Some Narrations of the Imaams of Sunnah Concerning the Excellence of the Companions
Taken from the Book – ‘The Narrations Mentioned by Imaams of the Sunnah in the Chapters of ‘Aqeedah from the Book ‘Siyaar ‘Alaam an-Nubala’
Researched By Jamaal bin Ahmad bin Basheera Baadee
Translated by Abbas Abu Yahya
Verily Allaah Azza wa Jal has praised the Companions of His Messenger -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- in many places in His noble Book. He has praised them with the best and most complete of characteristics. Allaah blessed them with His being pleased with them and with repentance. He informed them of what He has prepared for them of a generous reward and an eternally great recompense in Paradise.
Allaah said: <<And the first to embrace Islaam of the Muhâjirûn(those who migrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah) and the Ansaar(the citizens of Al-Madinah who helped and gave aid to theMuhâjirûn) and also those who followed them in Faith, Allaah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise) to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.> >[Taubah:100]
Allaah said: << Allaah has forgiven the Prophet, the Muhajirûn(Muslim emigrants who left their homes and came to Al-Madinah) and the Ansaar (Muslims of Al-Madinah) who followed him in the time of distress (Tabûk expedition, etc.), after the hearts of a party of them had nearly deviated (from the Right Path), but He accepted their repentance. Certainly, He is unto them full of Kindness, Most Merciful. >> [Taubah: 117]
Allaah said: <<Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers and merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayer), seeking Bounty from Allaah and (His) Good Pleasure. The mark of them (i.e. of their Faith) is on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of (their) prostration (during prayers). This is their description in the Taurât (Torah) but their description in the Injeel (Gospel) is like a (sown) seed which sends forth its shoot, then makes it strong, then it becomes thick and stands straight on its stem, delighting the sowers that He may enrage the disbelievers with them. Allaah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous good deeds, forgiveness and a mighty reward (i.e. Paradise). >> [al-Fath: 29]
Allaah said: << Not equal among you are those who spent and fought before the conquering (of Makkah) (with those among you who did so later). Such are higher in degree than those who spent and fought afterwards. But to all, Allaah has promised the best (reward). And Allaah is All-Aware of what you do. >>[al-Hadeed: 10]
Allaah said:<<(And there is also a share in this booty) for the poor emigrants, who were expelled from their homes and their property, seeking Bounties from Allaah and to please Him and helping Allaah (i.e. helping His religion) and His Messenger. Such are indeed the truthful (to what they say);-And those who, before them, had homes (in Al-Madinah) and had adopted the Faith, love those who emigrate to them and have no jealousy in their breasts for that which they have been given (from the booty of Banî An-Nadîr) and give them (emigrants) preference over themselves, even though they were in need of that. And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the successful.>>[al-Hashr:8-9]
Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymeeyah said, explaining the first Aayah: ‘Allaah made a share of what He mentioned and prepared for the Companions, of Him being pleased with them and Paradise for those who followed the Companions in goodness.’[i]
He continues saying:‘So whoever follows the first to embrace Islaam, then he is from them. They are the best of people after the Prophets. Indeed the Ummah of Muhammad is the best Ummah that came for the people and the Companions are the best of the Ummahof Muhammad.’[ii] Then he derived from this principle an important issue, which is the obligation of following the Companions in what they were upon of knowledge, action and Deen for the one who wants success and salvation.
Shaykh-ul-Islaam said: ‘Due to this, knowing the statements of the Companions concerning knowledge, Deen and their actions, is better and more beneficial than knowing the statements and actions in all sciences of the Deen and its actions of those who came later such as in Tafseer, principles of the Deen and its branches, Zuhud, worship, manners, Jihad etc. This is because the Companions are better than those who came after them as the Book and the Sunnah indicate. So following the Companions is better than following those after them. Having knowledge of their Ijmaa’ (consensus) and disputes about knowledge and Deen is better and more beneficial than having knowledge of what is mentioned of the Ijmaa’ and disputes of other than them. This is because their Ijmaa’ is nothing other than faultless and if they disputed, then the truth never escaped them.’[iii]
The Messenger of Allaah –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- testified to their goodness and excellence. He said in a hadeeth which is narrated ofhim by Abdullaah bin Mas’ood –RadhiAllaahu anhu: ‘The best of the people[iv] are of my generation, then those who came after them, then those who came after them. Then there will come a people whose testimony will precede their oath and their making an oath is their testification.’[v] I
maam an-Nawawee -Rahimullaah- said: ‘The scholars are in agreement that the best generation is the Messenger’s -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam-generation and the meaning here is the Companions.’[vi]
Ibn Hajr -Rahimullaah- said: ‘A generation is a people in one close period of time who participated in a matter from the matters of concern.’ He continues saying:‘The meaning here of ‘the generation of the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam’ in this hadeeth is the Companions.’[vii]
The noble Companion Abdullaah bin Mas’ood –RadhiAllaahu anhu- has an amazing statement where he describes the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- saying: ‘Indeed Allaah looked at the hearts of His slaves and He found the heart of Muhammad to be the best of the hearts of His slaves so He chose him for Himself and sent him with His Message. Then Allaah looked into the hearts of His worshippers after the heart of Muhammad -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam-and He found that the hearts of Muhammad’s Companions were the best of the hearts of His worshippers, so He made them the ministers for His Prophet and they fought for His religion.’[viii]
Also, on the authority of Abdullaah bin Mas’ood –RadhiAllaahu anhu- who said: ‘Whoever from amongst you wants to follow, then he should follow the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- since their hearts were the most righteous in this Ummah, the deepest in knowledge, the most natural, the most correct in guidance and were in the best condition. The Companions were people whom Allaah chose to be with His Prophet and to establish His religion. So know their excellence and follow them in their footsteps, for indeed they were on the correct guidance.’[ix]
Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jamaah have, during what has passed in history and time, in different places and countries, implemented the command of their Lord –Ta’ala- and the command of the Messenger of Allaah –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- that they should honour and respect the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- with their hearts and their tongues.
Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymeeyah -Rahimullaah- says: ‘From the principles of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jamaah: is the honour and veneration in their hearts and on their tongues for the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- just as Allaah describes them in His saying: << And those who came after them say: ‘Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who have 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.’>> [Hashr: 10]
Likewise, in obedience to the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- when he said: ‘Do not curse my Companions. I swear by Him in Whose Hand is my soul, if one of you spent the like of mount Uhud in gold, you would not reach the equivalent of a Mudd (a certain weight) of one of the Companions, not even half a Mudd.’[x]
Ahl-ul-Sunnah accept what is mentioned in the Book, the Sunnah andIjmaa’ regarding their excellence and rank.’[xi]
The Rawafidah,[xii] Khawarij[xiii] and Nawaasib[xiv] opposed Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jamaah in this issue; they did not keep to the bequest of the Messenger of Allaah -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- regarding the rights of his Companions. As for the Rawafidah, they brought the Bida’ of (text)that they claimed the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- stated about ‘Alee bin Abee Taalib –RadhiAllaahu anhu- with which they would not have an excuse to leave the Khilafah of ‘Alee, a statement that he was sinless and whosoever opposed him had committed disbelief. Then, as a consequence, they made Takfeer of all the Companions except veryfew in number. They claimed that the Companions hid these statements and changed the religion. The Rawafidah sought closeness to Allaah – as they claim – by cursing and reviling the Companions –RadhiAllaahu anhum. Abu Bakr and Umar –RadhiAllaahu anhumaa-received the most of their oppression and extreme lies.[xv]
As for the Khawarij, then they made Takfeer of ‘Uthmaan and ‘Alee and of those who followed them and they also made Takfeer of both groups who took part in the battle of Siffeen.[xvi] As for the Nawaasib, their evil belief led them to hate ‘Alee bin Abee Taalib –RadhiAllaahu anhu- and they belittled him. They exaggerated in this until they accused him of evil, oppression and that he wanted the Duniya. Then their condition and their hatred and enmity continued until they belittled the rest of Ahl ul Bayt (the family of the Prophet), especially al-Hassan bin ‘Alee–RadhiAllaahu anhu.
[i] ‘Majmoo al-Fatawa’13/23
[ii] ‘Majmoo al-Fatawa’13/24
[iii] ‘Majmoo al-Fatawa’13/24
[iv] In the narration of Imraan bin al-Hussain –RadhiAllaahu anhu – : ‘the best of my Ummah’
[v] Agreed upon, narrated by Bukhari in the beginning of ‘The book of the excellence of the Prophet’s Companions’ in his saheeh. & by Muslim in ‘The book of the excellence of the Companions –RadhiAllaahu anhum’ in the chapter ‘Excellence of the Companions then those after them, then those after them.’
[vii] ‘Fath ul-Bari’7/5.
[viii] Narrated by Imam Ahmad in al-Musnad 1/379, Tayyalisi in al-Musnad p.23, Ibn al-Arabi in al-Mu’jaam 2/84, Khateeb al-Bagdadi in ‘al-Faqeehi wal-Mutafaqihi’2/100 & al-Bayhaaqi in ‘al-Itiqaad’p.208.
[ix] Narrated by Ibn AbdulBarr in ‘Jamia Bayaan al-Ilm wa Fadleehi’2/97.
[x] Narrated by Muslim in ‘The book of the excellence of the Companions –RadhiAllaahu anhum-. Chapter: TheProhibition of Cursing the Companions –RadhiAllaahu anhum-. 4/1967
[xi] ‘Majmoo al-Fatawa’3/152
[xii] Shaykhul-Islaam said: ‘From the time Zayd rebelled, the Shia split into the Rafidah and the Zaydeeyah. When Zayd was asked about Abu Bakr and Umar he said ‘May Allaah have mercy upon them,’ and the people rejected him. He said to them: Rafadtumoonee (you have rejected me) so they were called the Rafidah, because they rejected him. Those who did not reject him from the Shia were called Zaydeeyah, since they ascribed themselves to him.’(Minhaaj as-Sunnah) 1/35.
This clarifies for us that the reason for them being Rafidah was their hatred for Abu Bakr & Umar –RadhiAllaahu anhumaa–, their cursing them and not accepting them as leaders.
Abdullaah bin Ahmad said: ‘I asked my father: ‘Who is a Rafidee?’
He answered: ‘He who curses Abu Bakr and Umar.’ narrated by al-Khalaal in ‘as-Sunnah’p.492.
[xiii] They were given this title because they rebelled against the Imam ‘Alee bin Abee Taalib –RadhiAllaahu anhu. From the most important of their beliefs is: making Takfeer of people who commit major sins, they say that these people will be in the Hell-fire eternally.
They also say that the Khilafah can be from other than the Quraish.
They make Takfeer of ‘Uthmaan, ‘Alee, Talha, Zubair and ‘Aeysha –RadhiAllaahu anhum- they also call forrebellion against evil leaders, they are many different sects.
(See: ‘Makaalaat al-Islaameeyeen’ by ‘Ashaari 1/189, & ‘al-Farq bayn al-Firq’by Bagdadi p.55 & p.97.
[xiv] Nawaasib: They are those who openly declare Ahl-ul-Bayt to be enemies.
[xv] See: ‘Majmoo al-Fatawa’ 3/356.
[xvi] ‘Majmoo al-Fatawa’ & ‘al-Khuttat al-Miqreezeeyah’ 2/354.