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Companions of the Prophet (SAW)
by Shaykh Ahmed Abdul Mujeeb Qasmi Nadvi (translated by Muhammad Owais Jafrey)
Ideologies, however appealing they may seem, don’t work unless they are practical. They remain hanging in void for not being translatable into action. Hence all man made ideologies have failed the test of time. Allah (SWT) has saved man from the vicious circle of trial and error by sending His chosen, exalted and righteous people from time to time to lead mankind. These role models known as Prophets and Messengers practiced what they preached. They taught man to submit to one Supreme Sovereign and strengthen his relationship with Him in all spheres of life, be it individual or social. The more these relationships are strengthened, the more perfection is achieved and the more life embraces peace and harmony within and without. These role models not only revolutionized the world, but also taught man to look beyond this world, this temporary station to the real and permanent home, the Hereafter. No one will ever have the excuse in not knowing what is right from what is wrong.
Aayah 165 of Surah Nisa says: “They were messengers bearing good news and warning, so that mankind would have not excuse before Allah, once the messenger had been sent…”
Prophet (SAW) was commissioned to prophet-hood at the most dark and dismal point in time and to the most corrupt, morally bankrupt and lawless people. They knew no difference between right and wrong, good and bad, vice and virtue. Darud-o-Salaam on the Mercy to the Worlds and the greatest benefactor of humanity! He (SAW) from that raw material of ignorance carved out towering personalities, designed scholars, shaped commanders and authored leaders, who founded the greatest civilization in human history. If all the world’s reformers and social philosophers pool their efforts together, they would miserably fail to find even one person, who could come closer even to the shade of any student who had graduated from the Prophet (SAW)’s academy, the greatest of world academies.
It was the miracle of his prophet-hood that each satellite which revolved around Prophet (SAW)’s personality was destined to occupy a high place, a lofty status of his own in the galaxy of great people who ever walked on this planet. Pick anyone of them and you will find him soft as silk and hard as steel depending on the given situation. Aayah 29 of Surah Al-Fath says:
“Those who follow him [Rasul Allah] are harsh towards the disbelievers and compassionate towards each other.”
Companionship of Prophet (SAW) was a distinct honor, which did not depend on influence, power or wealth. It solely depended on the will of Allah (SWT). He bestowed it upon him, whomever He (SWT) thought worthy of it. Prophet (SAW) once said that Allah (SWT) selected my companions after having selected the prophets and messengers, and then chose specially four: Abu Bakr, Umar, Othman, and Ali (RAjma’een) for my companionship. He (SAW) also said that there is good in all my companions. [Majuma-uzzawayed 16:10].
Abu Dawood Tayalasee relates that Abdullah ibn Masoood (RA) told that Prophet (SAW) said:
“Allah (SWT) looked at the hearts of all people and found Muhammad (SAW)’s heart better among all; He (SWT) selected its owner to be His messenger. Then He (SWT) looked again at the hearts of all people and found those of Prophet (SAW)’s companions better, so He chose them to be Prophet (SAW)’s allies and consultants. They (RAjma’een) struggled in the path of Allah, and whatever they thought as good for Muslims is good, and whatever they thought bad for Muslims is bad. [Musnad Ahmad 626:1]
Imam Ahmad (RehmA) relates that Abdullah Ibne Masood (RA) said:
Whoever needs following should follow the companions of Prophet (SAW). They are the people with purest heart, depth in knowledge, free from pretensions and show off, they are moderate in nature, and performed better in the circumstances they faced. These are the people, Allah (SWT) selected for the companionship of his Prophet and for the establishment of His Deen. Hence you should value them and follow their footsteps; they are on the right path.” [Sharh-e-Al Safareeni li Al Durrat Al Mudeeah 2:280]
Allah (SWT) admires Prophet (SAW)’s companions in the Holy Qur’an and compliments them on their total and complete faith. Their efforts in the path of Allah are sincere and their achievements measurable and commendable. They sacrificed their wealth and life to support Prophet (SAW) and his mission, and that is why they earned the good tidings of Paradise. Aayah 110 of Surah Al’Imran says: “[Believers], you are the best community singled out for people; you order what is right, forbid what is wrong, and believe in Allah.”
This Aayah means that this Ummah is the best among Ummahs, and its secret lies that it invites towards what is good and forbids what is evil. Interpreters of this verse opine that since companions being the first addressees, they are the ones who are singled out to deserve this honor.
Aayah 143 of Baqarah reads: “We have made your [believers] into a just community.”
The Arabic word “wast” means the best, the just and the choicest. Both Aayahs mentioned above prove that the companions of Prophet (SAW) are the best and most trustworthy. Ibn-e-Abdul Berr emphatically writes in the preface of “Al-Istee’aab”, and Scholar Safareeni opines in his explanation to Li Al Durrat Al Mudeea that majority of scholars confirm that the companions of Prophet (SAW) excel in righteousness and are ranked after prophet and messengers.
Aayah 74 of Surah Anfal reads: “Those who believed and emigrated, and struggled for Allah’s cause and those who gave refuge and help – they are the true believers and they will have forgiveness and generous provision.”
This Aayah attests the truth that Muhajireen and Ansaar were ideal Muslims. Many verses of the Holy Qur’an stand as witness to verify their strength of Faith and at least 90 times they have been called as the people of Iman.
Aayah 29 of Surah Al-Fath - “Those who follow him [Rasul Allah] are harsh towards the disbelievers and compassionate towards each other” is the Qur’anic portrayal of the companions of the Prophet (SAW). All scholars and particularly Imam Qurtabi has elaborated that this Aayah refers to all companions of Prophet (SAW).
Abu Urwah Zubairi says: “Once I was in the assembly of Imam Malik (RehmA). Some people mentioned the name of a person who used to say bad words about Prophet’s companions. Imam Malik recited the verse from Surah Al-Fath and said that whoever hates Prophet (SAW)’s companions falls in this defined category “harsh”, and his Iman is in danger. Having hate towards any companion is a sign of rejecting Iman. (Hilyatul Owliya 327:6]
Aayahs 20-21 of Surah Tawba reads: “Those who believe, who migrated and strove hard in Allah’s way with their possessions and their persons, are in Allah’s eyes much higher in rank; it is they who will triumph; and their Lord gives them the good news of His mercy and pleasure, Gardens where they have lasting bliss.” These verses reassured the companions about the reward of Paradise where they will live for ever and ever. No other blessing can match this reward.
Aayah 26 of Surah Fath: “While the disbelievers had fury in their hearts – the fury of ignorance – Allah sent His tranquility down on to His Messenger and the believers and made binding on them [their] promise to obey Allah…” asserts that piety was an essential attribute of companions’ personality, and they were the most respectable people in the sight of Allah.
Aayah 13 of Surah Al-Hujarat: “The most respectable among you is the one who has the most piety and who fears Allah most.”
To Imaam Raazi (RehmA), it means that companions were the most esteemed people and their standard of piety has been highlighted in this verse. [Tafseer-e-Kabir. 7: 553]
Aayah 18-19 of Surah Al-Fath reads: “Allah was pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you [Rasul Allah] under the tree; He knew what was in their hearts and so He sent tranquility down to them and rewarded them with a speedy triumph and with many future gains. Allah is mighty and wise.” This allegiance “Bait-e-Ridhwan” is a divine proclamation that Allah (SWT) is pleased with the companions who took the oath of allegiance on Prophet (SAW)’s hands. The Aayah also highlights the purity of their heart and excellence of their Faith. These qualities made them deserve Allah’s reward of Paradise.
“Whoever took the oath of allegiance under this tree wouldn’t go to Hell,” is also a tradition of Prophet (SAW). [Muslim]
Aayah 100 of Surah Tawba reads: “Allah will be well pleased with the first emigrants and helpers and those who followed them in good deeds, and they will be well pleased with Him: He has prepared Gardens graced with flowing streams for them, there to remain for ever. That is the supreme triumph.” This Aayah mentions two groups of the companions. It is a clear proclamation that Allah (SWT) is pleased with both of them and they are pleased with Allah (SWT) and Paradise will be their permanent abode. The Aayah further attests that the companions left the world in a state of Iman. That is why Hafiz Ibn-e-Taimiyah (RemA) brings a very pertinent point in focus with regards to this Aayah. He says that “Allah’s pleasure is a time specific attribute. Allah (SWT) will be pleased with that person whom Allah knows will meet the criterion of His pleasure. And one Allah is pleased with a person, that person will never warrant the displeasure of Allah. Hence the state of Allah (SWT) being pleased with some one is bound to be an eternal and destined state. [Assarim-al-Maslool]
Allah ibn-al-Berr writes in the preface of the monumental work “Al-Istee’aab” that whomever Allah is pleased with once, Insha Allah He will never be displeased with him.
These are just a few from many verses of the Holy Qur’an highlighting the qualities of Prophet (SAW)’s companions, their attributes, their character, their sincerity, strength of their Faith, their dynamism, and their contribution to the cause of Allah’s Deen. May Allah enable us to study their biographies, follow their footsteps and learn to enhance our Iman, and win Allah (SWT)’s and His Messenger’s pleasure! Aamin!
The Friday Khutbahs are published to enhance your knowledge of Islam. The references of Quran and Hadith are the approximate translation of the Arabic text. The editors have not verified the accuracy of the the English translation. The scholarly reader is encouraged to refer to the original Arabic script if there is any doubt. Kindly notify us if the translation can be enhanced.