Statements of the Sahabah Concerning Their Qualities

Statements of the Sahabah Concerning Their Qualities

By  Shaykh Muhammad Yusuf Kandhlawi  رَحِمَهُ ٱللَّٰهُ‎

 

Hadhrat Suddi رضي الله عنه  has reported the following narration from Hadhrat Umar رضي الله عنه  concerning the verse:

 كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ
﴿١١٠﴾   بِاللّهِ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ 

‘You were the best of all nations who have been raised for (the benefit and salvation 0 mankind. You enjoin good and forbid evil and have Imaan in Allaah ” (Surah Aal Imraan, verse 110)

He reports that Hadhrat Umar رضي الله عنه  stated, “If Allaah had willed, He would have used the word (meaning “You are”), in which case the verse would have referred to all of us (whether a person enjoins good and forbids evil or not). However, Allaah used the word (meaning “you were”) to refer specifically to the Sahabah . Therefore, whoever does as the Sahabah did (enjoins good and forbids evil) shall be among “the best of all nations, who have been raised for (the benefit and salvation) mankind.” Ibn Jurayj and Ibn Abi Haatim.

Hadhrat Qataadah  رَحِمَهُ ٱللَّٰهُ reports that Hahhrat Umar رضي الله عنه once recited the verse:

 كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ
﴿١١٠﴾   بِاللّهِ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ 

‘You were the best of all nations who have been raised for (the benefit and salvation 0 mankind. You enjoin good and forbid evil and have Imaan in Allaah ” (Surah Aal Imraan, verse 110)

Thereafter, Hadhrat Umar رضي الله عنه  said, “0 people! Whoever wishes to be among this Ummah (who are the best of nations), then he should fulfill the condition that Allaah mentions in the verse (i.e. enjoin good and forbid evil).” Kanzul Umrnaal Vol. 1 Pg.238

Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Mas’ood رضي الله عنه  stated, “Allaah looked at the hearts of all His servants and chose that of Muhammad. Allaah then made him His messenger and granted him special knowledge from His own. Allaah then again gazed at the hearts of His servants and selected companions for Rasulullaah ﷺ (the Sahabah) to assist (in the propagation of) His Deen and to be assistants in bearing the responsibility of Rasulullaah ﷺ. Therefore, whatever these Mu’mineen (the Sahabah regard as good, is good in the eyes of Allaah and whatever they regard as unacceptable, is unacceptable in the eyes of Allaah.” Abu Nu’aym in Hilya (Vol.1 Pg.375). It is also reported by Tayaalisi (Pg.33) and Ibn Abdil Birr in Isti’aab (Vol. 1 Pg.6) without the words “Therefore, whatever these Mu’mineen.. .”

Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Umar رضي الله عنه  had mentioned, ‘Whoever wishes to follow the ways of another, should follow the ways of those who have passed away. These were the companions of Muhammad, who were the best people of this Ummah. Their hearts were most pious, their knowledge was deepest and they were least pretentious. They were people whom Allaah had chosen to be companions of His Nabi and for the transmission of His Deen. You people should therefore emulate their character and mannerisms. By the Rabb of the Kabah! The Sahabah of Rasulullaah ﷺ were correctly guided.”(4)

Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Mas’ood رضي الله عنه  once said to the people, “Although you people fast more often, perform more salaah and make more effort, the companions of Rasulullaah ﷺ were better than you.” When the people asked him the reason for this, he replied, “Because they had less concern for this world and more concern for the Aakhirah.” – Abu Nu’aym in Hilya (Vol. 1 Pg. 136)

Abu Waa’il narrates that Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Mas’ood رضي الله عنه  once heard a person saying, “Where are the people who have no concern for this world and look forward to the Aakhirah?” Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Mas’ood رضي الله عنه  said to him, “They are the people of  Jaabiya – The name of place in Shaam where a large Muslim army fought the Roman army during the period
when Hadhrat Umar رضي الله عنه  served as Khalifa. They were five hundred Muslim men who pledged that they would be martyred in battle and not return home. (Therefore, according to their custom,) They shaved off their hair, fought the enemy, and were all martyred beside one who lived to tell the tale.” (Hilya Vol. 1 Pg. 135)

Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Umar رضي الله عنه  once heard a person saying, “Where are the people who have no concern for this world and look forward to the Aakhirah?” Taking the person to the graves of Rasulullaah ﷺ, Hadhrat Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه  and Hadhrat Umar رضي الله عنه , Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Umar رضي الله عنه  said to him, “Were you asking about these personalities?” – Abu Nu’aym in Hilya (Vol. 1 Pg.307)

Abu Araaka narrates that he once performed the Fajr salaah behind Hadhrat Ali رضي الله عنه  After the salaah, Hadhrat Ali رضي الله عنه  turned to his right and appeared to be extremely troubled. Eventually, when the sun rose the length of a spear above the Masjid wall, he performed two Rakaahs of salaah. Thereafter, he turned his hands over and said, “By Allaah have seen the Sahabah of Rasulullaah ﷺ and do not see the likes of them anywhere today. In the mornings, their faces were pale, their hair disheveled, their bodies covered in dust, and between their eyes were the marks of prostration which resembled the marks on the knees of goats. Their nights were spent prostrating (in Sajdah) and standing before Allaah (in salaah). They recited the Book of Allaah (the Qur’aan) and would attain comfort by standing in salaah and making Sajdah. When the mornings arrived and they engaged in Dhikr, their bodies would move as the trees do when the gentle wind blows through them. Their eyes would flow with tears until their clothing got wet as if they (were remorseful because they) had spent their nights in negligence.” Thereafter, Hadhrat Ali رضي الله عنه  stood up and was never again seen laughing quietly until he was martyred by the wicked enemy of Allaah, Ibn Muljim. – Bidaayah (Vo1.8 Pg.6), Abu Nu’aym in Hilya (Vol.1 Pg.76) as well as Dinowri, Askari and Ibn Asaakir as mentioned in Kanzul Ummaal (Vo1.8 Pg.2 19).

Hadhrat Diraar bin Damirah Kinaani رَحِمَهُ ٱللَّٰهُ once came to Hadhrat Mu’aawiya who asked him to describe Hadhrat Ali رضي الله عنه . Hadhrat Diraar bin Damirah Kinaani رَحِمَهُ ٱللَّٰهُ said, “Would you excuse me?” Hadhrat Mu’aawiya رضي الله عنه replied, “You cannot be excused.” Hadhrat Diraar bin Damirah Kinaani رَحِمَهُ ٱللَّٰهُ continued, “If I have to say something, then I swear by Allaah that Hadhrat Ali رضي الله عنه  was a man of high objectives (with immense honour). He was a man of tremendous strength who always spoke decisively and passed judgment with utmost justice. Knowledge seemed to burst forth from his every limb (people learned something from his every word, action, and even when he did nothing) and wisdom spoke through him from every angle. He kept aloof from the world and its attraction, taking comfort from the night and its darkness.”

By Allaah Hadhrat Ali رضي الله عنه  shed many tears and remained in deep thought for long periods. He would often turn his hands over and address himself. He liked simple clothing and coarse (unrefined) food. By Allaah He was just like one of us and when we met with him, he would make us sit close to him and ensured that he answered our every question. Despite him being close to us and us being close to him, we were too overawed to speak to him. When he smiled, his teeth appeared to be a string of pearls. He showed enormous respect towards men learned in the matters of Deen and he showed great love towards the poor. In front of him, a powerful person never expected to succeed in his false claims and a weak person never lost hope in his justice.”

“Allaah witness to the night when I once saw him sitting in his Mihraab when the night had already drawn its curtains and the stars had vanished. He was holding his beard and bending over, displaying the distress of a person bitten by a scorpion. He wept like a bitterly grieved person and I can still hear his cries echoing in my ears as he repeated the words, ‘Yaa Rabbanaa! Yaa Rabbanaa! (Oh our Rabb! Oh our Rabb!)’ In this way, he humbled himself before Allaah. He then address the world saying, ‘0 world! Are you trying to deceive me? Are you staring expectantly at me? Get away! Get away and use your charms on someone else because I have divorced you thrice. Your life is short, your company is demeaning and people easily get into trouble because of you. Oh dear! Oh dear! The provision (for the journey to the Aakhirah) is meager, the journey is long and the road is frightening.”‘

(Upon hearing this,) Tears flowed uncontrollably from the eyes of Hadhrat Mu’aawiya رضي الله عنه  onto his beard and he began wiping them away with his sleeve. The people present were also choked with their weeping. Hadhrat Mu’aawiya رضي الله عنه then said, “That was indeed an accurate description of Abul Hasan (Hadhrat Ali رضي الله عنه ). May Allaah have mercy on him. 0 Diraar, what was your reaction to his death?” Hadhrat Diraar bin Damirah Kinaani رَحِمَهُ ٱللَّٰهُ replied, “I felt the anguish of a woman whose only child is slaughtered in her lap, whose tears neither stop nor does her grief diminish.” After saying this, Hadhrat Diraar bin Damirah Kinaani رَحِمَهُ ٱللَّٰهُ stood up and left. – Abu Nu’aym (Vol.1 Pg.84). In his book fsti2ab (Vo1.3 Pg.44), Ibn Abdil Barr has also reported this narration from Hirmaazi who hailed from Hamdaan and who reported the same from Diraar Sadaa’i.

Hadhrat Qataadah رَحِمَهُ ٱللَّٰهُ reports that someone once asked Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Umar رضي الله عنه  if the Sahabah ever laughed. He replied, “Yes. However, the Imaan in their hearts still remained firmer than mountains.” – Abu Nu’aym in his Hilya (Vol. 1 Pg.31 1)

Seeing the carriages of some Yemeni travelers made out of animal skin, Hadhrat Umar رضي الله عنه  remarked, “Whoever wishes to see a semblance of the Sahabah of Rasulullaah ﷺ should look at these people.” – Kanzul Ummaal Vo1.7 Pg. 163

Abu Sa’eed Maqbari رَحِمَهُ ٱللَّٰهُ reports that when Hadhrat Abu Ubaydah bin Jarraah رضي الله عنه   contracted a plague, he instructed Hadhrat Mu’aadh bin Jabal رضي الله عنه  to lead the salaah, which the latter did. When Hadhrat Abu Ubaydah bin Jarraah رضي الله عنه  passed away, Hadhrat Mu’aadh رضي الله عنه  addressed the people saying, “0 people! Sincerely repent to Allaah for your sins because when any servant of Allaah meets Allaah after he sincerely repents for his sins, Allaah forgiveness is assured.”

Hadhrat Mu’aadh رضي الله عنه  then proceeded to say, “You have been grieved by the loss of a man whom I swear had a heart more free from malice than any other I have seen. I have not seen another with a purer heart, who was further from evil, who had as much love for the Aakhirah, and who cared more for the well-being of the masses. Pray for mercy to be showered on him and make for the open plain to perform his funeral prayer. I swear by Allaah that you shall never have another leader like him.”

The people gathered together and the bier of Hadhrat Abu Ubaydah رضي الله عنه  taken to the plain where Hadhrat Mu’aadh رضي الله عنه  led the funeral prayer. When the corpse was brought to the grave, Hadhrat Mu’aadh رضي الله عنه , Hadhrat Amr bin Al Aas رضي الله عنه  and Hadhrat Dahaak bin Qais رضي الله عنه  entered the grave to lay the body to rest. When they emerged from the grave, they closed the grave with sand and (standing at the head-side of the grave) Hadhrat Mu’aadh رضي الله عنه  addressed the deceased saying, “0 Abu Ubaydah! I shall certainly heap praises on you but will say nothing untrue because I fear that it may incur Allaah’s rath. By Allaah as far as I know, you were certainly from among those people who abundantly engaged in the Dhikr of Allah, who walked humbly on earth and who would greet (and part company from) foolish people when they addressed you (to avoid disputes). You were among those who would neither be miserly nor wasteful when spending in charity, but who display excellent moderation between the two extremes. By Allaah You were among those whose hearts submitted to Allaah, who displayed humility, who were compassionate towards orphans and the poor and who detested the behaviour of treacherous and arrogant people.” – Haakim in his Mustadrak Vol.3 Pg.264

Hadhrat Rib’ee bin Hiraash رَحِمَهُ ٱللَّٰهُ narrates that Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas رضي الله عنه  once sought permission to meet Hadhrat Mu’aawiya رضي الله عنه  at a time when members of various tribes of the Quraysh were with him. As Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas رضي الله عنه  approached, Hadhrat Mu’aawiya رضي الله عنه  aid to Hadhrat Sa’eed bin Al Aas رضي الله عنه  who was on his right-hand side, “I shall present to Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas رضي الله عنه  such questions that he will be unable to answer.” Hadhrat Sa’eed رضي الله عنه  replied, ‘There is none like Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas رضي الله عنه  answer your questions.”

When Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas رضي الله عنه  was seated, Hadhrat Mu’aawiya رضي الله عنه  asked him, “What have you to say about Hadhrat Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه ?” Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas رضي الله عنه  replied, “May Allaah shower his mercy on Hadhrat Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه . By Allaah He ardently recited the Qur’aan stayed far from deviation, avoided immodesty, prevented (people from) evil, knew his Deen well, and feared (disobeying) Allaah . He engaged in Ibaadah during the nights, fasted during the days, remained uncontaminated by the world, and was committed to administering justice among Allaah”s creation. He instructed what was good and always did what was good. He was grateful to Allaah in all conditions, engaged in Dhikr morning and evening, and was hard on himself in matters relevant to reformation. He excelled ahead of his companions in terms of piety, contentment, abstinence, chasteness, virtue, caution, self-discipline, and in repaying people for the good they do. May Allaah’s curses up to the Day of Qiyaamah be on those who deride him.” Hadhrat Mu’aawiya رضي الله عنه  then asked, “What have you to say about Hadhrat Umar bin Khattaab رضي الله عنه  ” Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas replied, “May Allaah shower his mercy on Abu Hafs (Hadhrat Umar). By Allaah He was a great supporter of Islaam, protector of the orphans, a treasure chest of Imaan, and a shelter for the weak. By Allaah He was truly a sanctuary for the pious, a fortress for Allaah creation, and an ally to every person. With fortitude and confidence in Allaah, he established Allaah’s True Deen until the time came when Allaah, made the ~edonf Islaam dominant and subjugated many lands. Allaah’s name was then mentioned in every direction, every hill, and every spring in many parts of the world. He displayed exceptional tolerance when people spoke offensively, was always grateful to Allaah during times of hardship and times of ease and engaged in the Dhikr of Allaah at every moment. May Allaah’s curse until the Day of Qiyaamah follow the person who harbours enmity for him.” Hadhrat Mu’aawiya then continued, “What do you have to say about Hadhrat Uthmaan bin Affaan Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas replied, “May Allaah shower his mercy on Abu Amr (Hadhrat Uthmaan). Allaah He was an extremely honourable son-in-law (of Rasulullaah ﷺ) who kept the company of pious people and was among the most unfaltering soldiers. He stayed awake (performing Tahajjud salaah) for nights on end and wept excessively when engaging in Allaah’s Dhikr. Throughout the day and night, he remained thoughtful about matters of importance, always ready to do anything of virtue and never tiring of completing anything that would lead to salvation. Among his noble traits was that he stood firmly against every calamity and was the generous sponsor of the Muslim army (especially during the Tabook expedition) and the sponsor of the well (the well of Rooma which he bought from a Jew and donated it to the Muslims). After all, he was the husband of two of Rasulullaah ﷺ w’s daughters. May remorse until the Day of Qiyaamah follow who the person speaks ill of him.” 

Thereafter, Hadhrat Mu’aawiya رضي الله عنه  asked Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas رضي الله عنه , “What have you to say about Hadhrat Ali bin Abi Taalib رضي الله عنه ?” The reply was, “May Allaah  shower His mercy on Abu Hasan (Hadhrat Ali رضي الله عنه  ). By Allaah He was a standard-bearer of knowledge, a fortune of piety, a stronghold of intelligence, and a mountain of good. He was a light to those walking in the pitch darkness and an unrelenting caller to the great straight path. Hadhrat Ali رضي الله عنه possessed profound knowledge of the earlier scriptures, propagated the teachings of the Qur’aan and always imparted excellent advice. He always clung to the ways of guidance and stayed far from injustice, causing harm to others and from everything destructive. He was the best of those who possessed Imaan and Taqwa and the leader of all those who dressed in sewn garments or in unstitched shawls. He was the noblest of those who performed Hajj and Sa’ee, the most magnanimous of those who administered justice and equity and the most eloquent of people save for the Arnbiyaa and the chosen Rasool of Allaah. He was also among those early Muslims who performed salaah facing towards both Qiblas (the Kabah and Baytul Maqdas). Can there be any monotheist equal to him? He was the extremely fortunate one to marry the best of women (Hadhrat Faatima) and was the father of the two noble grandsons (of Rasulullaah ﷺ). My eyes have never seen anyone like him and will never see anyone of his caliber until the Day of Qiyaamah, which is the Day of Meeting. May the curses of Allaah, and the curses of every servant of Allaah until the Day of Qiyaamah be on the one who curses him.”

Hadhrat Mu’aawiya رضي الله عنه  then asked, “What have you to say about Hadhrat Talha رضي الله عنه  and Hadhrat Zubayr رضي الله عنه  ” Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas رضي الله عنه  replied, “May Allaah’s mercy be showered on them. By Allaah;! They were both extremely virtuous and pious Muslims who remained extremely pure. They were both martyrs and exceptionally learned men. Although they made an error, Allaah, shall forgive them because of the tremendous assistance they rendered (to Rasulullaah ﷺ and the propagation of Deen), because they were among the earliest Muslims, among earliest companions of Rasulullaah ﷺ, and because of the many good deeds they carried out.” Then Hadhrat Mu’aawiya رضي الله عنه  asked, ‘What have you to say about Hadhrat Abbaas رضي الله عنه ?” Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas رضي الله عنه , “May Allaah shower His mercy on Abul Fadhl (Hadhrat Abbaas رضي الله عنه ). By Allaah ! He was the real brother of Rasulullaah ﷺ and the delight of his eyes. He was a chosen servant of Allaah, a sanctuary for all people, and the leader of all the uncles of Rasulullaah ﷺ . He possessed deep insight into all matters, always considered the consequences of everything, and was adorned by profound knowledge. The virtue of others fades into the background when his virtues are mentioned and the achievements of other families seem insignificant before the accomplishments of his family. Why should he not be such a great person when he was raised by none other than Abdul Muttalib, who was the most honourable of people and the most esteemed of the Quraysh who ever walked or rode.”  The above is a part of a lengthy hadith – The Hadith is reported by Bayhaqi (Vo1.9 Pg.160) who reports from Tabraani but comments that one of the narrators is not known.