In his Preface to Al-Isabah, Ibn Hajar has defined a Companion of the Holy Prophet (S) in the following words:
Sahabi is one who has met the Holy Prophet while he had been a believer and he had died as a Muslim. All those are included who have met the Prophet (S) and sat with him for a long time or a short time. They are all included. Whether they have related his traditions or not, whether they fought on his side or not. Or they had just seen him with their eyes without even having sat in his company. Also those who have not seen due to some obstruction like blindness etc (are also included among the Companions).1
In the chapter titled: “A Criterion for recognizing the Sahabi”, the author says: Certainly in the Fuhuhaat (battles), they did not choose anyone as the leader except the Companion. None remained in Makkah or Taif in 10 A.H. but that he had accepted Islam and participated in the Farewell Hajj. And in Aws and Khazraj tribes there was none who had not accepted Islam.
Till the Holy Prophet (S) died none of them expressed polytheism.”2
The author says:
If you refer to my book 150 Fabricated Companions you will come to know about their mistakes; and how they have distorted the traditions.
Companionship is between two or more people. Thus we see that it is necessary that the word ‘Companion’ should be linked with the one whose Companion he is. As mentioned in the Quran:
“O my two Companions of the prison.” (Surah Yusuf, 12:39)
“... the Companions of Musa ....” (Surah Al-Shuara, 26:61)
The terms prevalent during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (S) were “The Companion of the Messenger of Allah” or the “Companions of the Messenger of Allah”. Similarly it was said, “The Companions of the allegiance of the Tree” or “The Companions of the Suffah” (homeless people who lived at the Prophet’s mosque). So it is clear that Sahab should be coupled with another word. At that time it was not a noun by itself. Later the followers of the School of Caliphate referred to all the Companions of the Prophet as ‘Sahabi’. In this way, the term ‘Sahabi’ came to have a wider implication and it was a later development when it became a legally acceptable term. This was the definition of ‘Sahabi’ according to the School of Caliphate.
Whatever we have discussed so far, regarding the connotation of the word Sahabi was according to the School of Caliphate. We shall also quote the statement of Ibn Hajar as mentioned in his book Al-Isabah5: The criteria for recognising a Sahabi as mentioned by the scholars is sufficient to prove the Companionship of a person even if there is no proof of Quran and hadith for the same. Ibn Abi Shayba has mentioned it in his book in a way that it is not unacceptable. It has also been mentioned by Tabari and Ibn Asakir through their chains of narrators from Saif from Abi Usman from Khalid and Ubadah that he said: “The ruler used to be from the Companions till the time when there were no more (Companion) available.”6
In another tradition, from Tabari, from Saif:
“The Caliph Umar would not hesitate in making the Companion a ruler. Till the time he could be replaced in a war (by another Companion). If he could not find one, he used to search among the Tabeen (companion of Companion). He did not give any preference to the narrators of traditions in this regard.”7
The source of these two traditions is Saif who is famous for forging traditions and is also well- known as a Zindiq (heretic)8.
Saif relates about the criteria from Abi Usman and he relates from Khalid and Ubadah. Regarding the report of Saif we have to say that Saif is one of the name of Yazid bin Usayd Al Ghasani. He was notorious as a forger of traditions9.
So, this is the reputation of the narrators of these reports. Moreover, the historical facts belie the above statements.
The writer of Aghani says:
“Amrul Qays accepted Islam at the hands of Umar. Umar appointed him as a governor, without him having recited a single rakat (unit) of prayer.10”
The details of this incident are to be found in the report of Auf bin Kharja Al Marri.
He said: “By Allah I was with Umar during the period of his Caliphate. A person approached us. His chest was narrow and his back, broad. His sparse hair were parted from the centre. He crossed over the people and came forward till he stood before Umar and congratulated him for his Caliphate. Umar asked ‘Who are you?’
He replied, “I am a Christian, I am Amrul Qays bin Adi Al Kalbi.”
Umar recognised him. He asked, “What do you want?”
‘Islam’, he replied.
Umar presented Islam to him and he accepted it. Umar armed him, and appointed him over those who had accepted Islam in Syria from the tribe of Qaza11.
The Shaikh walked behind him when flag used to flutter over his head ...”12 The incident of the appointment of Al Qama bin Al-ata as the ruler after he renegaded is also against the accepted logic. This incident is also present in Aghani and Isabah.13
The incident in brief is thus in Aghani:
“Al Qama accepted Islam in the days of the Holy Prophet (S) and he returned to polytheism during the time of Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr sent Khalid towards him but he fled. Then he returned and embraced Islam.”
And in Isabah:
During the time of Umar he (Al Qama) drank wine and Umar ordered punishment for him. He became a Kafir and fled to Rome. The King of Rome welcomed him and honoured him and asked if he was the cousin of Amir bin Tufayl. Al Qama became angry and said, “I do not like but to be introduced through Amir!”14 Then he returned and accepted Islam.
It is mentioned in Aghani and Isabah, and in the words of Aghani:
Al Qama Ibn Al-ata came to Madinah when he had become a Murtad (renegade). He was a friend of Khalid Ibn Walid. Umar Ibn Khattab approached him in the mosque while it was dark. Umar was like Khalid in appearance. Umar saluted him and Al Qama thought he was Khalid. Al Qama asked, “Have you separated?” “I was”, replied Umar. He said, “You were capable but people had been jealous to you.”
Umar said, “Have you any support to rise against him (Umar)?”
He replied “I seek refuge in Allah! Umar is the one whom we shall obey and we can never revolt against him.”
When it was morning Umar called for Khalid, and Khalid entered. Al Qama sat down beside him.
Umar looked at Al Qama. “O Al Qama! You were going to say something to Khalid.”
Al Qama looked at Khalid and said, “Have you done it?”
Khalid replied, “What joke is it? I have not met you before this and I think that you have met someone (else).”
“I have met someone”, he replied. Then he looked at Umar and said: “O Chief of believers I do not wish to hear except goodness from you.” Umar said, “Shall I make you the Governor of Hauran?”15
So he became the governor of Hauran and he died there later.
Atiyya used to recite the elegy…”
Moreover in Isabah are the words of Umar: “I would prefer that an adviser like you had been present instead of so and so.”
Whatever we have mentioned is a historical reality, but the scholars of the School of Caliphate have relied on these very narrations and arrived at a standard for identifying the Companions of the Holy Prophet.
They also included among the Companions, the Companions created by Saif Ibn Umar who was a Zindiq. We have already mentioned about Saif in the discussion above.
After studying the criteria for recognising a Sahabi according to the two schools, we will study the Justice of the Companions according to both schools.
- 1. Al Isabah, Vo.1, p.10.
- 2. Al Isabah, Vol.1, p. 16.
- 3. Refer Lisan al-’Arab under the word "Sahaba".
- 4. Refer Lisan al-’Arab under the word "Sahaba".
- 5. Al Isabah, Vol.1, p.13.
- 6. Tabari,Vol.1, p.215
- 7. Tabari, Vol.1, p.2457-2458.
- 8. Refer to the life-sketch of Saif Ibn Umar in the first part of the book, Abdullah Ibn Saba.
- 9. Refer to the Treatise "Fabricated Narrators" and also Abdullah Ibn Saba, Vol.1, p.117, Beirut.
- 10. Al-Aghani, Vol.14, p.158.
- 11. A major tribe. Refer Ansab of Ibn Hazm, p.440-460 and Mojamul Qabaelal Arab Vol. 3, p. 957.
- 12. Al-Aghani, Vol.14, p.157.
- 13. Al Isabah, Vol.2, p.496-498, Al Aghani, Vol.15, p.56.
- 14. There was enmity between Al Qama and Aamir as related by the writers. It is mentioned in Aghani that one day, Al Qama was answering the call of nature when Aamir saw him and said, "I have never before seen the nakedness of another man." Al Qama said, "By Allah I have never entered into anyone's privacy and never barged into any hut." Thus criticising Aamir. Aamir said: "I am of a more superior tribe." Al Qama said: I am much better than you. Your women are attracted towards me.
- 15. Al Mojamul Buldan Vol.2, p.358.