Third, you said that since the sahaba were at the Bai'at-e-Rizwan
and pledged their fealty to the Prophet, they were not subject
to condemnation, but deserved praise because they are the referents
of the holy verse you cited (48:18). Research scholars and ulema
have commented extensively on this topic, saying that the divine
pleasure of this verse refers only to the particular action, Bai'at
(allegiance), and that it does not extend indefinitely.
You are aware yourselves that on the occasion of the Bai'at in
Hudaibiyya, there were 1,500 people of the community present,
of whom afterwards a number of people were included in the 'verses
of hypocrisy'. Allah promised them Hell for ever. Is it possible
that Allah and the Prophet might be pleased with some people and
that some of them might remain in hell forever? It follows that
the divine pleasure was not due to the Bai'at-e-Shajara (allegiance
under the tree) alone, but was based on sincere faith and good
deeds. Those who believed in divine unity and Prophethood and
pledged fealty deserved divine pleasure. They were declared to
be the people of Paradise. But those who paid allegiance without
faith, or who did not pay allegiance, deserved His wrath. Obviously,
the Sahaba performed commendable actions, and for their good actions
(like allegiance under the tree) they should be praised. And even
if a believer, whether he be a sahabi or not, commits a fault,
he may be criticized.
The Shia sect has always reported the good performances of the sahaba.
Moreover, it acknowledges the good performance even of those who
have been the targets of sharp criticisms. For instance, it appreciates
their allegiance under the tree, their migration with the Holy
Prophet, taking part in battles, but it also criticizes and condemns
their bad actions.
Hafiz: I'm surprised to hear
you say that the Prophet's companions committed misdeeds. The
Prophet declared each of them the guide and leader of the community.
He said in a well known hadith: "Verily, my companions are
like stars; if you follow any one of them, you will be guided."
Your faith is distinctly unconventional, and we do not accept
HADITH OF "FOLLOWING COMPANIONS" EXAMINED
Well-Wisher: I am constrained
to discuss some aspects of this hadith before I venture to reply.
Of course we will not talk about the source, correctness, or weakness
of the hadith by way of criticism, for we would drift from the
main point. Our discussion will focus on its meaning.
Those who were blessed with the honor of seeing the Holy Prophet,
or who had narrated hadith from him, are called sahaba and ashab
(companions) whether they were emigres (muhajir) from Mecca or
those who helped them (ansars) in Medina or others.
The greatest misunderstanding among you is that, on account of
your good will towards the companions, you consider all of them
free from all faults although the fact is otherwise. Among the
companions of the Holy Prophet, there were both good and bad people,
of whom Allah and His Prophet were fully aware. This can well
be proved by the chapter Munafiqun (Hypocrites) and verses of
some other chapters, like Tauba also known as Al-Bara'a (The Immunity)
and Ahzab (The Clans), which were revealed in condemnation of
companions who were hypocrites and sinners. Your own prominent
ulema have recorded some of the companions' faults and misdeeds
in their authentic books. Hisham Bin Muhammad Sa'yib Kalbi, one
of the illustrious ulema of your sect has compiled a book on the
faults and defects of the sahaba.
The hypocrites, whom Allah Almighty (in the Holy Qur'an) and the
Holy Prophet have condemned, were two-faced people, who were Muslims
in appearance only. Their hearts were stained with corruption
and misguidance; and all of them were included in the companions.
So how can we have goodwill towards all the companions? And how
can we be sure that following any of them will ensure salvation?
Is it not a fact that in the affair of Aqaba there were companions
who appeared to be faithful but were determined to kill the Holy
Hafiz: Some ulema consider the
Aqaba affair the invention of the Shias.
Well-Wisher: It is unkind of
you to rely on the beliefs of some who have the mentality of the
Kharijis and Nasibis. This affair is so clearly known to all that
your own ulema have acknowledged it.
Please refer to Dala'ilu'n-Nabuwat compiled by Hafiz Abu Bakr
Ahmad Bin Husain Baihaqi Shafi'i, who is one of your eminent scholars
and jurists. He has recorded the story of Batn-e-Aqaba with an
authentic chain of narrators; and also Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal,
towards the end of v. V of his Musnad, reports from Abu Tufail,
and Ibn Abi'l-Hadid writes in his Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, and
it is known to all the ulema, that the Holy Prophet on that night
cursed a group of the companions.
Nawab: What was the matter,
and who were those who wanted to kill the Holy Prophet?
Well-Wisher: The great ulema
of both sects have written that on Muhammad's way back from the
Tabuk expedition, fourteen hypocrites conspired to kill him. The
plan was to push him from his camel into a precipice as he rode
by night over al-Aqaba, a narrow passage through which only one
man could pass. When they tried to execute their design, the Angel
Gabriel informed the Holy Prophet of it. The Holy Prophet sent
Hudhaifa Nakha'i to hide behind a hill. When the conspirators
arrived and talked together, he recognized them all. Of them seven
belonged to the Umayyads. Hudhaifa came to the Holy Prophet and
named all of them. The Holy Prophet ordered him to keep the plot
secret and said that Allah was their guard. In the early part
of the night, the Holy Prophet began the journey, followed by
his army. Ammar-e-Yasir led the camel from the front and Hudhaifa
drove it from behind. When they reached the narrow passage, the
hypocrites threw their leather bags full of sand (or their oil-cans)
before the camel making a huge noise, hoping that the frightened
animal would throw the Holy Prophet down the steep cliff. But
Allah Almighty protected him and the conspirators fled away in
Were these people not included among the companions? Is it true
that to follow them means the path of guidance?
When we talk of the companions of the Holy Prophet of Allah why
should we shut our eyes to their faults?
I have referred in past nights to Abu Huraira's character, telling you that
Caliph Umar had lashed him because he used to quote false hadith
from the Prophet. Was he not among the companions? Had he not
falsely narrated a large number of hadith? Similarly, were not
the other companions, like Sumra Bin Junda, included among them?
Can the Holy Prophet of Allah order the community to follow liars
and forgers? If this hadith is correct, that is, that if we follow
any one of the companions, we will be guided, then please let
us know whom we should follow, if two companions go in opposite
directions. Or if there are two groups of them, each fighting
against the other, or each contrary to the other, whom should
Hafiz: First, the revered companions
of the Prophet of Allah were never hostile to each other. And
even if one opposed the other, we should assess the facts properly.
The one who is purer and whose statement is more logical should
Well-Wisher: If, according to
your statement, we made careful inquiries and found one of them
pure and on the right side, then the opposite group of the ashab
must be impure and on the wrong side. Then this hadith basically
loses credence because it is impossible that disagreeing companions
can both be sources of guidance.
If this hadith is genuine why do you raise objection against the
Shias because they followed a group of the companions like Salman,
Abu Dharr, Miqdad, Ammar-e-Yasir Abu Ayyub Ansari, Hudhaifa Nakha'i
and Khuzaima Dhu'sh-Shahadatain, etc., to whom I have referred
in past nights? These men certainly did not pledge fealty to Abu
Bakr. Therefore, of the companions who opposed each other, who
was on the right side? Decidedly one was on the wrong side though
the hadith you have quoted tells us that we may follow any of
the companions and be guided.
Was Sa'd Bin Ubaida not one of the companions who did not pay
allegiance to Abu Bakr and Umar? All the Shia and Sunni historians
unanimously hold that he went to Syria and lived there until in
the middle of the caliphate of Umar, he was murdered. So following
him and opposing Abu Bakr and Umar, according to this hadith is
the path of guidance.