Shia devotes a great respect for some of Sahaba (Companions of Prophet Muhammad (saw)) who closely followed Prophet Muhammad (saw) and Ahlul Bayt (as) before and after the death of Prophet Muhammad (saw). Among these great companions, are the following few individuals in the light of sayings of Prophet Muhammad (saw):
Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari (Radhiallahu Anhu)
Prophet Muhammad (saw) said concerning Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari (Radhiallahu Anhu) that: "Heaven has not shaded, nor has the earth carried a person more straight forward than Abu Zar. He walks on earth with the immaterialistic attitude of Jesus, the son of Mary."
Hazrat Ammar Yasir / Ammar ibn Yasir (Radhiallahu Anhu)
Prophet Muhammad (saw) said concerning Hazrat Ammar Yasir (Radhiallahu Anhu) along with his parents (Yasir ibn Amir and Sumayyah bint Khabbab) that: "Family of Yasir, be patient, for your destination is paradise."
Prophet Muhammad (saw) also said that: "Ammar be cheerful, the aggressor party shall kill you."
Note: Hazrat Ammar Yasir (Radhiallahu Anhu) got martyred in the Battle of Siffin fighting in the camp of Imam Ali (as) against Muawiyah.
Hazrat Miqdad ibn al-Aswad al-Kindi (Radhiallahu Anhu)
Hazrat Miqdad ibn al-Aswad al-Kindi (Radhiallahu Anhu) is among the four men whom Prophet Muhammad (saw) was commanded to love, as Prophet Muhammad (saw) said:
"God commanded me to love four, and He informed me that he loves them. People asked him: Messenger of God who are they? Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: Ali is from them (repeating that three times). And Abu Zar and Salman and al-Miqdad."
Hazrat Salman al-Farsi (Radhiallahu Anhu)
Prophet Muhammad (saw) said concerning Hazrat Salman al-Farsi (Radhiallahu Anhu) that: "Paradise longs for three men, Ali, Ammar and Salman."
Hazrat Ibn Abbas (Radhiallahu Anhu)
Prophet Muhammad (saw) said concerning Hazrat Ibn Abbas (Radhiallahu Anhu) that: "God I ask Thee to teach him the interpretation and make him knowledgeable in religion and make him from the people of belief."
4th Imam of Shia Belief, Imam Sajjad (as) about Sahabah:
Following Dua # 4 (Supplication) about Sahabah is taken from Al-Sahifa Al-Kamila Al-Sajjadiyya (The Psalms of Islam) collection of beautiful Dua's of 4th Imam of Shia Belief, Imam Sajjad (as):
O God, and as for the Companions of Muhammad specifically, those who did well in companionship, who stood the good test in helping him, responded to him when he made them hear his messages' argument, separated from mates and children in manifesting his word, fought against fathers and sons in strengthening his prophecy, and through him gained victory; those who were wrapped in affection for him, hoping for a commerce that comes not to naught in love for him; those who were left by their clans when they clung to his handhold and denied by their kinsfolk when they rested in the shadow of his kinship; forget not, O God, what they abandoned for Thee and in Thee, and make them pleased with Thy good pleasure for the sake of the creatures they drove to Thee while they were with Thy Messenger, summoners to Thee for Thee.
Show gratitude to them for leaving the abodes of their people for Thy sake and going out from a plentiful livelihood to a narrow one, and [show gratitude to] those of them who became objects of wrongdoing and whom Thou multiplied in exalting Thy religion.
O God, and give to those who have done well in following the Companions, who say, Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who went before us in faith, Thy best reward; those who went straight to the Companions' road, sought out their course, and proceeded in their manner.
No doubt concerning their sure insight diverted them and no uncertainty shook them from following in their tracks and being led by the guidance of their light.
As their assistants and supporters, they professed their religion, gained guidance through their guidance, came to agreement with them, and never accused them in what they passed on to them.
Shia Belief on Sahaba or Ashab-e-Rasool (Companions of Prophet Muhammad (saw)):
Shia do not have a unique opinion towards Sahaba, companions of Prophet Muhammad (saw). Shia divide Sahaba, companions of Prophet Muhammad (saw) into three groups:
The first group, are those who believed in Allah (SWT), believed in Prophet Muhammad (saw), and gave all they could for the sake of Islam. These are the highest in rank. These Sahaba, companions ALWAYS supported Prophet Muhammad (saw) and were WITH him. They never disobeyed him in every other issue, nor did they ever accuse him of talking non-sense! (May Allah protect us). Examples include, but are not limited to, Imam Ali (as), Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari (Radhiallahu Anhu), Hazrat Salman al-Farsi (Radhiallahu Anhu), Hazrat Miqdad ibn al-Aswad al-Kindi (Radhiallahu Anhu), Hazrat Ammar Yasir (Radhiallahu Anhu), Hazrat Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari (Radhiallahu Anhu), ... 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 Muhammad (saw) as al-Bukhari hadith book recorded, or those who neither believed in Allah (SWT), nor Prophet Muhammad (saw) 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: "Hashemite played with the throne, but no revelation was revealed, nor was there a true message!"
"Hashemite" is the clan and tribe of Prophet Muhammad (saw) and this is an intentional pun suggesting that Prophet Muhammad (saw) was a liar, not a true prophet. The "throne (sovereignty)" is an allusion to the control of the affairs of Makkah and the entire region, meaning that the tribe of Hashim controlled the entire region by virtue of the Message of Islam and that Muhammad (saw) 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 Prophet Muhammad (saw). His father, Muawiyah, and his grandfather, Abu Sufyan, were no better. At the beginning the reign of Uthman ibn Affan when Umayyad occupied the prominent positions, Abu Sufayn said:
"O Children of Umayya! 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."
Then Abu Sufyan went to Uhud and kicked at the grave of Hazrat Hamza (the uncle of Prophet Muhammad (saw) 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."
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 Fatima (sa) - the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Then Yazid, the Muawiyah's son, slaughtered Imam al-Hussain (as), in the desert of Karbala in Iraq, and ordered that Imam al-Husain's (as) head be carried on a spear and displayed in towns for people to see it! May Allah avenge Prophet Muhammad's (saw) family!
Sahaba or Ashab-e-Rasool (Companions of Prophet Muhammad (saw)) in Holy Qur'an:
Now let us look at the Holy Qur'an for these three different groups of Sahaba, companions of Prophet Muhammad (saw):
The first group of Sahaba, companions is 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), seeking 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 Injeel (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." (Holy Qur'an 48:29)
These companions (May Allah (SWT) be Pleased with them), the Shia and the Sunni's 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 Shia are trying to convey to the world! The Sunni's, whenever they bless Prophet Muhammad (saw), 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 Prophet Muhammad (saw), which means those who were obedient to him and did not oppose/discredit him. Certainly the hypocrites walked with Prophet Muhammad (saw) and used to attach themselves to him, yet NO Muslim ever entitles them to the above verse which states "those who were WITH him".
As for the second group of Sahaba, companions, Allah (SWT) said in this verse:
"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." (Holy Qur'an 9:38-39)
This is a clear indication that some of Sahaba, 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!" (Holy 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." (Holy Qur'an 49:2)
Authentic Sunni traditions confirm that there have been some Sahaba, companions who used to oppose Prophet Muhammad's (saw) order and quarrel with him in several occasions:
- There was the issue of the captives of the "battle of Badr" that Prophet Muhammad (saw) ordered their freedom for payment of the ransom money (Fidyah), and these Sahaba, companions went against it.
- There was the "battle of Tabuk" that Prophet Muhammad (saw) ordered to slaughter the camels, to save their lives, and the same people went against it.
- There was the "Treaty of Hudaibiyah" that Prophet Muhammad (saw) wanted to make peace with people of Makkah, and the very same Sahaba, companions went against it and they even cast doubt about the prophethood of Muhammad (saw).
- There was the "battle of Hunain" where they accused Prophet Muhammad (saw) of injustice in distributing the war booty.
- There was the appointment of "Usamah ibn Zayd" who was assigned as the leader of Islamic army by Prophet Muhammad (saw), and these Sahaba, companions disobeyed the order to follow him.
- There was a tragic Thursday when Prophet Muhammad (saw) wanted to state his will, and the very same Sahaba, 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 al-Bukhari hadith book.
As for the third group of Sahaba, companions, there is a whole chapter in the Holy Qur'an addressing them: "al-Munafiqun - The Hypocrites - Chapter 63", and beside that there are many other verses in this regard as well. Allah (SWT) states in the Holy 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." (Holy Qur'an 3:144)
This verse was revealed when some of the Sahaba, companions ran away from the "battle of Uhud", when they falsely heard that Prophet Muhammad (saw) was killed. Although they were forgiven by Prophet Muhammad (saw) later, but the above verse gives a possibility that some of the Sahaba, companions may abandon Islam if Prophet Muhammad (saw) dies. But Allah (SWT) makes exceptions: "...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, fighting 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. " (Holy Qur'an 5:54)
Conclusion: Before concluding let us read an authentic Hadith from al-Bukhari hadith book about this third group:
Narrated Anas: Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, "Some of my Sahaba, 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."
All the Sahabah are not equal in their belief and following our Prophet Muhammad (saw)
One day the great Prophet Muhammad (saw) while entering the city of Madinah, saw a Jewish Man, just few steps ahead of him, taking his very good breed of Horse towards market to sell.
Prophet Muhammad (saw) liked the Horse. So he negotiated with the Jewish Man and bought it at an agreed price. But Prophet Muhammad (saw) did not have money on him at the time so he asked the Jewish Man to follow him up to his home and then he would pay him his due. The Jewish Man agreed.
As they were moving forward, another man approached and asked the Jewish Man if he is selling his Horse and for how much. He said that he had already sold the Horse to Prophet Muhammad (saw) for such and such amount. This man offered him better price and the Jewish Man agreed to sell the Horse to him.
Prophet Muhammad (saw) said to the Jewish Man that since he had already sold the Horse to him, it is wrong to break the agreement just like that. The Jewish Man denied making any agreement with Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Whilst all this was going on, the passers by stopped and wondered as to what was going on. Prophet Muhammad (saw) explained exactly what happened.
Companions: "O Prophet of Almighty, do you have any witnesses to support your claim?"
Prophet Muhammad (saw): No. We have no witnesses as there was no one present when the agreement was made.
Companions: Sorry, we don't think we can help you. How can we be sure who is telling the truth and who is lying?
A very close and sincere companion of Prophet Muhammad (saw), Huzaima Ibn Sabit (ra) happened to pass by and saw Prophet Muhammad (saw) surrounded by the people. On inquiring about it, came to know what happened.
Huzaima Ibn Sabit (ra): Prophet of Almighty is telling the truth and the Jewish Man is lying.
Prophet Muhammad (saw): But you were not present when the agreement was made. So how can you judge without being there?
Huzaima Ibn Sabit (ra): O Prophet of Almighty, you said that there is God and we believed you, even though we haven't seen Him. You told us that Holy Qur'an was the word of Almighty and we believed you. You told us about Angels, Heaven and Hell and we believed you, even though we haven't seen all these things. How is it possible that you would lie about such petty thing?
The moral of the story is that there were some companions who walked, sat and ate with the Prophet of Almighty God, but did not grasp his inner personality and at the same time there were also some other companions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) who understood him physically as well as spiritually.
Hence we should also follow our Prophet Muhammad (saw) with complete belief as Huzaima Ibn Sabit (ra) shown in the above story but not as other companions did.