The pre-eminent and noblest personalities of the Muslim Ummah were the Companions of The Prophet (ﷺ). All the Sahaba possessed characteristics of the believers mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah. They were the ones who were repeatedly addressed directly through revelation and many were specifically given the glad tidings of Jannah on various occasions. Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) has promised all of them “Al-Husna” and here mufassireen (scholars of Tafseer) have taken the meaning of Al-Husna as Paradise. The Prophet (ﷺ) described his time and then the period after it as the best, because there were those in it who saw the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) directly and witnessed the Shari’ah.
Iman on all the Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) has been considered as the requirement of faith by all the accepted scholars. There is a consensus and it occurred when the Khawarij (Kharijites) and Rawafiz (Raafidis) started cursing the Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) and tried to rebuke them. They began instilling doubts about the Sahabah as it was next to impossible to contradict the Qur’an and the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). This was their wicked plan. They began calling the Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) munafiq hypocrites, sometimes murtad (apostates) and sometimes said that they were ignorant and non-faqeeh (who could not understand the Qur’an and Sunnah).
In contrast to all this, the Ahl as-Sunnah is on the moderate school of thought. Their goal is to end all doubts regarding the Companions and have therefore considered belief in them as an important and essential part of aqeedah (belief in the Oneness of Allah). Ahl as-Sunnah have considered these points as essential:
- Ahl as-Sunnah believes that the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them) were all just and each of them were full of purity of faith and love for Islam. They readily accepted every command that came to them through the Qur’an and Sunnah and were free from both hypocrisy and apostasy. Most of all, they deeply loved the Prophet (ﷺ) and his family.
- They give precedence to those Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) who became Muslims before the Treaty of Hudaybiyah and offered both their lives and wealth in the way of Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ). Allah has promised khayr (goodness) to both these groups, i.e., those who converted to Islam before and after the Treaty of Hudaybiyah and whose promise is better than Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ)’s!
- They give precedence to the Muhajireen over the Ansaar of Medinah in light of Qur’an and Sunnah.
- They give precedence to Ahl- e- Badr and those who took part in the oath of bay’ah (allegiance) because Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) said concerning the people of Badr who were around three hundred and ten:
اطَّلَعَ اللَّهُ عَلَى أَهْلِ بَدْرٍ فَقَالَ اعْمَلُوا مَا شِئْتُمْ فَقَدْ غَفَرْتُ لَكُمْ
“Allah looked at the participants of the battle of Badr (with mercy) and said: Do whatever you wish; I have forgiven you.”
(Al-Bukhari, 3007; Muslim, 2494)
Likewise, they believe that those who pledged allegiance (bay’ah) to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) under the tree – who numbered more than one thousand and four hundred – will not enter hell, as narrated by Muslim:
لاَ يَدْخُلُ النَّارَ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ الشَّجَرَةِ أَحَدٌ . الَّذِينَ بَايَعُوا تَحْتَهَا
“God willing, the people of the Tree would never enter the fire of Hell one amongst those who owed allegiance under that.”
(Sahih Muslim 2496)
- They bear witness that those Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) will enter paradise whom the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) bore witness that they would enter. The first among them are the ten Sahaabah who were given the glad tidings of Paradise in a single assembly: Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, Talhah, Zubayr, ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf, Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Jarraah, Sa’d and Sa’eed (may Allah be pleased with them), and so are the Sahaba who were given the glad tidings of Paradise from time to time.
- They believe that the best among the Muslim Ummah after its Prophet is Abu Bakr, then ‘Umar, then ‘Uthman, and then ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with them).
- They believe that we should refrain from discussing what happened among the Sahaba of differences of opinion after the martyrdom of ‘Uthman (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ). They believe that the trial of the Battle of the Camel was out of the authority of Ali, Talhah ibn ‘Ubaidullah, Zubayr and ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with them) and all of them went out to reconcile among the Muslims and these are all those who have been promised Paradise through the Prophethood.
- They love all the Companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) and while praising anyone do not criticize anyone else, do not rebuke them and do not express hatred towards any companion and hold grudges against the ones who hold grudges against the Sahaba.
- Ahl al-Sunnah is of the view that whatever disagreements happened between ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib and Mu’aawiyah ibn Abu Sufyaan (may Allah be pleased with them) should be halted and we should refrain from discussing it, and it should be considered that whatever transpired between them, ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib was right and Mu’aawiyah ibn Abu Sufyaan’s criticism was not right in fighting with ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ).
- Ahl al-Sunnah adheres to the promise that love for the Ahl al-Bayt is the requirement of faith, that the Ahl al-Bayt includes all the wives of the Prophet(ﷺ), and that all his daughters (Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthoom and Faatimah), ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib, al-Hasan, al-Husayn, and Zaynab bint ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with them all) are among the Ahl al-Bayt and that all the wives of the Prophet (ﷺ) are the best of the Sahabiyat (the female companions) and the “Mothers of the believers.” Whoever speaks ill of them is guilty of a major sin and whoever speaks badly about Ummul Mominin ‘Aishah bint Abi Bakr al-Siddiq (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْھَا) is a kaafir (a disbeliever), as explained by Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) in Surah an-Nur. They believe that Sayyidah Fatimah (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْھَا) is the leader of the women of Paradise and al-Hasnain al-Karimain (may Allah be pleased with them both) are the leaders of the youth of the Paradise.
- Ahl as-Sunnah is of the view that Hasan (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) fulfilled the Prophet ﷺ’s prophecy by making peace with Mu’awiya (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) and withdrawing from the Khilaafah that this son of mine would make peace between two groups of the Ummah and the martyrdom of Husayn (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) in Karbala was an act of oppression and his killers were oppressors and transgressors.
- Ahl as-Sunnah is of the view that the Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) are not infallible like the Prophets, but they could have committed minor or major sins while being the pioneers in the faith. They have such virtues that their forgiveness is certain for the wrongs they have committed and this favor is not for any other follower after them. Rather, it was also a blessing that the sins of their earlier faith were converted into good deeds and they were given the honor that their one mudd (prophetic measurement) spent in the way of Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) is better than the spending equal to the Mount Uhud of those who came later. Their migration was accepted while their jihad and qitaal (fighting for Allah SWT’s cause) were the best.
- Ahl as-Sunnah is of the view that the interpretations of the Qur’an and the Prophetic traditions narrated by the Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) are the most accurate and authentic, and what the Sahaabah agreed upon is the correct consensus, such as the companions’ compilation of the Qur’an and their jihad against the withholders of Zakat.
May Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) grant us heartfelt love for Ahl al-Bayt and the Companions of The Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them), that this is the only path and requirement of the love of Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) and the love of His Prophet (ﷺ) and enable us to follow their bright path. Aameen!