SAHABA OF PROPHET'S SUCCESSORS GROUP

 
 

                  

The Sahaba According to the Followers of Ahl al-Bayt 

 

If we research the subject of the sahaba without prejudice or sensationalism, we will find the Shi‘as viewing them as the Holy Qur’an, the Prophet’s Sunnah, and reason view them. They neither regard all of them as unbelievers, as some extremists have done, nor do they accept all of them as equitable, as “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘ah” have done. 

 

Imam Sharaf ad-Din al-Musawi[274] says the following in this regard: 

 

"Whoever researches our view with regard to the sahaba will find it the most moderate of views. We neither go to extremes in this regard as the ghulat have done, labelling them all as apostates, nor do we go to extremes in accepting them as trusted authorities as most [Sunni] Muslims have done. Those who attribute their perfection, as well as those who go to the opposite extreme and label them as apostates, are all in the same box. Sunnis are of the view that anyone who heard or saw the Prophet is absolutely equitable. They support their view from the tradition saying, ‘... whoever traversed or walked on the earth from them without any exception.’ But as far as we are concerned, although we regard keeping company with the Prophet as a great honor, it, as is, does not render one infallible. Like all other men, the sahaba included equitable persons who are their scholars and greatest men, whereas some of them are hypocrites who committed crimes. The condition of some of them is unknown; so, we rely on the equitable ones among them and accept them as our masters in the life of this world as well as in the life to come. As for those who oppressed the wasi and the Prophet’s brother, as well as all those who committed crimes such as Hind’s son [Abu Sufyan], the son of the genius, the son of “the blue woman,” the son of Uqbah, the son of Arta’a, etc., and their likes, these have nothing to be honored for, nor does their hadith hold water. It is of an undecided nature, and we have to carefully scrutinize it. 

 

"Such is our view with regard to the sahaba who narrate hadith. The Qur’an and the Sunnah are our argument to pack this view as explained wherever appropriate in our books that deal with the basics of jurisprudence. But the majority of Muslims have gone too far in sanctifying the hadith they hear from any sahabi, so much so that they swayed from moderation and sought their arguments from those who are good as well as from those who are bad, blindly emulating every Muslim individual who had heard or seen the Prophet. They resented others who differed from them in going to such extremes and went beyond all limits in denouncing them. 

 

"How intense their denunciation of us when they find us rejecting the hadith of many sahaba whose integrity we publicly challenge or whose condition is not fully ascertained! While doing so, we simply follow the binding legislative obligation in verifying religious facts and looking for authentic Prophetic legacy. 

 

"It is for this reason that they cast doubt about us, piling their accusations on us, charging us with unfounded charges, vying with one another to remain in ignorance about us. Had they recalled their wisdom and consulted the bases of knowledge and scholarship, they would have come to know that equity as a basic ingredient in all the sahaba cannot be proven. Had they delved in depth into the meanings of the Qur’an, they would have found it full of references to a number of sahabi hypocrites. Suffices you, for example, Surat al-Tawbah and Surat al-Ahzab.” 

 

Dr. Hamid Hafni Dawood, Professor of Arabic Literature and Head of the Department of Arabic at Ayn Shams University in Cairo says, “As for the Shi‘as, they view the sahaba as they view others: they do not distinguish between them and between the Muslims who came later till the Day of Judgment.” 

 

The reason for that is their application of one set of rules whereby the deeds of the sahaba, as well as those of other generations that followed them, are measured.  The mere quality of being a sahabi does not award anyone a particular merit except when one qualifies himself for such a merit and demonstrates his readiness to carry out the injunctions set by the one who introduced the Shari‘a. Among the sahaba are those who are divinely protected against sinning, such as the Imams who were blessed to be in the company of the one who introduced the Shari‘a. These include Ali and his sons (peace be upon them). And among them are the men of equity who maintain a beautiful company with Ali following the demise of the Messenger of Allah. 

 

Among the sahaba are those who are accurate in their ijtihad, while others among them erred in their ijtihad.  Among them are those who sinned, those who turned atheists and whose views are uglier and more dangerous than those of the latter group. The circle of atheists includes the hypocrites and those who worshipped Allah only marginally. And among them were the disbelievers who never repented, as well as those who reneged after having embraced the Islamic creed. 

 

This means that the Shi‘as, who constitute a great portion of the Muslim population, place all Muslims in one balance without differentiating between a sahabi, a tabi‘i, or anyone else. To be a sahabi is not to have immunity against wrong beliefs. 

 

It is upon this strong foundation that they allowed themselves, out of their own ijtihad, to criticize the sahaba and to research the extent of their equity. They also permitted themselves to cast doubt about a number of sahaba who violated the conditions of such companionship and who deviated from the path of loving the Progeny of Muhammad. 

 

Why not? The greatest Messenger, after all, has said, “I am leaving among you that which, so long as you adhere to them both, you shall never stray: the Book of Allah and my ‘itra, my Progeny. They shall never part from one another till they rejoin me at the Pool [of Kawthar]; so, see how you succeed me in faring with them.” 

 

Upon this and similar hadith, they find many sahaba as having violated this hadith by oppressing Muhammad’s Progeny, and by cursing some members of such Progeny; so, how can the honor of companionship be sound for such violators, and how can they be branded as equitable? 

 

This is the summary of the view held by Shi‘as in rejecting the equity of some sahaba, and these are the factual scholarly proofs whereupon they built their arguments. 

 

Dr. Hamid Hafni Dawood admits somewhere else that to criticize the sahaba and to find fault with them is not a bid‘a invented by the Shi‘as alone. He goes further to say, “Since the beginning, the Mu‘tazilites dealt with the same while discussing the issues relevant to the creed.  They did not only criticize the sahaba in general, they even criticized the caliphs themselves. In doing so, they won supporters and opponents.” 

 

The subject of criticizing the sahaba used to be confined, during the first centuries, to those who were deeply immersed in knowledge, especially Mu‘tazilite scholars who were preceded in going in such a direction by the heads of the Shi‘as and by the leaders who were enthusiastically supporting the Progeny of Muhammad. 

 

I have already pointed out somewhere else that the scholars of Arabic, and Mu‘tazilite mentors, were a burden on Shi‘a leaders from the first Hijri century.  Thereupon, the issue of criticizing the sahaba is the child-birth of following Muhammad’s Progeny. It was the result, not the nature, of Shi‘ism. Those who followed the Progeny of Muhammad came to recognize the latter as having studied in depth all the branches of knowledge relevant to the creed due to their enjoyment of the sources of knowledge provided by the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt who are the pristine source and the over-flowing spring from which Islamic scholarship is derived since the inception of Islam and till our time.[275] 

 

I personally think that one who seeks the truth has to open the door for criticism and fault-finding; otherwise, he will remain veiled from such faults. This is exactly what “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘ah” have done: They have exaggerated in their belief in the equity of all the sahaba without researching the latter’s conditions; they, therefore, remained to our time distant from the truth. 

 

[274] His full name is Sharaf ad-Din Sadr ad-Din al-Musawi. He is author of the celebrated book Al-Muraja‘at. The translator of this book has translated it

into English under the title: Al-Muraja‘at: A Shi‘i-Sunni Dialogue. It was published (hard cover edition only) in 995 by Imam Hussain Foundation, P.O. Box 25/114, Beirut, Lebanon. __ Tr. 

[275] This text was published on p. 8 and its following pages of the book titled Al-Sahaba fi Nadar al-Shi‘a al-Imamiyya (the Prophet’s companions as seen by Imamite Shi‘as). 

     

 

 

The Final Word in Evaluating the Sahaba  

 

The sahaba are undoubtedly fallible human beings. Like all other humans, they have obligations and rights.

 

Surely they are honored with being the companions of the Prophet so long as they respect and safeguard such companionship; otherwise, their penalty will be doubled because Allah’s justice mandates that someone distant [from the Prophet] is not to be tormented as one who is near. One who has heard the Prophet directly, saw the light of Prophethood, witnessed the miracles with conviction and was fortunate to be taught by the Prophet himself is not like one who lives in the post-Prophet period and who neither saw nor directly heard him. 

 

Reason and conscience prefer a man who lives in our time and who respects the Book of Allah and the Sunnah and carries out their instructions over a sahabi who was contemporary to the Messenger of Allah, who kept him company, yet conviction did not penetrate his heart; he accepted Islam only to yield to the dictates of the time. He did not keep the Prophet company in righteousness and piety as long as the Prophet lived.  Once the Prophet died, such a sahabi reneged and reverted. 

 

This is what the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger sanction, in addition to what is sanctioned by reason and conscience, and by anyone who has some knowledge of the Holy Qur’an and the sacred Sunnah of the Prophet. Such a person does not doubt this fact, nor does he find any alternative for it. 

 

One proof for this argument is the verse saying, “O wives of the Prophet! Whoever of you commits an open indecency, its punishment will be increased doubly, and this is easy for Allah” (Holy Qur’an, 33:30). 

 

The Prophet’s companions included believers who perfected their conviction as well as those whose conviction was quite feeble. Among them were those whose hearts did not surrender to conviction. Among them were pious ascetics as well as reckless individuals who sought only their self-interests. Among them were gracious and equitable persons as well as mean oppressors. Some of them were the believers who upheld righteousness as well as sinning transgressors. They included scholars who implemented what they learned as well as ignorant ones who invented bid‘as. Among them were sincere companions as well as hypocrites. Among them were those who violated their oaths, who strayed from the path, and who reneged. 

 

Since the Holy Qur’an, the sacred Sunnah of the Prophet, and history stated all these facts and clearly explained them, the claim put forth by “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘ah” that all the sahaba were fair and just becomes nonsense which has no face value whatsoever because it contradicts the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah. It contradicts history, reason, and conscience. It is nothing but fanaticism and a claim which cannot be proven, an illogical statement. 

 

One who researches these matters may wonder about the mentality of “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘ah,” one which contradicts reason, facts, and history. But when he reads about the roles the Umayyads played, and the methods the Abbasides employed, to firmly fix the foundations of this doctrine, I mean respecting all the sahaba and avoiding criticizing them or doubting their integrity, his amazement will then disappear. He will no longer have the least doubt that the latter deliberately prohibited anyone from criticizing the sahaba so that those Umayyads would not be criticized or discredited, and so that the horrible actions they committed against Islam, the Prophet of Islam, and the nation of Islam, would not be revealed. 

 

Abu Sufyan, Mu‘awiyah, Yazid, Amr ibn al-As, Marwan ibn al-Hakam, al-Mughirah ibn Shu‘bah, and Bisr ibn Arta’ah were all sahabis who ruled the Muslims. How could they, then, not prohibit any criticism of the sahaba?  How could they not fabricate about them false traditions that label each and every one of them as just and fair so that such virtues would include them, too, and so that nobody would dare to criticize them or discuss their actions? 

 

They label anyone among the Muslims who does so as kafir, apostate, sinner, issuing religious verdicts permitting his murder. They prohibit the washing and shrouding of his corpse which should be pushed with wooden pieces into the grave, as we have said above.  Whenever they wanted to kill the Shi‘as, they would accuse them of verbally abusing the sahaba. What they mean by that is criticizing them and discrediting some of their actions, a reason which they deem suffices to kill and annihilate them. 

 

They even went beyond that. Suffices one to ask about the meaning of hadith to be killed, and here is the proof:

 

In his Tarikh, the Baghdadi khateeb (orator) states the following: 

 

One hadith narrated by Abu Hurayra was once mentioned in the presence of Haroun al-Rasheed.  It said, “Moses met Adam once whereupon he asked him, ‘Are you the one who had us dismissed from Paradise?’” A man from Quraysh who was present then asked, “When did Adam meet Moses?!” Al-Rasheed became very angry and said, “Saying too much and the sword go hand in hand; kill this atheist who doubts the hadith of the Messenger of Allah.”[284]

 

When a man such as this one, who must have been a highly respected dignitary because he attended the meetings set up by al-Rasheed, was beheaded simply because he inquired about the place where Adam met Moses, do not ask me about a Shi‘a who charges Abu Hurayra of being a liar based on the fact that the sahaba, headed by Umar ibn al-Khattab, falsify his hadith. Thus does the researcher understand the contradictions that crept into many ahadith as well as the many abominable and impossible matters and the obvious blasphemy. 

 

All this happened because criticism or discrediting were taboo: they would lead one to perdition. Even if someone asked for an explanation so that he could reach the truth, and who is detected as inquisitive and researching, was undoubtedly put to death in order to serve as a lesson for others, so that nobody after him would dare to speak his mind. 

 

They fooled people into thinking that anyone who raised doubt about the hadith narrated by Abu Hurayra or any other sahabi, be he a commoner among them, would be regarded as having discredited the Messenger of Allah.  Thus did they place a halo on fabricated ahadith which a number of the sahaba invented after the death of the Prophet, so they became accepted facts. 

 

Quite often, I used to argue with some of our scholars[285] that the sahaba did not adopt such sanctifying; rather, they themselves used to doubt each other’s hadith whenever there is a contradiction with the Qur’an, and that Umar ibn al-Khattab had beaten Abu Hurayra with his cane, prohibited him from narrating hadith, and even accused him of lying. These scholars used to always answer me by saying: “The sahaba had the right to say to one another whatever they pleased; as far as we are concerned, we are not on their level to respond to them or criticize them.” I would say: “But, O servants of Allah! They [the said sahaba] fought one another, called each other kafir, and killed one another!” They would respond by saying: “They all are mujtahids: if one of them is right in his ijtihad, he receives two blessings, whereas if he errs, he receives only one. It does not befit us to discuss their affairs.” 

 

Certainly these scholars must have inherited such a doctrine from their fathers and forefathers, one generation from the other, so they were repeating it like parrots without contemplation or scrutiny. 

 

Their Imam, al-Ghazali, had adopted such a view, one which he propagated among people, making himself the ultimate authority for Islam and Muslims. In his books Al-Mustafa, he says, “What is accepted by the ancestors and the posterity is that the justice of the sahaba is well known due to the fact that Allah, the most Exalted One, the most Great, has called them just and has praised them in His Book, and this is our conviction in their regard.” 

 

I wonder about al-Ghazali in particular and about “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘ah” in general when I read about their seeking from the Qur’an testimonies regarding the sahaba being fair and just, knowing that there is not a single verse in the Holy Qur’an which backs this claim.  On the contrary, there are many Qur’anic verses which deny the justice of the sahaba, which reveal their secrets, and which expose their hypocrisy. We have dedicated an entire chapter to discuss this topic in our book Ask Those Who Know from pp. 113 - 172; so, whoever wishes to research this subject further in order to become familiar with such facts should refer to this book. He will know what Allah and the Messenger say about them. 

 

So that the researcher may come to know that the sahaba never dreamt one day of the status invented for them by “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘ah,” he has only to read modern books as well as history books which overflow with their horrible deeds. They tell tales of how they called each other kafir, and how so many of them used to wonder whether they were among the munafiqoon, hypocrites. 

 

Al-Bukhari, for example, states in his Sahih that Ibn Maleeka met thirty of the companions of the Prophet who all dreaded being counted among the hypocrites, and none of them ever said that his conviction was to be compared with that of [arch-angel] Gabriel.[286] Al-Ghazali himself indicates in his book that Umar ibn al-Khattab used to ask Huthayfah of Yemen whether the Messenger of Allah mentioned his [Umar’s] own name among the hypocrites of whose names he informed him.[287] 

 

The statement of those who claim that there are no hypocrites among the sahaba is completely worthless when we come to know that the definition of a sahabi is the one we have already discussed above, that is, anyone who saw and believed in the Messenger of Allah, whether he met him or not. 

 

Their phrase “and believed in” the Prophet, too, contains an exaggeration simply because all those who kept the Prophet company had articulated the shahada, and the Prophet accepted their superficial admission of faith, saying, “I have been ordered to judge what is apparent, and Allah will deal with one’s innermost.” As long as he lived, he never said to any of them, “You are a hypocrite, so I shall not accept your declaration of faith!” 

 

This is why we find the Prophet calling the hypocrites "my companions” even while knowing their hypocrisy!

 

Here is the proof: 

 

Al-Bukhari states that Umar ibn al-Khattab asked the Prophet to have Abdullah ibn Ubayy, the hypocrite, beheaded. He said to him, “O Messenger of Allah! Let me strike the neck of this hypocrite with the sword!” The Prophet said, “Leave him alone; I do not want people to say that Muhammad kills his own companions.”[288] 

 

Some scholars among “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘ah” may try to convince us that the hypocrites used to be well known; so, we should not confuse them with the sahaba. This is impossible. Contrariwise, the hypocrites are among the sahaba with whose secrets only Allah, Glory to Him, is familiar. They may perform their prayers and they may fast, worship Allah and seek nearness to the Prophet through all means. Let us provide you with the proof: 

 

In his Sahih, al-Bukhari indicates that Umar ibn al-Khattab on another occasion asked the Messenger of Allah to permit him to kill Thul Khuwaysara when the latter said to the Prophet: “Be fair!” But the Prophet said to Umar, “Leave him alone, for he has companions if one of you were to compare his prayers with that of theirs, he would find it inferior and would find his fast as well inferior to theirs; they recite the Qur’an which does not go beyond their throats. They leave the creed as swiftly as the arrow leaves the bow.”[289] 

 

I do not exaggerate if I say that most companions were not far from hypocrisy according to what is determined by many verses of the Holy Qur’an and according to the decisions of the Messenger of Allah embedded in many of his ahadith. In the Book of Allah, we come across verses such as these: 

 

He has brought them the truth, yet most of them are averse from the truth. (Holy Qur’an, 23:70) 

 

The dwellers of the desert are more [fierce] in disbelief and hypocrisy. (Holy Qur’an, 9:97) 

 

And from those who are round about you of the dwellers of the desert there are hypocrites, and from the people of Medina (too); they are stubborn in hypocrisy; you do not know them; We know them. (Holy Qur’an, 9:101)

 

It is noteworthy here that some scholars among “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘ah” try very hard to cover the truth.  They interpret “dwellers of the desert” to mean that they were not among the sahaba but are meant to be the residents of the desert and the outskirts of the Arabian peninsula. Yet we have found how Umar ibn al-Khattab, shortly before drawing his last breath, left his will to the caliph who would succeed him saying: “I urge you to be good to the dwellers of the desert, for they are the origins of the Arabs and the substance of Islam.”[290] So, if the Arabs’ kinsfolk and the substance of Islam are the worst in disbelief and hypocrisy and it is best that they should not know the limits of what Allah revealed to His Messenger, then there is no value attached to the statement made by “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘ah” claiming that the sahaba were all just and fair. 

 

In order to shed more light, and so that the researcher may be convinced that the phrase referring to the dwellers of the desert, that is, bedouin Arabs, was meant to refer to the sahaba in general, the Holy Qur’an, after describing the bedouin Arabs as the worst in disbelief and hypocrisy, goes on to say: “And of the dwellers of the desert are those who believe in Allah and the latter day and take what they spend to be (means of) nearness to Allah and the Prophet’s prayers; surely it shall be for them means of nearness (to Allah); Allah will permit them to enter into His mercy; surely Allah is  Forgiving, Merciful” (Holy Qur’an, 9:99).

  

As for what the Messenger of Allah had decided in the Prophet’s sacred Sunnah, it is his following statement: 

 

My sahaba will be taken to the fire [of hell], whereupon I shall plead: “O Lord! But these are my sahaba!” It will be said to me, “You do not know what they brought forth after you.” I will say, “Then perdition should be the lot of all those who altered after me.”[291]

 

Traditions like this one are numerous, and we have avoided quoting them seeking to be brief. Our objective, after all, is not to research the biographies of the Prophet’s companions in order to cast doubts about their justice, for history has spared us such an undertaking. It testifies against some of them as having committed adultery, drunk wine, made a false oath, reneged from the creed, committed crimes against innocent people and betrayed the nation. We only wish to bring into focus the fact that to say that each and every sahabi was fair and just is a legendary myth invented by “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘ah” in order to cover the faults of their masters and heads from the sahaba who made many alterations to the religion of Allah, changing its injunctions with innovations which they themselves had invented. We also wish again to prove that by embracing the doctrine of the sahaba being all just and fair, “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘ah” unveiled their real identity, the identity of seeking to please the hypocrites and to follow the bid‘as they had invented in order to bring people back to the period of jahiliyya. 

 

Since “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘ah” banned their followers from criticizing or discrediting the sahaba, closing the doors of ijtihad in their faces since the time

of the Umayyad rulers and the period of inventing sects, the said followers inherited such a doctrine which they passed down to their offspring, one generation after another. Hence,  "Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘ah” remained till this day prohibiting any discussion of the sahaba for whom they seek Allah’s Pleasure, labelling as kafir whoever criticizes any of them. 

 

The summary of this chapter is that the Shi‘as, followers of the creed of Ahl al-Bayt, place the sahaba in perspective; they pray Allah to be pleased with the righteous among them, and they dissociate themselves from the hypocrites and the sinners, the enemies of Allah and His Messenger, from them. They, hence, are the only ones who follow the true Sunnah because they loved those whom Allah love and the sahaba who are loved by the Messenger of Allah. They dissociate themselves from the enemies of Allah and of His Messenger who were the primary cause of the misguidance of the vast majority of Muslims. 

 

[284] Tarikh Baghdad, Vol. 14, p. 7. 

[285] The author here is referred to Sunni scholars with whom he used to argue before accepting Shi‘a Islam.  __ Tr. 

[286] Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 17. 

[287] Al-Ghazali, Ihyaa ‘Uloom al-Din, Vol. 1, p. 129.

Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-Ummal, Vol. 7, p. 24. 

[288] Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 6, p. 65, where the merits of the Qur’an and Surat al-Munafiqoon are discussed.  Ibn Asakir, Tarikh, Vol. 4, p. 97. 

[289] Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 4, p. 179. 

[290] Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 4, p. 206. 

[291] Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 7, p. 209, in a chapter dealing with the Pool [of al-Kawthar].  

                                                    

 Extracted from the book "The Shi'ah are (the real) Ahl al-Sunnah" by Dr. Muhammad Al-Tijani Al Samawi.


 "WHOEVER I AM HIS MASTER, ALI IS HIS MASTER. O God! Love those who love him. Be hostile to those who are hostile to him. Hate those who hate him. Help those who help him. And keep the truth with him wherever he turns." (repeating this paragraph three times). 

 

وَنَجَّيْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ {41:18}

But We delivered those who believed and practised righteousness

 

Respect of the Sahaba
Munafiqeen among Sahabah
 
 

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وَنَجَّيْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ     اللهم صلى على محد و ال محد.... و عجل فرجهم