Misleading Analysis of History Against Sahabah & Criticizing the Companions of the Prophet, By Maulana Syed Muhammad Yusuf Banuri
Translated By: Maulana Yusuf Talal Ali Delorenzo
From the Translator: This article is a translation of one of the many articles written in Urdu by my teacher, Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Banuri, upon whom be the mercy of Allah, for the monthly magazine of the Jamia uloom islamiyyah Banuri Town, ”Bayyinat”. The essay was written, over ten years ago, in direct response to the publication of a book which Maulana believed to be misleading in its treatment of some of the basic doctrines of Islam; namely, the orthodox position with regard to the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them).
At the time, owing to the notoriety of the book, Maulana did not think it necessary to mention its title or its author’s name. Nor is there any reason today, as the book in question has not been translated into English, for us to rekindle old fires by naming the book and its author. What then, the reader may justifiably ask, is the purpose behind the ·translation of this essay, and its publication in booklet form? The best answer to this question can be found in the pages of the booklet itself. I am referring, of course, to the abundance of useful information in those pages which concerns those aspects of Islam which are all too often taken for granted, and only passingly, if ever, given serious thought by even the educated Muslim public. Then, it is the dissemination of that knowledge, rather than any desire to stir up what has already been put to rest, which is the primary concern of the translator and publishers. And it is Allah who prospers and assists; in Him do we trust, and unto Him do we return. Ramadan ul Mubaarak/1398
Conspiracy to criticize the companions (R.A)
It is a well known rule of thumb that the way to cast doubt on the authenticity of any kind of information is to first make a target of the one, or ones, who conveyed the information; attempt to discolor their doings, assassinate their characters, destroy people’s confidence in them. Since the Sahabah, may Allah be pleased with them, were the first ones to convey information concerning the Deen ul Islam, the enemies of Islam singled them out as the prime targets in their campaign of slander and vilification.
In fact, in spite of the gaping doctrinal differences between the many schismatic and heretical sects which have branched off from Islam in the past, the one thing they seem to have in common is their criticism of the Sahabah, may Allah be pleased with them. The enemies of Islam have attempted to fault their bearing and conduct, malign them in any way, criticize their character, detract from their accomplishments, accuse them of preferring worldly wealth to the commandments of Allah, and label them usurpers, frauds, and bigoted tribalists.
Finally, these schismatic’s hit the heights of fanaticism when they raise the question of whether or not the people who, according to the Quran, set the standard of belief for the entire Ummat:آمنوا کما آمن الناس
“Believe as the people (Sahaaba) believe,” (2:13)
were actually believers! Or, concerning the people who watered the tree of Islam with their blood, may Allah be pleased with them, these heretics dare to say that they were incapable of maintaining Islam’s highest standards of belief? And these were the people, may Allah be pleased with them, about whom the Almighty said:
رِجَالٌ صَدَقُوا مَا عَاهَدُوا اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِ فَمِنْهُم مَّن قَضَىٰ نَحْبَهُ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَنتَظِرُ وَمَا بَدَّلُوا تَبْدِيلًا
… men who were true to their covenant with Allah; some of them have fulfilled their vow by laying down their lives, and some of them are still waiting, and they have not weakened in their resolve in the least. (33 :24)
Nevertheless, according to the schismatic’s, these blessed people, may Allah be pleased with them, were void of all truthfulness, loyalty, sincerity, and faith! Concerning those sincere people who left their wives, children, homes. businesses, relatives,
friends, and comfort for the pleasure of Allah, sacrificing everything for the sake of Rasulullah (PBUH), concerning those people, may Allah be pleased with them, it is said by the schismatic’s that they were slaves to their greed. and that they cared more for their own personal gain than they did for the commandments of Allah and His Rasul, upon whom be peace: لقد جئتم شيئا ادا
You have indeed advanced something hideous. (19 :90)
Obviously it is inconceivable that the people of this Ummah could ever give credence to this kind of frivolous prattle. And Allah most High is not unaware of the heresies stirred up by these people. Indeed He has said:
والله متم نوره ولو كره الكافرون
And Allah will perfect His light, though the unbelievers be adverse. (61 :8)
These, then, are the reasons for Allah most High’s repeated praise for the Sahaba, may Allah be pleased with them, His attestation to their reliability, and His confirmation of their integrity. Indeed. He has said:
أُولَٰئِكَ كَتَبَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَأَيَّدَهُم بِرُوحٍ مِّنْهُ
Those-He has written faith upon their hearts, and He has confirmed them with a spirit from Himself. (58:22)
What did The Prophet said about his Companions?
In countless Hadith, Rasurullah, the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, enumerated the virtues of his Sahaba, may Allah be pleased with them. In the majority of these Hadith the Rightly-guided Khalifas, Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Umar, Hazrat Uthman, and Hazrat Ali are mentioned in particular. It should be obvious from the care taken by Rasulullah (PBUH), in recounting the Sahaba’s virtues, accomplishments, unique qualities, and inner perfections that he, upon whom be peace, was keen to have his Ummah understand that the Sahaba were a cut above the ordinary. Indeed, since the Sahaba, may Allah be pleased with them, came in direct contact with the Rasul, upon whom be peace, our love for them is the same as our love for him, upon whom be peace. Therefore, even the slightest criticism of those fortunate people, may Allah be pleased with them, is something which gives great offense to the people of this Ummat.
The Imam Tirmizi relates on the authority of Abdullah ibn Mughaffal, may Allah be pleased with him, that Rasulullah (PBUH) said:
اللَّهَ اللَّهَ فِي أَصْحَابِي ، لَا تَتَّخِذُوهُمْ غَرَضًا بَعْدِي ، فَمَنْ أَحَبَّهُمْ فَبِحُبِّي أَحَبَّهُمْ ، وَمَنْ أَبْغَضَهُمْ فَبِبُغْضِي أَبْغَضَهُمْ ، وَمَنْ آذَاهُمْ فَقَدْ آذَانِي ، وَمَنْ آذَانِي فَقَدْ آذَى اللَّهَ ، وَمَنْ آذَى اللَّهَ فَيُوشِكُ أَنْ يَأْخُذَهُ
Fear Allah, fear Allah regarding my Sahaba ! Do not make targets of them after I am gone. For whoever has love for them, has love for them because of his love for me, And whoever has hate for them, has hate for them because of his hate for me. Then whoever troubles them, troubles me. And whoever troubles me, troubles Allah. And whoever troubles Allah will quickly be taken to account.
The people of this Ummah were informed that the greatest deed performed by the greatest one of them would be nothing in comparison to the least deed of the least of the Sahaba, may Allah be pleased with them. For this reason no one in this Ummah has the right to say anything derogatory about the Sahaba. Rasulullah (PBUH), is reported by the Imams Bukhari and Muslim to have said:
لا تسبوا أصحابي، فوالذي نفسي بيده لو أن أحدكم أنفق مثل أحد ذهبا ما أدرك مُدّ أحدهم ولا نصيفه
not malign my Sahaba! For if one of you were to give a mountain of gold in the way of Allah, it would not compare to a bushel of barley given by one of my Sahaba.
The rank given to the Sahabah, may Allah be pleased with them, is so high that, according to a Hadith related by Al Khateeb Al Baghdadi on the authority of lbn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) Rasulullah, upon whom be peace, ordered the people of this Ummah to reply in the following way to anyone who has the audacity to speak badly of them:
إذا رأيتم الذين يسبون أصحابي فقولوا لعنة الله على شركم
When you find someone speaking badly of my Sahaba, say to him. ‘The curse of Allah be upon the worst of the two of you.’
Criticism of the Companions Necessitates Objection to the Qur’an and the Prophet
It is not our intention here to list every Hadith concerning the Sahaba, may Allah be pleased with them, but what we want to say is that if anyone, after examining the evidence of the Quran and Hadith, still insists on criticizing the Sahaba, then, aside from the fact that his rebuff of this evidence is synonymous to his denial of the Ouran and Hadith (and therefore Kufr), the logical consequence of his criticism is the allegation that Rasulullah (PBUH), fell short in the performance of the duties of his Risalat; that he was unable to purify the Sahaba, may Allah be pleased with them.
بَعَثَ رَسُولًا مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ
He sent among them a Rasul from themselves, to recite to them His signs, and to purify them, and to teach them the Book and the Wisdom. (3:164)
But since Allah most High has affirmed in the Quran that they actually were purified, this criticism will be seen to be in direct opposition to the Quan! So, in spite of all this, do we continue with our criticism of the Sahaba? Or should we say that since Rasulullah (PBUH), was unsuccessful in his mission it is obvious that Allah most High made a mistake in His choice of a Rasul? Allah forbid! We have indeed strayed far afield.
According to the largest sect of Islamic schismatic’s, and we seek refuge in Allah from all ignorance and impudence, Allah most High sometimes learns things that He did not know before! This they call ‘Badaa’. As if Allah’s knowledge was somehow incomplete! Now, if this is the kind of belief they have concerning the Almighty, what do you suppose they believe concerning the Rasul, upon whom be peace, and the Sahaba, may Allah be pleased with them?
The Companions are the Criterion to Distinguish Between Truth & Falsehood
Anyway, the point is that when you criticize the Sahaba, may Allah be pleased with them, or publicize their mistakes, or make them the target of your allegations, you, whether you realize it or not, bring Allah, the Rasul, upon whom be peace, the Ouran, and the Sunnah under criticism; or, in other words, the whole of the Deen ul Islam! It is not unlikely that Rasulullah (PBUH), had this in mind when he said:
وَمَنْ آذَاهُمْ فَقَدْ آذَانِي ، وَمَنْ آذَانِي فَقَدْ آذَى اللَّهَ ، وَمَنْ آذَى اللَّهَ فَيُوشِكُ أَنْ يَأْخُذَهُ
Then whoever troubles them, troubles me. And whoever troubles me, troubles Allah. And whoever troubles Allah, will quickly be taken to account.
This is why, in contrast to every schismatic sect, the distinctive feature of the Sunni Orthodoxy has been their love and respect for the Sahaba Kiraam,. All of Orthodoxy is agreed on the following article of faith:
ونكف عن ذكر الصحابة الا بخير
We have nothing but good to say about the Sahaba.
Then the outstanding difference between the Sunni Orthodoxy and the schismatics is their position in regard to the Sahaba, may Allah be pleased with them. A person who makes allegations against the Sahaba, who searches out their every mistake, or Who names them as the guilty party in his accusations is obviously not a member of the Sunni Orthodoxy.
Misleading Analysis of History Against Sahabah
As for those gentlemen who, out of what they suppose to be sincerity and good intentions, have made a systematic philosophy out of maligning the Sahaba, may Allah be pleased with them, calling it research, or an answer to the pressing questions of the day; whether they know it or not the only effect their researches will have will be to foment within their readers a loathing, in the name of Islam, for everything thing Islamic! Next they’ll be having an international conference for critics of the Sahaba; critics without knowledge, without understanding, without acumen, without any sense at all ! Unfortunately, this has already passed from the realm of possibility to the world of events: الأمان الحفيظ
Allah preserves us and give us peace!
By way of excuse they say, “All of this information was in the history books anyway”. We are guilty only of having collected it. It is unfortunate that they, in presenting this excuse, have ignored so many matters of fundamental importance. Otherwise, it is more than obvious that such a feeble excuse is hopelessly inadequate.
History & Authenticity: Significant Difference in the Standard of History & Hadith
1) We have already seen the textual evidence of the Quran and Hadith prohibiting criticism of the Sahaba, may Allah be pleased with them. The Ulema of the Sunni Orthodoxy are in complete agreement on this point. Then, in comparison to this kind of indisputable evidence, of what import are the tales and legends of the early muslim historians? With them the recording of history was a process whereby the historian collected indiscriminately any and all information about a certain event or person, regardless of whether or not the information was authentic. The standards of authenticity which were applied to the Hadith were never applied to history. No one ever attempted to do so. For this reason the scholars of Hadith refused to take responsiblity for the authenticity of historical narrations. The verse of the renowned scholar of Hadith, Hafiz Zain ud Deen al ‘Iraqi sums the matter up quite nicely:
وليعلم الطالب أن السيرا يجمع ما صح و ما قد أنكرا
The student should know that history is a collection of the authentic and the spurious alike.
Now if someone wants to prove something by going through the history books until he finds a shred of information in support of his claim, ignoring the requirements of reason and revelation, he should realize that in the same way that he ponders over whether a certain historical narration will be useful in proving his point, he should also consider whether or not that narration is in any way contrary to the Shariah of Islam or common sense. To illustrate this point it should suffice here to mention only one example.
A Rightly-guided Khalifa is defined as a muslim ruler who faithfully adheres to the Way of Nubuwwat, and who does, or decides, nothing in contravention to the standards of that Way. Recently, someone wrote of one of the four Rightly-guided Khalifas, accusing him of having unjustly awarded a full fifth of the spoils of war (amounting to over five Lakh Dinars) to one of his relatives. The question that now arises is whether or not this story accurately depicts the Way of Nubuwwat, or the character of a Rightly-guided Khalifa.
If this story was to be accepted word for word would it not mean that the moral and religious standards of the Rightly-guided Khalifas, were no higher than our present day dictators who think nothing of giving their relatives route permits and import licenses?
The world’s unique court against the Companions (R.A),
Attorneys for the Defense or Attorney for the Prosecution ?
2) The second point to be made here is that these historical narrations didn’t just come to light yesterday. The great Ulema of this Ummah have leafed through those very same pages and provided satisfactory explanations for everything narrated therein. In fact, by reading what was written by those Ulema one can see how easily these matters can be explained. But now we have someone who, in the name of impartial research, comes along and presents these same matters in the worst possible light so that the Sahabah are faulted, and their deeds and accomplishments are debased and derided. Now, are we supposed to give the author of these infamies the benefit of the doubt, in the same way that he gave the Sahabah, may Allah be pleased with them, the benefit of the doubt?
The amazing thing about this person is that when he is referred to the work of the great scholars of this Ummah concerning these same matters, he dismisses them as ‘defense attorneys’, and ignores what they have written. This court of his is indeed unique! On the basis of the evidence produced by the prosecution alone sentence is passed; and the arguments of the defense are rejected because the defense attorney is found to be partial to his client!
From the testimony of the Quran and Hadith given above, and the consensus of opinion among the Ulema of the Ummah, it should be clear that not only scholars of the caliber of lbn Taymiyyah and Shah Abdul Aziz, but Allah most High Himself, and His Rasul, and the entire muslim Ummah are the attorneys for the defense of the Sahaba, may Allah be pleased with them. It remains now for each person to decide for himself whether he wants to join the defense, or the prosecution.
A COUNTERFEIT OF HISTORY
3) A third point could be made here. To select a number of isolated events from a collection of dubious historical narrations and then make of them a sort of systematic philosophy, or to extract from specific events general principles and then to arrange them under headings which even the most jaded wrongdoer of our own century would resent having said about himself; this can be called neither service to lsiam nor a proper reading of history. One might, however, caII it a counterfeit of history. In the words of the poet, Shaykh Saadi of Shiraz: ولیکن بکف دشمن است
But the pen is in the hands of the enemy!
I ask you, would any muslim like to hear it said about himself that he altered the constitution framed by Allah? Or that he made the public treasury into his own personal slavegirl? Or that he deprived the muslims of the right to enjoin the good and forbid the wrong? Or that he defiled the workings of justice and equality? Or that he deliberately spurned the directives of the Quran and Hadith? Or that he put an end to the supremacy of Allah’s law? Or that he trampled over the rights of others for the sake of his own, and his relatives’, financial betterment?
Can any person possessed of normal religious sentiments sit and listen to these wild allegations in complete calm and detachment? If not, and surely he could not, then can we allow ourselves to remain silent when the Sahaba, may Allah be pleased with them, are subjected to such a savage attack? Is this how we show our esteem and respect for the Sahaba? Is this how we go about saying nothing but good about them? Do the companions of Rasulullah (PBUH), deserve any better than this from us? Is this what our religious zeal requires of us? Have we forgotten the words of Rasulullah (PBUH)?
إذا رأيتم الذين يسبون أصحابي فقولوا لعنة الله على شركم
When you find someone speaking badly of my Sahaba, say to him, ‘The curse of Allah be upon the worst of the two of you.’
The Sahaba of Rasulullah, upon whom be peace, set the standards of faith and practice for all those who came after them. The privilege given them of being able to sit in the company of Allah’s Last Rasul, peace be upon him, is unequalled by anything the Almighty granted to even the greatest Wali or Qutub. Then, if anyone in this Ummah, no matter how great a thinker or reformer he may be, criticizes the Sahaba, (may Allah be pleased with them) he will show himself to be inclined toward the heretical. Ayyaz of Ghaznavi was advised:
ایاز قدر خویش بشناس
Ayyaz! Know your place!
Finally, this world is little more than a practice range for truth and falsehood. And very often it happens that falsehood is dressed in the garb of truth. Sometimes a man will suppose his erroneous theories to be correct, and then persist in them until his mind becomes twisted and finally he is deprived of the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehood. This is an extremely serious matter. It has never been the mark of the true scholar to persist in what he has opined when others, in all sincerity, have cautioned him against holding such views. The mark of the true scholar is his immediate acceptance of the truth when it is presented to him. May Allah preserve us, and all our muslim brethren, from the evil of heresy and divagation! And grant us the Taufiq to become followers of the truth!
رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ , وصلي الله علي خير خلقه صفوة البرية محمد وعلي اله واصحابه واتباعه اجمعين امين
Our Rabb! Make not our hearts to swerve after You have guided us; and give us mercy from Your presence: Surely, You are the Giver. And may Allah give peace to the finest of His creations, the purest of mankind, Muhammed, and to his family, and his Sahaaba, and all of his followers. Ameen.
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