The Beloved and Blessed Nabi صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said:
لَا تَسُبُّوا أَصْحَابِي فَلَوْ أَنَّ أَحَدَ كُمْ أَ نْفَقَ مِثْلَ أُحُدٍ ذَهَبًا مَا بَلَغَ مُدَّ أَحَدِهِمْ وَلَا نَصِيفَهُ
i.e. Do not speak ill of my companions. If anyone of you gives gold to charity equivalent to the Uhud Mount, so he can reach neither a Mud [مُد] nor half of a Mud of any of my companions. (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 2, pp. 522, Hadees 3673)
In accordance with the Shari’ah, a Sahabi is the human being who was blessed with being present in the court of the Beloved and Blessed Nabi صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم in the state of faith and who passed away in the state of faith. (‘Ashi’a-tul-Lam’aat, vol. 4, pp. 641)
Blessed companions رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُم are the truthful, trustworthy, pious and virtuous individuals who are the only source of conveying the Holy Quran, Hadees and all Shar’i rulings to us through the Holy Rasool صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ forbid, if their trustworthiness, honesty, morality and dignity are denied, so the entire religion will appear to be unreliable. Therefore, the Holy Nabi صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم described the glory of his blessed companions in this Hadees, preventing others from speaking ill of them and mentioning that the Sadaqah and charity given by them is accepted in the Divine court.
Commenting on the part of the Hadees ‘لَا تَسُبُّوا أَصْحَابِي’, Faqeeh and Muhaddis ‘Allamah Ibn-ul-Malik Roomi Hanafi رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه (who passed away in 854 AH) stated: It contains prohibition on speaking ill of blessed companions رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُم. Most Islamic scholars stated: One who speaks ill of even a single blessed companion, will be punished in order to make him learn manners.
(Sharh Masabih-us-Sunnah, vol. 6, pp. 395, Taht-al-Hadees: 4699)
Commenting on ‘فَلَوْ أَنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ أَنْفَقَ۔۔۔’, commentators have stated various reasons for it. However, the commentator of Bukhari Imam Ahmad Bin Isma’eel Koraani رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه (who passed away in 893 AH) stated: The context shows that companions رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُم were blessed with this status by virtue of the companionship of the Holy Nabi صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. (Al-Kawsar-ul-Jaari, vol. 6, pp. 442, Taht-al-Hadees: 3673)
Commenting on the same Hadees, commentator of Hadees ‘Allamah Muzharuddin Husayn Zaydaani رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه (who passed away in 727 AH) stated: Superiority of blessed companions رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُم was for the mere reason that they found the companionship of the Holy Nabi صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم as well as the “period of revelation”. If anyone of us lives for a thousand years carrying out the Divinely-declared commandments, refraining from forbidden things throughout his life, and even becoming the greatest worshipper of his time; still, the worship he performed cannot be equal to even a moment of the companionship of the Holy Nabi صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. (Al-Mafatih fi Sharh-ul-Masabih, vol. 6, pp. 286, Taht-al-Hadees: 4699)
A great thinker of the Ummah, Mufti Ahmad Yar Khan رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه commented: That is, if my companion gives more or less one and a quarter of a kilogram of barley to charity and if any other Muslim – no matter he is Ghaus or Qutb or a common Muslim – gives as much gold as a mountain to charity, so it cannot be equal to one and a quarter of a kilogram of barley given by any of my companions in terms of closeness in the Divine court and acceptance. The same applies to Sawm, Salah and all other acts of worship. The reward of the Salah offered in the Masjid-un-Nabawi is fifty thousand times more than the reward of the Salah offered anywhere else; so how can words express the status of those who attained the closeness of the Holy Nabi صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and saw him? And what can be said about the acts of worship performed by them? Here closeness in the Divine court is mentioned.
The respected Mufti Sahib has further stated: This Hadees shows that one should always mention something good while talking about blessed companions رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُم. Never use such a word for any companion that shows a lack of respect. These are the respected individuals whom the Lord has chosen for the companionship of His Beloved Nabi صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. A merciful father does not let his son stay in the company of bad people; so will the Merciful Lord like to let His Nabi stay in the company of bad people? (Mirat-ul-Manajih, vol. 8, pp. 335)
Reward of affection for all companions
The father of Sayyiduna ‘Abdur Rahman Bin Zayd رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه stated: I met forty respected Tabi’een who all used to tell us the following Hadees narrating from blessed companions: The Holy Nabi صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, ‘One who loves all of my companions, helps them and seeks forgiveness for them, so Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ will bless him with the companionship of my companions on the Day of Judgement in Paradise.’ (Sharh Usool I’tiqaad Ahl-us-Sunnah, vol. 2, pp. 1063, Hadees 2337)
Respect for the status of “being a Sahabi” is necessary
Do remember! The great honour of “being a Sahabi” cannot be attained through any act of worship or ascetic practice. Therefore, even if we do not find any narration regarding the excellence of a particular Sahabi رَضِىَ اللهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُ, without doubt, that Sahabi is still certainly respectable and honourable and holds the great status of dignity and excellence because in the universe, the most superior and high status after the status of Nubuwwah is “being a Sahabi”.
The author of Nibraas, ‘Allamah ‘Abdul ‘Azeez Parhaarwi Chishti رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه has stated: Remember! The number of Beloved Rasool’s blessed Sahabah is [approximately] one hundred twenty four thousand, equal to the number of previous blessed Ambiya. However, Ahadees are present regarding the excellence of [only] few blessed Sahabah; for the excellence of the rest blessed Sahabah رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُم, it is sufficient that they are the Sahabi of the Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم because the Ayahs of the Holy Quran and blessed Ahadees are clear and evident regarding the great excellence of the blessed company of the Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. Therefore, having less or no Ahadees regarding the excellence of any Sahabi is not a proof of his less “honour and excellence”. (An-Naahiyah, pp. 38)
All the Sahabah are just
This single Ayah is sufficient for the excellence of the blessed Sahabah رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُم:
وَ السّٰبِقُوْنَ الْاَوَّلُوْنَ مِنَ الْمُهٰجِرِیْنَ وَ الْاَنْصَارِ وَ الَّذِیْنَ اتَّبَعُوْهُمْ بِاِحْسَانٍۙ-رَّضِیَ اللّٰهُ عَنْهُمْ وَ رَضُوْا عَنْهُ وَ اَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنّٰتٍ تَجْرِیْ تَحْتَهَا الْاَنْهٰرُ خٰلِدِیْنَ فِیْهَاۤ اَبَدًاؕ-ذٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِیْمُ(۱۰۰)
Translation from Kanz-ul-Iman: And the earliest and the foremost Muhajireen (emigrants) and Ansaar (helpers of emigrants), and those who followed them with virtue; Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has kept ready for them Gardens beneath which rivers flow; to abide in it forever and ever; only this is the great success.
(Part 11, Surah At-Taubah, Ayah 100)
‘Allamah Abu Hayyaan Muhammad Bin Yusuf Andalusi رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه (Demise: 745 Hijri) has stated: ‘وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اتَّبَعُوۡہُمۡ بِاِحۡسَانٍ’ refers to all the blessed Sahabah رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُم. (Tafseer Al-Bahr-ul-Muheet, vol. 5, pp. 96, commentary of abovementioned Ayah)
Remember! All the blessed Sahabah رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُم are just and Jannati [Heaven dwellers]; none of them is a sinner and Faasiq [transgressor]. That unfortunate person is rejected who proves any of the blessed Sahabah رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُم to be a Faasiq because of any historic event or a narration, as it is against this Ayah. Such a person should read the following blessed Hadees with hearty feelings and try to learn a lesson.
Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Bin Mughaffal رَضِىَ اللهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُ has narrated that the Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said: Regarding my Sahabah (رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُم), fear Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ, fear Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ. After me, do not target them because the one who loved them, loved them because of my love, and the one who had hatred for them, had hatred for them because of hatred for me, and the one who hurt them, hurt me and the one who hurt me, displeased Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ and the one who displeased Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ, Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ will punish him soon.
(Sunan-ut-Tirmizi, vol. 5, pp. 463, Hadees 3888; Siraat-ul-Jinaan, vol. 4, pp. 219)