What are the verses and hadiths that praise the companions?

Details of the Question

- ​What are the verses of the Quran and hadiths that praise the Companions and show that they are true?

- What are the virtues of the Companions?

(editor) on Wed, 28/02/2018 - 10:51

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Companion is a term meaning a person who joined the talks of the Prophet (pbuh).

Many scholars made various definitions of the word Companion but some of them were criticized because the definition was so narrow as to exclude many Companions and others were criticized because the definition was so large as to include some people that were not Companions.

One of the definitions is as follows:

“A person who saw and met the Prophet (pbuh) as a believer and died as a Muslim.” (Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba, I, 6)

The generation of the Companions has an important place in the religion because they were loyal to the Messenger of Allah, they supported him and worked extraordinarily to spread Islam and to make it understood well when the Prophet was alive and after his death.

In fact, the generation of the Companions does not have a superiority to other people as individuals; they are not innocent and sinless either. However, most of them started a new life after polytheism thanks to the verses that were sent down and the education given to them by the Prophet (pbuh); they practiced Islam, which they learned from the Messenger of Allah personally, in the best way and became models for the ummah to come after them.  

Therefore, the Messenger of Allah advised his ummah to accept them as models and he indicated the line of the Companions as the continuation of the religion he brought and the system he established. (Tirmidhi, Iman, 18)

The sacrifices that the Companions made in order to spread Islam and protect the Messenger of Allah make the following generations envy them and astonish them. Islam settled, spread and reached the generations after them thanks to what they did.

It is known that the Companions played an important role in making the Prophet (pbuh) known by the generations that came after them.

What is known by the Messenger of Allah and his personality is the information given by the Companions. If it had not been for the Companions, we would not have reliable information about the Prophet and Islam today.

The reasons for the revelation of the chapters and verses, the reason for the utterances of the hadiths, the application of the decrees of the Quran in daily life and the activities done by the Prophet during his prophethood are known thanks to the reports of the Companions.

The Companions, whom the Quran describes as “the best of peoples, evolved for mankind” (Aal-i Imran, 3/110), are regarded as the most valuable and virtuous generation of the ummah. They obtained this value and virtue thanks to their strong belief and exemplary deeds. They fulfilled the necessities of the new religion they accepted with full surrendering from the moment they accepted it. They were not forced to accept and practice that new religion but they spent most of their lives with the Messenger of Allah, took part in wars with him and worked hard in order to spread Islam.    

During this process, some of them were threatened, tortured and even killed by the enemies of Islam; some of them had to migrate to other places by leaving their homeland, wealth, wives and children but they did not give up their belief and their loyalty to Allah and His Messenger.

In the Quran, Allah Almighty

- praised the Companions as an Ummah justly balanced (al-Baqara, 2/143),
- stated that they answered the call of Allah and the Messenger and had a great reward (Aal-i Imran, 3/172),
- stated that He was well-pleased with them, as were they with Him and that He prepared for them gardens where they would stay eternally (at -Tawba, 9/100),

- stated that they were loyal believers that helped Allah and His Messenger (al-Hashr, 59/8),
- stated that they preferred others to their own souls though they were in need (al-Hashr, 59/9),
- stated that they would be forgiven as real believers and that they would be given sustenance generously in the hereafter (al-Anfal, 8/74).

When the Prophet (pbuh) mentioned the Companions, whose sacrifices he personally witnessed, he described them as

- the best generation in the history of humanity (Bukhari, Fadailu Ashabin-Nabi, 1),
- the best ones among the ummah (Musnad, V, 350),
- the people whom hellfire would not burn (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 57),
- people of Paradise, (Muttaqi al-Hindi, XI, 539) and he wanted his ummah
- to entertain them, (Tayalisi, p. 7),
- to treat them well (Musnad, I, 26)
- and not to criticize them maliciously (Bukhari, Fadailu Ashabin-Nabi, 4).

After this short information, we will mention the Fadail as-Sahaba (virtues of the Companions).

Fadail as-Sahaba is a term used for the virtues of the Companions and the works written about them.

It is a branch of “ma‘rifatus-sahaba”, which is one of the sciences of hadith and which shows the superiority of the Companions and defends them against the enemies of the Companions; it is also used for the works written in that field. This phrase, which is generally used as Fadail as-Sahaba in resources, is also used in the form of “fadail al-ashab, manaqib as-sahaba, fadailu ashabin-nabi, and marifatus-sahaba”.

The Companions were praised in the Quran as “the best of peoples, evolved for mankind” (Aal-i Imran, 3/110) because they adhered to the Prophet (pbuh) by sacrificing their wealth and lives, worked hard to learn and teach the Quran, and to practice Islam.

The following Companions underwent big troubles and tortures in order to stick to belief in Allah, adhere to His prophet and book and to attain His consent:
- Bilal al-Habashi, Miqdad b. Aswad, Ammar b. Yasir, Suhayb ar-Rumi and Sumayya bint Habbat, who became Muslims in Makkah, were made wear iron vests and lie in the hot sun (Ibn Majah, “Muqaddima”, 11);
- Habbab b. Arat was placed on hot cinder and tortured (Ibn Sa‘d, III, 165);
- Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, Abdullah b. Mas‘ud and Zinnira ar-Rumiyya were beaten (Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba, II, 368; IV, 62, 311);
- Many Companions like Hz. Abu Bakr, Umar and Hamza dared to protect the Prophet (pbuh) despite threats of death and they migrated to Abyssinia in groups when the oppression and torture became beyond endurance. (Ibn Hisham, I, 321 ff)

During the collective boycott and siege in Makkah, they survived by eating grass, leaves and pieces of dry leather. (Bukhari, Fadailus-Sahaba, 15; Musnad, I, 181, 186; Abu Nuaym, Hilya, I, 93) When migration to Madinah was allowed, they left their homeland, wealth, houses and relatives, and migrated there.

The Muslims of Madinah (Ansar), who promised to protect the Prophet and Makkan muhajirs at the cost of their lives, shared their land, wealth, houses, vineyards and orchards with their guests gladly. (Ibn Sa‘d, III, 396; Bukhari, “Manaqibul-Ansar”, 3); They defended Islam and the Prophet at Badr, Uhud and Khandaq, and other battles against the armies stronger than them; they did not leave the Prophet alone even when they faced great hardships.

Every individual of the generation of the Companions, including 1500 of them who paid allegiance to the Messenger of Allah in Hudaybiyya by risking their lives in 628 (6 H), about 10.000 soldiers who conquered Makkah and the Companions who are narrated to be more than 100.000 (Suyuti, II, 220) when the Prophet (pbuh) died.

In addition, this generation, who were the live witnesses of the revelation and who served as a bridge to convey the Quran and the Sunnah to the generations after them, is praised in the Quran and it is stated that they are justly balanced (al-Baqara, 2/143), that they answered the call of Allah and the Messenger and had a great reward (Aal-i Imran, 3/172), that Allah was well-pleased with them, as were they with Him and that He prepared for them gardens where they would stay eternally. (at-Tawba, 9/100)

It is stated that the Companions were strong against unbelievers but compassionate amongst each other that they bowed and prostrated themselves in prayer seeking grace from Allah and His consent, that they were promised forgiveness and a great reward (al-Fath, 48/29), that they were loyal believers that helped Allah and His Messenger (al-Hashr 59/8), that they were distinguished people (an-Naml 27/59; Ibn Kathir, Tafsir, V, 245), that they preferred others to their own souls though they were in need (al-Hashr, 59/9), that they were forgiven (at-Tawba, 9/111), that they would be forgiven as real believers and that they would be given sustenance generously in the hereafter (al-Anfal 8/74); thus, their virtues and privileges were indicated.

Hz. Prophet (pbuh) praised his Companions, who were so self-sacrificing as to share their wealth and houses with their Muslim brothers, who were so loyal to the Messenger of Allah as to risk their lives lest he should be harmed, who were so sincere as to fight their fathers, children and relatives for their religion, as “the best generation in the history of humanity” (Bukhari, Fadailus-Sahaba, 1), “the best ones among the ummah” (Musnad, V, 350), “the people whom hellfire would not burn” (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 57) and “people of Paradise” (Muttaqi al-Hindi, XI, 539). In addition, he ordered his ummah to entertain them (Tayalisi, p. 7), to treat them well (Musnad, I, 26), and not to criticize them maliciously (Bukhari, Fadailus-Sahaba, 4). He stated that if anyone spent gold equal to Mount Uhud in Allah's cause, it would not be equal to a mudd (about eight hundred grams) that the Companions spent (Bukhari, Fadailus-Sahaba”, 4) and that other people would not be able to reach their level in terms of virtue.

Along with verses and hadiths about the Companions in general, there are also narrations stating that some groups like muhajirs, Ansar, people of Badr, people of Uhud, people of Hudaybiyya, ashara al-mubashshara, and some individuals are people of Paradise. 

Issues of Virtue.

The main issues that are regarded as being virtues among the Companions are being among ashara al-mubashshara, muhajirs, Ansar, Ahl al-Bayt, people of Badr, people of Uhud, people of Khandaq, people of Pledge of Ridwan, and mothers of believers. In addition, individuals who were given the glad tiding of being a person of Paradise by the Prophet, to be among the first Muslims, to be tortured due to one’s belief, to spend a lot of money for the religion, to fight heroically in one or more battles, to be killed in war or under severe torture and to protect the Prophet by making great sacrifices are among the issues of virtue.

Furthermore, to receive a good prayer from the Prophet (pbuh), to be given a nickname like “sayfullah”, “aminul-ummah”, “hawari” due to an achievement or characteristic by the Messenger of Allah, to be shown special interest by the Prophet, to be appointed for an important duty by him, to be seen in a good dream by him, to be merciful, modest, generous and brave, to read the Quran beautifully, to give correct decrees, to know haram and halal very well, to be a specialist in sciences like qira’ah and faraid, a verse that has been sent down in accordance with the view of a person are also among the issues of the virtues of the Companions.

Not all Companions are at the same level in terms of virtues. There are differences of virtues, degrees and levels among the Companions due to reasons like being among the first Muslims and making great sacrifices.

Acting upon the fact that a Companion who saw the Prophet (pbuh) only once and a Companion who served the Prophet (pbuh) throughout his life cannot be equal, hadith scholars divided the Companions into five, twelve or seventeen levels based on various issues, especially becoming a Muslim earlier. (Qubaysi, p. 104 ff)

According to the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah, the most virtuous Companions are the Rightly-Guided Caliphs based on the order of caliphate and then the remaining six people form ashara al-mubashshara. According to Shiite belief, the most virtuous Companion is Hz. Ali. Ahl as-Sunnah scholars do not regard the Companions as innocent no matter how virtuous they were and did not say that they were protected from sins and that they were sinless. (Muhammad Shafi‘, p. 93)

Although there were disagreements and even fighting among the Companions related to some issues based on ijtihads in political issues, they uttered statements that praised one another considering the verses and hadiths about them. (see TDV İslam Ansiklopedisi, Sahabe ve Fezailü’s-sahabe item)

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