Sharhu Sunnah : Lesson 22 : Point 25 (Part A)
Shaykh Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]
And the most excellent one of this nation and of all nations after the Prophets  salawaatullaahi `alayhim ajma`een is Aboo Bakr then `Umar then `Uthmaan. This is what is reported to us from Ibn `Umar that he said, “We used to say whilst Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam was amongst us that the best of the people after Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam is Aboo Bakr and `Umar and `Uthmaan and the Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam would hear that and he would not criticise it.” 
The most excellent generation is the generation in which Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam was raised, then those who followed them, then those who followed them. And they are al-quroon al-mufaddalah (the most excellent generations).
And the most excellent ones from the most excellent generations were: the sahaabah (Companions) radiyAllaahu `anhum. Then the Companions themselves, they vary in degree of excellence. And the most excellent of them was Aboo Bakr as-Siddeeq, the one who believed in him when he first came (as a Messenger). He supported him and defended him and he spent from his money to help him, and he would accompany him until his death. Then he became the khaleefah (caliph) after him and he fulfilled this role in the best way, and Allaah established the Religion through him after the feet of the people had been shaken by the death of the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam. So Allaah made him as firm as the mountains so that the nation became firm on account of him, and He rebutted the apostates through him and the disbelievers, and he consolidated Islaam after the passing away of the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam. Then he passed away and he was buried along with the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam. So he was his Companion in life and in death and he was his companion in the cave.
He the Most High said:
When the two of them were in the cave, when he said to his companion, do not grieve, Allaah is with us. (Sooratut-Towbah (9), aayah 40)
So he is the most excellent one of the nation. Then he is followed by `Umar ibn alKhattaab radiyAllaahu `anhu, the second of the khulafaa·; then he is followed by `Uthmaan radiyAllaahu `anhu; then he is followed by `Aliyy radiyAllaahu `anhu. They are the four Rightly Guided Khulafaa·, may Allaah be pleased with them and cause them to be pleased.
Then the rest of the ten most excellent ones about whom it was testified that they will be in Paradise. And they are the four Rightly Guided Khulafaa· and Sa`d ibn Abee Waqqaas, Sa`eed ibn Zayd ibn `Amr ibn Nufayl and Talhah ibn `Ubaydillaah and AzZubayr ibn `Awwaam and Aboo `Ubaydah `Aamir ibnul-Jarraah and `Abdur-Rahmaan ibn `Owf. So they are the ten who are promised Paradise. The Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam bore witness for them of Paradise, so they are the most excellent ones from the Companions.
The Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam said,
“Aboo Bakr will be in Paradise and `Umar will be in Paradise and `Aliyy will be in Paradise and `Uthmaan will be in Paradise and Talhah will be in Paradise and AzZubayr will be in Paradise and `Abdur-Rahmaan ibn `Owf will be in Paradise and Sa`d ibn Abee Waqqaas will be in Paradise and Sa`eed ibn Zayd ibn `Amr ibn Nufayl will be in Paradise and Aboo `Ubaydah ibnul-Jarraah will be in Paradise.’’ 
Then after them: those who were the people of the Battle of Badr, then those who were present at the Bay`atur-Ridwaan (the ‘pledge of those who earned Allaah’s pleasure’) from the Muhaajireen and the Ansaar , then those who accepted Islaam and performed the hijrah before the Conquest, they are more excellent than those who accepted Islaam and migrated after the Conquest. So they vary in degree of excellence radiyAllaahu `anhum in accordance with their precedence in accepting Islaam and with their position in Islaam. And they (all of the Companions) have the general virtue which cannot be reached by anyone else, and it is as-suhbah (Companionship) to Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam and al-hijrah (to perform the emigration). And the Muhaajiroon (those who were in Makkah and then they emigrated to al-Madeenah) they are more excellent than the Ansaar (the Muslims of al-Madeenah). This is a virtue which is general to all of them (Companionship); no-one who came after them can reach it. So they are the most excellent of the generations and the best of the generations, may Allaah be pleased with them and may He cause them to be pleased.
So whoever attacks them or hates them then he is a disbeliever in Allaah, because Allaah has extolled them, Allaah has praised them and chose them for Companionship of His Prophet Muhammad sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam. So the person who makes an attack upon the Companions or declares them to be disbelievers or belittles them is a disbeliever in Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, denying the truth of Allaah and His Messenger; because Allaah, the Most High, said:
And the first and foremost [in believing in Allaah and His Messenger] from the Muhaajiroon (emigrants) and Ansaar (helpers) and those who followed them exactly [in faith and in emigrating, seeking His Pleasure], Allaah is pleased with all of them, and they are pleased with Him. (Sooratut-Towbah (9), aayah 100)
Indeed, Allaah was pleased with the believers when they gave their bay’ah (pledge) to you (O Muhammad) under the tree. (Sooratul-Fat.h (48), aayah 18)
His saying, “This is what is reported to us from Ibn `Umar that he said, ‘We used to say whilst Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam was amongst us that the best of the people after Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam is Aboo Bakr and `Umar and then `Uthmaan.’” 
As for Aboo Bakr and `Umar then this is ijmaa` (consensus) about that. As for the level of excellence between `Uthmaan and `Aliyy then that is a point of disagreement. Some of them preferred `Uthmaan and some of them preferred `Aliyy radiyAllaahu ta`aalaa `anhumaa wa ardaahumaa (may Allaah be pleased with both of them and cause them to be pleased). But as for Aboo Bakr and `Umar then these two are the most excellent of this nation by consensus, ijmaa` of the Muslims; this is with regard to virtue. As for with regard to the khilaafah (Caliphate) then there has to be this (correct) order: Aboo Bakr and then `Umar and then `Uthmaan and then `Aliyy. So whoever accuses the khilaafah (Caliphate) of one of them then he is astray (daal).
Shaykhul-Islaam (Ibn Taymiyyah) said in al-Waasitiyyah: “Whoever attacks the khilaafah of one of those then he is more astray than a domesticated donkey,” because he has gone against the ijmaa’ (consensus) of the Muslims. Because the Muslims agreed in consensus upon giving precedence to Aboo Bakr for the khilaafah, then upon giving precedence to `Umar after him, then to `Uthmaan and then to `Aliyy. So a person who gives precedence to `Aliyy and says he had more right to the khilaafah even than Aboo Bakr, and who says that khilaafah after the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam should have gone to `Aliyy because he was the appointed successor of the Messenger and he was the real khaleefah but Aboo Bakr and the Companions, they wronged him and seized the khilaafah from him, this is to declare the whole nation astray – and Allaah’s refuge is sought – and it is contrary to the texts which occur with regard to the order of those khulafaa·.
So the order with regard to the khilaafah is a point of ijmaa` (consensus), but as for the order with regard to superiority between `Aliyy and `Uthmaan, that is a point of disagreement. And what is correct is that `Uthmaan was more excellent because the Companions, and amongst them was `Aliyy radiyAllaahu `anhu, they chose him as a khaleefah; they chose `Uthmaan as a khaleefah to succeed Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam. And `Aliyy was present and the Companions chose `Uthmaan. The fact that the Companions chose `Uthmaan is a proof that he was more excellent. `Abdur-Rahmaan ibn `Owf said “I saw that the people do not take anyone else as being the equal of ‘Uthmaan (after passing away of Umar radiyAllaahu `anhu) .”  So this shows he was more excellent.
 Translator’s side point: There is a slightly different wording in some of the editions. Some versions have: “The best of this nation after the passing away of its Prophet.”
 Translator’s side point: This statement is reported by al-Bukhaariyy (no. 3,655 and 3,698) reported from Ibn `Umar radiyAllaahu `anhumaa.
 This is reported by Imaam Ahmad in his Musnad and At-Tirmithiyy in his Sunan and Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh and by others.
Translator’s side point: This hadeeth was declared Saheeh (authentic) by Shaykh al-Albaaniyy in his checking of al-Mishkaat (no. 6109 and 6110).
 Translator’s side point: The Bay`atur-Ridwaan happened in the 11th month Thul-Qa`dah of the 6th year
 Reported by al-Bukhaariyy (no. 3698) as a narration of Ibn `Umar radiyAllaahu `anhumaa.
 Reported by al-Bukhaariyy in his Saheeh (no. 7207) from al-Miswar ibn Makhrama radiyAllaahu `anhu
Transcribed by Saima Zaher. Download PDF of Lesson 22
Ithaaful-Qaaree bit-Ta`leeqaat `alaa Sharhis-Sunnah
by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan hafizahullaah
Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood Burbank, rahimahullaah
Posted with kind permission from Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah
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