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The Fallacy of Critiquing the Noble Companions (Radhiallahu Anhum) in the Name of Research 

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The Fallacy of Critiquing the Noble Companions (Radhiallahu Anhum) in the Name of Research 

An excerpt from Maqam-i-Sahaba of the Late Grand Mufti of Pakistan, Mufti Muhammad Shafi (rahimahullah):

With regard to research and critique, one of the first Islamic principles to bear in mind is that one’s effort and time should not be expended on researching matters which contain no foreseeable benefit in this life or the next. In Islam, research for the sake of it is considered a futile and superfluous act, which Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) strongly discouraged. This is more so when the research or critique creates discord and strife. The likeness of such critique is that of a “good” son researching whether he is really the biological son of his father, and to this end, he goes to great lengths to investigate different aspects of his mother’s life.

In the matter of critiquing others, Islam has laid down rules and parameters that are just and wise, and it does not allow for anyone to unreservedly say whatever they want about whomever they want. This is not the place to go into detailed discussion; books on the science of jarh and ta’deel cover this in detail.

However, research and critique imported from Europe is unrestricted and without bounds, and there is no real place therein for respect and being mindful of limits. Sadly, many writers today have been influenced by this new style of critique. Without any worldly or religious need, making prominent individuals the target of unbounded criticism is considered a commendable academic service and the mark of being a researcher.  

The pious predecessors and great imams of this Ummah had been subject to iniquitous critiques for a long time; now we are seeing these critiques have slowly edged their way to the noble Companions (radhiallahu anhum) too. Many writers who class themselves to be part of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama’ah have started to practice their critique skills on the noble Companions (radhiallahu anhum), considering it an excellent research initiative and showcase for their academic prowess. 

Under the pretext of supporting and defending Sayyiduna Mu’awiyah (radhiallahu anhu) and his son Yazid, some went to the extreme of targeting not only Sayyiduna Ali (radhiallahu anhu) and his family, but rather all of the Banu Hashim. In doing so, they did not just violate the respect and sanctity of the noble Companions (radhiallahu anhum), but they also broke every rule of balanced and regulated critique. On the other hand, when others started to write, they criticised and disparaged Sayyiduna Mu’awiyah (radhiallahu anhu) and Sayyiduna Uthman (radhiallahu anhu) in the same way.

The current generation of educated youths, unknowledgeable in religious knowledge and etiquette of Islam, but fascinated by the newly-imported culture of Europe, became influenced by both groups and started maligning the noble Companions (radhiallahu anhum) in their circles. The noble Companions (radhiallahu anhum), who are the intermediary link between Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Ummah, are now viewed in the same light as other political leaders who fight for power, and who in the quest for securing power for themselves, misguide and destroy nations. 

A certain deviant group which abuses the noble Companions (radhiallahu anhum) is understood to be a separate sect. Muslims in general do not become affected by their deviance; in fact, they despise them. However, this dilemma has now arisen in those who claim to be from the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama’ah.

It is evident that if Muslims lose their trust, may Allah forbid, in the noble Companions (radhiallahu anhum), there can remain no trust in the Qur’an and Sunnah or any principle of Islam. What can be the consequence of this besides open irreligiousness? 

All of this has compelled me to put pen to paper on this topic. And Allah’s help is sought, and on Him is our reliance.

(Maqam-i-Sahaba, pg 8-10)

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