UNIT TWO – THE SAHABA AND THE TABI’UN

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DEFINITION OF SAHABA

The Companions of Allah’s Messenger are referred to as Sahabi (pl. Sahaba or Ashab), denoting ‘companion, associate, comrade, fellow, friend, or fellow-traveler’ in Arabic. Those believers who saw and heard the Messenger at least once, and who died as Muslims have been referred to as Sahabi.

 

VIRTUES OF THE SAHABA

There are many verses in the Qur’an that speak of the virtue of the Prophet’s Companions. It is said of them, “Allah was assuredly well-pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree” (al-Fath 48:18). Due to Allah’s saying of them, “Allah is well-pleased with them,” it has become common to say, “May Allah be well pleased with them,” when one of their names are mentioned.

Allah has revealed that the Companions are sincere, straightforward and trustworthy, and indeed prosperous;( Al-Hashr 59:8–9) stating, “You are the best community ever brought forth for (the good of) humankind,” (Al Imran 3:110) He has praised them in the greatest possible way. Allah’s Messenger has echoed the same notion in his hadith stating, “The best of people are my generation and then those who follow them and then those who follow them.”( Sahih al-Bukhari, Fada’il al-Ashab, 1)

Due to the Qur’an and Sunnah’s confirming the righteousness and morality Companions without any differentiation between them and its attesting to their piety and fairness, all the Companions have been accepted as righteous. Implied in the term “righteous” (adil) is the reliability of their testimony, their truthfulness, faithfulness, piety, trustworthiness and steadfastness. The Ahl al-Sunnah scholars have unanimously accepted all the Companions to be righteous. On account of this, speaking ill of or insulting any of the Companions has been considered as one of the greatest of sins. The Prophet has stated: “Do not curse my Companions! Do not curse my Companions! I swear by Him in Whose hand my life is that, even if one among you had as much gold as Mount Uhud and spent it in the way of Allah, this would not be equal in reward to a few handfuls of them or even to half of that.”(Sahih Muslim, Fada’il al-Sahaba, 221)

The Companions have been grouped into various categories among them, based on their level of virtue. The Meccan Companions have been referred to as the Emigrants (Muhajirun), while the Medinan natives have been called the Helpers (Ansar). They have been ranked in accordance with their participation in such important events as the Battle of Badr and the oath of allegiance. The Prophet’s household (Ahl al-Bayt), children, wives and relatives hold a distinct position and esteem. The Messenger of Allah said that his daughter, “Fatima is the mistress of the women of Paradise,” and in another hadith, stated, “Fatima is part of me. Whoever makes her angry, makes me angry.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Fada’il al-Ashab, 29) He also revealed that Archangel Jabrail gave his greetings to his wife Aisha and said in one hadith, “Do not injure me regarding Aisha.” ( Sahih al-Bukhari, Fada’il al-Ashab, 30)

The most virtuous of the Companions are the four Rightly Guided Caliphs, respectively. One of the most well-known gradations is the ten Companions who were promised Paradise while still alive (Ashara al-Mubashshara). They are Abu Bakr (d. 634 CE), Umar (d. 644 CE), Uthman (d. 655 CE), Ali (d. 660 CE), Abdu’r-Rahman ibn Awf (d. 652 CE), Abu Ubayda ibn al-Jarrah (d. 639 CE), Talha ibn Ubaydullah (d. 656 CE), Zubayr ibn al-Awwam (d. 656 CE), Said ibn Zayd ibn Amr (d. 671 CE), and Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas (d. 675 CE), may Allah be well pleased with all of them.

 

THE TABI’UN

Those succeeding the Companions and following in their footsteps have been referred to as Tabi’i (pl. Tabi’un), being a person who met with one of the Companions and spent time in their company. Allah declares that He is well pleased with those who follow in the footsteps of the Companions:

The first and foremost (to embrace Islam and excel others in virtue) among the Emigrants and the Helpers, and those who follow them in devotion to doing good, aware that Allah is seeing themAllah is wellpleased with them, and they are well-pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them Gardens throughout which rivers flow, therein to abide forever. That is the supreme triumph. (at-Tawbah 9:100)

Allah’s Messenger states that the best generation after his Companions is the one succeeding them.

The generation of the Tabi’un is of utmost importance with respect to the history of Islamic religious studies. The greatest Muslim scholars lived in this generation and the principles of the Islamic studies determined by them. The following seven Medinan scholars known as the Seven Jurists of Medina (Fuqaha al-Medina as-Sab’a), have especial importance in the Hadith Sciences: Said ibn al-Mussayyib (d. 723 CE), Qasim ibn Muhammad (d. 723 CE), Urwa ibn Zubayr (d. 713 CE), Kharija ibn Zayd ibn Thabit (d. 718 CE), Abu Salama ibn Abdu’r-Rahman ibn Awf (d. 722 CE), Ubayd Allah ibn Utba ibn Mas’ud (d. 717 CE), and Sulayman ibn Yasar (d. 722 CE). Relatives of the Companions and raised among them, these Tabi’un scholars became known through the consultations they held among themselves in resolving issues. With strong command of the Qur’an and Sunnah in terms of both transmission (riwaya) and critical perception or cognition (diraya), Tabi’un scholars established the Islamic studies on strong intellectual grounds.

 

EVALUATION

1. Who is known as a Companion?

2. Who are the mukthirun Companions?

3. Which Companions narrate mursal hadith?

4. Who is referred to as mukhadram?

5. Who is known as the Tabi’un?

 

Tekines, Ayhan. “An Introduction to Hadith” Tughra Books Press. January 2013.