The Rank of the Companions

Figure 1A: The crypt of Az-Zubair ibn Al-`Awwam, one of the ten promised Paradise by name.

Figure 1A: The crypt of Az-Zubair ibn Al-`Awwam, one of the ten promised Paradise by name.

Regarding the identity of who fits the definition of a Companion, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241 AH), the last voice of the first three generations and known as the Imam of Muslim Orthodoxy, mentioned that a Companion is, “As far as the use of the expression ‘companion,’ this is any Muslim who met the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, even for a moment.”[1]

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241 AH), said the following of the Companions and the Household of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him:

“The Rafidah are those who disavow and renounce the Companions of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and they also curse and consider as low the Companions, along with labelling as unbelievers the four Imams among them, namely `Ali, `Ammar, Al-Miqdad, Salman, and the Rafidah have nothing to do with Islam at all.

The Mansuriyyah are a group of Rafidah, but are more wretched and filthy than the others, as they say that whoever should kill 40 people who contradict their belief shall enter the Paradise. They terrorise the people, consider the wealth of them permissible to be seized. They further state that Jibril, peace be upon him, made a mistake when he came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, with the message. Such a thing is clear kufr, and there is no way of faith in holding this matter. We seek refuge in Allah from this matter.

There is among them the sect of the Sabiyy’ah, which is closer to those who oppose the four Imams mentioned before. They deny the description and they say that `Ali is in the clouds and will be sent before the Day of Resurrection, and this is clear lying, slander and open falsehood. The Zaidiyyah are another group with them and they disavow `Uthman, Talhah, az-Zubair and `A’ishah, believing that they must fight against any of those who resisted and went against the children of `Ali, whether they are righteous or sinful, even if they are victorious or overcome.

The Khashabiyyah say the same thing as the Zaidiyyah, but they claim that they love the Family and Household of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, while they lie, for they hate the Family and Household of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, more than any of the people. The only partisans and lovers of the Family and Household of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, are the pious, and these are Muslim Orthodoxy, whoever they are and wherever they may be located. They are those who love the Family and Household of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and all the Companions of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

Those who love them do not mention the Companions with any evil, flaws, hatred or sinful words. Whoever should mention the Companions of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, with evil or hatred towards them, or disavows any of them, curses them, refuses the oath of allegiance that they gave, such a one is nothing but a member of the Rafidah, filthy and he makes others filthy.

The Rafidah label Muslim Orthodoxy as insulters of the Family and Household, yet they lie. They are the ones who deserve this title due to their insult of the Companions of the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, by cursing and insult. They speak of the Companions in other than the truth, attribute to them things that are not true and say they are guilty of kufr and oppression. This is making a lie towards Allah, Mighty and Majestic, and making light of the right of the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and the people doing this have more reason to be faulted and shown wrath than the Companions.” [2]

Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah (d. 620 AH) made the following declaration using the previous texts of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal as a primer:

The best of his Ummah is Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, then `Umar al-Faruq, then `Uthman Dhun-Nurain, then `Ali al-Murtada, may Allah be pleased with all of them. This is according to what `Abdullah ibn `Umar, may Allah be pleased with both of them, narrated when he said, “We used to say while the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was alive that the best is Abu Bakr, then `Umar, then `Uthman. When that reached him, he did not negate it.”

It was authentically narrated from (the Companion) `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said, “The best of this Ummah after its’ prophet is Abu Bakr, then `Umar, and if I wanted, I could name the third.”[3] (The Companion) Abud-Darda’, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated from the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, that he said, “The sun has never set nor rose on anyone after the prophets and messengers better than Abu Bakr.”[4]

And he had the most right to the khilafah after the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, due to his virtue and pre-eminence and the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, preferring him in the prayer over all the Companions, may Allah be pleased with him. There is the Consensus of the companions on his preference, his oath of allegiance and Allah would not gather them upon error. Then after him came `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, due to his virtue and Abu Bakr giving the covenant to him. Then after him came `Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, due to the people of consultation showing preference to him. Then after him came `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, due to his virtue and the Consensus of the people of his time upon him.

These are the rightly guided successors who the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said about them, “You must follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Successors after me. Hold onto it stubbornly.”[5] He, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “The khilafah after me is thirty years.”[6] So the last of it was the khilafah of `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him.

We bear witness of the ten promised the Paradise, just as the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, testified to this for them when he said, “Abu Bakr is in Paradise, `Umar is in Paradise, `Uthman is in Paradise, `Ali is in Paradise, Talhah is in the Paradise, az-Zubair is in the Paradise, Sa`d is in the Paradise, Sa`id is in the Paradise, `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf is in the Paradise, Abu `Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah is in the Paradise.”[7]

Anyone who the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, bore witness that he is in the Paradise, we bear witness of that for him, such as his statement, “Al-Hasan and Al-Husain are the two leaders of the youth of Paradise.”[8] Then there is his statement to Thabit ibn Qais, “Indeed he is from the people of Paradise.”[9]

It is from the Sunnah to show loyalty to the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, to love them, mention their goodness, ask for mercy upon them, seek forgiveness for them, and abstain from mentioning their sins, and what disputes took place between them. And one should believe in their virtue and know their pre-eminence. Allah, Exalted be He, has said, And those who come after them say, “Our Lord! Forgive us and our brothers who came before us in faith and do not put in our heart any hatred towards those who believe.”[10] The Exalted One has said, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and those with him are stern against the unbelievers, but merciful among themselves.[11]

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “Do not curse my companions. Indeed if one of you had spend the like of Mount Uhud in gold, it would not have reached one handful of any of them nor even a half of that.”[12] [13]

[1] Sahih Muslim bi-Sharh in-Nawawi, vol.1, pp. 34-35.

[2] Tabaqat ul-Hanabilah, vol.1, pp. 35-37

[3] Collected by Imam `Abdullah ibn Ahmad in his Zawa’id `ala Musnad, vol.1, pp. 106-110 and classed by him as authentic.

[4] Collected by Imam Abu Nu`aim al-Asbahani in Hilyat ul-Awliya’, vol.10, pp. 300-302 and classed by him as authentic.

[5] Collected by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad, vol.5, pp. 220-221

[6] Collected by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad, vol.5, pp. 220-221 and classed by him as authentic.

[7] Collected by Imam Abu Dawud in his Sunan, Book of the Sunnah, under the chapter of the Successors and classed by him as authentic.

[8] Collected by Imam Abu `Isa at-Tirmidhi in his Sunan, Book of Virtues, under the chapter of the Virtues of Abu Muhammad al-Hasan ibn `Ali ibn Abi Talib and Al-Husain ibn `Ali ibn Abi Talib and classed by him as authentic.

[9] Collected by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad, vol.3, pp. 136-137

[10] Surat ul-Hashr (59), ayah 10

[11] Surat ul-Fath (48), ayah 29

[12] Collected by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad, vol.3, pp. 9-11; 51-54 and classed by him as authentic.

[13] Lum`at ul-I`tiqad: Al-Hadi ila Sabil ir-Rashad, pp. 17-19

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