In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful.
May Allah bless Muhammad and his Family and damn their enemies.
Our theological opponents often have trouble with proving their baseless concept of ‘Adalah tus-Sahaba,’ namely with that of all of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his pure progeny) are just, truthful, and guaranteed Paradise. This concept that they hold contradicts the Quran, their narrations, and our narrations. Shias take the most logical stance according to the Quran and Sunnah, which is to differentiate between the companions. It is, of course, the middle path. For us, the companions are divided into different categories: pious who will be in Paradise, and of course those hypocrites who will enter the Fire.
Our opponents, out of their desperation, try to compel us with our sources which we proudly quote and have no problem with.
One narration, for example, which is located in Al-Khisal, is where Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) talks about the 12,000 pious companions who would make supplication to be taken from this world.
Now this source in no way proves their concept, of over 120,000 Sahaba being all truthful, just and in Paradise, as one of their scholars, Uthaymeen, mentions. Rather it merely proves that there were a good number of pious Sahaba during Rasullah’s (peace be upon him and his pure progeny) life.
Another source is where Imam Sajjad (peace be upon him) supplicates for the companions who did well in companionship to the Prophet (peace be upon him and his pure progeny) by fleeing their homes. The Imam also mentions how some of the companions even fought against their relatives who opposed their conversions to Islam. Again, it shows the good category of companions during the lifetime of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him and his pure progeny) but doesn’t prove that all companions were just.
Another narration in Al-Kafi states that when Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) was asked about the companions, he says that they were truthful.
All these narrations can be contextualized and understood by the following statement in the will of Imam Ali (peace be upon him), located in Al-Kafi, where the Imam says:
(I remind you of) Allah, (I remind you of) Allah, about the companions of your Prophet, the companions who did not invent heresy or give protection to heretics. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his pure progeny) has urged to be good to them, has cursed the heretics among them and others who protect heretics.
Al Kafi, volume 7, chapter 35
This narration is graded as authentic in chain according to ‘Allamah Majlisi in his Miratul ‘Uqul, volume 23, page105.
Now, let us pay attention to the specific statement:
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his pure progeny) has urged to be good to them, has cursed the heretics among them
This shows us that the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his pure progeny) is to curse the bad and innovating companions. After this, he also indicates that this curse will likewise fall on the one who protects or shelters the innovator. Whereas praising and making supplications for the good companions, is also the tradition of the Prophet and Ahlul-Bayt (peace be upon them). Umar, for example, when proven as an innovator, would be deserving of being cursed, according to the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his pure progeny) and Imam Ali (peace be upon him). We also find clear evidence from the sources of our opponents which point to how the companions often innovated, such as when Musayyib (the Tabi’i), asks one companion about the pledge under the tree assuming that all of them are saved:
I met Al-Bara, son of `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.’ On that, Al- Bara’ said: ‘O my nephew! You do not know what we have innovated after him (i.e. his death).
Sahih al-Bukhari 4170. Book 64, Hadith 212, USC-MSA web (English), Vol. 5, Book 59, Hadith 488
The word (Ahdatha), used in the original Arabic, means to ‘make something new or original’ and in the context of this narration, it shows how they brought new things and innovations into the religion of Islam.
Referring to the will of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) helps us understand that all the other narrations in praise of companions in Shia books are relating to those good companions, even if the Imams (peace be upon them) may seem like they are giving general praise of companions. This is due to the clear contextual clues which point to different categories amongst the sahaba.
It should be noted, however, that after the martyrdom of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his pure progeny), most companions deviated. This still does not take away the fact of how many great companions we had during the Prophet’s lifetime, and of course the loyal ones in the time of Imam Ali (peace be upon him).
The Office of Sheikh al-Habib