THE CONCEPT OF ṢAHĀBA AND ʿADALA FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE AHL AL-SUNNAH

26th November 2016

The companions of the Prophet (ṣahāba) have been integral in transmitting the Prophet’s words, actions, and tacit approval, also known as the Sunna. The Sunni view would accord trustworthiness (ʿadala) to the companions in their narrations from the Prophet, routed in the adage “the companions are all trustworthy” (al- ṣahāba kulluhum ʿadūl). This notion of trustworthiness was examined at the CIMS meeting on 26th November by Maulana Abdul Hamid Kusuri.

Sunni Presentation
Maulana’s main argument which echoes the majority Sunni view, was that the companions are all trustworthy (ʿadūl)[1] regardless of whether they committed sins or not. This trustworthiness is rooted in the reading of the Quran and narrations of the Prophet.
Maulana Kusuri after considering all the definitions of a ṣahāba by Sunni scholars[2] as being correct, went on to establish the status of the companions from the Qur’an “The early vanguard of the Emigrants and the Helpers and those who followed them in virtue—Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him…”[3] and many such verses[4].
This in addition to Prophetic narrations conferring a high status to them such as ‘Do not curse my companions for even if you were to give a mountain’s worth of gold in charity you would not reach their status’[5]. Maulana Kusuri acknowledged the existence of a hierarchy amongst the companions in spiritual rank[6], and that some companions may have committed sin and even fought wars against each other. However due to their privilege of being the primary source of the Prophetic sunna, they have been accorded with the right of being trustworthy by Sunni scholars overlooking any scrutiny (jarḥ) normally attributed to narrators of hadith.
Discussion

The discussion brought to light the diversity even amongst Sunni scholars regarding the justice of the companions, with scholars such Maulana Maududi and Syed Qutb not considering the companion to be free of scrutiny even in narrating hadith. Furthermore, narrations such as the well-known narration from the Prophet: ‘one who fabricates on me has reserved a place in hell’ are indicative that some companions were involved in fabricating hadith

Footnotes
[1] Trustworthiness (Adalat) used in this discussion is regarding the integrity in narrating hadith from the prophet and not necessity integrity in moral standing.

[2] The Sunni definitions vary from merely seeing the Prophet and dying with faith, to spending a large amount of time with the Prophet See: المطلب الثاني: التعريف الاصطلاحي. (2021). Retrieved 3 January 2021.

[3] Quran 9:100.

[4] See Quran 59:8, 4:95.

[5] See Sahih al-Bukhari 3673 Book 62, Hadith 23.

[6] See Quran 57:10;الراجحي, ا. (2021). الصفحة الرئيسية. Retrieved 8 January 2021.

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