I stayed unsettled and perplexed for three months, even when I was asleep; my mind was overwhelmed by doubts and fears about myself regarding the Companions whose lives I was researching. I found many astonishing contradictions in their behavior, because throughout my life I had received an education based on the respect and the veneration of those sages who would hurt anybody that spoke badly about them or disrespected them in their absence, even if they were dead.
I had read once in "Hayat al-Haywan al-Kubra" by alDamiri:1 There was a man riding in a Caravan with his friend, and during the journey he kept insulting Umar, and his friend tried to prevent him from doing so. When he was in the toilet, a black snake bit him, and he died immediately. When they dug his grave, they found a black snake inside it; they dug another one, and the same thing happened. Every time they dug a new grave, they found a snake inside it.
Then a learned man told them, "Bury him anywhere you wish, even if you dig the whole earth, you will find a black snake. This is because Allah wants to chastise him in this life before the hereafter, for insulting our master Umar."
Thus, while I was forcing myself through this difficult research, I felt fearful and confused, especially as I had learnt in al-Zaytuna that the best caliphs were Abu Bakr al-Siddiq then Umar ibn al-Khattab al-Farooq, whom Allah will use to divide right from wrong, after that comes Uthman ibn Affan Dhul-Noorayn, from whom the angels of the Merciful felt shy, and after him comes ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib the gate to the city of knowledge.
After these four come the remaining six of the ten who were promised Paradise, and they are Talhah, al-Zubayr, Sa'ad, Sa'eed, Abdul-Rahman, and Abu Ubaydah. After them come all the Companions, and after we were recommended of the Holy Qur'anic verse "We do not differentiate between any of His messengers" as a premise on which we should base the assumption that we should not differentiate in our respect for all the Companions.
Because of that I feared for myself, and asked my Lord for forgiveness on many occasions, and indeed I wanted to leave the issues that made me doubtful about the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, and then made me doubtful about my own religion.
During that period, and throughout my conversations with a few learned people, I found many contradictions that could not be accepted by sensible people, and then they started to warn me that if I continued with my research about the Companions, Allah would take His grace from me and finish me off.
Their continuous stubbornness and their denial of whatever I said, coupled with my scientific mind and eagerness to reach the truth, forced me to resume the research, because I felt an inner force urging me to do so.
- 1. Hayat al Haywan al Kubra, al Damiri