How are the companions mentioned in the prophetic sayings?
Besides the Qur�an, the Prophet himself, upon him be peace and blessings,
praised the Companions and warned Muslims against attacks and insulting words
about them. For example:
Bukhari, Muslim and other Traditionists relate from Abu Sa�id al-Khudri that
God�s Messenger warned:
Do not curse my Companions! Do not curse my Companions! I swear by Him in
Whose hand my life is that, even if one among you had as much gold as Mount
Uhud and spent it in the way of God, this would not be equal in reward to a
few handfuls of them or even to half of that.8
This is certainly so because they accepted Islam and preached and
protected it when circumstances were most severe. Besides, according to the
rule �the cause is like the doer�, the reward gained by all Muslims so far
and yet to come until the Last Day has been, and will be, added to the
record of the Companions, without, of course, diminishing anything from the
reward of the doers themselves. Had it not been for the efforts of the
Companions to spread Islam, to convey it to the peoples of the world, no one
could have the possibility of knowing of Islam, and, therefore, being
Muslim. So, all the Muslims coming after the Companions should feel indebted
to the Companions and, rather than thinking
of criticizing them, should pray for them as the Qur�an teaches us to:
As for those who came after them, they say, Our Lord, forgive us and our
brothers who preceded us in belief, and put not into our hearts any rancor
towards those who believe. Our Lord, surely You are the All-Gentle, the All-Compassionate.
Tirmidhi and Ibn Hibban quote �Abdullah ibn Mughaffal that God�s Messenger
Oh God, Oh God! Refrain from using bad language about my Companions! Oh God,
Oh God! Refrain from using bad language about my Companions! Do not make them
the target of your attacks after me! Whoever loves them, loves them on account
of his love of me; whoever hates them, hates them on account of his hatred of
me. He who hurts them, has hurt me, and he who hurts me, has hurt God, he who
hurts God, God will punish him.9
Imam Muslim relates in his Sahih that God�s Messenger, upon him be peace
and blessings, declared:
The stars are means of security for the heaven, [that is,
the heaven is maintained because of the delicate order among the stars].
When the stars are scattered [when that order collapses], what was promised
for the heaven befalls it [i.e. the final destruction of the universe]. I am
the means of security for my Companions [my Companions will continue to live
in peace and security as long as I am alive]. When I leave the world, what
was promised for my Companions will befall them. My Companions are means of
security for my nation (Ummah). When my Companions
leave the world, what was promised for my Ummah will befall them [they will
be exposed to many misfortunes and calamities].10
As recorded in authentic books of Tradition, including Bukhari and Muslim,
God�s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, declared:
The best of people are those living in my time. Then come those who follow
them, and then come those who follow them. Those will be followed by a generation
whose witness is sometimes true, sometimes false.11
The time of the Companions and the two succeeding generations was the time
of truthfulness. People of great righteousness and scholars of utmost exactitude
appeared among those first three generations of Islam. Among the later generations
were many who told lies and perjured themselves in order to reinforce false
beliefs or for worldly aims. It was natural for liars, for members of heterodox
sects (as it is for biased Orientalists and their blind followers in the Muslim
world), to lie against the Companions and the pure Imams of the two generations
succeeding them. For the Companions and those Imams were strongholds of Islam,
and strengthened its pillars.
In his Hilyat al-Awliya�, Abu Nu�aym quotes �Abdullah ibn �Umar as saying:
Whoever desires to follow a straight path, should follow the path of those
who passed away. They are the Companions of Muhammad, upon him be peace and
blessings. They are the best among his Ummah, the purest in heart, the deepest
in knowledge, and the farthest from false display of piety. They are a community
whom God chose for the company of His Prophet and the conveyance of His religion.
Try to be like them in conduct and follow their way. They are the Companions
of Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings. I swear by God, the Lord of the
Ka�ba, that they were on true guidance.12
As recorded by Tabarani and Ibn al-Athir, �Abdullah ibn Mas�ud, who was among
the first to embrace Islam in Makka and sent to Kufa as a teacher by �Umar,
God looked at the hearts of His true servants and chose Muhammad, upon him
be peace and blessings, to send to His creatures as a Messenger. Then, He looked
at the hearts of people and chose his Companions as the helpers of His religion
and the viziers of His Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings.13
Ibn Mas�ud also said concerning the Companions.
You may excel the Companions of God�s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings,
in fasting, praying and in striving to worship God better. Yet they are better
than you. For they give no heed to the world and are most desirous of the Hereafter.14
O God, bestow blessings and peace on our Master Muhammad, who said: �My Companions
are like the stars; whichever of them you follow, you will be rightly guided.
The best of the ages is my age.��and on his family and Companions.
Glory be to You! We have no knowledge save what You have
taught us. Surely you are the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
8. Bukhari, �Fada�il al-Ashab,� 5; Muslim, �Fada�il al-Sahaba,� 221.
9. Tirmidhi, �Manaqib,� 58; I. Hibban, 9.189; I. Hanbal, 5.57.
10. Muslim, �Fada�il al-Sahaba,� 207.
11. Muslim, �Fada�il al-Sahaba,� 212; Bukhari, �Fada�il al-Ashab,� 1.
12. Abu Nu�aym, Hilya, 1.305.
13. Abu Nu�aym, Hilya, 1.375.
14. Ibid., 1.135.