“All who obey Allah and the Apostles, are with those on whom is the Grace of Allah – the Prophets and the sincere ones and the witnesses and the righteous; and what a beautiful companions they are!” (Qur’an, 4:69).
It is an ayat of the deepest spiritual meaning. Even the humblest man who accepts Islam and obeys Allah and His Prophet, by doing good, becomes at once an accepted member of a great and beautiful spiritual fellowship. It is a company which lives perpetually in the sunshine of Allah’s Grace. It is the glorious hierarchy of which four grades are specified:
1. The highest is that of the prophets or apostles, who got direct inspiration from Allah and taught mankind by providing perfect examples from their own lives. The highest position of that highest rank is held by the Prophet of Islam.
2. The next are those whose badge is sincerity and truth, they love and support the truth with their person, their means, their influence and all that is theirs. That rank, in Islam, was held by the special companions of the Holy Prophet.
3. The next come the noble army of witnesses, who testify to the truth. The testimony may be by martyrdom, or it may be by the tongue of the true preacher or the pen of a devoted scholar.
4. Lastly, there is the large company of the righteous people, the common folk who do their ordinary business, but always in a righteous way.
This is the beautiful fellowship in which each has his place; but at the same time derives from the common association.