Justice Of The Companions According To The Two Schools Of Thought

1) The Opinion Of The School Of Caliphate Regarding The Justice Of The Companions

According to the School of Caliphate, all the Companions are just. They refer to all of them and take their tenets of their faith from them.
Imam of the polemics, Al Hafiz Abu Hatim Al- Razi1 writes in his Preface:
As far as the Companions of the Holy Prophet (S) are concerned they are those who have witnessed the revelation of the Quran and understood the tafsir (exegesis) and taw’il (explanation) of the revelation. They are those who had been selected by Allah for the company of the Prophet (S); to help him in the establishment and spread of the religion.

Allah was pleased at their being Companions. Allah made them exemplars for us. They memorised all those things from the Prophet (S) which had reached him from Allah, and all those things which Allah had made as the law of faith and indicated to be the correct path. He also revealed His orders and prohibitions. The Companions were properly warned and their morals were perfected. So they grasped the rules of faith in a proper way and became well versed in religion. They were knowledgeable of the orders and prohibitions of Allah, and His wish and will by the help of the Prophet (S); and whatever Tafsir and Taw’il they had learnt of the Quran. So Allah exalted their status and made them an example for us. He protected them from doubt, mistake and pride etc. He made them the just ones of the Ummat. The Almighty Allah says:

“And we have made you a medium nation that you may be bearers to the people......” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:143)

The Prophet (S) has given the meaning of ‘medium’ as ‘just’. So they are the just ones of Ummat and the leaders of guidance and the proofs of religion and copies of Quran and Sunnat.
The Almighty Allah made it permissible for us to follow them and tread their path. He says,

“…and follows other than the way of believers, We will turn him to that to which he has (himself) turned...”2 (Surah Al-Nisa, 4:115)

We saw the Prophet (S) that he used to emphasize the propagation of religion, and that he used to address them and pray for them and say: “May the Almighty bless the one who listens to me, learns the message and remembers it, till he propagates it to others;” and he said in his sermon, “Those of you who are present should convey this to those who are absent.”

Then the Companions spread to all the regions and countries and settled down in various cities. They went to various wars and became officers in various departments and manned various jobs. Each of them was sent to his respective field. Wherever they went, they propagated whatever they had heard from the Holy Prophet (S); and gave verdicts to whatever they were asked. They based their replies on whatever they had remembered from the teachings of the Holy Prophet (S). They segregated themselves from the limelight to the maintain the sincerity of intention and avoided to show themselves high in the eyes of the people. So that they can teach the obligations and prohibitions and other Divine orders. Till the time the Almighty Allah called them to Himself.

Ibn Abdul Barr in the Preface of his book Al Istiab3 says: “The Justice of the Companions is confirmed.”
Then he has presented the ayats and hadiths with regard to the believers as we have presented above.
Ibn Katheer in the Preface of Usud al-Ghaba4 says: “Certainly those Sunnats on whom depend the haraam and halal and the tenets of religion are proved by the authenticity of the chains of narrators. The foremost of them are the Companions of the Holy Prophet (S). If someone does not recognise them, he cannot recognise others. He is absolutely ignorant. They should be recognised with their lineage and situations...

The Companions are common in all the narrators. So all of them should be accepted without doubting their integrity. All of them are just. We should not even doubt their character.
Hafiz Ibn Hajar in the Preface of his book Isabah in the discussion of the circumstances of the Sahaba says in the third chapter regarding the Justice of Companions5:

Except for some innovators all the Ahlul Sunna agree that all Companions are just. Abu Dharra says that “When you see a person who is relating the defect of a Sahabi, know that he is a Zindiq. Because the Holy Prophet (S) is truth, the Quran is truth and whatever is in it, is truth, and all these things which have reached us from the Companions (are truth). These people want to criticise the Companions in order that they may later refute the Quran and Sunnat; and prove them to be invalid. Therefore it is more preferable to criticize the one who criticizes the Sahabi. As they are from the Zandiqa.”6

This was the opinion of the scholars of the School of Caliphate as regards the Justice of Companions.
In the coming pages we will present the opinion of the School of Ahlul Bayt. (‘a)

2) The Opinion Of The School Of Ahlul Bayt (‘A) Regarding The Justice Of Companions

The opinion of School of Ahlul Bayt (‘a) is in consonance with the teachings of the Holy Quran. That is, Companions are those believers whom the Quran has praised. For example with reference to the allegiance of the tree Allah says:

“Certainly Allah was well-pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree, and He knows what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquility on them and rewarded them with a near victory.” (Surah Al-Fatih, 48:18)

Allah has specially praised the believers who were present at the allegiance of the tree but the hypocrites were not included; like Abdullah ibn Ubay and Aws bin Kahwli7. In the same way, the hypocrites have been flayed at many a times in the Quran. For example:

“And from among those who are round about you of the dwellers of the desert there are hypocrites and from among the people of Madinah (also); they are stubborn in hypocrisy; you do not know them; We know them; We will chastise them twice, they shall be turned back to a grievous chastisement.” (Surah Al-Tawbah, 9:101)

Some of them are those whom Allah has called liars. Also those who had made allegations against the wives of the Prophet8. We seek Allah’s refuge from all this!
Regarding some of them Allah says:

“And when they see merchandise or sport they break up for it and leave you standing.” (SurahAl- Jumah, 62:11)

This happened when the Prophet was giving the sermon of Friday in the mosque.
Moreover some of them planned to kill the Prophet at Uqba when he was returning from Tabuk9 and also at Farewell Hajj.10
Leave alone Companions. The Holy Quran has
denounced even the wives of the Prophet (S) when they acted in an objectionable manner.
Though marriage to the Prophet is more deserving of honour than the Companionship of the Holy Prophet. Because the Companionship of the wife was superior to other Companionships. Yet Allah says:

“O wives of the Prophet ! Whoever of you commits an open indecency, the punishment shall be increased to her doubly; and this is easy for Allah. (Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:30)

And whoever of you is obedient to Allah and His Apostle and does good, We will give to her, her reward doubly, and We have prepared for her an honourable sustenance. (Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:31)

O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other of the women; …” (Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:32)

And about the two wives of Prophet (S), the Almighty says:

“If you both turn to Allah, then indeed your hearts are already inclined (to this); and if you back up each other against him, then surely Allah it is Who is his Guardian, and Jibraeel and the believers that do good and the angels after that are the aiders.” (Surah Al-Tahrim, 66:4)

Allah continues:

“Allah sets forth an example to those who disbelieve the wife of Nuh and the wife of Lut: they were both under two of Our righteous servants, but they acted treacherously towards them. So they availed them naught against Allah, and it was said: Enter both the fire with those who enter.(Surah Al-Tahrim, 66:10)
And Allah sets forth an example to those who believe the wife of Firon when she said: My Lord! build for me a house with Thee in the garden and deliver me from Firon and his doing, and deliver me from the unjust people: (Surah Al-Tahrim, 66:11)

And Mariam, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her of Our inspiration and she accepted the truth of the words of her Lord and His books, and she was of, the obedient ones. (Surah Al-Tahrim, 66:12)

Thus we see that even though the wives were higher in status to Companions even they are not spared the ire of Allah if they dared to disobey Him. So how can we say that all Companions were just?

Also, regarding some of the Companions on the Day of Qiyamat, the Holy Prophet (S) said:
“And they will bring some people from my Ummat who would be led towards the punishment. I will say, “My Lord they were my Companions.”
I will be told, “You don’t know what they did after you.” I will reply like Isa (‘a)

“…and I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when Thou didst took me up, Thou wert the Watcher over them, and Thou are witness of all things.” (Surah Al- Maidah 5:117)

It will be said: They all renegaded after you left them11.
In another tradition the Messenger of Allah (S) says:
Some of my Companions will come near the pool and I will recognise them. They will be jerked away from me. I will say, ‘My Companions’. It will be said: ‘You don’t know what they did after you.’12

There is a remarkable tradition in Sahih Muslim: The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “I would be on the Hauz (cistern) and so that I would be seeing those who would be coming to me from you, but some people would be detained (prevented) from reaching me. I would say: My Lord, they are my followers and belong to my Umma, and it would be said to me: Do you know what they did after you? By Allah, they did not do good after you, and they turned back upon their heels.”13

3) Criterion For Recognising A Believer And A Hypocrite

When the hypocrites were present among the Companions and only Allah knew them, how can we judge, who is a believer and who is a hypocrite? Allah has provided a criterion for us when the Messenger of Allah (S) informed that none loves Ali (‘a) except the believer and none hates him except the hypocrite. This fact has been mentioned in the traditions related by Ali (‘a)14, Ummul Momineen Umm Salama15, Abdullah Ibn Abbas16, Abu Dharr Al-Ghiffari17, Anas Ibn Malik18, Imran bin Haseen19. The above tradition was well-known during the time of the Holy Prophet (S).

Abu Dharr says:
“We did not recognise the hypocrites except by their denial of Allah and His Messenger, their aversion towards the ritual prayers; and their hatred towards Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a).”20
And Abu Saeed Khudri21 says:
“We know the hypocrites - we were from the Ansar - by their hatred towards Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a).

Abdullah Ibn Abbas says:
“During the time of the Prophet (S), we recognised a hypocrite by his malice towards Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a).”22

Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari23 says:
“We did not recognise the hypocrites except by their hatred towards Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a).”
All these traditions clearly mention the position of Ali (‘a) vis-a-vis the hypocrites. It is for this very reason that the Messenger of Allah (S) said regarding Ali (‘a):
“O Allah Love the one who loves him (Ali) and be inimical to the one who has enimity towards him.24

The righteous Companions of the Holy Prophet (S) exercised caution while learning the tenets of faith. They refrained from obtaining any guidance from the enemies of Ali (‘a), as they could have been the hypocrites whom Allah alone knew.

Therefore, we must also follow the righteous Companions. We must also learn the tenets of faith from those who loved Ali (‘a). This way we can rest assured that the one whom we follow is a true believer; and thus we may avoid the deviation of hypocrites.

  • 1. He is Abu Muhammad Abdul Rehman bin Abi Hatim Ar Razi, He died 327 A.H.
  • 2. According to the School of Ahlul Bayt (a), it is with regard to the believers among the companions.
  • 3. Al Istiab of Abi Umar Yusuf bin Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Abdul Barr al Namri al Qurtubi al Mailki, p.363-463.
  • 4. Usud al-Ghaba fi Marifatus Sahaba of Abil Hasan Izziddin Ali bin Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al Jaziri known as Ibn Athir (died 630 A.H.), Vol.1, p.3
  • 5. Al Isabah fi Tamiz as-Sahaba of Al Hafiz Shahbuddin Ahmed bin Ali bin Muhammad al Canani al-Asqalani, popularly known as Ibn Hajar.
  • 6. Al Isabah, Vol.1, p.18.
    Abu Dharra is Ubaidullah bin Abdul Karim bin Yazid. Ibn Hajar in his book Taqreeb al-Tehzib (Vol. 2, p. 536) in the biography no.1479 says that, "Abu Dharrawas the leader of the Huffaz (knew Quran by heart) and a reliable narrator of traditions." He died in 264 A.H. The compilers of Sahih Muslim, Tarmizi, Nasai and Ibn Majah have quoted his traditions.
    I say: I don't understand what Imam Abu Dharra says with regard to the hypocrites among the companions of the Holy Prophet (S).
  • 7. Refer to Maghazi of al-Waqidi for the incident of the Allegiance of Rizwan.
  • 8. It refers to the false allegations towards the Mother of Believers Ayesha. Surah Nur, verses 11-17 mention this incident.
  • 9. Musnad Ahmed, Vol.5, p.390 & 453, Sahih Muslim, Vol.8, p.122-123, Chapter on the characteristics of the Hypocrites, Majmauz Zawaid, Vol.1, p.110, Vol.6, p.195, Maghazi of Al-Waqidi, Vol.3, p.1042. Tafsir Durr al-Manthoor of Suyuti, Vol.3.
  • 10. Bihar al-Anwar, Vol.28, p.97.
  • 11. Al Bukhari, Tafsir of Surah Maidah, Tirmizi, signs of Qiyamat.
  • 12. Al Bukhari - Chapter of Hauz, Ibn Majah, Musnad Ahmad, Vol.1.
  • 13. Sahih Muslim, Kitabul Fazail. English reference Sahih Muslim rendered into Englis Abdul Hamid Siddiqui Volume 6, page 1236, Hadith No. 5684.
  • 14. Al Imam Ali (‘a) son of Abu Talib the uncle of the Prophet (S) was born inside the Kaaba as recorded by Al Hakim in Mustadrak, Vol.3, Pg.483, Al Maliki in Fusoolul Muhimma, Magazihi Ash-Shafae in Manaqib, Shablanji in Nurul Absar. He (‘a) was born on the 13th of Rajab the 30th year of the Elephant. The Muhajireen and Ansaar pledged allegience to him in 35 A.H. He was struck by the sword of Ibn Muljim on the 19th of Ramadan in 40 A.H. while praying at the Kufa Mosque. He achieved martyrdom on the 21st of Ramadan. The writers of Sahihs have quoted 536 traditions from him. For his biography refer to Al Istiab, Usud al-Ghaba and Al Isabah; also page no.276 of Jawamea as-Sirat, report concerning the hypocrites in Sahih Muslim, Vol.1, Pg.61. Chapter on the Proof that love for Ali (‘a) is faith and enmity towards him is hypocrisy. Sahih Tirmizi Vol. 13, p. 177, Chapter of the Virtues of Ali (‘a), Sunan Ibn Majah, Chapter Eleven, Sunan Nasai Vol. 2, p. 271, Chapter of the Signs of faith and signs of hypocrisy. Khasais of Nasai, 38, Musnad Ahmed Vol. 1, p. 84, 95 and 128, Tarikh Baghdad Vol. 2, p. 255, Vol. 8, p. 417, Vol. 16 p. 426, Hilayatul Awliya of abu Nuyam Vol. 4, p. 185. Tarikhul Islam of Zahabi Vol. 2, p. 198, Tarikh Ibn Katheer Vol. 7, p. 354, Kanzul Ummal Vol. 15, p. 105, Riyazun Nazarah Vol. 2 p. 284.
  • 15. Umm Salama Hind was the daughter of Abi Umayya bin Mughairah Al Qarshi al Makhzoomi. Before her marriage to the Holy Prophet (S) she was the wife of Abi Salma bin Abdul Asad Al-Makhzumi. She had been among the first converts to Islam. She had migrated to Abyssinia. Later she came to Madinah. After her first husband was killed in the Battle of Uhud, she married the Holy Prophet (S) and she died after the martyrdom of Imam Husain (‘a), around 60 A.H. The compilers of Sihah (Books of Traditions) have recorded 378 traditions from her. For her biography and the details of her marriage refer to Usud al Ghaba, Jawamea Sirat, p. 276 and Taqreeb Al Tehzib Vol. 2, p. 617. For her traditions regarding hypocrites, refer to Sahih Tirmizi Vol. 13, p. 168, Musnad Ahmed Vol. 6, p. 292, Al Istiab Vol. 2, p. 460. These traditions are narrated through various channels. Also refer to Tarikh Ibn Katheer Vol. 7, p. 354, Kanzul Ummal Vol. 6, p. 158.
  • 16. Abdullah the son of Abbas Ibn Abdul Muttalib the uncle of the Prophet (S) was born three years before Hijrat and died in 68 A.H. 1660 traditions have been narrated from him. For his biography refer Usud al Ghaba.
  • 17. Abu Dharr Jundab also known as Buraid bin Junadah, Abdullah and Askun etc: He was among the early converts. He died at Rabadah in 33 A.H. The compilers of Sihah have narrated 281 traditions from Abu Dharr. For his biography refer to Taqrib at Tahzib Vol. 2, p. 420, Jawame As-Sirah, p. 277 and Part II of Abdullah Ibn Saba.
  • 18. Anas Ibn Malik An Nazaral Ansari al-Khazraji was in the employ of the Holy Prophet (S) for ten years. When Ali (‘a) had asked him to testify the announcement of the Holy Prophet (S); 'For whomsoever I am the Master, this Ali is his master'; he refused. He was cursed by Ali (‘a) and thus was afflicted with white spots on his face and body. Refer to Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Vol. 4, p. 388. He died in Basra in 90 A.H. The Hadith Scholars have related 2286 traditions from him. For biographical details refer to Usud al-Ghaba, Taqreeb, Jawamee as-Siraat and Kanzul Ummal.
  • 19. Abu Najid Imran bin Haseen Al Khazaee Al Kaabi: He embraced Islam in the year of the conquest of Khaibar. He was a companion of the Holy Prophet (S) and he was a jurist of Kufa. He died in 52 A.H. 180 traditions have been recorded through him. Refer to Kanzul Ummal Vol. 7, p. 140. Biographical details are available in Al-Taqreeb Vol. 2, p. 72 and Jawame as-Siraat.
  • 20. Mustadrakul Sahihain, Vol. 3, p.129, Kanzul Ummal, Vol. 15, p. 91.
  • 21. Abu Saeed Saad bin Malik bin Sinan Al Khazraji Al Khudri: He was present in the Battle of Khandaq (ditch). He died at Madinah in 63, 64 or 65 A.H. at the age of 74 years. 1170 prophetic traditions have been related by him. For his biography refer to Usud al- Ghaba, Vol. 2, p. 289, Al-Taqreeb, Vol. 1, p. 289, Jawame as-Siraat, p. 276. Traditions reported by him have been recorded in Sahih Tirmizi Vol. 13, p.168 and Hilayat Abu Nuayam Vol. 6, p.284.
  • 22. Tarikh Baghdad Vol. 3, p. 153.
  • 23. Jabir bin Abdullah bin Umar al Ansari as Salmi: He was a companion and a son of a companion. He was present with his father at the time of the allegience to the Prophet (S). He was also at the side of Ali (‘a) in the Battle of Siffeen. Died at Madinah around 70 A.H. 1540 traditions have been recorded through him. His life sketch can be found in Usud al-Ghaba, Vol. 1, p. 256- 257, Al-Taqreeb, Vol. 1, p.122, Jawame as-Siraat, p. 276. For his traditions, refer to Al Istiab, Vol. 2, p. 466, Al Riyazun Nazarah, Vol. 2, p. 284, Tarikh Zahabi, Vol. 2, p. 198, Majmauz Zawaed, Vol. 9, p.133.
  • 24. Sahih Tirmizi, Vol. 13, p. 165 Chapter on the Merits of Ali (‘a), Sunan Ibn Majah Chapter of the Merits of Ali (‘a), tradition no.116, Khasais-e-Nasai 4 and 30, Musnad Ahmed, Vol. 1, p. 84, 88, 118, 119, 152, 330; Vol. 4, p. 281, 368, 370,372; Vol. 5, p. 307, 347, 350, 358, 361, 366, 419, 568. Mustadrakul Sahihayn, Vol. 2, p. 129, 3; Vol. 3, p. 9, Al Riyazun Nazarah, Vol. 2, p. 222-225; Tarikh Baghdad, Vol. 7, p. 377; Vol. 8, p. 290; Vol. 12, p. 343 and numerous other references are also available.