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A Summary of the Creed of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah Regarding the Sahaabah in Light of the Quraan and Sunnah


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A Summary of the Creed of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah Regarding the Sahaabah (radiyallahu anhum) in Light of the Quraan & Sunnah
Mufti Taahir Hansa – Jamiatul Ulama KZN Midlands
While people in general focus on the visible structure of a building above the ground and admire its design and architecture, the architects and engineers have to ensure that the foundation is rock-solid or else the entire beautiful structure collapses as a heap of worthless rubble. Exactly is the case with the faith of Islam. 
The structure of Islam, with all its pillars, rests on a foundation of correct beliefs that are explicitly established from the Quran and Authentic Traditions of Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. Without the foundation of correct Aqeedah, the actions and deeds of a person will not be of benefit to him.
The beliefs and practices of a Muslim, must be in conformity with the Quraan and Sunnah in order to be worthy of acceptance by Allah. 
Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'ah literally translates as ‘the people of the way and the group’ and broadly refers to Muslim orthodoxy and consensus. The ‘way’ signifies that of the Prophet and the ‘group’ refers to his noble companions (Sahaabah radiyallahu anhum), and their successors (Taabi’een) and those after them represented by the main spectrum of Muslims in every age who followed in their footsteps.
Allah has classified the Imaan of the Sahaabah radiyallahu anhum to be the ideal. He made a similitude of their Imaan and encouraged the people to have Imaan in the same way as them. Allah says:
فَاِنْ اٰمَنُوْا بِمِثْلِ مَآ اٰمَنْتُمْ بِهٖ فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوْاۚ
If they have Iman just as you have Iman, then they are rightly guided. [Surah al Baqarah: Verse 137]
This means that the Imaan and conviction of the Sahaabah radiyallahu anhum has been classified as the standard of truth for others to believe. It is obvious that their Imaan meets the Divine criterion, it is only then that it was made worthy of being the exemplar.
Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Amr radiyallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said: “The Jews split into seventy one or seventy two factions; and likewise the Christians. My Ummah will split into 73 factions. All of those factions will be in the Fire (of Jahannam) except one.” The companions asked: “Who are they, O Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam replied: "Those that follow my way and that of my companions." [Sunan Tirmidhi: Hadith 2641] 
In this hadith, the standard of truth and falsehood has not only been classified to be the path of Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, but together with this, the path of the Sahabah of Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has been classified to be the standard of truth. Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has also explained that the path of his Sahaabah radiyallahu anhum is exactly his path and following them is a means of salvation. It is thus established that together with Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the Sahaabah radiyallahu anhum are also the standard and yardstick of truth. Virtue and excellence in any action is attained through adherence to the commands of Allah Ta'ala and Sunnah of Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Virtue and excellence in actions cannot be achieved based on our own desires and preferences. The imperative need to follow the Sahaabah of Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in understanding the Sunnah can never be over emphasised. The Sahaabah radiyallahu anhum are the fundamental basis and foundations on which the superstructure of the Shariah has been raised. They represent the pivot upon which the wheel of Islam revolves. The Sahaabah radiyallahu anhum cannot be divorced from the Sunnah and vice versa. Without the reports, comments, interpretations and rulings of the Sahaabah radiyallahu anhum it is not possible to correctly understand the Qur'aan and the sacred utterances and practices of Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. 
The Sahabah radiyallahu anhum are the noblest after the Ambiya’ Alaihimus Salaam. Allah Ta'ala selected them to be in the company of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They were the best Companions for the best creation of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.
Although they are diverse with regards to the time of their Islam and the duration of their closeness to Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala included them all when declaring His pleasure for them, praising them, and promising them Jannat.
Allah subhanahu wa ta‘ala declares:
وَالسَّابِقُوْنَ الْأَوَّلُوْنَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِيْنَ وَالْأَنصَارِ وَالَّذِيْنَ اتَّبَعُوْهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ رَّضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوْا عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِيْ تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِيْنَ فِيْهَا أَبَدًا ذٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيْمُ
And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajirin and the Ansar and those who followed them with good conduct – Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment. [Surah al Tawbah: Verse 100]
 وَمَا لَكُمْ أَلَّا تُنْفِقُوْا فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللَّهِ وَلِلَّهِ مِيرَاثُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَا يَسْتَوِيْ مِنْكُم مَّنْ أَنفَقَ مِنْ قَبْلِ الْفَتْحِ وَقَاتَلَ أُولٰئِكَ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً مِّنَ الَّذِيْنَ أَنْفَقُوْا مِنْ بَعْدُ وَقَاتَلُوْا وَكُلًّا وَّعَدَ اللَّهُ الْحُسْنىٰ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُوْنَ خَبِيْرٌ
And why do you not spend in the cause of Allah while to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth? Not equal among you are those who spent before the conquest [of Makkah] and fought [and those who did so after it]. Those are greater in degree than they who spent afterwards and fought. But to all Allah has promised the best [reward]. And Allah is well acquainted with what you do. [Surah al Hadid: verse 10]
لَقَدْ رَضِىَ اللَّهُ عَنِ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ إِذْ يُبَايِعُوْنَكَ تَحْتَ الشَّجَرَةِ فَعَلِمَ مَا فِيْ قُلُوْبِهِمْ فَأَنْزَلَ السَّكِيْنَةَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَثَابَهُمْ فَتْحًا قَرِيْبًا
Certainly Allah was pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you, [O Muhammad], under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquillity upon them and rewarded them with an imminent conquest. [Surah al Fath: Verse 18]
The Rasul of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has emphatically addressed this matter in the Ahadith as well.
عن عبد الله بن مغفل قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم الله الله في أصحابي لا تتخذوهم غرضا بعدي فمن أحبهم فبحبي أحبهم ومن أبغضهم فببغضي أبغضهم ومن آذاهم فقد آذاني ومن آذاني فقد آذى الله ومن آذى الله فيوشك أن يأخذه
It has been reported by ‘Abdullah ibn Mughaffal radiyallahu ‘anhu: The Rasul of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Fear Allah when with regards to my Companions. Fear Allah when with regards to my Companions. Do not make them a target of abuse after me. He who loves them, loves them because he loves me. He who hates them, hates them because he hates me. He who harms them has harmed me, and he who harms me has offended Allah, and he who offends Allah, then it is very soon that Allah will take him to task.” [Sunan al Tirmidhi, #3862]
Based on the aforementioned verses and ahadith (and many others not mentioned) the belief of the Muslims regarding the Companions of the Rasul of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallamis that they are the best of people after the Ambiya’. Holding them in high esteem is from the Daruriyyat of Deen (compulsory/core aspects of the Islamic faith). A person who holds a view contrary to this would not be considered a Muslim as his belief is in contrast to what is established directly from the Quraan, Sunnah and Ijmaa' (consensus) of the Ummah.
May Allah guide us all to remain on the correct path. Aameen.

Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)
Council of Muslim Theologians

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