The Sahaba

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

The Sahaba

The Sahabi is a term given to the Muslim who had a lengthy companionship and frequent social contact with the Messenger of Allah (saw), emulating and learning from him. It has been reported on the authority of Shu’bah Ibnu Moussa al-Silani who said: “I came to Anas Ibnu Malik and asked: “Are there any Sahaba of the Messenger of Allah (saw) still alive apart from you?” He said: “There are still some Arab Bedouins who saw him but none from among those who accompanied him”. Al-Mazeni wrote in Sharh al-Burhan: “When we say the Sahaba are sincere, we do not mean all those who saw him (saw) for a day, or saw him briefly, or met with him for some issue and then left the neighbourhood, but rather those who accompanied him, supported him and followed the radiance that Allah revealed; those are the successful ones”.

Imam Abu Bakr Ahmed Ibnu Ali al-Hafez said on his own authority, quoting Saeed Ibnul Musayeb who said: “We only consider as Sahaba those who lived with the Messenger of Allah (saw) a year or two, or fought alongside him a battle or two”. Therefore, only those who fulfil the criteria of companionship are considered as Sahaba; this means being close to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and having lengthy social contact with him. A Sahabi is identified by either a Mutawatir report, or an abundant report short of Mutawatir, or by the Ahad narration originating from the Sahaba or the Tabi’een, or by declaring himself, once his sincerity is established, that he is a Sahabi. 

All the Sahaba are sincere and they hold a special quality, namely that their sincerity must not be questioned, because it is a fait accompli according to the texts of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Allah (swt) says: “And the first to lead the way, of the Muhajirin and the Ansar, and those who followed them in goodness – Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him and He has prepared for them Gardens underneath which rivers flow, where they will abide forever. That is the supreme triumph.” [9-100]. Allah (swt) also says: “From among the Believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah, some have completed their vow (to the utmost), and some (still) wait: but they have never changed (their determination) in the least:” [33-23]. The ayah refers to the Sahaba, for they are some of the believers. Allah (swt) says: “Allah’s Good Pleasure was on the Believers when they swore Fealty to you (O Muhammed) under the Tree: He knew what was in their hearts.” [48-18]. Allah (swt) says: “To the indigent Muhajirs, those who were expelled from their homes and their property, while seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure, and aiding Allah and His Messenger. Such are indeed the sincere ones.” [59-8]. Allah (swt) also says: “Muhammad the Apostle of Allah and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. You will see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure.” [48-29]

There are also numerous Ahadith indicating the excellence of the Sahaba. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "My Companions are like stars, whoever of them you follow, you will be rightly guided". Al-Tirmithi and Ibnu Hibban reported from the Hadith of Abdullah Ibnu Mughaffal who said: “The Messenger of Allah (saw) said "Allah, Allah, my Companions! Do not make them a target after me. Whoever loves them, it is by my love that he loves them. Whoever hates them, incurs my hate by doing so. Whoever harms them has harmed me. Whoever harms me has harmed Allah. Whoever harms Allah is about to be seized". It has been established in the two Sahihs on the authority of Abu Saeed al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "Do not abuse my Companions for if any one of you spent gold equal to Uhud (in Allah's Cause) it would not be equal to a Mud or even a half Mud spent by one of them". Al-Bazzar also reported in his Musnad on the authority of trustworthy narrators from the Hadith of Saeed Ibnul Musayyab on the authority of Jabir who said: “The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "Allah chose my Companions over everything else in existence except for the Prophets and the Messengers”.

These Shari’ah texts from the Book and the Sunnah indicate clearly the excellence of the Sahaba, the prominence of their status, the compulsion to love and respect them and their sincerity. Furthermore, the deportment of the Sahaba reflects their sincerity; they undertook numerous momentous deeds such al-Hijra (migration), Jihad, defending Islam, sacrificing their lives and properties and fighting in some cases their fathers and sons for the sake of Islam. They used to advise one another in matters of the Deen and their Iman and conviction were unwavering. This proves conclusively and that their sincerity and integrity is beyond doubt and that they are all higher in excellence than their successors and the upright people who came after them. This is the truth, because the Messenger of Allah (saw) is truthful and the Qur’an is factual, and whatever it has brought is indeed factual. This has been rendered to us by the Sahaba, may Allah be pleased with them; hence, if they were not sincere, how could what has been rendered to us through them be factual? Those who discredit the Sahaba want to disparage our witnesses to invalidate the Book and the Sunnah. It is true that a single Sahabi is not infallible; he can commit what other human commit in terms of mistakes and sins, because no individual is infallible save for the Prophets and Messengers. However, what they render to us in terms of religious matters from the Messenger of Allah (saw), even as individuals, they do so sincerely, because the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Anyone of them you follow, you will be rightly guided”. Likewise, whatever they agree upon must be decisively sound because it is impossible for their consensus to be erroneous. Hence, to claim the infallibility of any individual from among them is wrong, because any human being is prone to error, save for the Prophets in terms of what they convey from Allah; and to doubt the sincerity of any of them is also wrong because the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Anyone of them you follow, you will be rightly guided”. Deeming their consensus as Shari’ah evidence is obligatory because according to Shari’ah, it is impossible for them to agree upon that which is wrong.

Source: Islamic Personality Volume III