Sahaba (Companions)

“Third proof of Shi’as kufr” is given by the unknown writer in these words: “The Shi’a believe in wickedly reviling the Shaikhain (i.e. Sayyidina Abu Bakr and Sayyidina Umar (Radhiallahu ‘anhu) and launch false charges against the chastity’ of Sayyidina (sic.) Aisha (R.A.)”

COMMENT: Before writing anything on this proof it is necessary to mention that no Shi’a has ever said, written or transmitted anything “against the chastity” of Ummu ‘l-mu’mineen ‘A’isha. This man probably does not know that the word, Chastity, is generally used for “abstaining from unlawful sexual intercourse.” We, the Shi’as, cannot think in such terms about any “Mother of the believers” or for that matter about any wife of any Prophet be she the wife of Nuh (a.s.) or of Lut (a.s.). Of course, we cannot stop the Wahhabis from indulging in such obscene talk. The Shi’as will whole-heartedly agree that anyone who launches a charge against the chastity of Ummu ‘l-mu’mineen ‘A’isha is kafir. Obviously, such a charge will go against the clear verdict of the Qur’an, and will therefore be tantamount to disbelief in the Book of Allah.

Coming to the position of the companions of the Holy Prophet (S), there is a basic difference between the outlook of the Sunnis and that of the Shi’as.

First, let us see what is the meaning of a “Companion”. According to the Sunni books, a companion is a person who after accepting Islam had seen the Prophet, at least once, even if he had not had any talk with the Prophet, nor heard any hadith from him nor fought under the Prophet in any jihad; provided he died as a Muslim. This definition includes those who could not see the Prophet because of blindness.1

And this name is applied to all who professed Islam, even if faith had not entered their hearts yet, even if they were hypocrites.

In other words, almost the whole of Arabia was full of the companions.

Now, according to the Sunni belief all the companions were just and pious. They ascribe a tradition to the Prophet which forms the basis of their belief:
“My companions are like the stars, which one of them you followed you should be guided aright.” Therefore they believe that all the Companions were just (‘adil).

This view is diametrically opposed to the Qur’an and the ahadith of the Holy Prophet (s.a.wa.), leave aside the fact that the historical events totally disprove it.

As for the Qur’an, the criterion of excellence is the individual’s faith, good deeds and piety, as is seen in hundreds of verses, no matter whether that person was a companion or not. Also the Qur’an says in surah at-tawbah (revealed in 9 A.H., just about 1112 years before the death of the Prophet S):

And from among those who are round about you of the Arabs there are hypocrites. And from among the people of Medina; they are stubborn in hypocrisy; you (O Prophet!) do not know them; We will chastise them twice, then shall they be turned back to a grievous chastisement.2

Perhaps someone might say that this verse concerns the hypocrites. But the hypocrites too were counted among the Companions, especially so when hypocrisy of many of them was not known even to the Prophet. However, we quote here only a few verses (out of many) which are addressed to the believers among the Companions:

Oh, you who believe! What (excuse) have you that when it is said to you: Go forth in Allah’s way, you should incline heavily to earth; are you contented with this world’s life instead of the here-after? But the provision of this world’s life compared with the hereafter is but little. If you do not go forth, He will punish you with a painful punishment and bring in your place a people other than you and you will do Him no harm; and Allah has power over all things.3

Say: if your fathers and your sons and your brethren and your mates and your kinfolks and property which you have acquired and the slackness of trade which you fear and dwellings which you like, are dearer to you than Allah and his Messenger and jihad in His way, then wait till Allah brings about His command, and Allah does not guide the transgressing people4.

Oh, you who believe! be not disloyal to Allah and the Messenger, nor be unfaithful to your trusts while you know.5

Even as your Lord caused you to go forth from your house with the truth, though a party of the believers were surely averse. They disputed with you about the truth after it had become clear, (and they went forth) as if they were driven to death while they looked at it.6

Behold! you are those who are called upon to spend in Allah’s way, but among you are those who are niggardly, and whoever is niggardly is niggardly against his own soul; and Allah is Self-sufficient and you are the needy; and if you turn back He will bring in your place another people, then they will not be like you.7

As for the ahadith of the Holy Prophet (S), the following few are given here to clarify the issue:-

1. It has been narrated by the companions, Talha ibn ‘Abdullah, Ibn ‘Abbas and Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah (Allah’s mercy and peace be on him) conducted funeral prayer on the martyrs of Uhud; and the Messenger of Allah (Allah’s mercy and peace on him) said: “I am witness for these:’ Abu Bakr (r.a.) said: “O Messenger of Allah! Is it not that our brothers had accepted Islam as we did, and did jihad as we did?” He (i.e. the Prophet S) said: “Certainly! But they did not eat anything from their reward, and I do not know what you will do after me.” Abu Bakr wept and said: “Are we going to remain after you!”8

Imam Bukhari narrates from al-’Ula’ ibn al-Musayyab from his father that he said: “I met (the Companion) al-Bara’ ibn ‘Azib (R.A.) and said: ‘Blessings to you! You remained with the Prophet (Mercy and peace of Allah be on him) and did his bay’ah under the tree: He said: ‘O son of my brother! You do not know what have we done after him!”9

2. The Companion, Ibn ‘Abbas narrated that the Holy Prophet (S) said inter alia in a hadith about the Day of Judgment: “And verily some people of my ummah will be brought and taken to the left side (i.e. the side of the Fire): so I will say: ‘O my Lord! (they are) my companions: But I will be told: ‘Certainly you do not know what they did do after you; they continued to turn back on their heels right from the time you left them: Then I will say as had said the good servant (i.e. the Prophet ‘Isa): ‘and I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when Thou didst take me (away) Thou wert the watcher over them and Thou art witness of all things…1011

The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Surely you will be taken to the left side on the day of Qiyamat (Resurrection), so I will say: ‘Where to?’ and will be told: ‘To the Fire, by Allah!’ Then I will say: ‘O my Lord! They are my companions: Then it will be said. ‘Surely you do not know what did they do after you; verily they had gone out of Islam since the time you had departed from them: Then I will say: ‘To hell with them! To hell with them who changed after me!’ And I do not think anyone will be saved from them except (a few) like unattended cattle.”12

Ahadith of similar meaning have been narrated from the companions, Abu Bakrah13 and Abu‘d-Darda’14.

In spite of hundreds of verses and traditions criticizing many of the companions, the Sunnis refuse to look critically at individual companions to verify whether a particular companion really deserved to be followed or not. For them, every one of them deserves to be followed.

Their method of argument runs on the following lines. They will take a verse praising some companions and then apply it to all of them without pondering on its provisos and restrictions.

For example:

Certainly Allah was pleased with the believers when they gave allegiance to you under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquility on them and reward ed them with a near Victory.15

If you ponder on this verse, you will find that it is not a blanket declaration of pleasure with all those who did bay’ah for all times to come. In other words, it does not say: Allah was pleased with those who gave allegiance to you: It restricts it to the believers and that too for a certain time, “when they gave allegiance ..:’

Clearly, those who did not do bay’ah or who were not true believers are beyond the limits of this verse. Not only that; a preceding verse puts this verse in clear perspective:

“Surely those who swear allegiance to you do but swear allegiance to Allah; the hand of Allah is above their hands. Therefore whoever breaks (this allegiance) he breaks it only to the injury of his own soul, and whoever fulfills what he has covenanted with Allah, He will grant him a mighty reward.”16

So there is another most important proviso here: Those who have done bay’ah should not break it. Why this proviso, if all the companions who had done bay’ah under the tree, were immune from breaking it?

The bay’ah under the tree was on one specific term that “they would not flee from battle ground.”17

And the Qur’an itself is the witness that almost all of them broke it in the battle of Hunayn, 2 years after the said bay’ah. Allah says:

“Certainly Allah helped you in many places, and on the day of Hunayn, when your great numbers made you vain, but they (i.e. number) availed you nothing and the earth became too small for you notwithstanding its spaciousness, then you turned back retreating.”18

The books of traditions and history clearly say that in the battle of Hunayn, in which ten thousand companions (including all those who had done bay’ah under the tree) had participated, all of them fled away except four who remained steadfast, three of them were from the Prophet’s clan, Banu Hashim (‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib and Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harith ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib) and one from another clan (‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud).19

According to other traditions, ‘Aqil ibn Abi Talib, Zubayr ibn al-’Awwam, ‘Abdullah ibn Zubayr ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib and Usamah ibn Zayd also remained steadfast.

The Prophet (S) told his uncle, ‘Abbas to call the Muslims back. He wondered as to how his voice would reach the fleeing herd. The Prophet (S) said that Allah would cause his voice to reach them, no matter how far they might have gone. So, ‘Abbas called them in these words as the Prophet (S) had taught him: “O group of the Ansar (helpers), O People of the tree of samurah (where they had done the above mentioned bay’ah 2 years earlier)’20

By this fleeing from the battle-field, all of them (except the four or eight named above) broke their allegiance, and cannot be included in good-news of Allah’s pleasure. But the Sunnis refuse to look at these clear signs.

This is a very vast topic, but I have merely shown the basic difference in the outlooks of the Sunnis and the Shi’as.

However, we do not “wickedly revile” anyone; we only repeat what the Qur’an, the hadith and the history say. And we use the same words for each group which the Qur’an and hadith have used for them.

But let us suppose, just for the sake of argument, that the accusation of this unknown writer against the Shi’as is correct and that they really abuse the Shaykhayn; and then let us see if this really is a ground to declare that they are kafirs.

Ibn Taymiyyah, the Shaykhul Islam of the Wahhabis, quotes a group of Sunni scholars as follows:
“And merely abusing someone other than the Prophets does not necessarily make the abuser kafir, because some of those who were in the time of the Prophet (i.e. the companions) used to abuse one another and none of them was declared kafir because of this (practice); and (also) because it is not wajib (compulsory) to have faith particularly in any of the companions; therefore abusing any of them does not detract from the faith in Allah and His books and His messengers and the Last day.”21

Even more clear is the wording of Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari who writes in his Shrahal­ Fiqh-al-akbar:-
“To abuse Abu Bakr and ‘Umar is not kufr, as Abush-Shakur as-Salimi has correctly proved in his book, at-Tamhid. And it is because the basis of this (claim that reviling the Shaykhayn is kufr) is not proven, nor its meaning is confirmed.”

“It is so because certainly abusing a Muslim is fisq (sin, moral depravity) as is proved by a confirmed hadith, and therefore the Shaykhayn (Abu Bakr and ‘Umar) will be equal to other (Muslims) in this rule; and also if we suppose that someone murdered the Shaykhayn, and even the two sons-in-law (i.e. ‘Uthman and ‘Ali), all of them together, even then according to Ahlus-sunnah wal Jama’ah, he will not go out of the Islam (i.e. will not become kafir): and we know that abusing is less serious than murder...”22

These two declarations by these giants of the Wahhabis and Hanafis respectively are more than enough to show the baselessness of this so-called proof.

  • 1. Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalani, Al-Isabah, p.10.
  • 2. Qur’an, 9:101.
  • 3. Qur’an, 9:38-39.
  • 4. Qur’an, 9:25.
  • 5. Qur’an, 8:27.
  • 6. Qur’an, 8:5-6.
  • 7. Qur’an, 47:38.
  • 8. Al-Waqidi, Kitabu ’l-maghazi, vol.I, p.310.
  • 9. Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 5, p.195; Imam Malik, Al-Muwatta, Vol. 2 p.462.
  • 10. The verse quoted is from Surah Al-Maidah, verse 117.
  • 11. Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Egypt ed. Vol. I. p. 235.
  • 12. Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 7, p.209; Vol. 4, pp.94 and 156; Sahih Malik Vol. 7, p.66.
  • 13. Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 5, p.50.
  • 14. Majma’u ‘z-zawaid, Vol. 9, p.367.
  • 15. Qur’an, 48:18.
  • 16. Qur’an, 48:10.
  • 17. Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 3, p.192; Tarikh Tabari, Vol.3, p.87.
  • 18. Qur’an, 9:25.
  • 19. Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol.2, p.113; As-Sirah al-Halabiyah, Vol.3, p.255.
  • 20. Ibn Sa’d, At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Beirut, n.d., Vol. 4, pp. 18-19.
  • 21. Ibn Taymiyyah, As-Sarimu ’l-maslul, 1402/1982; p.579 (published by ‘Alama’l-kutub).
  • 22. Mulla ‘Ali Qari, Shrahal-Fiqh-al-akbar, (1) Matha ‘Uthmaniyah, Istanbul, 1303, p.130,
    (2) Matha’ Mujtaba’i, Dehli, 1348. p.86, (3) Malba’ Aftab al-Hind, India, no date, p.86

    We have quoted here from 3 old editions printed in Turkey and India. Now a new edition had been printed by Darul Kutubil ‘Ilmiyah, Beirut, in 1404/1984 which claims to be “the First Edition” and from which four pages (including the above text) have been omitted. The deleted portion contains also the declaration that those who believe that Allah has a body are definitely kafir according to Ijma’ without any difference of opinion. Obviously this statement expels the Wahhabis out of Islam because they believe that Allah has a body, as described earlier.

    Then 2.5 pages contain the debate whether it is permissible to do la’nah on Yazid. Mulla ‘Ali Qari has quoted some Sunni scholars as saying that Yazid became Kafir the moment he ordered the killing of Imam Husain; but he (Mulla ‘Ali Qari) himself allows only the la’nah in these words:
    “May Allah curse him who killed Husain or was pleased with it.” Even this was unpalatable to the Wahhabis who call Yazid “Amiru ‘l-mu’mineen”!!

    The white lie that the Beirut edition is the “First” and this Tahrrif by omission is one more proof how honest and trustworthy the Wahhabis are.

    And the omission has left a sentence hanging in the air - its subject is omitted while the predicate is intact. Wahhabi scholarship indeed!!