The Lofty Status of the Sahabah

The Sahabahs need no introduction. Their lives are proof of their virtues. Their legacies span the vestitudes of time. But the question is; do we recognise them for the valiant men and women that they were? Or have their names become common place, just names repeated once in a while, yet hold no value?

We have disconnected ourselves from them. Their stories no longer form a guiding light illuminating the roads of our lives. To some, their names are simply a mouthful to say; easier to forget them. We have forgotten their ranks and status. We have come to disregard their nobility, and hence we face the turmoils, we find ourselves in. What rectified them, is the same thing that would rectify our condition. If only, we held onto their lives and imitated their achievements…

To enumerate their virtues would be impossible, for goodness was found in abundance in them. However, it is important that we know that they supported Rasulullah in faith and with their bodies. They responded to his call, they migrated, spent their wealth in the path of Allah, fought alongside him, and much more.  They accomplished feats never to be repeated in history, for their iman was unshakeable.

About them the Prophet said, “The best of the people are my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them.” (Bukhari (2652) and Muslim (2533))

The sahabahs have been singled out as the best people; meaning there is no generation better than them. We cannot compare our lives to theirs, for they lived with Rasulullah. But we can strive to imitate them.

The Witness of Allah:

To add to this, Allah has said He is pleased with them; testimony from Allah Himself; there is no greater testimony. It is credit enough, and should inspire admiration and awe in our hearts. We should yearn to be like them, in emulating their ways:

“And the foremost to embrace Islam of the Muhaajiroon and the Ansaar and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success,” [Tawbah 9:100]

The Muhajiroon are the Emigrants, who made Hijrah to Madinah and the Ansar or Helpers are those who received their brethren in faith in Madinah.

Allah did not merely praise them once. Rather He commended them several times.

In another ayah He said, “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. And those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayer), seeking Bounty from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. The mark of them (i.e. of their Faith) is on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of prostration (during prayers). This is their description in the Tawraat (Torah). But their description in the Injeel (Gospel) is like a (sown) seed which sends forth its shoot, then makes it strong, and becomes thick and it stands straight on its stem, delighting the sowers, that He may enrage the disbelievers with them. Allah has promised those among them who believe (i.e. all those who follow Islamic Monotheism, the religion of Prophet Muhammad till the Day of Resurrection) and do righteous good deeds, forgiveness and a mighty reward (i.e. Paradise).” [al-Fath 48:29]

The phrase ‘those who are with him’ refer to none other than the sahabah who were present with the Messenger peace be upon him.

How can we disregard their lives, and forget their memories?

Taking Them As Role Models

It is the likes of Justin Beiber that has become the latest icon. The lyrics of his latest album are engrained in the minds of the youth. His style is copied to an extent that his haircut and even body piercings are imitated. And there are many others like him, for whom our lost youth would give their lives.

Long forgotten are the names of Hassan ibn Thabit, and Abdullah ibn Ruwayhah, who defended the Prophet in their poetry. Their verses remain framed in the annals of history. Their styles lost in time. Such is our situation; and worse is yet to come, if we do not seek to change.

Let us ponder upon the statement of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) who wisely said, “Whoever among you wishes to follow (someone), let him follow one who has died, for the one who is still alive is not safe from fitnah. The companions of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) were the best of this ummah, the most righteous of heart and the deepest in knowledge and the most straightforward, people whom Allah chose to accompany His Prophet and establish His religion. So acknowledge their virtue and follow in their footsteps, and adhere as much as you can to their morals and religion, for they were following right guidance.” (Narrated by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr in al-Jaami’, no. 1810)

Can we say anything after this? Can we have any other differing opinion?

Loving them is part of Iman:

Allaah the Most High says :

Surah Al-Hashr, Verse 10:
وَالَّذِينَ جَاءُوا مِن بَعْدِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“And those who came after them say: “Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who have preceded us in Faith, and put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed full of kindness, Most Merciful.”
An example of this is the statement of At-Tahaawee in his (book on the) Creed of Ahl- us-Sunnah:

“We love the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger. But we do not go to extremes in our love for anyone amongst them, nor do we absolve ourselves from any of them. And we hate anyone that hates them or anyone that talks about them in a bad way. And we do not mention them except with good. Loving them is Deen (Religion), Eemaan (Faith) and Ihsaan (Goodness) and hating them is Kufr (Disbelief), Nifaaq (hypocrisy) and Tughyaan (transgression).”

Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal said in his book as-Sunnah:

“And from the Sunnah is mentioning the good qualities of the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger – all of them – and to refrain from (speaking about) what disputes occurred between them. So whoever reviles the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger or (just) one of them, then he is an innovator, a Raafidee. Loving them is a Sunnah and making du’aa (supplication) for them is a means of getting close to Allaah (taqarrub). Following them is a means and taking from their example is a virtue…”

(Taken From: The Creed of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah concerning the Companions – Shaikh ‘Abdul-Muhsin bin Hamad Al-‘Abbaad, al-ibaanah eBook)

Reviling Them:

The disrespect that has been unashamedly addressed at these noble men and women is despicable. There are those that would openly curse them fearing nothing, and those that couldn’t care-less about them or their heroic deeds.

Fear Allah with regards to your attitude towards them, for Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do not revile my companions, for by the One in Whose hand is my soul, if one of you were to spend the equivalent of Uhud in gold, it would not amount to a mudd of one of them, or half of that.” (Bukhari (3673) and Muslim (2540))

My dear, these men and women sacrificed their lives for us. For me and you. They gave up their lives so that we too could smell the fragrance of paradise, and enjoy the company of the angels therein. They gave up their time to spreading the deen of Allah, so that today we could be muslims!

Henceforth, it is mandated that we love them, and appreciate them. We have to recognise their status and try to follow their footsteps. To love them, is to love Rasulullah.

It was narrated that al-Bara’ (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “The Ansaar: no one loves them but a believer and no one hates them but a hypocrite. Whoever loves them, Allah will love him, and whoever hates them, Allah will hate him.” (Bukhari, 3672; Muslim, 75)

Can we run the risk of earning Allah’s hate?!

And Ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) said: Allah looked into the hearts of His slaves, and He saw that the heart of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the best of people’s hearts, so He chose him for Himself and sent him with His message. Then He looked into the hearts of His slaves after the heart of Muhammad, and He found that the hearts of his companions were the best of people’s hearts, so He made them the supporters of His Prophet, who fought for His religion.” (Ahmad in al-Musnad (1/379). The scholars of hadeeth said: Its isnaad is hasan)

These men and women who are known as the sahabah, whether popular or less-known, were specifically chosen by Allah. They were singled out as the best. And since we cannot be the best, then we can only aim to be like them; to be near them.

To conclude, Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Kifaayah (49):

“Even if there was nothing narrated from Allah or His Messenger about them, the things that they did such as migrating (hijrah), engaging in jihad, supporting (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and Islam), expending their lives and their wealth, killing their fathers and sons (in jihad), sincerely following the deen, believing strongly and with certainty, is definitive proof of their good character and sincerity, and shows that they are superior to all those sincere people of good character who come after them, for all time.”

We have to reconnect with them, and the only way to do so, is to learn about them. Who were they? What did they do? What made them so great? Learn their biographies, memorise their names, appreciate their feats and perhaps your love of them will cause you to enter paradise with them. Parents should narrate their stories to their children, to root their love from young age. The youth should learn their stories to identify with such role models. Generally, everyone should read their biographies, for it softens the heart and reminds it of the true purpose. But learn their stories with a purpose, to be as they were; to carry on their legacy, ofr they were the true stars of this ummah.

May Allah unite us with the sahabahs in the highest ranks of Paradise.

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