14 Nov Superiority of belief
We believed in the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) without seeing him; on the other hand, the companions believed in him by seeing. Is our belief superior or is the belief of companions superior?
The birth of every human is based on (divine) providence and wisdom. Humans do not decide the time period they live in. The time period which is prescribed for us by Allah is the most auspicious time for us. For, living in the time of the companions does not and cannot necessarily mean that we were to be a companion. There is also a possibility to become a person like Abu Jahl of that time. Is there a guarantee for us to endure the torment that was inflicted upon the family of Yasir, whose bodies were split into two by being pulled away from their feet and then to die with belief?
Some people that will come at the end of time are praised and described as “my brother” by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the aim of this is to attract attention to the terrific mischiefs of the end of time and to praise people who protect their belief in the time of disorder and mischief. The issue of being superior to the companions is related to some personal virtues. Otherwise, in general terms, the grace of the companions cannot be surpassed.
Here are the reasons why the grace of the companions in general terms cannot be reached:
- Companions cannot be surpassed in terms of the effect of the conversation of prophethood.
Yes, they cannot be surpassed in terms of the conversation of the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) with them. For, the conversation of prophethood of the Apostle of Allah (PBUH) has a quality that nobody has. The conversation of the prophet is an elixir. A person who listens to his conversation for one minute and be honored with it changes with that elixir. ( See Tafsiru’l-Qurani’l-Azim, IV, 305; Hayatu’s-Sahaba III, 141, 279, 281, 282 (As a matter of fact, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) likened a good person to someone who sells musk and stated that a person had the same religion as his friend. The Companions are his friends who smelled the scent of prophethood and was inspired by his talks.) See also Jawahiru’l-Bukhari p. 231; Sharhu’l-Aqidati’t-Tahawiya II, 691-692; It is stated that the privilege of having talks with the Messenger of Allah makes the first Companions superior to those coming after them because the latter are not equal to the former. (The situation of those who never had any talks with him is obvious.) To become a sahaba (companion) means to talk, to accompany, to be friends and to be obedient. al-Qamusu’l-Muhit, I, 93; as-Sawaiqu’l-Muhriqa p. 212; Sharhu’l-Maqasid, V, 319. ) Such an individual becomes a companion of him. He turns into diamond from coal. Such a person is honored with the lights of truth that are gained in the ways of sainthood for many years. Such a person is colored by the light of the sun of prophethood. For, in every conversation of him, there is a quality of coloring. The companions who are the students of the prophet are colored with the paint of the greatest prophet in terms of his spiritual level, sainthood and prophethood. From this perspective, that spiritual paint cannot be applied in that manner and quality after the age of prophethood. Those who came later on, though even if they are Muslims and believers, cannot have that quality. ( Ibn-i Abbas (RA) says their one hour spending together with the Prophet is better than your forty years. see Sharhu’l-Aqidati’t-Tahawiya II, 693.
 Subulus-Salam, IV, 127. ) They cannot be caught up with in terms of virtue which is gained in that way. Besides, the conversation of the Apostle of Allah is reflected on the mirror of their hearts, that sun penetrates into their hearts without a veil and into their spiritual senses. Here there are two parties: one of them one is the party that reflects and the other is the party that has a manifestation of that reflection. The qualities of the reflecting one pass to those who are honored and to their mirrors. They also become a kind of sun; they become stars that are lit by the light of the sun of prophethood and become the lights of truth. With this honoring and mirroring and their obedience to him by turning their visions along with the greatest light of prophethood, the companions reach the highest levels.
After the death of the Apostle of Allah, some people like Jalaladdin Suyuti saw and talked with the prophet (PBUH) in the state of yaqaza, which is in between sleep and wakefulness. However, their conversation did not have a prophetic aspect but made with the aspect of sainthood. The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) appeared to them in the form of a saint. For, with the death of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH), revelation and the prophethood ended. It is not possible to see him in the form of prophethood after his death and to become a companion.
So, the degree of prophethood is higher than the degree of sainthood; in the same way, there is a difference of conversation between a prophet and a saint.
- The Virtue and Honor that are present in the conversation of Prophethood is very great.
As-Sanani, who is one the great scholars of Zaydis (A.H. 1059-1182) explains the aspect of auspiciousness of companions of the Apostle of Allah (PBUH) in several ways as follows:
The first one is that the Apostle of Allah (PBUH) informs in his glorious hadiths that his age is the most auspicious time period. It is clearly understood that the people that are mentioned in this and similar hadiths are the ummah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who lived in his time and gathered around him like the parts of a body and thus becoming parts of a machinery just like in a factory. People who came after them are called “Tabi’in”; the followers of companions. They are also followed by people who come next. ( Subulus-Salam, IV, 127. )
The second one: all scholars agree that companions are superior individually. Some of them also think that all companions are more virtuous than the people of other ages. People who fought in the battle of Badr and those who were present in Hudaybiyya are more virtuous than the people who came after them whether they are companions or not. According to the second view, all companions are more virtuous than all of those who came after them. ( ibid, IV, 127; see also al-Jami’Li Ahkami’l-Quran IV, 170, Sharhu’l-Aqidati’t-Tahawiya II, 691 etc. Ibn Qutayba, Abdullah b. Muslim, Ta’wilu Mukhtalifi’l-Hadith, Beirut, 1985, p. 107-108. )
What is understood from here is that all scholars of Islam who study on hadiths along with its commentators and interpreters have a common agreement on the virtuousness of companions from the point of view of Islamic jurisprudence. ( Kalam and religious methodology scholars stated their views about caliphate regarding the issue. )
- Companions cannot be surpassed in terms of the environment of prophethood which trained them.
The environment has an important effect in training humans. The Companions who are the friends of the Apostle of Allah are mostly at the highest level of virtue because there was a great revolution at that time and all beauty of righteousness and trueness became clear with the revolution of Islam along with the revelation of the whole ugliness of the evil and superstitions. This became possible with the clear separation of the party of righteousness and trueness from the party of evil and superstition. On the one hand, a rightful prophet and on the other hand, the Pharaoh of Islamic ummah, Abu Jahl, and those who claim prophethood; on the one hand, there was endless mercy and compassion and on the other hnad, there existed the hardness and wildness of burying one’s own daughter without any mercy ; on the one hand, a prophet (PBUH) who is at the summit of perfection and his companions and on the other hand, the leaders of unbelief who were active in every kind of disgrace and polytheists of the lower of the low.
In such an environment, companions who had endless perfection of morality, would certainly follow the Apostle of Allah (PBUH) who is the best example of trueness, goodness and declarer of rightness and the best example of his cause. They were dyed with his paint because this is the only thing to be done in such an environment.
- The Era of Bliss is like very rainy fertile land.
In one of his hadiths, the Apostle of Allah (PBUH) tells about the environment of prophethood by giving an example from the characteristics of the physical environment: Abu Musa (RA) reported the following from the Apostle of Allah (PBUH) :
“The guidance and knowledge that Allah sent with me is like the abundant rain falling on the ground. Some of the places that rain falls on are good. They accept the water, absorb it and produce grass and plants. Some of the places that rain falls on are arid; they hold the water on the surface; they do not absorb it. Thus, Allah makes that water beneficial for people. They drink it and give it to their animals, and make them graze. Some of the places that rain falls on are flat deserts that do not hold water on the surface and do not produce any grass. This metaphor represents the people who learn, teach and benefit from what I have brought and those who does not heed knowledge and guidance and do not accept the guidance of Allah who sent me.” ( Riyadu’s-Salihin, p. 149, no: 162; Majma’ut-Tafasir (Lubabu’t-Ta’wil). III, 483. )