war-booty, Allâh says:
“(And there is also a share in this booty) for the poor emigrants who were expelled from their homes and properties, seeking bounties from Allâh and looking to please Him, and helping Allâh and His Messenger. These are the truthful ones. * And (it is also) for those who before them, had homes (in Madînah) and then ac- cepted the Faith (Islâm). They are the ones who love those who migrated to them, and they have no jealousy in their hearts for that which they (Muhâjirîn) have been given (of booty from Banu Nâdir). Instead, they give them preference over themselves even though they had more of a need for it than them. And whoever guards himself from his own miserliness, then these will be the successful. * And those who come after them say: ‘Our Lord! Forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in Faith. And put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed. Our Lord, You are indeed full of kindness, most Merciful.”[Sûrah Al-Hashr: 8-10]
The first of these three ayât from Surat Al-Hashr is in reference to the Muhâjirîn (the Sahâbah who migrated from Makkah to Madînah). The second ayah refers to the Ansâr (the Sahâbah who resided in Madînah who helped and took in the Muhâjirîn). The third ayah refers to those who will come after the Muhâjirîn and the Ansâr, who seek Allâh’s forgiveness for them and ask Him not to put hatred in their hearts for them. There is nothing be- yond these three groups except for one who deserts (them) and falls into one of the traps of the Devil. This is why ‘A’ishah () told ‘Urwah Ibn Az-Zubair concerning the condition of some of those who deserted and were forsaken: “They were commanded to seek forgiveness for the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger (), but they (instead) reviled them.”
Imâm Muslim transmitted this report in the last part of his Sahîh. An-Nawawî said in his explanation of it, after mentioning the ayah of Sûrah Al-Hashr:
“Imâm Mâlik used this as proof for his ruling that the one who reviles the Sahâbah has no right to the war-booty. This is because Allâh only made it for those who seek forgiveness for them from amongst those who come after them.”
Ibn Kathîr said in his tafsîr of this ayah:
“How great is the ruling that Imâm Mâlik derived from this ayah, in that the Râfidî – the one who reviles the Com- panions – has no portion of the wealth from the war-booty due to his lack of characterizing himself with the attributes of those whom Allâh has praised in His () saying:
‘Our Lord! Forgive us and our brothers who have pre- ceded us in Faith. And put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed. Our Lord, You are in- deed full of kindness, most Merciful.’
The Prophet () said:
“The best of mankind is my generation, then those that come after them, then those that come after them.”
This hadîth was reported by Al-Bukhârî, Muslim and others from the report of ‘Imrân Ibn Husayn and ‘Abdullâh Ibn Mas’ûd, may Allâh be pleased with both of them. Muslim reported it on the authority of Abu Hurairah with the wording:
“The best among my nation (ummah) is the generation I was sent to – then those that come after them, then those that come after them.”
Allâh knows best if he mentioned the third or not. Muslim also reported it from ‘A’ishah that she said:
“A man once asked the Prophet: ‘Which people are the best?’ So he responded: ‘The generation of people that I am in (now), then the second (generation), then the third.’”
It is reported in the two Sahîhs (of Al-Bukhârî and Muslim) from the narration of Abu Sa’îd Al-Khudrî () that the Messenger of Allâh () said:
“There will come upon the people a time in which a group of people will fight (in Jihâd), and it will be said: ‘Is there anyone amongst you who accompanied Allâh’s Messenger () [i.e. the Sahâbah (companions)]?’ They will reply, ‘Yes,’ and so they will be given victory. Then there will come upon the people a time in which a group of people will fight (in Jihâd), and it will be said: ‘Is there anyone amongst you who accompanied the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger () [i.e. the Tâbi’în (the students of the Sahâbah)]?’ They will reply, ‘Yes,’ and so they will be given victory. Then there will come upon the people a time in which a group of people will fight (in Jihâd), and it will be said: ‘Is there anyone amongst you who ac- companied those who accompanied the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger () [i.e. the Atbâ’ at-Tâbi’în (the stu- dents of the Tâbi’în)]?’ They will reply, ‘Yes,’ and so they will be given victory.”Sahîh Hadîth: Reported by Muslim (2581), At-Tirmidhî (2418), Ahmad (2/303), Al-Bayhaqî (6/93) from the path of Al-‘Alâ Ibn ‘Abdir-Rahmân from his father from Abu Hurairah in marfû’ form. At-Tirmidhî said it was hasan sa
Ibn Battah reported with an authentic chain of narration according to ‘Minhâj As-Sunnah’ of Ibn Taimiyyah – from Ibn ‘Abbâs (), that he said: “Do not revile the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger (), for one hour spent with Allâh’s Messenger () by one of them is better than a good deed of one of you (done) for forty years.”
In the wording reported by Wakî’, he said: “…better than a good deed of one of you (done) for his entire life.”
And when Sa’îd Ibn Zayd () mentioned the ten Companions who were given the good tidings of (entering) Paradise, he said:
“I swear by Allâh, the meeting of one man amongst them with the Messenger of Allâh () is better than the deed of one of you, even if he does it for the length of Nûh’s life.”Reported by Abu Dawûd and At-Tirmidhî.
Jâbir reported: “It was once said to ‘A’ishah: ‘There are some people that seek to lower the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger (), even Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.’ So she replied: ‘And you are not pleased with this? Their deeds came to an end, but Allâh loved that their reward not come to an end.’ ”Reported by Al-Bukhârî (6/88 and 610 of al-Fat’h),
Ibn Al-Athîr mentioned this in his book Jâmi’-ul-Usûl. What provides evidence for her statement is the saying of the Prophet () in an authentic hadîth:
“The bankrupt person from my Ummah will come on the Day of Judgment with prayer, fasting and Zakât. But he also abused this person, slandered that person, took money wrongfully from this person, spilled the blood of that one, and beat this one. Some of his good deeds will be given to this person and some of them to that person. If his good deeds run out before he makes up for what is against him, he will take from their sins and they will be charged against him. And then he will be flung into the Hellfire.”
Al-Bukhârî reported in his Sahîh on the authority of Abu Sa’îd Al-Khudrî () that the Prophet () said:
“Do not revile my Companions! For if one of you were to give away the size of mount Uhud in gold for charity, it would not equal a mudd (handful using two hands cupped together) of one of them nor even half of it.”
Muslim reported it in his Sahîh on the authority of Abu Hurairah () that the Prophet () said:
“Do not revile my Companions! Do not revile my Companions! For by the One whose Hand my soul is in, if one of you were to give away the size of mount Uhud in gold for charity, it would not equal a mudd of one of them nor even half of it.”
He also reported it from Abu Sa’îd () with the wording: “There was a dispute between Khâlid Ibn Al-Walîd and ‘Abdur-Rahmân Ibn ‘Awf, and Khâlid reviled him. Allâh’s Messenger () said:
“Do not revile anyone from my Companions, for if one of you were to give away the size of mount Uhud in gold for charity, it would not equal a mudd of one of them nor even half of it.”
So if the large amount of good deeds of the Sword of Allâh, Khâlid Ibn Al-Walîd and others who accepted Islâm after the treaty of Hudaybiyah cannot compare to the small amount per- formed by ‘Abdur-Rahmân Ibn ‘Awf and others who accepted Islâm previously – even though all of them are honored by ac- companying the Prophet () – then how is it for those who did not attain the honor of (being from) the Companions compared to those superior individuals? Indeed there is a great difference! How far is the ground from the sky?! Rather how far is the sev- enth (lowest) level of earth from the seventh (highest) level of heaven! This is the bounty of Allâh which He bestows upon whom He wills, and Allâh possesses the greatest of bounties!
These are some Qur’ânic ayât and Prophetic ahâdîth that provide evidence for the virtue of these best of people, the like of which never existed before and will not exist afterward, may Allâh be pleased with them.
All of the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger () are trustworthy, based on Allâh’s testimony, and due to His praise as well as the praise of His Messenger (). An-Nawawî said in At-Taqrîb, which As-Suyûtî explained in Tadrîb Ar-Râwî:
“All of the Companions are trustworthy – those who were involved in the fitan [the war which took place between them] and those other than them – according to the consensus of the scholars.”
Al-Hâfidh Ibn Hajr said in Al-Isâbah:
“Ahl-us-Sunnah have unanimously agreed that all of them (the Sahâbah) are trustworthy, and no one opposed this except some deviants amongst the innovators.”
This is why there is no harm in not knowing the identity of a Companion in the chain of narration of a hadeeth. If a Tâbi’î says: “On the authority of a man who accompanied the Prophet ()…” this does not affect the report. This is because not knowing the identity of a Companion (in the chain of narration) causes no harm, since they are all trustworthy. Al-Khatîb Al-Baghdâdî said in his book Al-Kifâyah:
“Every hadîth that has a chain of narration that is con- nected between the one who reported it and the Prophet () is not to be acted upon until first having affirmed the trustworthiness and reliability of its men (in the chain). It is an obligation to investigate into their condition, except a Sahâbî (Companion) who raises it (or attributes the hadîth) to the Prophet (). This is because the trustwor- thiness of the Companions is established and well known from Allâh’s testimony, and His informing us of their pure state and His preference of them in the texts of the Qur’ân…”
Then he continues to list some ayât and ahâdîth concerning their virtue and then says,
“And even if Allâh or His Messenger () had not men- tioned anything about them from what we just stated now (of their virtues), their Hijrah, Jihâd, offering of sup- port, sacrificing of life and wealth, experience of the kill- ings of their parents and children, mutually advising for the Religion, their strong Faith and unshakeable Certainty (allofthis) would necessitate their trust worthiness and having a firm belief in their honesty and integrity. It would necessitate that they are the best of those that receive testimony and approval of their trustworthiness and reliability from all people that come after them forever and ever.”
Then he reports a narration with the chain connected to Abu Zur’ah, who said:
“If you see a man seeking to belittle anyone amongst the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger (), then know that he is a heretic (zindîq). This is because according to us the Messenger of Allâh () is true and the Qur’ân is true, and the only ones who brought this Qur’ân and the Sunan (plural of Sunnah) to us are the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger (). They only wish to disparage and demol- ish our witnesses so that they can nullify the Book and the Sunnah, whereas they are more deserving of being disparaged for they are the heretics (zanâdiqah).”
The madh-hab of Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamâ’ah concerning the Companions is that of moderateness between the two ends of extremism and heedlessness. It is moderateness between the ex- tremist fanatics who elevate the esteemed ones amongst them to a level that is only befitting for Allâh or for His messengers, and between the heedless and harsh ones who belittle and revile them. So they are in the middle between those who are excessive and those who fall short – they love all of them and give each one their due merit, with fairness and justice. So they do not elevate them to that which they are not deserving of, nor do they belittle them, taking away what they are deserving of. Therefore, their tongues are moist with mentioning them only in good, according to what is befitting for them. And their hearts are filled with love for them.
Whatever is authentic from the disputes and differences that oc- curred between (some of) them, then with regard to that they were Mujtahidîn [exerted their efforts to reach the truth]. Either they were correct, and so they will receive a reward for their Ijti- hâd and a reward for being correct, or they were wrong, receiving just one reward for their Ijtihâd while their error will be forgiven. They were not infallible, for they were human beings- at times they were correct and at times they were in error. But how much more correct they were compared to others, and how fewer were their errors as compared to others? They will have Allâh’s for- giveness and contentment.
The books of Ahl-us-Sunnah are filled with the elucidation of this pure and clear Creed concerning these elite people, the chosen ones amongst mankind to accompany the best of mankind (). May Allâh be pleased with them all.
An example of this is the statement of At-Tahâwî in his (book on the) Creed of Ahl-us-Sunnah:
“We love the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger (). We do not go to extremes in the love for anyone amongst them, nor do we absolve ourselves from any of them. We hate anyone that hates them or anyone that speaks ill of them. We do not mention them except with good. Loving them is Dîn, Îmân and Ihsân and hating them is Kufr, Nifâq (hypocrisy) and Tughyân (transgression).”
Ibn Abî Zayd Al-Qayrawânî said in the introduction to his fa- mous [book of fiqh], Ar-Risâlah, in explaining the Creed of Ahl- us-Sunnah:
“The best of generations is the one that saw the Messen- ger of Allâh (), and the best of the Companions are the (four) rightly guided Khalîfahs – Abu Bakr, then ‘Umar, then ‘Uthmân, then ‘Alî, may Allâh be pleased with them all. None of the Companions should be mentioned except in the best of manners. We believe in refraining from (speaking about) the differences that occurred between them, and we believe that they are the most deserving of people of having excuses made for them, and (that) they are to be thought of in the best way.”
Imâm Ahmad Ibn Hanbal said in his book As-Sunnah:
“And from the Sunnah is mentioning the good qualities of the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger () – all of them –and to refrain from (speaking about) the disputes which occurred between them. Whoever reviles the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger () or (even) one of them, he is an innovator, a Râfidî. Loving them [the Companions] is a Sunnah and making du’â (supplication) for them is a means of drawing near to Allâh (taqarrub). Following them is a means, and taking from their examples is a virtue…”
And he said:
“It is not permissible for anyone to mention any of their faults, nor may anyone disparage any of them. Whoever does that, the governmental authority is obligated to rep- rimand and punish him. He is not to pardon him, but rather he must punish him and then request him to re- pent. If he repents, he should accept it from him, but if he doesn’t repent, he should reinitiate the punishment upon him and lock him in prison forever until he repents and recants (from his false beliefs).
Imâm Abu ‘Uthmân As-Sâbûnî said in his book ‘Aqîdat-us-Salaf wa Ashâb-il-Hadîth:
“And they held it an obligation to refrain from (speaking about) the differences that occurred between the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger () and to purify the tongues from mentioning anything that consists of a blemish on them or a degradation of them. They held it an obligation to ask Allâh for mercy for all of them and to show allegiance to all of them.”
Shaikh-ul-Islâm Ibn Taimiyyah said in his book Al-‘Aqîdat-ul- Wâsitiyyah:
“Among the Principles of Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamâ’ah is maintaining pure hearts and tongues towards the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger (), as Allâh described them in His saying: ‘And those who come after them say: ‘Our Lord! Forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in Faith. And put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed. Our Lord, You are indeed full of kindness, most Merciful.’[Sûrah Al-Hashr: 8-10]
And (from their principles is) obedience to the Prophet () with regard to his saying:
‘Do not revile my Companions! For by the One whose Hand my soul is in, if one of you were to give away the size of mount Uhud in gold for charity, it would not equal a mudd of one of them nor even half of it.’
They accept what is stated in the Qur’ân, the Sunnah and the Consensus concerning their (the Companion’s) virtues and high status. They give preference to those who spent their wealth and fought (in the Way of Allâh) before the Victory – which refers to the Treaty of al-Hudaybiyah – over those who gave their wealth and fought after it. They give precedence to the Muhâjirîn over the Ansâr, and they believe that Allâh said to the people who fought in (the Battle of) Badr – who numbered over three hun- dred people:
‘Do whatever you wish, for I have already forgiven you.’
They believe that no one who pledged their allegiance to the Prophet () under the tree will enter the Hellfire, as the Prophet () informed us. In fact, Allâh was pleased with them and they were pleased with Him, and they were more than one thousand four hundred people.
They designate to Paradise whoever the Messenger of Allâh () testified will be in Paradise, such as the Ten (Companions), Thâbit Ibn Qays Ibn Shammas and others.
They confirm what has been reported in tawâtur form by the Amîr-ul-Mu’minîn, ‘Alî Ibn Abî Tâlib () and others: ‘The best of this Ummah after its Prophet are Abu Bakr; then ‘Umar.’ Then they place ‘Uthmân third and ‘Alî fourth, may Allâh be pleased with all of them. This is as is indicated in the athâr (reports from the Sahâbah) and as was unanimously agreed upon that ‘Uthmân had precedence (over ‘Alî) for be- ing pledged allegiance to (for the Khilâfah). In spite of this, af- ter unanimously agreeing to the precedence of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, some of the Ahl-us-Sunnah have disagreed with regard to ‘Uthmân and ‘Alî as to which of them is better. A group of them gave precedence to ‘Uthmân and then remained silent and placed ‘Alî as the fourth. Another group gave precedence to ‘Alî, and yet another group remained neutral. But the affair of Ahl-us-Sunnah settled upon giving precedence to ‘Uthmân and then ‘Alî. But regardless, this issue of ‘Uthmân and ‘Alî is not from the principles by which the one who disagrees concerning it becomes misguided (and deviant), according to the majority of the (scholars of) Ahl-us-Sunnah. Rather, the issue in which the one who opposes becomes misguided is the issue of the Khilâfah – and it is that they (must) believe that the Khalîfah after Allâh’s Messenger was Abu Bakr, then ‘Umar, then ‘Uthmân and then ‘Alî. Whoever attacks the Khilâfah of any one of them, he is more astray than the donkey of his people.”
Then he mentioned that they have love and affection for the Members of the Household of Allâh’s Messenger () and that they preserve the Will (final requests) of Allâh’s Messenger () concerning them. They have affection for the Wives of Allâh’s Messenger (), the Mothers of the Believers and believe that they will be his wives in the Hereafter. Then he said:
“And they absolve themselves from the way of the Rawâfid – those who hate the Companions and revile them – and from the way of the Nawâsib – those who abuse the Members of the [Prophet’s ()] Household – by speech or action. They refrain from (delving into) the disputes that occurred between the Companions, and they say: Among the narrations which have been reported concerning their faults are those which are false, those which have been exaggerated, those of whose parts have been omitted, and those which have been altered from their original state. With regard to those which are authentic, they (the Companions) are excused (and forgiven) – either they made Ijtihâd and were correct, or they made Ijtihâd and were wrong. Moreover, they do not believe that every one of the Compan- ions is infallible and free of committing major or minor sins. Rather, they are capable of committing sins in general, but they have the precedence and virtues what necessitates that they be forgiven for whatever (sins) they commit – if they did commit any. This is even to the point that they will be forgiven for evil deeds the likes of which those who come after them will not be forgiven for. This is because they possess good deeds that erase the evil ones, the likes of which will not be for those after them.
It is established from the saying of Allâh’s Messenger () that they are the best of generations, and that if one of them were to give a mudd (of gold) in charity it would be better than the whole of Mount Uhud in gold of those who came after them. Furthermore, if it was the case that one of them committed a sin, either he repented from it, performed some good deed that wiped it out, or he was forgiven for it due to the virtue of his
precedence or by intercession of Muhammad () of which the Companions have the most right. Perhaps he may have been tested by some affliction in this world by which it [the sin] was expiated from him. If this is with respect to the sins that were committed (by them), what about the matters in which they did Ijtihâd? If they were correct they will have two rewards and if they were incorrect they will have one reward, and their error will be forgiven.
Furthermore, the amount that is forsaken yet forgiven from the (bad) deeds committed by some of them is minute in compari- son to their virtues and good qualities, such as their belief in Allâh and His Messenger (), Jihâd in His Way, Hijrah, support (of the Religion), beneficial knowledge and good deeds. And whoever studies the history of the ‘people’ (i.e. the Sahâbah) with knowledge and insight, and studies the bounty Allâh be- stowed upon them, he will come to know with full certainty that they are the best of creation after the prophets. There was never, nor will there ever be anyone like them. (He will come to know that) they are the chosen elite from all the generations of this nation (of Muslims), which is itself the best and most honorable of all nations with Allâh.”
These are five examples from the sayings of the Salaf as-Sâlih (righteous predecessors) concerning what we are obligated to be- lieve in with respect to the best of creation after the Prophets and Messengers. One thing we must understand is that defaming these chosen and special people is in fact a defamation of the Re- ligion. This is due to the fact that the Religion was not passed onto successive generations except through them, and as it has already been stated in the words of Abu Zur’ah:
“The only ones who brought this Qur’ân and the Sunan (plural of Sunnah) to us are the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger (). They [the heretics] only wish to disparage and demolish our wit- nesses so that they can nullify the Book and the Sunnah, whereas they are more deserving of being disparaged for they are the heretics (zanâdiqah).”
This refers to those who seek to belittle any of the Companions. It implies that the one who defames them does not harm them in the least but rather only benefits them, according to the previously stated hadîth of the “bankrupt person,” and it implies that the one who defames them only causes harm to himself. Whoever finds in his heart love for them and not hatred and keeps his tongue from mentioning anything but good about them, he should praise Allâh for this blessing. He should ask Allâh to keep him firm upon this guidance. And whoever holds any hatred for them in his heart, and his tongue is loose in mentioning them with that which does not befit them, then he must fear Allâh and desist from these crimes. He must repent to Allâh so long as the door of repentance is open for him, before he regrets when regret is of no benefit.
Our Lord! Do not cause our hearts to go astray after having guided us and grant us mercy from Yourself, indeed You are the One who grants all requests.
“Our Lord! Forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in Faith. And put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed. Our Lord, You are indeed full of kindness, most Merciful.”
Written by Shaykh Abdul Muhsin al Abbad