If the Prophet (SAW) was the radiant moon, illuminating the path of the traveler in the depths of the night, then his Companions (RA) were like glittering stars ameliorating the night-sky. Many such comparisons have been given of the Companions throughout centuries, the poet has attempted but never succeeded in truly praising these paragons of piety. So instead of resorting to the praise of poets and wordsmiths, this short article will bring to light the praises conferred upon the Companions (RA) from Allah and his Messenger (SAW).
To better understand the great status of the Companions (RA), it is imperative we define what a companion is. Imam Nawawi (RH) opines that a Sahabi (RA) is that believer, who had seen Allah’s Messenger (SAW), or had the privilege of his company even if that was for a moment. (Sharah Muslim)
We will first delve into the Quran for information about these distinguished individuals. Allah has addressed the Companions (RA), “And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you.” (2:143) Preceding this verse the changing of the Qibla (direction of prayer) is mentioned. The meaning is that just as your direction of prayer is correct and well-balanced, so too are the Companions (RA) and their adherents. The Companions (RA) will also bear witness to other nations just as the Prophet (SAW) will be a witness.
Allah has mentioned in various places in the Quran, when talking about the glorious Companions (RA) “Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him.” (58:22) This is really the greatest seal of approval a person can get, when even the Creator is happy with you. This should serve as a warning for any person who wants to slander or defame the Companions (RA), you will not succeed, rather you are only harming yourselves.
To illustrate the dedication of the Companions (RA), many incidents can be mentioned. One famous incident is Bayt Ridwan, this is where the Prophet (SAW) intended to perform Umrah. On the way, he was informed that the Makkans were prepared to obstruct him. He stopped over at Hudaybiyah and sent Uthman (RA), in order to engage the Makkans in diplomacy. He wished to convince them to give the Muslims safe passage, however, he was arrested. Due to his delay, the Prophet (SAW) believed him to be martyred. So, the Prophet (SAW) took a pledge of allegiance, Bay’ah, from the Companions (RA) present.
They assured him that in the event of a battle, they would support him till the end. They took this pledge knowing full well that the Makkans were stronger than them militarily. The Makkans had a numerical advantage, they were better armed, they were better supplied and thirsting for Muslim blood whereas the Muslims were caught unawares. This did not deter them, even in the face of this bleak situation they would happily offer their lives rather than abandon the Prophet (SAW). So Allah who is the All-knowing mentions this in the Quran, “Certainly was Allah pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you, [O Muhammad], under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquility upon them and rewarded them with an imminent conquest” (48:18) This again shows Allah’s pleasure and the status enjoyed by the Companions (RA).
When the Prophet (SAW) was asked regarding the best of people, he replied, “The people of my time are the best. Then those after them and then those following them” (Muslim) This should clear any misconceptions or rather expel various delusions some may suffer from. The Companions (RA) after the Prophets (AS) are the greatest, to state otherwise is complete folly.
The Prophet (SAW) has warned in regards to his Companions (RA), “Do not revile any of my Companions because (they are so elevated in rank and dear to Allah that) if you spend gold equal to the Mount Uhud, you would not be entitled to reward of their spending a Mudd or even half a Mudd” (Muslim) It has been mentioned that this Hadith was prompted by Khalid ibn Walid (RA) who spoke rudely with Abdur Rahman ibn Awf (RA). Abdur Rahman (RA) was a venerated Companion, and one of the ten who were promised Jannah. Khalid (RA) was an undefeated warrior, he was respected by both the Muslims and non-Muslims, yet he could not attain the rank of Abdur Rahman (RA). If this was his state, the state of a man who was blessed with the moniker of ‘The Sword of Allah’, who was instrumental in the toppling of the two greatest superpowers of the time, who was blessed with the company of the Prophet (SAW); then who are we? We who are not equivalent to the dust under his feet.
There seems to be a worrying trend unfolding within the Muslim community, there are some who are disrespectful towards the Companions (RA). Some who doubt the loyalty, piety or faith. For those individuals, the words of the Prophet will suffice for them; “Fear Allah concerning my Companions. Do not make them a target (of criticism and speaking ill of them). He who loves them, does so from love of me, and he who hates them, does so from hatred of me. He who hurts them, hurts me, he who hurts me, hurts Allah. And he who hurts Allah, will be punished by Allah (in this world and the next)” (Tirmidhi) This Hadith is very explicit, it excuses no coming generation for any criticism or hatred they may harbor for the Companions (RA). If they happen to insult them then Allah will deal with those unfortunate souls in this world and in the Hereafter.
May Allah raise us with the Prophet (SAW) and the Companions (RA). May he allow us to love them and emulate them. Ameen.