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Adopting Reliability of All the Sahabah

While the Jumhur believe in reliability of all the Companions, refusing any jarh and ta’dil regarding them with accepting that for other narrators, considering them (Sahabah) all infallible against error, inadvertence and forgetfulness, there being many researchers not believing in this (absolute) reliability for all the Sahabah. But they hold the same view held by al-Allamah al-Muqbili that it includes the majority not all, and that they are liable to error, forgetfulness, inadvertence and even caprice, as they are human beings doing what others do, that which belongs to the human nature. Besides, their master (S) who was chosen by Allah, Who knows better where to place His Message, said: “I am only a human being, that may be right or mistaken,” supporting their judgement with those (companions) who were during the lifetime of the Prophet (S) among the hypocrites and liars, and many of whom apostatized after his demise. Truly they have instigated wars and seditions that consumed everything, with their bad consequences still sensed nowadays and will continue in future. It seems that the Messenger (S) could discern with his penetrating insight what will his Companions do after his passing away, as a result of which he said in the Farewell Pilgrimage (Hijjat al-Wada’): “Do not return after me disbelievers beheading and killing each other.”680

Al-Bukhari reported from Ibn Abbas, that the Prophet (S) said: “Verily you will be resurrected bare-footed and naked, and a group of my Companions will be driven to the left (Fire). I would say, (God!) Aren’t they) my Companions !He (God) would say: They were still apostatizing and renegading since the time you departed them. I would say as the righteous bondman (al-Abd al-Salih) said: “I was a witness of them while I dwelt among them”. Muslim reported the same hadith thus: “A group of my Companions will be brought to me at the Pond (of al-Kawthar), and as soon as I recognize them they shall be dragged away. I would say, (God! Aren’t they) my Companions! He (God) would say: ‘You don’t know what they did after you.’”

Al-Bukhari reported from Abu Hurayrah as the Prophet saying: “When I was standing, a group of people came toward me. As soon as I recognized them a man emerged between me and them saying: Come on! I said: Where to? He said: Toward the Fire, by God. I said: ‘What did they do?’ He said: ‘They retraced their steps backwards after you.’ Then another group appeared, and as soon as I recognized them, a man came out in between me and them, saying: Let’s go, I said: whereto? He said: Toward the Fire, by God. I said: What did they do? He said: They retreated backwards. And I never think any of them will be delivered but as few as the ignored cattle.681

In another version of the hadith, the Prophet (S) said: “On the Day of Resurrection, a group of my Companions will come toward me, and will be dragged away from the Pond (Hawd). I would say: O God, (aren’t they) my Companions. He (God) would say: You have no knowledge of what they did after you... they have retreated backwards”.

Sahl ibn Sa’d reported that the Prophet said: A group of people will be brought to me (on the Doomsday), whom I know and they know me. Then something will intervene between me and them. Abu Hazim said: Al-Nu’man ibn Abi Ayyash heard me and said: Did you hear it in this way from Sahl? I said: Yes. He said: I give evidence against Abu Sa’id al-Khudri that I heard him — adding to it — and I (the Prophet) would say: But they are from me. It would be said to him: You don’t know what they did after you. I would say: Remote be everyone who changed after me.

Al-Bukhari, under “bab Ghazwat al-Hudaybiyyah”, reported from al-Ala’ibn al-Musayyab, from his father, as saying: I met with al-Bara’ ibn Azib when I said to him: Blessed be you, you kept company with the Prophet (S) and swore allegiance to him under the tree. He said: O my nephew, you don’t know what we did after him!

He also reported from Abd Allah, that the Prophet (S) said: I will precede you on the Pond, and some men from among you will be brought to me, and will be dragged away from me. I would say: O God, (aren’t they) my Companions! It would be said: You don’t know what they did after you.

Al-Bukhari said: He was followed by Asim who reported from `Wa’il. Husayn said: It is reported from Abu Wa’il, from Hudhayfah, from the Prophet (may God’s peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny).

And he reported from Asma’ bint Abi Bakr as saying: The Prophet said: I will be at the Pond waiting to see who from among you will come toward me. And a group of people will be dragged away from me, when I would say: O my Lord (aren’t they) from me and from among my Ummah? It would be said: Did you realize what they did after you? By God, they kept on retreating and falling backwards.

Al-Bukhari said: Ibn Abi Mulaykah used to say: O God, we seek Your protection against retreating backwards and being seduced away from our Din.

Those were some traditions I quoted from al-Bukhari and Muslim, which contained so many (odd) things I disdained from citing for sake of brevity.


680. See al-'Ilm al-Shamikh, of al-Muqbili, p.92.

681. Hummal al-na'am means the cattle which have no shepherd, which means that only very few of them will be delivered from the hell.

Adapted from: "Lights on the Muhammadan Sunnah" by: "Mahmud Ali Riyyah"

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