Concerning the General Companions
All the jurisprudential rulings and Islamic beliefs have been transmitted to us by the companions. No one can claim that he worships Allah based upon the Qur’an and the sunna without the companions acting as the intermediaries to reach these two fundamental sources for the Muslims the world over.
Yet the companions disagreed and differed among themselves after the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.), reviling and cursing each other, fighting and eventually killing each other.
It is not possible for us then, given these circumstances, to accept rulings from them without discussion, critique, examination and opposition. Likewise, it is not possible to judge for or against them without knowing their status and without reading their biographies concerning what they did during the life of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and after his death. This is [necessary so as] to distinguish the trustworthy from the falsifier, the believer from the corrupt one, the sincere one from the hypocrite, and to know those who turned back upon their heels, from those who remained devoted.
Regrettably, the ahl al-sunna in general do not allow this and vehemently prevent criticism of the companions or finding [any] fault with them. They are pleased with all of them and send blessings upon them, as they send blessings upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, without the exception of any of them.
The question that must be posed to the ahl al-sunna wa’l-Jama’a is this: Does criticizing and finding fault with the companions deserve banishment from Islam? Or does this [act] conflict with the Qur’an and the sunna?
To answer this question, it is necessary for me to examine the deeds and sayings of some of the companions during the life of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and after his death, referring to what has been mentioned by the scholars of the ahl al-sunna in their Sahihs, Musnads and their historical works. I shall do this in a concise manner without referring to any Shi’i book, since their views on some of the companions are well known and require no further elucidation.
To remove any confusion, and so as not to leave any proofs for an opponent to use in arguing against me, I must state that when we mention the companions in this chapter, we refer to some, not to all of them. Those [whom we refer to] may be the majority or the minority, we will discover this during the course of our research, if Allah wishes.
Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim state the following saying of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) to his companions:
‘On the day of resurrection you will be grabbed from the left, and I will say: ‘Where are they [being taken] to?’ It will be said: ‘To hell, by God’. I will say: ‘My Lord! These are my companions’. It will be said: ‘You do not know what they did after you. From the time you left them they never ceased to apostatize’. I will say: ‘Away with him, away with him, woe to him who changed things after me. And I do not see anyone of them being saved except that he will be like a forlorn sheep'”.
Let us begin with the words of Allah, through which no falsehood comes, neither from the front nor from behind. It is the [final] ruling, the just and it is the criterion (between truth and falsehood). The most exalted says, regarding some of the companions:
“And of the people of Medina are those who are bent on hypocrisy. You know them not, but We know them. Twice will We punish them, and then they will be cast into severe punishment” (9:101) .
“They swear in Allah’s name that they did not speak [evil]. They have certainly spoken words of disbelief. They disbelieved after submitting. And they contemplated that which they could not attain” (9:74).
“And among them are those who took a covenant with Allah saying: “If He gives us of His bounty, we will surely spend in charity and be among the righteous people”. But when He gave them of His bounty, they were miserly with it and turned back aversively. So He filled their hearts with hypocrisy until the day they meet Him due to their breaking the promise with God which they gave, and because they lied” (9:77).
“The desert Arabs are the most disbelieving, hypocritical and most deserving to be ignorant of the ordinances sent down by Allah unto His Messenger. And Allah is the All Knowing, the Wise” (9:97).
“And of the people are those who say: ‘We believe in Allah and the last day’. They believe not and seek to deceive Allah and those who believe. Instead they fool only themselves, though they do not perceive this. In their hearts is sickness, and Allah increases their sickness. For them is a painful chastisement due to their lies” (2:10).
“When the hypocrites come to you they say: ‘We bear witness that you are the Messenger of Allah’. Allah knows that you are His Messenger, and Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are liars. They have made their oaths as a shield and turn [people] away from Allah. Evil indeed is that which they do! That is because they believed and then disbelieved. Their hearts were sealed and they do not understand” ( 63:3).
“Do you not see those who claim to believe in what was revealed unto you and what was revealed before you? They seek judgement from the evil ones even though they were ordered to disbelieve in them. Satan wishes to lead them astray completely. When it is said to them: ‘Come to what Allah has revealed and [come] to the Messenger’, you see the hypocrites turn away from you in aversion. Yet when misfortune befalls them due to what their own hands have earned, they come to you swearing by Allah, saying: ‘We merely wished goodness and success'” (4:62).
“The hypocrites [seek to] deceive Allah, but He deceives them. When they stand to prayer, they do so in a lazy manner, they [seek to] show off to the people, they do not remember Allah but for a little [while]” (4:142).
“If you see them, their appearances will please you, and if they speak, you will listen to them. They are as blocks of wood propped up. They believe that every cry is against them. They are the enemy, so beware of them. Allah will destroy them [as] they forge lies” (63:4).
“Allah knows those from among you that hinder people and those who say to their brothers: ‘Come to us and you will not have to fight except for a little while’. Covetous they are over you. When fear comes, you will see them looking towards you, their eyes rolling as though death hovers upon them. And when the fear is gone, they assail you with sharp tongues, desiring good. They do not believe and Allah has made their deeds of no avail, that is easy for Allah” (33:19).
“And among them are those who listen to you until, when they leave you, they say to those who have been given knowledge: “What did he just say?” They are those whose hearts Allah has sealed and they follow their own desires” (47:16).
“Do those in whose hearts is sickness think that Allah will not expose their rancour? Had we so wished, we would have shown them to you, you would have recognized them by their signs. Surely you shall know them by the tone of their speech. Allah is aware of your deeds” (47: 30).
“Those who lagged behind from among the desert Arabs will say to you: ‘We were busy with our properties and our families. So seek forgiveness for us’. They utter with their tongues what is not in their hearts” (48:11).
These clear verses from Allah’s glorious book explain clearly the hypocrisy of some of them who infiltrated the ranks of the sincere companions so much so that, had it not been for Allah’s revelation, their realities would have been hidden from the bearer of the message himself.
However, the ahl al-sunna always argue with us concerning this. They say: “What have we to do with the hypocrites? May Allah curse them. The companions are not from them, or these hypocrites were not amongst the companions”. If you ask them: “Who are these hypocrites [concerning] whom more than 150 verses were revealed in chapters 9 and 63?” They will respond: “They are ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Ubayy and ‘Abd Allah b. Salul”. Besides these two people, they do not find any other [people].
Glory be to Allah! If the Prophet (S.A.W.) himself did not know most of them, how can the hypocrisy be restricted to Ibn Ubayy and Ibn Abi Salul, those two who were known to the Muslims?
by: Muhammad al-Tijani al-Samawi