1. Their testimony that they themselves have changed the tradition of the Prophet
Abu Saeed al-Khudari said: On the first days of 'Id al-Fitr [breaking the fast of Ramadan] and 'Id al-Adha [celebrating the end of the Pilgrimage], the first thing the Messenger of Allah (saw) used to do was to say his prayers in the mosque, then he went to see the people, who sat in rows in front of him, and then he started to deliver advice or orders or even finalize outstanding issues, and after all that he would leave. Abu Saeed added: The situation continued to be like that, until one day, either Fitr or Adha, I went with Marwan, who was the governor of al-Medinah. When we arrived at the mosque, which had a new pulpit built by Kathir ibn al-Salt, Marwan headed for the pulpit (before praying), so I pulled him by his clothes, but he pushed me and went up on to the pulpit. He addressed the people before he prayed, so I said to him, "By Allah you have changed it." He replied, "O Abu Saeed, what you know has gone." I said, "By Allah, what I know is better than what I do not know." Marwan then said, "People did not sit for us after the prayers, so I put [it] before the prayers". 
Muslim, in his Sahih, wrote in a chapter entitled, "The virtues of Ali ibn Abi Talib", the following: Muawiah ordered his governors everywhere to take the curse [of Ali ibn Abi Talib] as tradition, and that all the speakers must include it in their speeches. When some of the Companions protested very strongly against such a rule, Muawiah ordered their killing and burning. Among the famous Companions who were killed at the order of Muawiah were Hijr ibn Adi al-Kindi and his followers, because they protested and refused to curse Ali, and some of them were buried alive.
Abu al-Aala al-Mawdudi wrote in his book "Caliphate and Kingdom": Abu al-Hasan al-Basri said: Muawiah had four features, and if he had only one of them, it would have been considered a great sin:
There were some good Companions who used to dash out of the mosque immediately after the prayers so that they did not have to listen to the speeches which always ended with the cursing of Ali. For that reason the Umayyads changed the tradition of the Messenger of Allah. They put the speech before the prayers, so that people listened to it against their will.
What kind of Companions were these people! They were not afraid of changing the tradition of the Messenger of Allah, or even the laws of Allah, in order to reach their wicked and low objectives and to satisfy their sinister desires. They cursed a man whom Allah had kept cleansed and purified, and made it obligatory for people to pray for him in the same way as they prayed for His Messenger. Furthermore, Allah and His Messenger made it obligatory for people to love him, and the Prophet (saw) said, "Loving Ali is believing, and hating him is hypocrisy" .
Whereas the Companions of Moses plotted against Aaron and tried to kill him, some of the Companions of Muhammad killed his Aaron and pursued his sons and followers everywhere. They removed their names from the Diwan (account books of the treasury) and prohibited anyone to be named after them. As if that was not enough for them, they cursed him and forced the faithful Companions to do so unjustly and by force.
By Allah! I stand astonished and perplexed when I read in our Sihahs how much the Messenger of Allah loved his "brother" and cousin Ali and how he put him above all the Companions, and even he said, "You are to me as Aaron was to Moses, but there will be no prophet after me." 
He also said the following things about Ali:
"You are from me, and I am from you" .
"Loving Ali is believing, and hating him is hypocrisy" .
"I am the city of knowledge, and Ali is its gate" .
"Ali is the master of all the believers after me".
"Whoever accepted me as his master, then he should also accept Ali as his master. O Allah be friendly with his friends, and be enemy to his enemy" 
So, how did the Companions ignore all these texts, swear at him, plot against him, curse him from the pulpits of the mosques and then fight against him and finally kill him?
I tried in vain to find a reason for the behaviour of those people, but found nothing except the love of this life and the competition for it, in addition to the tendency to apostatize and turn back on their heels. I have also tried to attach the responsibility to a group of bad Companions and some hypocrites, but regrettably those were only a few among the famous and the important. The first who threatened to burn his house - with its inhabitants - was Umar ibn al-Khattab, and the first who fought him were Talhah, al-Zubayr, Aishah bint Abi Bakr - Umm al-Mumineen, Muawiah ibn Abi Sufian, Amr ibn al-'Aas and many others.
I am astonished, and my astonishment will never end, and any responsible free thinker would agree with me, as to how the Sunni scholars agree on the righteousness of all the Companions and ask for the blessings of Allah to be upon them and pray for all of them without exception, although some of them say: "Curse Yazid, and no further." But where is Yazid amongst all these tragedies which no religion or logic could approve? I appeal to the Sunni people, if they truly follow the Prophet's tradition, to ask themselves how they could accept somebody to be righteous when the laws of the Holy Qur'an and the Prophetic tradition judge him as being corrupt, an apostate and an unbeliever. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "He who insults Ali, insults me. He who insults me, insults Allah. And he who insults Allah, Allah will throw him into Hell" . If that is the punishment for those who insult Ali, one wonders about the punishment of those who fought him and ultimately killed him. What are our scholars' opinions regarding all these facts, or are their hearts locked solid?! Say, O God please protect us from the tricks of the devil.
Anas ibn Malik said: I knew nothing during the lifetime of the Prophet(saw) better than the prayer. He said: Have you not lost what you have lost in it? Al-Zuhri said: I went to see Anas ibn Malik in Damascus, and found him crying, I asked him, "What is making you cry?" He answered, "I have known nothing but these prayers, and they have been lost." 
Also Umm al-Mumineen Aishah was involved in these changes. Al-Bukhari and Muslim, both stated in their books that the Messenger of Allah (saw) performed two prayers at Mina, and Abu Bakr after him, then Umar and Uthman who later performed four prayers. 
Al-Bukhari stated in his book, in a chapter which deals with ritual impurity: I heard Shaqiq ibn Salmah saying: I was with Abdullah and Abu Musa, and Abu Musa asked, "What do you say about a man who is unclean but cannot find water?" Abdullah answered, "He should not pray until he finds water." Abu Musa then asked, "What do you think about what the Prophet said to Ammar [regarding the issue of impurity] when Ammar asked him?" Abdullah said, "For that reason Umar was not satisfied with [that]." Abu Musa said, "Forget about what Ammar said, but what do you say about the Qur'anic verse?" Abdullah did not know what to say, but he justified his stance by saying, "If we let them do that, then whenever the water becomes cold, they avoid using it to clean themselves, and instead they use sand. I said to Shaqiq, "Abdullah is most certainly hated for that." He said, "Yes". 
Anas ibn Malik said that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said to al-Ansar: You will notice after me some great selfishness, but be patient until you meet Allah and His Messenger by the pool. Anas said: We were not patient. 
How could any sensible person, after all this evidence, believe in the righteousness of all the Companions, as the Sunnis do?
He who believes that, is definitely reversing the order of logic and scholarship, and there will be no intellectual criteria for the researcher to use in his quest for the truth.
4. The testimony of the Shaykhan against themselves
In a chapter entitled "The virtues of Umar ibn al-Khattab", al-Bukhari wrote in his book: "When Umar was stabbed he felt great pain and Ibn Abbas wanted to comfort him, so he said to him, "O Commander of the Believers, you accompanied the Messenger of Allah and you were a good companion to him, and when he left you, he was very pleased with you. Then you accompanied Abu Bakr, and you were a good companion to him, and when he left you, he was pleased with you. Then you accompanied their companions and you were a good companion to them, and if you left them, they would remember you well." He said, "As for the companionship of the Messenger of Allah and his satisfaction with me, that is a gift that Allah- the Most High - has granted to me. As for the companionship of Abu Bakr and his satisfaction with me, that is a gift that Allah - Glory be to Him - has granted to me. But the reason you see me in pain is for you and your companions. By Allah, if I had all the gold on earth I would use it to ransom myself from the torture of Allah - Glory and Majesty be to Him - before I saw Him. 
Allah also says: "(As for) those who say, our Lord is Allah, then continue in the right way, the angels descend upon them, saying, "Fear not, nor be grieved, and receive good news of the garden which you were promised. We are your guardians in this world's life and in the Hereafter, and you shall have therein what your souls desire and you shall have therein what you ask for. An entertainment by the Forgiving, the Merciful" (Holy Our'an 41:30-32).
How could the two Shaykhs. Abu Bakr and Umar, wish that they were not from the human race, which Allah honoured and put it above all His creation? Even the ordinary believer, who keeps on the straight path during his lifetime, receives the angels to tell him about his place in heaven, and that he should not fear the torture of Allah, nor be depressed about his legacy in life, and that he has the good news while he is in this life before reaching the life Hereafter. Then how could the great Companions, who are the best of creation after the Messenger of Allah (so we have been taught), wish they were excrement or a hair or a straw when the angels had given them the good news that they would go to heaven? They could not have wished to have all the gold on earth to ransom themselves from the torture of Allah before meeting Him.
Allah - the Most High - said: "And if every soul that has done injustice had all that is in the earth, it would offer it for ransom, and they will manifestly regret when they see the chastisement and the matter shall be decided between them with justice and they shall not be dealt unjustly" (Holy Quran 10:54).
Allah also said: "And had those who are unjust all that is in the earth and the like of with it, they would certainly offer it as ransom (to be saved) from the evil of the punishment on the day of resurrection; and what they never thought of shall become plain to them from Allah. And the evil (consequences) of what they wrought shall become plain to them, and the very thing they mocked at shall beset them" (Holy Qur'an 39:47-48).
I wish sincerely that these Qur'anic verses did not involve great Companions like Abu Bakr al-Siddiq and Umar al-Faruq ... But I often pause when I read these texts so that I can look at some interesting aspects of their relations with the Messenger of Allah (saw), and how that relation went through many turmoils. They disobeyed his orders and refused him his wishes, even in the last moments of his blessed and honourable life, which made him so angry that he ordered them all to leave his house and to leave him. I also recall the chain of events that took place after the death of the Messenger of Allah, and the hurt and lack of recognition that afflicted his daughter al-Zahra. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Fatimah is part of me, he who angers her angers me" .
This is the type of propaganda that some of our scholars use when they lose the argument. Similarly al-Tabari was a Shi'ite, and al-Nisa'i, who wrote a book about the various aspects of Imam Ali, was a Shiite, and Taha Husayn, a contemporary scholar who wrote "Al-Fitnah al-Kubra" and other facts, was also a Shi'ite!
The fact is that all of these were not Shiites, and when they talked about the Shia, they said all sorts of dishonourable things about them, and they defended the fairness of the Companions with all their might. But the fact is that whenever a person mentions the virtues of Ali ibn Abi Talib, and admits to the mistakes that were committed by the famous Companions, we say that he has become a Shiite. And if you say in front of them, when you mention the Prophet, "May Allah bless him and his Family" or say, "Ali, may Allah's peace be upon him" then you are branded a Shiite. According to that premise, one day, during a debate, I asked one of our scholars, "What do you think of al-Bukhari?" He said, "He is one of the leading authorities in Hadith (the Prophetic tradition) and we consider his book to be the most correct book after the Book of Allah, as all our scholars agree." I said to him, "He is a Shiite." He laughed and said, "God forbid that Imam al-Bukhari be a Shiite." I said, "Did you not say that whoever says Ali, may Allah's peace be upon him, is Shiite?" He answered, "Yes." Then I showed him and those who were with him al-Bukhari's book, and in many places when Ali's name appears, he put "May Allah's peace be upon him" as well as the names of Fatimah and al-Husayn. The man did not know what to say. 
If al-Bukhari said: She died while she was still angry at Abu Bakr, and did not speak to him before she died, then the end result is quite clear. If Fatimah is "the leading lady among all the ladies" as al-Bukhari declared in the section al-Isti'dhan, and if Fatimah is the only lady in this nation whom Allah kept clean and pure, then her anger could not be but just, therefore Allah and His Messenger get angry for her anger. Because of that Abu Bakr said, "May Allah - the Most High - save me from His anger and Fatimah's anger." Then he cried very bitterly when she said, "By Allah, I will curse you in every prayer that I do." He came out crying and said, "I do not need your pledge of allegiance and discharge me from my duties." 
The writer thought that through this weak reasoning, he would be able to solve the problem and convince the researchers. He appears to be saying something similar to the following: God forbid that the Holy Qur'an should say anything but the truth, and God forbid that the sons of Israel should worship the calf. We have been plagued with scholars who say things that they cannot comprehend, and believe in the object and its antithesis, simultaneously. The point is that Fatimah claimed and Abu Bakr dismissed her claim, so she was either a liar - God forbid - or Abu Bakr treated her unjustly. There could be no third solution for the case, as some of our scholars would wish.
Logical reasoning and traditional proofs prevent the Mistress of Ladies from being accused of lying, due to the confirmation of her father (s) in his saying: "Fatimah is a part of me, and whoever hurts her hurts me." Hence, intuitively, whoever lies does not deserve this kind of statement (of honor) by the Messenger of Allah (saw). Therefore, the saying itself is a clear indication of her infallibility. The purification verse from the Holy Qur'an is another indication of her infallibility, and it was revealed in her honour and the honour of her husband and her two sons, as Aishah herself testified . Hence, there is nothing left for sensible people but to accept the fact that she was unjustly treated, and that she was easy to be branded a liar by somebody who was willing to let her burn unless the remaining people in her house came out to vote for him. 
When I had the opportunity to carry out research into history, I found that the main figures behind the killing of Uthman were the Companions themselves, and that Aishah led them, calling for his death publicly and saying: "Kill Na'thal (the old fool), for he was not a believer." 
O Allah, praise be to You, how could they tell us that he was unjustly killed, and that those who killed him were not Muslims. This is another case similar to that of Fatimah and Abu Bakr: Uthman was either unjustly treated, therefore we may pass judgement on those Companions who killed him or those who participated in his killing that they were criminal murderers because they unlawfully killed the caliph of the Muslims, and threw stones at his funeral, and humiliated him when he was alive and then when he was dead; or that the Companions killed him because he committed certain deeds which were not compatible with Islam, as the historical sources tell us.
There is no third option, unless we dismiss the historical facts and accept the distorted picture that the Egyptians, who were not believers, killed Uthman. In both cases there is a definite rejection of the common belief that all the Companions were right and just, without exception, for either Uthman was unjust or his killers were not just, but all of them were Companions, and hence our proposition becomes void. Therefore we are left with the proposition of the followers of Ahl al-Bayt, and that is that some of the Companions were right and some others were wrong.
We may ask a few questions about the war of al-Jamal, which was instigated by Umm al-Mumineen Aishah, who played an important role in it. How could Umm al-Mumineen Aishah leave her house in which Allah had ordered her to stay, when the most High said: "And stay in your houses and do not display your finery like the displaying of the ignorance of yours" (Holy Qur'an 33:33).
We may also ask, how could Aishah allow herself to declare war on the caliph of the Muslims, Ali ibn Abi Talib, who was the master of all Muslims? As usual, our scholars, with some simplicity, answer us that she did not like Imam Ali because he advised the Messenger of Allah to divorce her in the incident of al-Ifk. Seemingly these people are trying to convince us that that incident - if it was true - namely Ali's advice to the Prophet to divorce Aishah, was sufficient for her to disobey the orders of her God and her husband, the Messenger of Allah. She rode a camel that the Messenger of Allah forbade her from riding and warned her about the barking of al-Hawab's dogs , she travelled long distances from al-Medinah to Mekka then to Basrah, she permitted the killing of innocent people and started a war against the commander of the believers and the Companions who voted for him, and she caused the deaths of thousands of Muslims, according to the historians . She did all that because she did not like Ali who advised the Prophet to divorce her. Nevertheless the Prophet did not divorce her so why all this hatred towards Imam Ali? History has recorded some aggressive stances against Ali that could not be explained and these are some of them. When she was on her way back from Mekka Aishah was informed that Uthman was killed, so she was delighted, but when she learnt that people had voted for Ali to succeed him she became very angry and said, "I wish the sky would collapse on the earth before Ibn Abi Talib succeeds to the caliphate." Then she said, "Take me back." Thus she started the civil war against Ali, whose name she never liked to mention, as many historians agree.
The same question crops up again. Who was right and who was wrong? Either Ali and his followers were wrong, or Aishah and her followers and Talhah and al-Zubayr and their followers were wrong. There is no third possibility. But I have no doubt that the fair researcher would take Ali's side and dismiss Aishah and her followers who instigated the civil war that devastated the nation and left its tragic marks to the present day.
For the sake of further clarification, and for the sake of my own satisfaction I mention here what al-Bukhari had to say in his book about the civil war. When Talhah, al-Zubayr and Aishah travelled to Basrah, Ali sent Ammar ibn Yasir and al-Hasan ibn Ali to al-Kufah. On their arrival, they went to the mosque and addressed the congregation, and we heard Ammar saying, "Aishah had gone to Basrah ... and by Allah she is the wife of your Prophet in this life and the life hereafter, but Allah, the Most High, is testing you to know whom you obey: Him or her." 
After all that I ask how did Aishah deserve all that respect from the Sunnis; is it because she was the Prophet's wife? But he had so many wives, and some of them were better than Aishah, as the Prophet himself declared . Or perhaps because she was Abu Bakr's daughter! Or maybe because she played an important role in the denial of the Prophet's will for Ali, and when she was told that the Prophet recommended Ali, she said, "Who said that? I was with the Prophet (saw) supporting his head on my chest, then he asked me to bring the washbowl, as I bent down he died, so I cannot see how he recommended Ali . Or is it because she fought a total war against him and his sons after him, and even intercepted the funeral procession of al-Hasan - Leader of the Heaven's youth - and prevented his burial beside his grandfather, the Messenger of Allah, and said "Do not allow anybody that I do not like to enter my house."
She heard many more sayings in honour of Ali, but despite the Prophet's warning, she was determined to fight him and agitate the people against him and deny all his virtues. Because of that, the Umayyads loved her and put her in a high position and filled the books with her virtues and made her the great authority for the Islamic nation because she had half of the religion.
Perhaps they assigned the second half of the religion to Abu Hurayrah, who told them what they wanted to hear, so they bestowed on him various honours: they gave him the governorship of al-Medinah, they gave him al-Aqiq palace and gave him the title of "Rawiat al-lslam" - the transmitter of Islam. He made it easy for the Umayyads to create a completely new religion which took whatever pleased them and supported their interests and power from the Holy Qur'an and the tradition of the Prophet. Inevitably, such a religion lacked any seriousness and became full of contradictions and myths, hence most of the facts were buried and replaced by lies. Then they forced the people to believe in these lies so that the religion of Allah became a mere joke, and no one feared Allah as much as they feared Muawiah. When we ask some of our scholars about Muawiah's war against Ali, who had been acknowledged by al-Muhajireen and al-Ansar, a war which led to the division of Islam into Sunnis and Shiites and left it scarred to this very day, they simply answer by saying, "Ali and Muawiah were both good Companions, and both of them interpreted Islam in his own way. However, Ali was right, therefore he deserves two rewards, but Muawiah got it wrong, therefore, he deserves one reward. It is not within our right to judge for them or against them, Allah- the Most High - said: "This is a people that have passed away, they shall have what they earned and you shall have what you earn, and you shall not be called upon to answer for what they did" (Holy Qur'an 2:134).
Regrettably, we provide such weak answers that neither a sensible mind nor a religion, nor indeed a law would accept. O Allah, I am innocent of idle talk and of deviant whims. I beg You to protect me from the devil's touch.
How could a sensible mind accept that Muawiah had worked hard to interpret Islam and give him one reward for his war against the leader of all Muslims, and for his killing of thousands of innocent believers, in addition to all the crimes that he committed? He was known among the historians for killing his opponents through feeding them poisoned honey, and he used to say, "Allah has soldiers made of honey."
How could these people judge him as a man who worked hard to promote Islam and give him a reward for that, when he was the leader of a wrong faction? There is a well known Hadith of the Prophet, and most of the scholars agree its authenticity, "Woe unto Ammar .. he will be killed by the wrong faction." And he was killed by Muawiah and his followers.
How could they judge him as a promoter of Islam when he killed Hijr Ibn Adi and his companions and buried them in Marj Adhra in the Syrian desert because they refused to curse Ali ibn Abi Talib?
How could they judge him a just Companion when he killed al-Hasan, leader of the Heaven's youth, by poisoning him?
How could they judge him as being correct after he had forced the nation to acknowledge him as a caliph and to accept his corrupt son Yazid as his successor, and to change the Shurah [consultative] system to a hereditary one? 
The question crops up over and over again. Which faction was right, and which faction was wrong? Either Ali and his followers were wrong, or Muawiah and his followers were wrong, and the Messenger of Allah (saw) explained everything.
In both cases, the proposition of the righteousness of all the Companions does not hold ground and is incompatible with logic. There are many examples for all these subjects. and if I want to study them in detail and discuss them for all their aspects, then I would need volumes. But I wanted to be brief in this study so I mentioned a few examples, but thank Allah, for they have been enough to refute the claims of my people who froze my mind for a period of time, and prevented me from looking at the Hadith (prophetic tradition) and the historical events with an analytical view, using the intellect and the legal yard-sticks which the Holy Qur'an and the honourable Prophet's tradition taught us to do.
Therefore, I shall rebel against myself and rid myself of the dust of prejudice with which they engulfed me. I shall free myself from all the chains and fetters that I have been tied with for more than twenty years, and say, "I wish my people knew that Allah has granted me forgiveness and made me among the honourable people. I wish my people could discover the world they know nothing about. but nevertheless oppose."