Like Mawlana Jami, I say,
O Messenger of God! If only like the dog of the Companions
of the Cave,
I could be in Paradise in the company of your Companions.
Is it right that their dog is in Paradise while I am in hell?
It was the dog of the Companions of the Cave, I am the dog
of Your Companions.
In His Name, be He glorified. There is nothing but glorifies
Him with praise.
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
Muhammad is the Messenger of God, and those who are with Him
are hard against the un-believers and merciful among themselves. You see them
bowing and falling prostrate (in worship), seeking grace from God and (His)
good pleasure. The mark of them is on their foreheads from the traces of prostration.
Such is their likeness in the Torah and their likeness in the Gospel--like
as sown grain that sends forth its shoots and strengthens it and rises firm
upon its stalk, delighting the sowers with amazement �that He may enrage the
unbelievers with (the sight of) them. God has promised unto such of them as
believe and do good works, forgiveness and immense reward. (Al-Fath, 48.29)
Who is a companion and are they of the same rank?
The Companions of God�s Messenger constitute the first pure and blessed channel
through which the Qur�an and the Sunna were transmitted to later
generations. God is the All-Trustworthy and Inspirer of Trust; the Archangel Gabriel is
also trustworthy. The Qur�an describes the Archangel as trustworthy and as one,
obeyed and having power (al-Takwir, 20.21). As everybody knows, the Prophet
Muhammad was renowned, first of all, for his trustworthiness. Having been revealed
by God to the Prophet Muhammad through the Archangel Gabriel, the Qur�an was
entrusted to the Companions, who memorized it, recorded it and transmitted
it to the following generations. This blessed community, which was praised in
the Torah and Gospel, were the living embodiment of almost all laudable virtues
and sought nothing but the good pleasure of God; they absorbed, besides the Qur�an, the Sunna of the Prophet and lived disciplined lives strictly in accordance
with the example of the Prophet, and represented and transmitted it without
any disloyalty to it.
Scholars are agreed upon the definition of Companionship by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani:
�A Companion is the believer who saw and heard God�s Messenger at least once
and died as a believer�.1 Even though some scholars have stipulated that, in
order to be ranked as a Companion, a believer should have lived in the company
of God�s Messenger for one or even two years, the majority of the scholars regarded
it as enough to have been present in the radiant atmosphere of the Messenger
long enough to have derived some benefit from it.
It goes without saying that the Companions are not equal to each other in
rank or greatness. Some of them believed in God�s Messenger at the very
outset of his mission, and conversions continued until his saying farewell to the
world. The Qur�an grades them according to precedence in belief and ac-cording
to conversion before the conquest of Makka and after it (al-Tawba, 9.100;
57.10). The same gradation was also made by God�s Messenger himself. For example,
he reproached Khalid for offending �Ammar, saying:
Do not trouble my Companions!2
In the same way, he frowned at �Umar, when he annoyed Abu Bakr, and said:
you not leave my Companions to me? Abu Bakr believed in me at a time when all
of you denied me. Abu Bakr knelt down and explained: �O Messenger of God! It
was my fault!� 3
The Companions were divided into twelve ranks by Hakim al-Nisaburi.4 This
division was made according to the chronological order and some groups are also
included in others. It was accepted by the majority of scholars:
- The four Rightly-Guided Caliphs, namely Abu Bakr, �Umar, �Uthman and �Ali,
and the rest of the ten to whom Paradise was promised while alive. They are
Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, Abu �Ubayda ibn al-Jarrah, �Abd al-Rahman ibn �Awf, Talha
ibn �Ubayd Al-lah, Sa�d ibn Abi Waqqas and Sa�id ibn Zayd, may God be pleased
with them all.
- Those who believed prior to �Umar�s conversion and frequently gathered
together secretly in the house of Arqam to listen to God�s Messenger, upon
him be peace and blessings.
- Those who migrated to Abyssinia.
- The Helpers (Ansar) who were present at the first ceremony of taking the
oath of allegiance to God�s Messsenger at al-�Aqaba.
- The Helpers who took the oath of allegiance to the Messenger at al-�Aqaba,
the following year.
- The first Emigrants who joined God�s Messenger before his arrival in Madina
during the Emigration.
- The Companions who participated in the Battle of Badr.
- Those who emigrated to Madina during the period between the Battle of Badr
and the Treaty of Hudaybiya.
- The Companions who took the oath of allegiance to God�s Messenger under
a tree during the expedition of Hudaybiya.
- Those who converted and emigrated to Madina after the Treaty of Hudaybiya.
- Those who became Muslims after the conquest of Makka.
- The children who saw God�s Messenger either during the conquest of Makka
or during the Farewell Pilgrimage, or in any other place and on different occasions.
1. I. Hajar, al-Isaba, 1.7.
2. I. Athir, Usd al-Ghaba, 4.132.
3. Bukhari, �Tafsir,� 7/3.
4. Hakim, Ma�rifat Ulum al-Hadith, 22�4.