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The Companions of the Prophet ﷺ

By Sh. G. F. Haddad

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Questions were asked about:

- 1. the status of Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr al-Siddiq
- 2. the definition of the Sahabi
- 3. the mere virtue of accompanying the Prophet ﷺ as a Muslim
- 4. the status of the Sahaba as hadith narrators
- 5. the status of al-Hakam ibn Abi al-ʿAs.

1. Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr al-Siddiq raDiy-Allahu-anhu.gif (13-38)

Regarding the statement:

The actual person who struck the blow on Hazrat Uthman was none other than Muhammad bin Abu Bakr, The son of Hazrat Abu Bakr and the brother of Hazrat Ayesha.

No, he did not. The most reliable report on this is that of al-Zuhri, from Ibn al-Musayyab, mursal, in al-Dhahabi's Tarikh al-Islam that Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr led the group that burst in, then ʿUthman mentioned his father to him and he drew back in shame. He later said: "I repented at that moment." But the others pounced on ʿUthman and killed him - Allah be well-pleased with him. Na'ila the wife of ʿUthman confirmed this to ʿAli raDiy-Allahu-anhu.gif, adding: "Nevertheless, he brought in those who killed him!" Rayta or Khansa' the Mawlat of Usama ibn Zayd was in the house and confirms this also. This can be found in Ibn Saʿd's Tabaqat, al-Tabari's Tarikh, al-Maliqi's Maqtal al-Shahid ʿUthman, Ibn Kathir's al-Bidaya wal-Nihaya, and others.

The problem with al-Tabari's History is that it is not a critical history but an indiscriminate compilation that includes the chains for the experts to sift truth from nonsense. Certain professionals rely exclusively on the nonsense to puzzle the people of truth. It would be a great boon if a hadith expert compiled the names of all the forgers found in al-Tabari's chains in the Tarikh. One such forger is Sayf ibn ʿUmar, the author of Futuh al-Sham, who narrates the report that Ibn Abi Bakr supposedly stabbed ʿUthman. A much more reliable history is al-Dhahabi's Tarikh al-Islam, in print in 52 volumes. This is a superb edition and monumental work by Dr. ʿUmar ʿAbd al-Salam Tadmuri. (Also: the Siras of al-Mizzi and Ibn Kathir; more recently, those of Dr. Muhammad Abu Shuhba and Dr. Muhammad Sadiq ʿArjun.)

As for al-Balaadhiri i.e. Ahmad ibn Yahya ibn Jabir (d. 279) - upon whom rely certain people - he was a court genealogist and poet, not a hadith expert even if al-Dhahabi mentions him in Tadhkirat al-Huffaz because of his erudition. His masterpiece is Ansaab al-Ashraaf, which he did not complete. One might say he is the archetype of the Abbasid historian full of anti-Umayyad stories. He became insane in later life because of excessive consumption of memory-strengthening anacardium nuts (balaadhir). Imam al-Shafiʿi and Ibn al-Jawzi also used them, the former died "early" at 54 of chronic hemorroids and the latter lost his beard, rahimahum Allah. It is strange how much some people rely on al-Balaadhuri for what suits their lusts then they reject him when he tells them that ʿUmar married Umm Kulthum the daughter of ʿAli and Fatima, and she gave him a son and a daughter.

Imam al-Nawawi in Tahdhib al-Asma' wal-Lughat said that Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr was 3.5 months old when the Prophet ﷺ passed from this world. I.e. he was under 3 when Abu Bakr passed away. He was raised by ʿAli since the latter married his mother - Asma' bint ʿUmays - after she was widowed of Abu Bakr. ʿUthman said he was prone to anger. After the murder in 35, ʿAli used him in various official functions, the last of them in the governorate of Egypt in 37, which shows he was satisfied he was responsible for the murder, together with fear of ordering the killing of a Sahabi [see below]. He fought with ʿAli at the Camel and Siffin. After the Camel, ʿAli deputized him to escort ʿA'isha back to Madina. Had Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr been responsible for the murder of ʿUthman, ʿA'isha would never have forgiven him nor wept heavily over him when he was killed in Egypt in 38 - rahimahullah. Those who revile his memory today obviously side with his killers against ʿA'isha and ʿAli!

2. Definition of the Sahaba

The most widespread definition of Sahabi is someone who saw the Prophet ﷺ and believed in him as well as died a Muslim. Those that saw him but held off believing in him until after his passing ﷺ are not considered Sahaba but Tabiʿin. The inclusion of children below the age of reason in the first category apparently precludes from them the necessity of outward affirmation. Thus Ibn Qaaniʿ, Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr and Ibn Hajar include Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr among the Sahaba respectively in Muʿjam al-Sahaba, al-Istiʿab and al-Isaba. Ibn Abi ʿAsim narrated in al-Aahaad wal-Mathaani, his compendium of the Companions, from Ibn al-Musayyab: "We only included him because of ʿAli's saying: 'How do you order that one of the Companions of Muhammad ﷺ be killed without conviction?' Meaning Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr."

By Divinely-ordained prescription (tawqif) the best human beings after Prophets are the Companions,
in the following order:

• First, the Ten Promised Paradise;
these are: Abu Bakr, ʿUmar, ʿUthman, Ali, al-Zubayr ibn al-ʿAwwam, Talha, ʿAbd al-Rahman ibn 'Awf, Abu -Ubayda ibn al-Jarrah, Saʿd ibn Abi Waqqas, and Saʿid ibn Zayd ibn ʿAmr.
• Then the senior Companions among those who fought at Badr (all those who fought at Badr having been promised Paradise).
• Then those who gave bayʿat al-ridwān under the Tree and those Ansār distinguished for the two pacts preceding Emigration (al-ʿaqabatayn) according to Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi as reported by Ibn Jamaʿa in al-Manhal al-Rawi (p. 112).
• Then those who entered Islam the year of the conquest of Mecca.
• Then the younger Companions who saw the Prophet ﷺ as children. Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr would belong to this category.

As for Ahl al-Bayt such as our Mothers the wives of the Prophet ﷺ and al-Sayyida Fatima and her two children, they are in a class apart with the Prophet ﷺ . WAllahu aʿlam.

3. The mere virtue of accompanying the Prophet ﷺ as a Muslim

Regarding the statement:

Just accompanying the Prophet ﷺ does not make someone a good person.

It makes someone the best person, because Allah (SWT) does not choose for His Prophet ﷺ except the best as his Companions nor would He praise other than such in His Book, and because the Prophet ﷺ praised his generation above all others on earth, then the next, then the next. As for the Munafiqun they are not considered Companions in scholarly terminology, although they literally "accompanied" him ﷺ in his life as reflected in the hadiths of the Lake-Fount (deliberately misinterpreted by certain sects).
[see article on Lake-Fount hadith]

There is, in a Muslim's sight of the Prophet ﷺ , a Divine grant that has nothing to do with the intrinsic merit of that person. Ibn al-Mubarak was asked who was better, Muʿawiya - a Sahabi - or ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAziz - a Tabiʿi? He replied: "The dust in the nostrils of Muʿawiya's horse is a thousand times better than ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAziz." Al-Haytami related it in al-Sawaʿiq al-Muhriqa. This is a hyperbole to impress the fact that the merit of the Sahaba is beyond analogy or reasoning. It is also a sharp sword on the neck of sectarians to cut short all discussion and all compromise concerning the noble Sahaba.

4. Status of the Sahaba as hadith narrators

There is Consensus among Ahl al-Sunna that the Sahaba are all of the highest probity (ʿudul); in addition, their precision (dabt) is not called into question except in cases of conflicting Companion-reports of equal strength, such as the corrections of our Mother ʿA'isha for several reports from other Sahaba (although not all her corrections were retained). Ibn Rajab said the fatwa of Abu Bakr and ʿUmar has precedence over all the rest. The upshot is that ALL the Sahaba are trustworthy (thiqa) in hadith without exception, but some more than others, e.g. the ahl al-fatwa and the senior ones.

5. Status of al-Hakam ibn Abi al-ʿAs
Does Hakim bin al-As, the father of Marwan bin al-Hakim, qualify as a companion?

Al-Hakam ibn Abi al-ʿAs is among the Companions as is clear from Muʿjam al-Sahaba and the Isaba even if al-Dhahabi in the Siyar says "he has the lowest portion of Suhba." He was exiled to al-Ta'if because he committed certain improprieties toward the Prophet ﷺ but the latter indicated to ʿUthman - his paternal nephew - to bring him back to al-Madina at a later time, which ʿUthman did, and he gave him a generous stipend, for which he was heavily criticized. The statement that "he was exiled from Medina by the Prophet ﷺ because he claimed he had made the Prophet ﷺ change the words of the Qur'an (nauzubillah)" is a lie.

There are 12,000 Sahaba recorded by name in the Isaba about none of whom we will be asked in the grave. Those who ask about al-Hakam ibn Abi al-ʿAs and Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr as if their religion depended on it would do well to ponder the saying: A mark of Divine anger is when Allah makes someone busy with what is of no benefit.

The Prophet ﷺ said: "Let none of you should come to me with anything (negative) about any of my Companions!" (Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi from Ibn Masʿud) and "Fear Allah with regard to my Companions! Do not make them targets after me!" (al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad).


Hajj Gibril
GF Haddad ©



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