of the important topics about Shia Sunni differences is to know Shia-Sunni point of view about the companions.Sunni point of view says that all Sahaba (the companions) are عادل (Aadil) (on just- righteous) and all of them will go to heaven.
(Ibne Hajjar Esqalani, Al- Asaba fi Tamizal Sahaba, Page 9-10).
We know that most of Sunnis believe in the above mentioned statement strictly, they propagate this belief day and night. They recite different verses and Hadith to prove this belief.
Before we discuss the above belief, we want to talk first about the meanings and definitions of Sahaba (the companions).
The dictionary meaning of sahabi (companion) is anybody who had the company with someone.
The definition of Sahabi among Sunnis is anybody who accepted Islam, met the holy Prophet(pbuh) even for few minutes and died on Islam.
Ibne Hajjar Esqalani and others mentioned this definition.
According to above famous definition of companion, anybody who met the holy Prophet(pbuh) for few minutes is Sahabi. It means the whole society is companion and there are more than 100,000 people who are companions.
We want to mention here very important point that The Holy Prophet called all those people Companions (Sahaba) who claimed thier Islam in front of The Holy Prophet even though they purposely performed against The Sunnah of The Holy Prophet and they died while they rejected the teachings of The Holy Prophet (pbuh), even though they were hypchrites, The Holy Prophet called them Sahabi. There are many examples to prove above facts but we want to mention here only two narrations from Sahih Muslim. Please read the narration. Please read another narration also from Sahih Muslim.
We will discuss all those verses in a separate article one by one and we will prove that there is not a single verse in Quran which means that all companions are righteous and/or all companions will go to heaven.
Sunni school of thought says that we have to consider that all companions are righteous and honest because the companions are the main source to understand Islam.
The companions are the one who learnt Islam from holy Prophet and conveyed it to the Muslim Ummah. If we will consider the companions are wrong then whole Islam will be doubtful.
(We have already given commentary on this issue in our article Philosophy of Caliphate explaining who are the authorized source to learn Islam after the holy Prophet).
Shia school of thought does not deny that Companions are the one who learnt Islam from the holy Prophet(pbuh).
Yes they are the first student of the Holy Prophet. But it does not necessaryly mean that we shld believe that all companions are righteous and honest.
It is also impossible that all companions were righteous.
Shia school of thought says that there is special arrangement to preserve Islam by Allah(swt) and his Prophet. Islam wont get damage if we dont believe that all companions are righteous
It is true that there are righteous companions of the messenger of Allah(swt). But there are also companions who do not fulfill the criteria of righteousness; neither all the companions are equal in righteousness nor all on justice (ADAL).
If we will analyze the Sunni point of view about companions in their claim does not fit to the standard of Quran and Hadith.
If we will look at it in practical life it proves something different that all companions are not righteous. We see there were wars between companions. They killed each other and thousands of people got killed.
(Those wars were not electronic wars that somebody pushed the button by mistake and then killed many people. Those wars were physically with swords and arrows, remained many days and months, there were dialogues between both parties and both parties had their own stands).
If we will apply the logic on Sunni point of view, it does not seem to be appealing .
How come that all companions can be equal in righteousness and justice? a person who spent whole life with the holy Prophet and a person who just met the Prophet for few minutes?
A companion who accepted Islam in the beginning, remained hungry and thirsty for Islam, he put his life at risk, fought wars for Islam, got wounds on his body, spent everything for Islam and a companion who accepted Islam at the victory of Mecca( to save the life and to get the status in society). How come these two companions can be equal?
Actually this theory that all companions are equal in righteous and justice, follow anyone of those companions then you will be guided itself is not based on justice.
We mentioned above an example of two companions one companion who accepted Islam at the beginning and another companion who accepted Islam at the end.
We want to apply this example on Imam Ali and Moawiya.
Imam Ali(as) who was brought up in Prophet Mohammad’s hands and he spent his whole life for Islam.
Moawiya who was brought up in Abu Sufyan’s hand, Abu Sufyan who was the head of pagans, he fought wars with the holy Prophet. At the end Abu Sufyan and his son Moawiya were not able to fight against Islamic army. So the Mecca was conquered and Abu sufyan and Moawiya forsce themselves to became Muslim.
Imam Ali and Moawiya both got the title of Sahabi (companion).
Sunni school of thought has developed an ideology that all companions are righteous, do not talk anything bad or criticized them because they are companions (does not matter whatever they do).
This is the reason why Sunni school of thought do not want to say anything bad about Moawiya and other companions who oppose the Quran and Sunnah and did all bad things.
Anybody who got the protection under the umbrella of the title as “companion” the Sunni school of thought do not entertain the discussion of anything bad about any companion.
This is the reason whySunni school of thought does not want to say anything bad about Moawiya, who fought with Imam Ali thousands of people got killed during the fight. Moawiya started cursing on Imam Ali(as) in the mosque and ordered his governors to do that, Moawiya is the one who made conspiracy to kill Imam Hassan (Al Masoodi), Moawiya opposed the Quranic laws and the Sunnah.
Because Moawiya comes under the protection of the umbrella as bneing a companion, that is why our Sunni fellows believe that the are not supposed to talk anything about the bad characteristic of Moawiya.
We want to share more interesting thing that the founder of Jam at Islami (Pakistan), Molana Moudoodi wrote a book in Urdu KHILAFAT O MALOOKIYAT, he proved all bad things about Moawiya which we mentioned above, but at the end he is unable to give his personal bad opinion about Moawiya because Moawiya is a companion. He still pays respect to Moawiya.
If anybody will give his personal opinion about bad charteristic of any Sahabi, then the Sunni school of thought will through him out from being Sunni.
We want to share a story about one Pakistani scholar Molana Abdul Qayyum Alvi who converted to Shia in 1990’s. He graduated from extremist Sunni madrasa (Deobandi pro Taliban Madrasa, Banni Chowk Rawalpindi).
Molana Abdul Qayyum and his friend were engaged to translate a book from Arabic to Urdu. While doing the translation work they realized that Moawiya son of Abu Sufyan did many bad thing and told themselves “it is all proven, but still why we defend him! Why we are unable to say anything bad about him?”
They wrote a leter putting this question and send it to another big Sunni Molana, Qazi Mazhar (chakwal). They got this answer: “do you guys not have fear of Allah? How come you guys think and discuss bad things about the companions?”
They wrote a second letter telling “we are not common people, you can tell this to a common person but we are qualified scholars; it is proven to us from original Sunni sources that Moawiya committed all those bad things, but still we defend him! We can not comprehend this point?”
They did not get any satisfactory answer. They made a research on Shia Sunni point of view about the companions then finally both converted to Shia.
We could understand why the Sunni scholars propagate strictly, and make the people emotional on the issue about do not think anything wrong about the companions. For them all companions are good. They do not allow anybody to think or discuss about the bad characteristic of the companions. They know it if somebody will make a research about he can figure out who are the wrong people and who are righteous people.
If we will make a deeper study on this ideology that all companions are righteous and just so do not talk bad thing about them. We will find out that this ideology was actually made by Moawiya, Banyu Ummayath gave fake Hadith as a gift to Muslim nation to support this ideology about anybody who has the cap of companion do not talk about his bad characteristic,no matter whatever he did he will go to heaven so follow him and you will also go to heaven.
We do not encourage people to say bad words publicly or make cartoons about those personalities whom our Sunni brothers respect. It harms the Islamic Ummah.
Our purpose is only to discuss and analyze the Sunni point of view according to the standard of Islam. We cannot mix apple and oranges in order to hide the truth. We have to differentiate right from wrong to understand Islam.
Quran says (9:119)” O you who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) Allah and be with the true ones.”
We also want to make commentary on this hadith which our Sunni fellows usually mention. “My companions are like (guiding) stars. Whomsoever you follow, you will be guided (on the right path).”
This hadith is not even proven in Sunni sources. Sunni scholars including Ibne Tamiya rejected this hadith and said that this is not a true hadith.
This hadith contradicts with Quran and the other hadiths. Logically this hadith does not make sense.
How come it is possible that whole society and more than 100,000 people are at this level wherein if you follow anyone of them you will get the true Islam?
We know that different people have different approach, different understanding and different opportunities, it does not seems logical that all companions are on the level that all of them are righteous.
We know that there were lots of hypocrites in Medina and surroundings. In Quran 9:101 it says ”And among those around you of the Bedouins are hypocrites, and [also] from the people of Medina. They have become accustomed to hypocrisy. You, [O Muhammad], do not know them, [but] we know them. We will punish them twice [in this world]; then they will be returned to a great punishment.”
The hypocrites announced their Islam saying they believe in holy Prophet(pbuh) they were in the society as a Muslim (companion). The formula follow any companion and you will be guided does not work. You never know if that person you are considering as companion might actually is a hypocrite.
We know the story about the companions were versus another companions. They had wars and they killed each other. It does not appeal that all of them were right. If two parties quarrel, there is a chance either both are wrong or one of them is wrong. Both of them cannot be right at the same time. Please read the hadith in Bukhari.
This is proven in the history among Shia-Sunni that Ammar bin Yasir (rz) killed in the battle of Safeen fighting against Moawiya. The holy Prophet testified that Moawiya’s group as rebellious and those people who will go to hell fire and drag others to hell fire. While Moawiya himself was a companion and supported by many other companions, according to Sunni definition.
Please read the narrations in Nissaie that Moawiya bin Abu Sufyan was happy with the killing of Ammar bin Yasir and he gave wrong interpretation to the hadith about Ammar bin Yasir.
Please read more narrations about the Companions of The Holy Prophet from Bukhari and Muslim. This will make more easiar to understnad that Sunni point of view have no ground to justify that all the Companions were righteous.
Narrations from Sahih al Bukhari
Narrations from Sahih Muslim
We also want to mention a verse of Quran (49:6) “Believers, if FASIQ (one who publicly commits sins) brings you any news, ascertain its truthfulness carefully, lest you harm people through ignorance and then regret what you have done.”
In this verse word ÝóÇÓöÞñ FASIQ is used which is opposite of AADIL (righteous, on Just). (FASIQ- means anybody who publicly and openly breaks the sharia law, if somebody drinks at home, he is a sinner. But if someone publicly drinks or announces in people that he drinks that person is FASIQ)
All Shia and Sunni believe that this verse was revealed about Walid bin Uqba. (tafseer ibne kathir and others)Walid reported a wrong story to the holy Prophet. There is a big conflict going to happen on the base of wrong reporting. This verse was about him.
Quran declared about a companion that this person is FASIQ. But our Sunni brothers insist that all companions are A’adil.
Walid is the same person who was declared by Quran as a FASIQ but the third caliph Othman appointed him as governor because he was his close relative. This is the same person who came in the mosque as drunk and was punished for drinking. Please read the narration in Sahih Muslim.
At the end we want to say that ideologies such as all companions are guiding stars, all companions are righteous and all of them will go to heaven were all made up to hide the truth and to keep the people away from Ahlalbait.
The holy Prophet reminded his nation many times. I am leaving two weighty things among you Quran and my Ahlabait (Muslim), they won’t stray from each other (Tirmidhi), if you attach with them you won’t be misguided (Musnad Ahmad bin Hunbal) “The likeness of my Ahle Bait is that of the Ark of Noah. He who gets into it is saved; he who turns away from it will be drowned and lost.” (This hadith is narrated by Abu Zar Ghafari rz, Mustadrak Al Hakim and many other books).
Please find our next article Shia point of view about the companions of holy Prophet.
May Allah (swt) guide those who seek for truth and send blessings to Holy Prophet Mohammad(pbuh) and his Ahlalbait