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The Sahabah in Ahl al-Sunnah's Perspective

Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah have exaggerated in glorifying the Sahabah, and believing in their justice as a whole with no exception, exceeding in this all the bounds of reason and transmission, refuting every one criticizing them or denying their justice, beside charging him which debauchery. Here are some of their utterance to expose their remoteness from the Qur'anic concepts, the percepts confirmed by the Prophetic Sunnah, and those established by reason.

Al-'Imam al-Nawawi says in sharh Sahih Muslim: "The Sahabah are all alet of people and masters of the Ummah, superior, but the rabble has been caused by those who succeeded them, and fault has been in those ones". 283

Yahya ibn Ma'in says: "Every one insulting 'Uthman or Talhah or any of the Prophet's companions, is but an imposter not to be relied upon in writing (the hadith), and upon him be the curse of Allah and the angels and all people". 284

Al-Dhahabi also says: "Slandering any of the Sahabah is major sin, and anyone defaming or slandering them will go out of the fold of Islam and renegade the religion of Muslims".285

Once al-Qadi Abu Ya'la was asked about the rule in regard of that who insults Abu Bakr? He replied: He is a disbeliever, and then was asked: It is permissible to perform salat (salat al-mayyit) on him? He said: No. Then it was said: What to do for him while he witnesses that there is no god but Allah? He replied: Do not touch him with your hands, but push him with a stick till you bury him in his grave."286

Al-'Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal says: The best of people after the prophet (S) is Abu Bakr, then 'Umar, then 'Uthman and then 'Ali, who are rightly -guided caliphs, and mention their mischiefs, or defame them with any fault or blemish, and anyone doing this has to be chastised and punished, and not to be pardoned. He should be punished and asked to repent, if he repents it should be accepted from him, but if he insists he should be punihsed again and imprisoned till he dies or repents".

Al-Shaykh 'Ala' al-Din al-Tarablusi al-Hanafi says: ''Anyone insults any of the Prophtet's Companions, as Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman, 'Ali, Mu'awiayah or 'Amr ibn al'As, and accusing them with deviation and kufr (disbelief), should be executed, but if he insults them with ordinary faults, he should be punished severely''.287

Dr. Hmid Hafni Dawud briefly reported the sayings of Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-jama'ah saying: Ahl al-Sunnah view all the Sahabah to be just altogether, theough they differ in the degrees of 'adalah, and that whoever charges any Sahabi with impiety is a disblievers, and charges him with debauchery is a debauchee, and anyone defaming any Companion is as if he has defamed the Messenger of Allah (S).

The critics of Ahl al-Sunnah believe the it is not permissible to engage in debating the historical events, that took place between 'Ali and Mu'awiyah. And that of the Companions there is one who has interpreted and hit the mark, like 'Ali and whoever followed his example. There are some who have exerted their opinions but mistaken, like Mu'awiyah and 'A'ishah and those who followed their example. They believe too that it should be made a halt and abstaining, up to the limits of this judgement, without mentioning the disgraces. They have forbidden the slandering of Mu'awiyah due to his being a companion, with emphasis on forbidding to slander 'A'isha, due to her being the second Umm al-Mu'minin after Khadijah, and on account of her being the beloved of the Messenger of Allah. Debating any other matter should be abandoned and left to Allah, the Glorified. In this respect al-Hasan al-Basri and Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab say: "There are matters of which Allah has purified our hands and swords, so let us cleanse our tongues of them"

This being the quintessence of Ahl-al-Sunnah's opinions regarding the justice of the Companions and the things we should abstain from refering to about them".288 (The end of his speech).

Should any researcher intend to aquire more information in regard of the Sahabah, and who are the ones meant by this term as opined by Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jam'ah, he will realize that they give this honorary badge to anyone who saw the Prophet!

Al-Bakhari says in his Sahih: Anyone enjoyed the company of the Messenger of Allah (s) or saw him, is counted among his Companions.

Ahmed ibn Hanbal says: The best of people after the Messenger's Companions among the Badriyyun, is every one who has enjoyed his (s) compnay for a year or a month or one day, or who has seen him, and the degree he deserves is proportionate with the period of his company with him.289

Ibn Hajar, in the book al-'Isabah fi tamyiz al-Sahabah, says: "Every one who has narrated a hadith or a word from the Prophet, or seen him while believing in him, is counted among the Sahabah. Also (of the Sahabah) is any one who has met the Prophet with believing in him, and died as a Muslim, wheather his meeting with him being long or short, narrating from him or not, invading or not, or who has seen him without sitting with him, or has not seen him due to an excuse.290

The overwhelming majority of Ahl al-Sunnah had this view, and regard as a companion anyone who has seen the Prophet, or was born during his lifetime, even before attaining puberty. The clearest evidence for this is their counting Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr among the Sahabah, though he was only three months old at the time of the Prophet's demise. Therefore Ibn Sa'd has classified the Sahabah into five classes in his famous book: Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd.

Al-Hakim al-Nisaburi, the author of al-Mustadrak, classifies them into twelve classes as follows:

First Class: Those who embraced Islam at Makkah before the migration, like al-Khulafa' al-Rashidun.

Second Class: Those who attended Dar al-Nadwah.

Third Class: Those who migrated to Abyssinia.

Fourth Class: Those who attended the First 'Aqabah.

Fifth Class: Those who attended the second 'Aqabah.

Sixth Class: Those who migrated to al-Madinah after the Messenger's migration to it.

Seventh Class: Those who witnessed Battle of Badr.

Eighth Class: Those who migrated after Badr and before al-Hudaybiyyah (peace Treaty).

Nineth Class: Those who attended Bay'at al-Ridwan.

Tenth Class: Those who migrated after al-Hudaybiyyah and before Conquest of Makkah, like Khalid ibn al-Walid and 'Amr ibn al-'As and others.

Eleventh Class: Those who were called by the Prophet (S) al-Tulaqa'.

Twelfth Class: The lads and children of the Sahabah who were born during the Prophet's lifetime, like Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr.

Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jam'ah concur concerning the justice of all the Sahabah, and the four schools of thought recognize their narrations without any hesitation, allowing no one to critize or defame them.

Needles to say that the men of jarh (criticism) and ta'dil (adjustment), undertaking the task of criticizing the traditionists and narrators, for sorting out and purifying the traditions, when intnending to talk about any Companion, whatever be his class and his age at the time of the Prophet's demise, they abstain from doubting his narration despite all the suspicious raised against it, and its contradiction to reason ('aql) and chain of transmission (naql), claiming that the Sahabah are not to be subjected to criticism and sacrasm and all being just!

This is verily a manifested of which is reason is averse, human nature is repugnant, and not established by knowledge ('ilm), and I do not think the educated youth of today, may acknowledge such silly bida' (innovation).

It is known where from Ahl al-Sunnah have extracted such thoughts, that are estrange to the sprit of Islam, which has been established upon the scientific evidence and final argument. I wish that even one of them, can prove to me the alleged 'adalah of the Sahabah, through only one evidence from a scripture or Sunnah or logic!


283. Sahih Muslim, vol, viii, p.22.

284. Tadhhib al-tahdhib, vol, i, p.509.

285. Al-Dhahabi, Kitab al-kaba'ir pp. 233, 235.

286. Al-Sarim al-masalul, p.275.

287. Mu'in al-hukkam fima yataraddad bayn al-Kasmayn min al-'ahkam, p.187.

288. Al-Sahabah fi nazar al-Shi'ah al-'Imamiyyah, pp. 8,9.

289. Al-Kifayah, p. 51; LTaliqh fuhum ahl al-'athar, p.2.

290. Ibn Hajar, al-'Isabah, vol.i, p.10.

Adapted from the book: "The Shi'ah; The Real Followers of the Sunnah" by: "Dr. Muhamad al-Tijahi al-Samawi"

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