Status of the Sahabah in Islam

Meaning- Sahabee (plural: Sahabah) Anyone who saw the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), while in the state of Imaan and breathe his last while in the state of Muslim is known as a Sahabee - the Companion of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam).

The Book of Allah, and the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) clearly mention the lofty position of the Sahabah - The first ones to accept Islam and to believe in the last Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam).

They were the ones, who accepted enmity against their tribes and families and endured their tyranny and oppression, left their homelands and migrated to Madinah, all for the sake of practicing and spreading the religion of Allah. They fought along with the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), against the Kuffar, with their wealth and lives. They are the ones, whom Allah chose to place the responsibility of preserving the religion of Islam for the coming generations and it is through them that the Religion is preserved; they are the Best of generation, as Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said:

"The best of my nation is my generation then those who follow them and then those who follow them." [Saheeh Bukharee]

Allah, the All-Wise and Knowledgeable extolled their virtues in His Book saying: "Rather, the Prophet and those who believe with him fought with their property and their lives for these are all good things, they are the successful ones and Allah has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow to dwell therein forever and that is the great success" [ (9): 88-89]

They are the best example for us after our noble Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), he (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) symbolized them as a protection for the Muslim Ummah.

And Allah, the Exalted has praised those who follow them in faith, He described them saying:

"And the first to embrace Islam of the Muhajirun and Ansar and all those who followed them exactly (in faith). Allah is well pleased with them and they are pleased with Him and Allah has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow to dwell therein forever and that is the great success." [(9): 100]

Abi Burda reports from his father: "… He (Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)) raised his head toward the heavens and said: "The stars are the protection for the sky - when the stars have gone, that which has been forewarned will come to the sky. I am the protection for my Companions - when I have gone, that which has been forewarned will come to my companions. My Companions are the protection for this Ummah - when they have gone, that which has been forewarned will come to this Ummah." [Saheeh Muslim]

So, the only protection for this Ummah is to stick to the way of the Companions, the first generation - the best generation. We will now focus specifically on the status and the virtues of the best of this best generation, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq - the first Khalifa, the most beloved person to Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam):

Narrated Amr bin Al-Aas (radhiallahu anhu): "The Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) deputed me to lead the army of Dat as-Salasil. I came to him and said: "Who is the most beloved person to you?' He said: "Aa'isha" I asked "Amongst men?" He said: "Her father (Abu Bakr)..." [Saheeh Al-Bukharee v.5, no.14]

Abu Bakr As-Siddique was the closest of the Companions in relationship to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam). Ibn Abbas (radhiallahu anhu) reports: "The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) came out during his illness from which he died, his head bound with a cloth. He sat on the mimbar, thanked Allah, praised Him and said: "There is no one among the people who has been more generous to me with his life and his property than Abu Bakr ibn Abi Quhaafa (radhiallahu anhu) and if I was to take a bosom friend, I would take Abu Bakr as my bosom friend. But, the friendship of Islam is better. Block off every door in this Masjid except the door of Abu Bakr" [Saheeh Al-Bukharee]

He (radhiallahu anhu) was the first person to accept Islam amongst men. He was always present for the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and was the quickest to come to his defense and to affirm and believe everything, which came from the Prophet r.

Narrated Urwa ibn Az-Zubair: 'I asked Amr ibn Al-Aas (radhiallahu anhu): What was the most severe thing the mushrikeen ever did to Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)? He answered: "Once, when the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) was praying in the court of the Kaaba, Uqba ibn Abi Mu'eet came and put a piece of cloth around his neck and began choking him severely. Abu Bakr came along grabbed his shoulders and pushed him away from the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) saying: "Do you kill a man just for saying my Lord is Allah?" [Saheeh Al-Bukhari]

Abu Ya'la (radhiallahu anhu) also narrates that Anas ibn Malik said: "They beat the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) one day until he lost consciousness. Abu Bakr stood and began calling out: 'Woe to you! Do you kill a man just for saying my Lord is Allah? The people asked one another: "Who is this?" And they said: "That is Ibn Abi Quhaafa the madman" [Saheeh Al-Bukhari (Hasan)]

Being the closest Companion to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), Abu Bakr was also the most knowledgeable in both belief and understanding the teachings of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), as we see in the following:

Narrated Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (radhiallahu anhu): "Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) sat on the pulpit and said: "Allah has given one of his slave, the choice of receiving the splendor and luxury of the worldly life (whatever he likes) or to accept the good (of the Hereafter) which is with Him (Allah). So he has chosen that good which is with Allah."

On that Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) wept and said: "Our fathers and mothers be sacrificed for you. We became astonished at this." The people said: "Look at this old man! Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) talks about the slave of Allah to whom He has given the option to choose either the splendor of this worldly life or good which is with Him, while he says, "Our fathers and mothers be sacrificed for you." But it was Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) who had been given the option, and Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) knew it better than us." [Saheeh Al-Bukharee v.5, no.244]

Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), himself informed us in his traditions that Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) was not a person of pride.

Ibn Umar narrates: "Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "Whoever drags his clothing on the ground in pride will not be looked at by Allah on Qiyamah." Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) said: One side of my garment always drags on the ground unless I constantly tend to it. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said to him: "You do not do that out of pride." [Saheeh Al-Bukharee]

He (radhiallahu anhu) was named 'As-Siddeeq' - ''the true verifier', because he hastened to believe the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam). He was named so after the Prophet's journey to Jerusalem, when the Qura'ish refused to believe Prophet Muhammad's (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) journey to Jerusalem within a night, Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) when he heard of it, he said: "I have always believed in his words about heavenly revelation; how can I disbelieve him in a secondary worldly matter."

Narrated Anas ibn Malik (radhiallahu anhu): "The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) was on Mount Uhud with Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman when the mountain trembled. He (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "Stay still, Uhud for upon you are a Prophet, a siddique and two martyrs." [Saheeh Bukharee]

Abu Bakr was one of those mentioned in the Qur'aan who "responded to Allah and His Messenger after being injured"

From Saheeh Al-Bukharee: "Aisha reports regarding Allah's statement: "Those who responded to Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) after they had been afflicted with injury - to those who did good and feared Allah among them is a great reward." [Soorah Aal Imraan (3): 172]

She said: "...Az-Zubair and Abu Bakr - after the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) was injured at Uhud and the mushrikeen backed off, but it was feared they would return - the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "Who will go after them?" Seven men responded to that and among them were Abu Bakr and Az-Zubair." [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

In addition to telling us that Abu Bakr was the closest person in this world to himself, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) bore witness to many of the virtues of Abu Bakr and informed him and us that he is among the people of Paradise.

Once Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) offered the morning prayer and then faced the people and said:

 "While a man was driving a cow, he rode over it and beat it. The cow said: "We have not been created for this, but we have been created to plough." On that the people said astonishingly: "Glorified be Allah! A cow speaks!" The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "I believe this, and Abu Bakr and Umar too, believe it, although neither of them was present there."

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) added: "While a person was amongst his sheep, a wolf, attacked and took one of the sheep. The man chased the wolf till he rescued it (sheep) from the wolf, whereupon the wolf said: "You have rescued it (the sheep) from me; but who will guard it on the day of the wild beasts when there will be no shepherd to guard them except me?" The people said surprisingly, "Glorified be Allah! A wolf speaks!" The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "But I believe this, Abu Bakr and Umar too, believe this. Although neither of them was present there." [Saheeh Al-Bukharee v.4, no.677]

Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "...Whoever is among the people of prayer will be called (to paradise) from the door of prayer. Whoever is among the people of jihad will be called from the door of jihad. Whoever is among the people of sadaqa will be called from the door of sadaqa. Whoever is among the people of fasting is called from the door of fasting and the door of Ar-Rayaan." Abu Bakr said "...Is anyone called from all of those doors, O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)?" He (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said:"Yes, and I hope that you will be among them, Abu Bakr" [Saheeh Bukhari]

Once Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) asked: "Who began this day fasting?" Abu Bakr said: "I did." The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "Who participated in a funeral procession today?" Abu Bakr said: "I did" Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "Who fed a needy person today?" Abu Bakr said: "I did" He (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "Who visited a sick person today?" Abu Bakr said: "I did" Then, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "These things cannot all meet in a single person but that they will enter Paradise." [Saheeh Muslim]

Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) was the quickest of the Companions to rush to any good deed. Umar ibn Khattab said: "Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) ordered us to give sadaqa. It happened to coincide with some wealth I had just acquired and I said to myself: If I will every surpass Abu Bakr, this is the day I will surpass him. And so I came to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) with half of my wealth and he (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said to me: "What have you left for your family?" I said: The same amount. Then, Abu Bakr came with all of his wealth. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said to him: "What have you left for your family?" He said: " I have left them Allah and His Messenger." I said: I will never surpass you in anything." [Abu Dawood (hassan)]

Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) was the best person after the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam). The Companions were well aware of who were the first few Companions in closeness to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and the Rightly-Guided Khalifas were chosen on that basis.

Ibn Umar (radhiallahu anhuma) reports: "We used to discuss the best of the people during the time of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and we saw the best as Abu Bakr, then Umar, then Uthman ibn Affaan (radhiallahu anhum)" [Saheeh Al-Bukharee]

Ali ibn Abi Talib (radhiallahu anhu) was also very much aware of this and bore witness to it as we see in this narration from his son, which is found in Saheeh Al-Bukharee also: "I said to my father: 'Who is the best of the people after Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)?' He said: "Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu)". "I said: "And then who?" He said: "And then Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radhiallahu anhu)." I was afraid that he would say Uthman (radhiallahu anhu) next, so I said: "And then you?" To which he answered: "I am nothing but a man among the Muslims."

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) made no "official" appointment of a successor, but left plenty of signs that Abu Bakr was to succeed him as his Khalifa. A woman came to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and he ordered her to come back later. When she said: "What if I come don't find you? (Indicating his death)." He (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "If you don't find me, then go to Abu Bakr." [Saheeh Bukharee]

Aisha (radhiallahu anha) narrates: "Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said to me in his final illness: "Call Abu Bakr and his brother so I can write an official document for I fear that some desirous one may follow his desires and say: I am more appropriate. And Allah and the believers reject all but Abu Bakr." [Saheeh Muslim]

Once, when the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) was very ill, he (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "Get another to lead the prayer." The people found Umar ibn Khattab (radhiallahu anhu) and Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) was not yet there and they told him to lead the prayer. When the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) heard Umar's voice leading the prayer, he said: "And where is Abu Bakr? Allah and the Muslims reject this. Allah and the Muslims reject this." The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) then sent for Abu Bakr and he led the people in prayer after Umar had already led them in that same prayer. [Abu Dawood (hassan)]

Jundub (radhiallahu anhu) narrates: "I heard the Prophet r five days before his death saying: "I declare my innocence before Allah that I should have any bosom friend among you for Allah Most High has taken me as His friend just as He took Ibrahim as His friend. If I were to take any bosom friend from my nation I would take Abu Bakr." [Saheeh Muslim]

So, this is the high status of Abu Bakr Siddeeq (radhiallahu anhu), we are obliged to respect him and the rest of the Companions of Prophet and refrain from criticizing them in any way, Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "Do not slander my Companions, for if one of you were to spend an amount of gold equivalent to the size of Mount 'Uhud, you would not even come halfway up to their level." [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

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