OF THE SAHABS
Before continuing with this topic I would
very much recommend to my dear brothers and sisters in this forum to find a
book called “SHI’A NA SAHABA”, by Sheikh Abdillahi Nassir on this topic.
This is indeed a wonderful book worth reading to those who are trying to
find an analytical approach to the subject.
The companions and friends of the Prophet (s.a.w.w)
who believed in him and who derived wisdom from his presence, receive from
the Shi’a an especial reverence, whether they be amongst those martyred at
the Battles of Badr, Uhud, Ahzab and Hunayn, or of those who remained alive
after the passing away of the Prophet. All of them, insofar as they were the
companions of the Prophet and believed in him, deserve our respect, and
there is no true Muslim in the world that would speak badly of the
companions, or express unkind opinions about them; and should anyone claim
that a group of ‘Muslims’ do in fact indulge in such criticisms, such claims
would be baseless.
But alongside this issue there is another
question which should be addressed without prejudice, sentimentalism or
bitterness: were all the companions equally just, pious, and devoid of sin?
It is clear that seeing the Prophet and keeping his company, despite being a
great honour, cannot be seen as rendering a person immune from sin; we
cannot therefore regard all of the companions in exactly the same light, as
being all equally just, pious, and shorn of all sinfulness. For, according
to the testimony of the Quran, in spite of their having the honour of being
companions, they are divided into different categories as regards faith and
hypocrisy, and in respect of obedience and disobedience to God and His
Prophet. Taking due account of this differentiation, it cannot be said that
they are all as one, each one of them being as just and as pious as the
There is no doubt that the Quran has
praised the companions on several occasions. For example, as regards those
who made the oath of allegiance to the Prophet at the time of negotiations
leading to the Treaty of Hudaibiyya, the Quran expresses the satisfaction
God was well pleased with the believers
when they swore allegiance to thee beneath the tree …
(Sura al-Fath, XLVIII:18)
But this praise, their eliciting the good
pleasure (ridwan) of God, relates to them ‘when they swore allegiance to
thee’, and thus cannot be regarded as evidence of rectitude and
deliverance from faults for all of them for the rest of their lives. For if
one or more of them afterwards takes a wrong path, evidently, the previous
pleasure of God cannot be pointed to as evidence of their continuing piety
or of their being permanently devoid of faults: the rank and station of
these companions who elicited the pleasure of God is not higher than that of
the Prophet about whom the Quran says:
If thou ascribe a partner to God thy
work will fail and thou wilt indeed be among the losers.
(Sura al-Zumar, XXXIX:45).
This kind of verse expresses the virtue
manifested by these persons in that particular state, and of course, should
they maintain such virtue until the end of their lives, they would attain
On the basis of what has been said,
whenever we have definitive evidence from the Quran, the Hadith or from
history, of the deviation of a person or persons, one cannot refute this
evidence by reference to such instances of the kind of praise quoted above.
By way of example, the Quran refers to some
of the companions by the term fasiq, that is miscreant:
“Idhaa jaakum fasiq binabain…..
Translated as follows
If a miscreant brings you tidings,
verify it ….. (Sura al-Hujrat,
In another verse, referring to one
companion, we have:
Is he who is a believer like him who is
a miscreant? They are not alike,
(Sura al-Sajda, XXXII:18)
Taking due note of this verse and other
similar ones, and with regard also to those hadiths in which certain
companions are severely criticized, and, likewise, taking into account the
historical evidence pertaining to certain companions, one cannot
definitively regard all of the Prophet’s companions –whose number exceeds
one hundred thousand – as being equally just and pious. One small example
will be those Sahabas who claimed that Bibi Aisha (r.a) committed adultery (astaghfirullah
al-adhiim!). What about Sahabas who participated in the killing of the 3rd
Khalifa, Uthman Bin Affan (r.a). What can our bother Ibn Yusus tell us about
these companions? In what category does he want to put them?
What is at issue here is whether we can
justifiably regard all of the companions as equally just; it is not a
question of insulting them. Unfortunately, some people do not distinguish
between the two issues, and accuse those who oppose the notion of equal
justice in all the companions of falling into error of insulting and
criticizing the companions.
To conclude this discussion, we should like
to stress that the Shi’a of the Imami school do not believe that the respect
we have for those who have had the privilege of companionship with the
Prophet should prevent us from objectively evaluating their actions (unless
we want to believe that they are free from sins and mistakes). We hold that
association with the Prophet cannot on its own give rise to immunity from
sin for the rest of one’s life. The basis for this evaluation by the Shi’a
is derived from Quranic verses, sound hadiths, corroborated historical
sources and from basic common sense.
Lastly let our brother Ibn Yusuf show us
references where the right Sahabas are called evil. I have not seen such a
name even to those Sahabas where Shi’as take serious issues with.
In my next issue I shall briefly discuss
about Hadiths and Shari’a.
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).