How a Companion of the Prophet is Identified ?
How a Companion of the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- is Identified
By Miseekah bint ‘Assim al-Quruti
Translated by Abbas Abu Yahya
‘The Companions can be known in a number of different ways:
1- Sometimes the Companions can be known by being mentioned in the Noble Qur’aan, like the saying of Allaah Ta’ala:
<<as one of two, when they were in the cave>> [Tawbah: 40]
the meaning of that is as-Siddiq –Radi Allaahu anhu– [Abu Bakr].
This is why the scholars say: ‘Whoever rejects Abu Bakr’s companionship of the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- is a disbeliever.’
Likewise the mention of the companionship of Zayed bin Harithah –Radi Allaahu anhu–due to the saying of Allaah Ta’ala:
<<So when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you>> [Ahzab: 37]
2 – By Tawatir (Recurring narratives) like the companionship of Umar, Uthmaan, Ali, Hudayfah, Abu Huriarah, ‘Aeysha and others from the senior Companions –Radi Allaahu anhum ajmaeen.
3 – By beneficial information, and that is by a Companion of the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- being well-known amongst the other Companions. It is less thanTawatir (Recurring narratives), which means that many of the people knew them, even if it was hidden from a small number of them, like: Thaabit bin Qaays, Dhul-Yadain, Mu’aawiyah ibn al-Hakam as-Sulami, Bareerah the freed slave of ‘Aeysha and others from amongst them –Radi Allaahu anhum ajmaeen.
4 – By the testification of other Companions of the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam, as in the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbas –Radi Allaahu anhu– regarding the seventy thousand who will enter Paradise without reckoning; so ‘Ukashah bin Mihsan stood up and said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah make Dua’ to Allaah to make me from amongst them.’
The Messenger -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- said: ‘You are from them.’
[Collected by Bukhari]
5 – By a Companion actually narrating from the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam-that he heard him -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- saying, or that he witnessed the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- in his time.
6 – By the testification of a Taabaiee’ (a successor of the Companions) where he says: ‘So and so from the Companions of the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- narrated to me.’ And this has some conditions:
a- That the Isnad (chain) is authentic from that Taabaiee’.
b- That he is a senior Taabaiee’ so that most of his narrations are from the Companions.
c- That the Taabaiee’ is well known for his memory and precision. No mistake has been experienced from him, since he could have made a mistake and he was not aware of it.
7 – That the person himself says ‘I am a Companion of the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam.’ That he is known to be just. It is obligatory that his announcement had been made within one hundred years of the death of the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam. It has been affirmed by Tawatir (Recurring narratives) that the last of the Companions to die was Abu at-Tufayl bin ‘Aamir bin Waathilah al-Laythi, and what is correct is that he died in the year 110 A.H. so whoever claims companionship after that, then it is not accepted from him.
There is a principle, which is beneficial, and through it we can identify the companionship of a large number of Companions by knowing a general characteristic which includes all of them to be from the Companions of the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam-, and this principle is taken from three Athaar:
The first: ‘The general people would only place the Companions in charge of battles. Whoever researches narrations which talk about the battles against those who apostated after the death of the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- and the battles concerning conquering other lands, finds that there had been many Companions mentioned.’
The second: ‘That Ibn ‘Awf said: ‘No one would have a new born except that he would bring it to that Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- and he would supplicate for it.’
The third: ‘There had not remained anyone in Madina, nor Makkah, nor Taif by the tenth year after the Hijra except that he had accepted Islaam and had witnessed the farewell Hajj.’
Therefore, whoever was present at that time is classified as a Companion under this Companionship due to them seeing the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- even if he himself did not see them.’
[For References of this section see: ‘Muqqadamah Ibn Salah’ along with its explanation ‘at-Taqyeed’, ‘al-Baith al-Hatheeth’ by Ibn Katheer, ‘al-Isaabah’ by Ibn Hajr & ‘Fath al-Muggeeth’ by Sakhawee.’]
[From: ‘Sahabatul Nabi -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam’ p.15-16]