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The Noble Status of the Prophet’s Companions

Adil Salahi

Arab News, 4/20/04

We mentioned last week the claims made by some Shiites alleging that the Prophet (peace be upon him) hinted, or even stated, that Ali was to be the caliph after him. We also mentioned a part of what Justice Ibn Al-Arabi had to say in refutation of such claims. He denies that the Prophet ever made such a hint, let alone a clear statement. He then proceeds to quote some Hadiths that show the standing of other companions of the Prophet. We continue with his refutation, adding some comments where these are needed. He says: The Prophet said: “Were I to choose someone as bosom friend, I would have chosen Abu Bakr. Rather, he is my brother and companion.” (Related by Al-Bukahri).

Another Hadith quotes the Prophet as saying: “While asleep, I saw in my dream that I was standing by an open well and I drew out of it whatever water God willed. Then Abu Bakr took over and drew out of it one or two large buckets, but his drawing was rather weak, may God forgive him. Then the bucket became a very large leather container and Umar took it. I have never seen a dedicated person drawing water like Umar. The water was so plentiful that people made a resting place for their camels.” (Related by Al-Bukhari).

It is authentically reported that the Prophet, Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman went up Mount Uhud, and it quaked. The Prophet said to it: “Be firm, Uhud. You only have a Prophet, a believer upholding the truth, and two martyrs.” (Related by Muslim).

The Prophet said: “In the generations before you, some people from among the children of Israel were spoken to from on high, without being prophets. Should there be in my followers any such person, he would be Umar.” (Related by Al-Bukahri).

During his illness, the Prophet said to Aishah: “Call me Abu Bakr and your brother so that I dictate something. I fear that someone may aspire to a post and say, ‘I have a better claim.’ But God and the believers will not agree to anyone other than Abu Bakr.” (Related by Ahmad).

Ibn Abbas reports that a man came to the Prophet and told him about his dream, saying: “I saw in my dream tonight a cloud raining butter and honey, and I saw people stretching out their hand to gather it. Some took much and some took little. I also saw a line stretching from the heaven to the earth, and I saw you holding it and rising up. Then a man took it over and rose, and then another man held it and rose up. Then another man held it but it was cut, then it was tied up for him and he rose.” Abu Bakr interpreted his dream, saying to the Prophet: “The line stretching between the heaven and the earth is the truth you are preaching. As you hold it, God elevates your status. A man takes it over after you and he rises with it, then another man holds on to it and rises with it. A third man takes it over and it is ruptured, but it is then repaired and he rises with it.” (Related by Al-Bukahri, Muslim and Ahmad).

Furthermore, it is authentically reported that “the Prophet once asked: ‘Who of you had a dream?’ A man said: ‘I saw as if scales were lowered from heaven and you were weighed with Abu Bakr, but you were heavier. Then Abu Bakr was weighed with Umar and Abu Bakr was heavier. Then Umar was weighed with Uthman, and Umar was heavier. Then the scales were lifted up.’ We could detect displeasure in the Prophet’s face.” (Related by Abu Dawood, Al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad).

All these Hadiths provide overwhelming evidence supporting the truth, if only people would consider them properly. In fact there is no need for anything to confirm Abu Bakr’s position other than the verse that refers to his being with the Prophet when they were hiding in the cave while the idolaters were chasing them to kill them. It says: “If you do not help him (the Prophet); God will, (as He) supported him at the time when the unbelievers drove him away. He was only one of two. When these two were alone in the cave, he said to his companion: Do not grieve, for God is with us.” (9: 40) Thus, God puts the entire Muslim community on one side and Abu Bakr on the other, making the two equal. All the Prophet’s companions were solidly behind him.

When we consider these facts, we can clearly see the status of the caliphs, their commitment and line of order, individually and as a group. God says in the Qur’an: “God has promised those of you who believe and do good deeds that, of a certainty, He will cause them to accede to power on earth, in the same way as He caused those who lived before them to accede to it; and that, of a certainty, He will firmly establish for them the religion which He has chosen for them; and that, of a certainty, He will cause their erstwhile state of fear to be replaced by a state of security. They will thus worship Me alone and associate with Me no partners whatsoever.” (24: 55) If this promise did not apply to those caliphs, to whom would it apply? If it was not true in their case, in whose case would it come true? What is universally and unanimously agreed by the Muslim community as a whole, up to the present day, is that none was superior to them in virtue and goodness. Those who came later were subject to disagreement, while in their case agreement is complete that they were the best leaders and that God’s promise was fulfilled for and through them, because they were the ones who upheld Islam and defended the Muslim community.

Justice Ibn Al-Arabi has more to say in refuting the allegations against the Prophet’s companions with regard to Ali’s position. He has more to say in defending the procedure that led to the appointment of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman as caliphs, before Ali could succeed to that position. We will look into this next week, God willing.



Earth, a planet hungry for peace


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, like a Python. (Alquds,10/25/03).

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