Shaikh-ul-lslaam Ibn Taimiyyah said in his book AI-‘Aqeedat-ul-Waasitiyyah:
“Among the Principles of Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah is maintaining pure hearts and tongues towards the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم), as Allaah has 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.’ [Surah Al-Hashr: 10]
And (from their principles is) obedience to the Prophet with regard to his (صلى الله عليه و سلم) 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’aan, the Sunnah and the Consensus concerning their (the Companion’s) virtues and high status. And they give preference to those who spent their wealth and fought (in the Way of Allaah) before the Victory, which refers to the Treaty of al-Hudaibiyah, over those who gave their wealth and fought after it. They give precedence to the Muhaajireen over the Ansaar. And they believe that Allaah said to the people who fought in (the Battle of) Badr – who numbered over three hundred people: ‘Do whatever you wish, for I have already forgiven you.’
And they believe that no one who pledged their allegiance to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) under the tree will enter the Hellfire, as the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) informed us. In fact, Allaah 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 Allaah testified will be in Paradise, such as the Ten (Companions), Thaabit bin Qays bin Shammas and others.
They confirm what has been reported in tawaatur form on the Commander of the Believers, ‘Alee Ibn Abee Taalib and others that: The best of this ummah after its Prophet are Abu Bakr; then ‘Umar. Then they place ‘Uthmaan third and ‘Alee fourth, may Allaah be pleased with all of them. This is as is indicated in the athaar (reports from the Sahaabah) and as was unanimously agreed upon that ‘Uthmaan had precedence (over ‘Alee) for being pledged allegiance to (for the Khilaafah).
In spite of this, after unanimously agreeing to the precedence of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, some of Ahl-us-Sunnah have disagreed with regard to ‘Uthmaan and ‘Alee as to which of them is better. So a group of them gave precedence to ‘Uthmaan and then remained silent, and placed ‘Alee as the fourth. And another group gave precedence to ‘Alee. And yet another group remained neutral. But the affair of Al-us-Sunnah settled upon giving precedence to ‘Uthmaan and then ‘Alee.
Regardless, this issue of ‘Uthmaan and ‘Alee 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 Khilaafah – and it is that they (must) believe that the Khaleefah after Allaah’s Messenger was Abu Bakr, then ‘Umar, then ‘Uthmaan, then ‘Alee. And whoever attacks the Khilaafah of any one of them, then 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 Allaah’s Messenger and that they preserve the Will (final requests) of Allaah’s Messenger concerning them. And that they have affection for the Wives of Allaah’s Messenger, the Mothers of the Believers and believe that they will be his wives in the Hereafter.
Then he said:
“They absolve themselves from the way of the Rawaafid – those who hate the Companions and revile them – and from the way of the Nawaasib – those who abuse the Members of the (Prophet’s) Household – through speech or action. And they refrain from (delving into) the disputes that occurred between the Companions. And they say: These narrations that have been reported concerning their faults have in them some that are false, some that have had things added to them, some that have had parts omitted from them, and some that have been changed from their original state. As for those narrations that are authentic (concerning their faults), then they (the Companions) are excused (and forgiven) – either they made Ijtihaad and were correct or they made Ijtihaad and were wrong.
Furthermore, they do not believe that each of the Companions is infallible and free from committing major or minor sins. Rather, they are capable of committing sins in general, however, they possess from precedence and virtues that which 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 wipe out the evil deeds, the likes of which will not be for those after them.
It is established from the saying of Allaah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) 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 if someone who came after them were to give the whole of Mount Uhud in gold. And if it was the case that one of them committed a sin, then either he repented from it or he performed some good deed that wiped it out. Or he will be forgiven for it due to the virtue of his precedence or because of the intercession of Muhammad H, of which the Companions have the most right among people of receiving. Or perhaps he was tested by some affliction in this world, by which it was expiated from him. So if this is with respect to the sins that were actualized (by them), then what about the matters in which they did Ijtihaad? If they were correct they will have two rewards and if they were incorrect they will have just one reward and their error will be forgiven.
Furthermore, the amount of (bad) deeds committed by some of them, that is forsaken yet forgiven, is tiny in comparison to their virtues and good qualities, such as their belief in Allaah and His Messenger, their Jihaad for His Cause, their performance of Hijrah, their support (of the Religion), as well as their beneficial knowledge and good deeds. And whoever studies the history of the ‘people’ (i.e. the Sahaabah) with knowledge and insight, and studies the merits that Allaah bestowed unto them, he will come to know with full certainty that they are the best of creation after the prophets. There was not nor will there be anyone like them. They are the safwah (chosen elite) from all the generations of this nation (of Muslims), which is itself the best and most honorable of all nations with Allaah.”
[End of Ibn Taimiyyah’s words]
Posted from : The Creed of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah concerning the Companions – Shaikh ‘Abdul-Muhsin bin Hamad Al-‘Abbaad (al-ibaanah e-Book)