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Mushajrat: The Status of the Sahabah Not in Terms of Historical Narratives, By Mufti Muhammad Shafi

Mushajrat The Status of the Sahabah Not in Terms of Historical Narratives

Compiled By: Mufti Umar Anwar Badakhshani

Allah promises Paradise and Forgiveness to all Noble Sahabah (R.A)

In the current set of verses, a distinction is drawn between the different categories of the noble Sahabah (Companions (R.A) of the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) but towards the end of verse 10 it is declared that:

 وَكُلًّا وَعَدَ اللَّـهُ الْحُسْنَىٰ

(…though Allah has promised the good [reward] for each ….57:10).

The word Husna [good reward] means that the promise of Paradise and forgiveness extends to all the noble Companions (R.A)’ whether they spent and fought before or after the Conquest. This includes almost the entire concourse of Companions (R.A) because it is hardly conceivable that, despite being Muslims, some of them might have not spent anything in Allah’s way or not participated against the hostile foes of Islam. Thus the Quranic proclamation of Paradise and forgiveness is for the general body of Companions (R.A).

Ibn Hazm (R.A) says that the meaning of verse [10] becomes even clearer when we append it to verses [101-102] of Surah Al-Anbiya’:

 إِنَّ الَّذِينَ سَبَقَتْ لَهُم مِّنَّا الْحُسْنَىٰ أُولَـٰئِكَ عَنْهَا مُبْعَدُونَ لَا يَسْمَعُونَ حَسِيسَهَا ۖ وَهُمْ فِي مَا اشْتَهَتْ أَنفُسُهُمْ خَالِدُونَ

(Surely, those for whom the good (news) from Us has come earlier shall be kept far away from it (i.e. from the Hell). They will not hear the slightest of its sound, and they will remain forever in what their selves desire.) [21:101-102].

The verses under comment contain the phrase كُلًّا وَعَدَ اللَّـهُ الْحُسْنَىٰ (..though Allah has promised the good (reward) for each …[ 57:10] In verses [21:101-102], Allah proclaims that those who have received the good news of reward [al-husna] will be kept far away from Hell. The Qur’an thus guarantees that all the Companions (R.A) whether from the first category or from the second one, are immune from Hell. Even if someone from them would commit a sin, he will not persist in it, but he will either repent from it, or will be forgiven for it because of the blessed company of the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) he enjoyed, his help offered to him, the good deeds he performed and many services he rendered to Islam. Therefore, he would not leave this world unless his sins would be forgiven and his account of deeds would have been clear. It is also possible that worldly calamities would serve as an expiation to wipe out his shortcomings or painful experience in the grave or Alam-ul-barzakh will expiate his faults.

There are Traditions that report torment for some of the noble Companions, but that does not refer to the torture of the Hereafter or punishment of Hell. It refers to the chastisement of the grave or Alam-ul-barzakh. It would not be far-fetched to assume that if a Companion committed a sin and did not find an opportunity to repent and cleanse himself, he would be purified by the infliction of the grave so that no chastisement will be inflicted on him in the Hereafter.

The Status of the Noble Sahabah in the light of Quran & Sunnah, not in terms of Historical Narratives

The Noble Sahabah are not like the general body of the Muslim Community. They are a medium between the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) and the general body of the Muslim Community. Without them, neither the Quran nor its meaning or the teachings of the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) can reach the Ummah. Therefore, they enjoy a special status in Islam. The status of the blessed Companions (R.A) cannot be recognized by the historical narrations that are a mixture of right and wrong. It is rather recognized in the light of the Qur’an and Sunnah.

If any of them slips up, in most cases it would not exceed a khata’ ijtihadi or error in judgment, not a sin or willful transgression of the law. In fact, according to the clear text of a Prophetic Tradition, if a mujtahid were to slip up or err in his judgment, he still receives one reward. Even if they committed a sin, it would be counted as nil in view of their life-long righteous deeds and supporting the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) and Islam. The reverence and awe of Allah were engrossed in their hearts to such a high degree that they would shudder at the very thought of ordinary sins and would repent forthwith. As a result, they would inflict punishment on themselves. Some would tie themselves to the column of the mosque, and as long as they are not certain that their sins would be forgiven they would remain tied.

In addition, each one of them performed so many righteous deeds that they could expiate for their sins. Moreover, Allah has announced a general amnesty for their sins in this and other verses. He not only pardoned their sins but also proclaimed:

 رَّ‌ضِيَ اللَّـهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَ‌ضُوا عَنْهُ

(Allah is well-pleased with them, and they are well-pleased with Him. 98:8).

It is absolutely forbidden to speak ill of them or taunt them or revile them because of their mutual differences and disagreements. According to a Prophetic Tradition, doing so is incurring Allah’s curse and putting one’s own faith in jeopardy.

Nowadays, on the basis of false and weak historical narratives, some writers have made the noble and blessed Companions the target of taunts and reproach. First of all, the basis on which the historical narratives are founded is unreliable and questionable. Even if it is taken for granted that they have some historical substance, they are clearly in conflict with Qur’an and Sunnah. Hence, they must be refuted in the strongest terms possible. The original statement stands: The noble and blessed Companions (R.A) are forgiven and pardoned.

Unanimous Belief of the Ummah regarding the Mushajrat of Sahabah (R.A)

It is obligatory on Muslims to show respect and honor to all the Companions (R.A) to love them and praise them. It is likewise imperative to observe silence regarding their mutual differences and disagreements. It is compulsory to abstain from making any of them the target of accusations and reproach. All texts of Islamic beliefs make plain this consensual belief of the Ummah. Imam Ahmad has written a monograph on the subject which reached us on the authority of Istakhri. A section of it partly reads:

لَا یَجُوزُ لِاَحَدٍ ان یَّذکُرَ شَیٔاً مِّن مَّسَاویھم وَلَا یَطعَنُ عَلٰی اَحَدٍ مَّنھُم بِعَیبٍ وَلَا نَقصٍ فَمَن فَعَلَ ذٰلِکَ وَجَبَ تَادِیبُہ،۔

“It is not lawful for anyone to speak ill of the Companions, or cast aspersions against them, or find fault with them. Whoever does so should be punished.” [Shark-ul-` Aqidah Al-Wasitiyyah, known as Ad-Durrah A1-Mudi’ah]

Ibn Taimiyyah in his As-Sam-ul-Maslul has cited many verses of the Qur’an and Prophetic Traditions regarding the virtues and characteristics of the noble Companions (R.A) ، after which he concludes:

وَھٰذَا مِمَّا لَا نَعلَمُ فِیہِ خِلَافاً بَینَ اَھلِ الفِقہِ وَالعِلمِ مِن اَصحَابِ رَسُولِ اللہ (ﷺ) وَالتَّابِعِینَ لَھُم بِاِحسَانٍ وَسَایٔرِ اَھلِ السُّنَّۃِ وِالجَمَاعَۃِ فَاِنَّھُم مُجمِعُون عَلٰی اَنَّ الوَاجِبَ الثَّنَاُء علَیھِم وَالاِستِغفَار لَھُم وَ التَّرحُّمُ عَلَیھِم وَ التَّرَتضِّی عَنھُم وَ اعتِقَادُ مَحَبَتَّھِم وَ مَوالَاتِھِم وَ عَقُوبَۃُ مَن اَسَاَء فِیھِمُ القُول۔

“As far as we know, there is no difference of opinion in this issue among the scholars and the jurists from Companions and their followers, and the Ahl-us-sunnah wal-jama’ah. There is the consensus of the Ummah that it is imperative to praise the Companions, to seek forgiveness for them, to remember them with compassion and pleasure, and to express love and friendship for them. Anyone who dishonors them should be punished.”

Ibn Taimiyyah confirms, in Sharh-ul-` Aqidah Al-Wasitiyyah, the consensual belief of the Ahl-us-sunnah wal-jama’ah of the entire Ummah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) relating to the mutual disagreement of the Companions (R.A) :

وَیُمسِکُونَ عَمَّا شَجَرَ بَینَ الصَّحَابَۃِ وَیَقُولُونَ ھٰذِہِ الاٰثَارُ المَروِیَّۃُ فِی مَسَاوِیھِم مَنھَا مَا ھُوَ کِذبٌ وَّ مَنھِا مَازِیدَ فِیھَا وَ نُقِصَ وَغُیِّرَ وَجھُہ وَ الصَّحِیحُ مِنہُ ھُم فِیہِ مَعذورُونَ اَمَّا مُجتَھِدُونَ مُصِیبُونَ وَ اما مُجتَھِدُونَ مُخَطِٔؤنَ ، وَھُم مَعَ ذلِکَ لَا یَعتَقِدُونَ اَنَّ کُلَّ وَاحِدٍ مَّنَ الصَّحَابَۃِ مَعصُومٌ مِّن کَبَایٔرِ الاِثمِ وَصَغَایٔرِہٖ بَل یَجُوزُ عَلَیھِمُ الذُّنُوبُ فِی الجُملَۃِ وَلَھُم مِّنَ الفَضَایٔلِ وَالسَّوَابِقِ مَا یُوجِبُ مَغفِرَۃً مَا یَصدُرُ مِنھُم حَتّٰی اَنَّھُم یُغفَرُلَھُم مِّنَ السَّیِّٔاتِ مَالَا یُغفِرُ لِمَن م بَعدَھُم۔

‘Ahl-us-sunnah wal jama` ah observe silence relating to matters in which the noble Companions (R.A) mutually disagreed. According to them, the position of the narratives that find fault with them may be summarized as follows: Some of them are absolutely false whilst others have been distorted or perverted. Reports that are authentic have a plausible explanation, (because they did what they did on the basis of ‘ijtihad’ which Shari’ah recognizes). If they reached the right conclusion (by exercising reasoning), they would be rewarded doubly; and if they arrived at an incorrect conclusion (by exerting effort to derive the law on an issue by expending all the available means of interpreting at the jurist’s disposal and by taking into account all the legal evidence related to the issue,) they are still excused (and deserve a single reward). Despite this situation, the Ummah does not believe that every Companion is innocent, infallible, or sinless. In fact, it is possible for them to commit sins – major or minor, but their virtues and great services to Islam are such that they demand forgiveness. The scope of their forgiveness and pardon would be so wide that the later members of the Ummah would not have such a wide scope.”

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