The Shi’a do not have a unique opinion towards the companions of the Prophet. Based on the relative authenticity and interpretations of the transmitted traditions, some arrive at different conclusions for the second faction of the companions mentioned below. Which tradition is more authentic and what is its correct meaning, is something debatable. However, here, I provide what is considered to be a typical Shi’ite position in this regard.
The Shi’a divide the companions into three factions: First, are those who believed in Allah (SWT), believed in the Prophet (S), and gave all they could for the sake of Islam. These are the highest in rank. These companions always supported the Prophet and were with him. They never disobeyed him in every other issue, nor did they ever accused him of talking non-sense! (may Allah protect us). Examples include, but are not limited to, ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as), Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, Salman al-Farsi, Miqdad, Amar Ibn Yasir, Jabir Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari, … may Allah (SWT) be pleased with them.
The second group, are those who were Muslims, but were not sincere in their acts.
The third group, are those who became apostate after the death of Prophet as al-Bukhari recorded (see below), or those who neither believed in Allah (SWT), nor the Prophet (S) in the first place, but managed to infiltrate the Islamic isles to be included among the Muslims. These are the hypocrites, like Abu Sufyan, his son Muawiyah, and his grandson Yazid. Yazid, when he became caliph, said:
"Hashimite played with the throne, but no revelation was revealed, nor was there a true message!!!”
"Hashimite”is the clan and tribe of the Prophet (S), and this is an intentional pun suggesting that the Prophet (S) was a liar, not a true prophet. The "throne (sovereignty)”is an allusion to the control of the affairs of Mecca and the entire region, meaning that the tribe of Hashim controlled the entire region by virtue of the Message of Islam and that Muhammad (S) is the chosen Prophet, but really there was no revelation and there was no message!!! That is Yazid’s opinion of Allah (SWT), Islam, and the Prophet (S). His father, Muawiyah, and his grandfather, Abu Sufyan, were no better. At the beginning the reign of Uthman when Umayad occupied the prominent positions, Abu Sufayn said:
"O Children of Umayyah! Now that this kingdom has come to you, play with it as the children play with a ball, and pass it from one to another in your clan. We are not sure whether there is a paradise or hell, but this kingdom is a reality.”
"By him in whose name Abu Sufyan swears, there is neither punishment nor reckoning, neither Garden nor Fire, neither Resurrection nor Day of Judgment!”
Then Abu Syfyan went to Uhud and kicked at the grave of Hamza (the uncle of the Prophet who was martyred in the Battle of Uhud in fighting against Abu Sufyan) and said: "O Abu Ya’la! See that the kingdom which you fought against has finally come back to us.”(Sharh Ibn Abil Hadid, v16, p136).
Now let us see what his son, Muawiyah, said when he took over the Caliphate:
"I didn’t fight you to pray, fast, and pay charity, but rather to be your leader and control you!!!”
This is an indication that Muawiyah never cared about any of Islam’s mandates, nor Allah’s (SWT) orders; rather his war was politically motivated to gain control of the whole region and take over the Caliphate. It is no wonder or surprise! Muawiyah poisoned Imam al-Hasan (as), the greater son of Fatimah (sa) — the daughter of the Prophet (S).
Then Yazid, the Muawiyah’s son, slaughtered Imam al-Husayn (as), in the desert of Karbala in Iraq, and ordered that Imam al-Husayn’s (as) head be carried on a spear and displayed in towns for people to see it! May Allah avenge the Prophet’s family!!! May Allah avenge the Prophet’s family!!!
May Allah avenge the Prophet’s (S) family!!!
Now let us look at the Holy Qur’an for different categories:
The first faction of the companions are characterized by Allah (SWT) in this verse:
"Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against the unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. Thou wilt see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. On their faces are their marks, (being) the traces of their prostration.
This is their similitude in the Taurat (Torah); And their similitude in the Gospel is: Like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the Unbelievers with rage at them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds Forgiveness, and a great Reward. (Qur’an 48:29)”
These companions (May Allah (SWT) be Pleased With Them), the Shi’a and the Sunnis have no quarrel about. As such, they will not be discussed here. However, note what Allah (SWT) in His (SWT) infinite wisdom states in the last line: "Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds Forgiveness, and a great Reward.”Now, note "…those among them…”Why didn’t Allah (SWT) say "Allah has promised all of them?”Because not all of them were righteous! That’s what the Shi’a are trying to convey to the world! The Sunnis, whenever they bless the Prophet (S), they also bless all the companions, with no exception. Why did Allah (SWT), their Creator (SWT), make an exception, while the Sunni Muslims don’t? This is a sign for those who reflect…
Moreover, the verse specifies those who were with the Prophet, which means those who were obedient to him and did not oppose/discredit him. Certainly the hypocrites walked with the Prophet and used to attach themselves to him, yet no Muslim ever entitle them to the above verse which states "those who were with him”.
As for the second faction of the companions, Allah (SWT) said:
"O ye who believe! What is the matter with you, that when ye are asked to go forth in the Cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place; But Him ye would not harm in the least, For Allah hath power over all things.”(Qur’an 9:38-39)
This is a clear indication that some of the companions were lazy during the call to Jihad and other activities, and, thus, deserved the above reprimand by Allah (SWT). This is not the only instance where Allah (SWT) threatened to replace them:
"… If you turn back (from the path), He will substitute in your stead another people; then they would not be like you! (Qur’an 47:38)”
Could you tell me Who Allah is referring by "you”in the above verse? Allah also said:
"O you who believe! Do not raise your voices above the voice of prophet … lest your deeds become null while you do not perceive.”(Qur’an 49:2).
Authentic Sunni traditions confirm that there have been some companions who used to oppose the Prophet’s order and quarrel with him in several occasions:
a) There was the issue of the captives of the battle "Badr”that the Prophet ordered their freedom for payment of the ransom money (Fidyah), and these companions went against it.
b) There was the battle of "Tabook”that the Prophet ordered to slaughter the camels, to save their lives, and the same people went against it.
c) There was the treaty of "Hudabiyyah”that the Prophet wanted to make peace with people of Mecca, and the very same companions went against it and they even cast doubt about the prophethood of Muhammad (S).
d) There was the battle of "Hunain”where they accused the Prophet of injustice in distributing the war booty.
e) There was the appointment of "Usamah Ibn Zayd”who was assigned as the leader of Islamic army by the Prophet, and these companions disobeyed the order to follow him.
f) There was a tragic Thursday when the Messenger of Allah wanted to state his will, and the very same companions accused him of talking non-sense and prevented him to do so.
And there are many more of such reports which can be even found in Sahih al- Bukhari.
As for the third faction of the companions, there is a whole chapter in the holy Qur’an addressing them: "al-Munafiqun –The Hypocrites — Ch. 63”, and beside that there are many other verses in this regard as well. Allah (SWT) states in the Qur’an:
"Muhammad is no more than a Messenger: many were the Messengers that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will ye then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; But Allah (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude. (3:144)”
"…those who (serve Him) with gratitude.”
Again, Allah (SWT) states:
"O ye who believe! If any from among you turn back from his faith, soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him, –Lowly with the Believers, Mighty against the Rejecters, in the way of Allah, and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault. That is the Grace of Allah, which He will bestow on whom He pleaseth. And Allah encompasseth all, And He knoweth all things. (Qur’an 5:54)”
Before giving more straightforward verses from Qur’an for this third group, let me give you some traditions from Sahih al-Bukhari which confirms apostasy for them. Since al-Bukhari has confirmed the authenticity of the following tradition, I hope you do not consider him a "Kafir”after reading these traditions.
Note: As usual, the numbers match the Arabic-English version of Sahih al-Bukhari which is available in almost every places. The first number before the point indicates volume number, and the number after the point indicates the tradition number (NOT the page number). For example Hadith 8.578 indicates volume 8, tradition #578.
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 8.578
The Prophet said, "I am your predecessor at the Lake-Fount.”‘Abdullah added: The Prophet said, "I am your predecessor at the Lake-Fount, and some of you will be brought in front of me till I will see them and then they will be taken away from me and I will say, ‘O Lord, my companions!’ It will be said, ‘You do not know what they did after you had left.’
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 8.584
The Prophet said, "Some of my companions will come to me at my Lake Fount, and after I recognize them, they will then be taken away from me, whereupon I will say, ‘My companions!’ Then it will be said, ‘You do not know what they innovated (new things) in the religion after you.”(also Sahih Muslim, part 15, pp 53-54)
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 8.585
Narrated Abu Hazim from Sahl bin Sa’d:
I will say, ‘Far removed, far removed (from mercy), those who changed after me.”Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet said, "On the Day of Resurrection a group of companions will come to me, but will be driven away from the Lake-Fount, and I will say, ‘O Lord (those are) my companions!’ It will be said, ‘You have no knowledge as to what they innovated after you left; they turned apostate as renegades (reverted from the true Islam
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 8.586
Narrated Ibn al-Musaiyab:
"Some men from my companions will come to my Lake-Fount and they will be driven away from it, and I will say, ‘O Lord, my companions!’ It will be said, ‘You have no knowledge of what they innovated after you left: they turned APOSTATE as renegades (reverted from true Islam).”
(also Sahih Muslim, part 10, p64, also P59)
Here is the original Arabic text of above Hadith (8.586) of al-Bukhari:
يردُ عليَّ الحوض رجال من أصْحابي فيحلون عنه. فأقول يا ربِّ أصحابي، فيقول إنَّكَ لا علم لك بما أحدثوا بعدك. إنَّهم ارْتَدَّوا على أدبارهم القهقري.
Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 8.587
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "While I was sleeping, a group (of my followers were brought close to me), and when I recognized them, a man (an angel) came out from amongst (us) me and them, he said (to them), ‘Come along.’ I asked, ‘Where?’ He said, ‘To the (Hell) Fire, by Allah’ I asked, ‘what is wrong with them?’ He said, ‘They turned apostate as renegades after you left.’ Then behold! (Another) group (of my followers) were brought close to me, and when I recognized them, a man (an angel) came out from (me and them) he said (to them); Come along.’ I asked, "Where?’ He said, ‘To the (Hell) Fire, by Allah.’ I asked, What is wrong with them?’ He said, ‘They turned apostate as renegades after you left. So I did not see anyone of them escaping except a few who were like camels without a shepherd.”
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 8.592
Narrated Asma ‘bint Abu Bakr:
The Prophet said, "I will be standing at the Lake-Fount so that I will see whom among you will come to me; and some people will be taken away from me, and I will say, ‘O Lord, (they are) from me and from my followers.’ Then it will be said, ‘Did you notice what they did after you? By Allah, they kept on turning on their heels (turned away from true Islam).’ "The sub-narrator, Ibn Abi Mulaika said, "O Allah, we seek refuge with You from turning on our heels, or being put to trial in our religion.”
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 9.172
The Prophet said, "I will be at my Lake-Fount (Kauthar) waiting for whoever will come to me. Then some people will be taken away from me whereupon I will say, ‘My followers!’ It will be said, ‘You do not know they turned apostates as renegades (deserted their religion).’"(Ibn Abi Mulaika said, "Allah, we seek refuge with You from turning on our heels from the (Islamic) religion and from being put to trial”).
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 9.173
The Prophet said, "I am your predecessor at the Lake-Fount (Kauthar) and some men amongst you will be brought to me, and when I will try to hand them some water, they will be pulled away from me by force whereupon I will say, ‘O Lord, my companions!’ Then the Almighty will say, ‘You do not know what they did after you left, they introduced new things into the religion after you.’"
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 9.174
Narrated Sahl bin Sa’d:
I heard the Prophet saying, "I am your predecessor at the Lake-Fount (Kauthar), and whoever will come to it, will drink from it, and whoever will drink from it, will never become thirsty after that. There will come to me some people whom I know and they know me, and then a barrier will be set up between me and them.”Abu Sa’id al- Khudri added that the Prophet further said: "I will say those people are from me. It will be said, ‘You do not know what changes and new things they did after you.’ Then I will say, ‘Far removed (from mercy), far removed (from mercy), those who changed after me!’ ”
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 8.434
Narrated ‘Uqba bin ‘Amir:
The Prophet went out and offered the funeral prayer for the martyrs of the (battle of) Uhud and then ascended the pulpit and said, "I am your predecessor and I am a witness against you. By Allah, I am now looking at my Tank-lake (Al-Kauthar) and I have been given the keys of the treasures of the earth (or the keys of the earth). By Allah! I am not afraid that you become polytheist after me, but I am afraid that you will start competing for it (i.e., the pleasures and treasures of this world).
إنِّي و الله ما أخافُ عليكم أن تشركوا بعدي و لكني أخافُ عليكم أن تنافسوا فيها.
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.555
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, I will drive some people out from my (sacred) Fount on the Day of Resurrection as strange camels are expelled from a private trough.”
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 4.375
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
… The Prophet said to the Ansar: "You will find after me some great selfishness (UTHRAH). Then be patient till you meet Allah and meet His Apostle at al-Kauthar (i.e. a fount in Paradise).”(Anas added:) But we did not remain patient.
Note: In English translation of Sahih al-Bukhari ‘Uthrah’ (selfishness) has been translated to another word, but the rest are the same.
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 5.488
I met al-Bara bin ‘Azib and said (to him). "May you live prosperously! You enjoyed the company of the Prophet and gave him the Pledge of allegiance (of al-Hudaibiya) under the Tree (of al-Hudaybiyah).”On that, al-Bara’ said, "O my nephew! You do not know what we have done after him (i.e. his death).”
These traditions, nonetheless, indicate the Prophet’s (S) knowledge and awareness that some of his companions will change after him (S), and, therefore, will be condemned to hell. This is another reason why the Shi’a maintain that the Prophet (S) MUST have had a special vicegerent to trust the affairs of the Ummah (Nation) to — a vicegerent that will NOT mutilate the religion and will remain steadfast until he meets his Creator (SWT).
It is a known fact that the companions quarreled after the death of the Prophet (S), and wars were waged. The fact, again and again, that the companions were divided is illuminated by Allah (SWT) in the following verse:
The above verse shows among the companion there were a group (Ummah) who will remain righteous. The verse emphasizes that this Ummah is among them so it does not cover all of them. However. the latter part the verse describes the thrid group who were apostatized (turned back on) their faith after the Prophet (S) died. The verse indicates that on the Day of Judgment, there will be two factions: one with white-lit faces, and the other with black-lit faces; that’s another hint that the companions will be divided.
Here are some more verses from the Qur’an that address the third group of companions and their actions:
"They swear by Allah that they said nothing (evil), but indeed they uttered blasphemy, and they uttered it after accepting Islam: and they meditated a plot which they were unable to carry out: this revenge of theirs was (their) only return for the bounty with which Allah and His Messenger had enriched them! If they repent, it will be best for them: But if they turn back (to their evil ways), Allah will punish them with a grievous chastisement in this life and in the Hereafter: They shall have none on earth to protect or help them. (Qur’an 9:74)”
"So He hath put as a consequence hypocrisy into their hearts, (to last) till the Day whereon they shall meet Him: because they broke their Covenant with Allah, and because they lied (again and again). (Qur’an 9:77)”
"The Arabs are the worst in unbelief and hypocrisy, and most fitted to be in ignorance of the command which Allah hath sent down to His Messenger: But Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. (Qur’an 9:97)”
"In their hearts is a disease; and Allah has increased their disease: And grievous is the chastisement they (incur), because they lied (to themselves). (Qur’an 2:10)”
Now let us look at the following verse:
"Has not the time arrived for the Believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the Truth which has been revealed (to them), and that they should not become like those to whom was given The Book aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors. (Qur’an 57:16)”
There may be some translations which state that the above verse is meant to address the Jews and the Christians. That is not true, because it contradicts the verse itself. First, Allah (SWT) is addressing the companions and then comparing them to the Jews and the Christians. How then could it be that Allah (SWT) tells the Jews and the Christians: "Has not the time arrived for the Believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah…”and then tell them: "…and that they should not become like those to whom was given The Book aforetime…”
Why would Allah (SWT) compare the Christians (or the Jews) to themselves? Does that make sense? No, and Allah (SWT) doesn’t contradict Himself (SWT). Rather, the verse was revealed as a questioning by Allah (SWT) regarding some of the the Muhajiroon (the Immigrants), who 17 years after the Qur’an was revealed, had still not fully believed in their hearts. Allah (SWT), as a result, showed disapproval. Again, at the end, Allah points out that among them are many rebellious transgressors.
As we mentioned, there are some verses in Qur’an which admired the first faction among the companions. Nevertheless, these verses do not include ALL the companions. Qur’an often uses the phrase "believers among them”or "those who preceded in belief among them”which shows it does not address the whole companions. In fact some hypocrites were among the companions. If hypocrites were known among the companions they would be no longer hypocrites and would become known enemy,
Moreover, when Allah states I WAS pleased with them till today, it does not imply that they will also be good tomorrow. It is inconceivable that Allah will give a permanent immunity to some people who supposedly have done some good things earlier, but they shed the blood of thousands of innocent Muslims later after the departure of Prophet.
If it were so, it would mean that a companion could cancel all the Qur’anic rules and the instructions of the Prophet. However, as I mentioned, Shi’a do not discredit all the companions. There were companions who are in great respect for us. These are those whom Allah admired in the Holy Qur’an. As you might have noticed, those verses in the Holy Qur’an do not include all the companions. When Allah states:
And those who preceded (in belief), from among Immigrants and Helpers and those who followed them in what was good, Allah "WAS "satisfied with them; He has prepared for them gardens under which rivers flow to dwell therein for ever. That is the great felicity. (Qur’an 9:100)
And (however) among the Arabs around you are hypocrites, and also among the people of Madina (there are some who) persist in hypocrisy whom you (O Muhammad) do not know. We, We know them, and We shall punish them twice; then they will be sent to a painful doom. (Qur’an 9:101)
The above verses show that:
1- Allah WAS satisfied with them, but may not be applicable later.
2- Allah addressing those who preceded in belief from among them, thus it means He is not addressing all of the companions.
3- Immediately in the next verse, Allah talks about the hypocrites arround Prophet who pretend to be his sincere companions and even Prophet does not know them according to the above verse. This is in conformity with the traditions of Sahih al-Bukhari mentioned above that Allah will say to His Prophet that "You do not know what these companions have done after you left them.”
Of course, there are verses in Qur’an in which Allah uses past tense verb, but it is intended as present and/or future tense verb. However it is not always the case. There are many verses in Qur’an in which Allah clearly states that He changes His decisions in time based on our actions at each instant of time. Allah is not in the domain of time, but He has ability to change his decision in the dimension of time. Of course He previously know what He will to change later, and He has the foreknowledge of every thing. He does not treat a believer in a bad manner today, even though He knows that this believer will become apostate tomorrow.
To clarify this point, please see verses of Qur’an such as 8:65-66, 7:153, 16:110, 16:119, 13:11, in which Allah clearly states He changes His decision based on our behavior. You can locate many verses like these in Qur’an.
Thus Allah’s judgment about human beings changes in time according to our actions. If we do something good, He will get please with us, and then if we do something bad, He gets angry from us, and so on. Companions are not exempt from this rule. Any body who does good deeds, Allah was pleased with him, no matter if he was companion or not.
Allah is JUST. He does not discriminate between companion and others who live at this time. No body is guaranteed to go to paradise if he or she does wrong things, kills innocents,… . Otherwise Allah is not just. Allah states in Qur’an that
"Every body is responsible for what he has done.”(Qur’an 74:38).
Allah Also states: "Fulfill your propmise, so that I fullfill My Promise.”(Qur’an 2:40).
Let us also look at the following Qur’anic verses which clearly shows that even a person with high virtues who deserves paradise, can burn out all his good deeds (Habt of Amal) at once! So never judge people for their early good work (if any!). We should always look at the final result of each person. Even prophet didn’t know what will be his destiny till he died (i.e., till he passed his final exam!) because he had freedom to do wrong things too.
"(O Prophet) If you ascribe a partner to Allah, your work will burn out, and you will be among the losers.”(Qur’an 39:65)
If prophet’s deeds are in danger of burning, it is clear how to judge for the companions. Of course prophet did not burn out his deeds, but there was potential of danger of burning for him too.
Allah also said:
"And if any of you turn back from their faith and die in disbelief, their works burn out and will be of no use in this world and Hereafter, and they will be companions of Fire for ever.”(Qur’an 2:217)
He, Exalted, also said: "Those who become unbeliever after they have been believer, and grow violent in disbelief, their repentance will not be accepted and such people are those who go astray.”(Qur’an 3:90)
He also said:
"On that day (Doomsday) some faces will be bright and some faces will be dark. To those whose faces will be dark (will be said:) Did you reject faith after accepting it? Taste the penalty for rejecting faith!”(Qur’an 3:106)