Question: There is a hadith-i sharif that says: "On the Day of Resurrection, while a lot of people I know are being driven away from my Hawd, I will say, 'They are my companions.' Then it will be said to me, 'After you, they did many a thing.'" Does it not imply that the majority of the Sahabah became apostates?
It does not imply the apostasy of any of them. If one reads hadith-i sharifs without referring to the explanations provided by Ahl as-Sunnah wa'l Jama'ah scholars, it may cause one to be removed from the fold of Islam because of denying the Qur'anic verses stating that the Sahabah will be in Paradise. Or one may remove oneself from the fold of Islam because of denying the abovementioned sound hadith-i sharif by looking at only Qur'anic verses. In fact, this is the purpose of the enemies of Islam. They try to take Muslims out of Islam by saying, "Learn your religion from the Qur'an and ahadith." We should not fall into this perilous trap.
All of the Sahabah will be in Paradise. Allahu ta'ala states many times in the Qur'an al-karim that He is pleased with them all and that He will put them all into Paradise. The Qur'an al-karim says (what means):
(Allah is pleased with the Believers who [1,400 Sahabah] made a promise to you under the tree. He knew what was in their hearts, and He granted them composure. And He rewarded them with a very near conquest.) [Al-Fath 18]
(Those who spent and fought in the way of Allah before the conquest of Mecca are not equal to those who did so later. Those are higher in rank than those spent and fought in the way of Allah afterwards. Yet to all [of the Sahabah] Allah has promised the best one [Paradise].) [Al-Hadid 10]
(Allah is pleased with the ones who take the lead among the Muhajirin [the companions who emigrated from Mecca] and the Ansar [the ones who helped the immigrants in Medina], as well as those who follow them. They are pleased with Allah, too. Allah has prepared for them paradises beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever.) [At-Tawbah 100]
(Allah has promised the best one [Paradise] to all [of the Sahabah].) [An-Nisa' 95]
(You [the companions of My Beloved] are the best community brought forth for the benefit of humanity.) [Al-i Imran 110]
(A people [the Sahabah] who believe in Allah and the Day of Judgment do not befriend those who are hostile to Allah and His Messenger, even though they may be their fathers, sons, brothers, or relatives. Allah inscribed faith in their [the Sahabah's] hearts, and He supported them with a spirit from Him. He will admit them to paradises through which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him.) [Al-Mujadalah 22]
Our Master the Prophet reiterated many times that all of the Sahabah would be in Paradise. Some pertinent hadith-i sharifs are as follows:
(A Muslim [my companions] who has seen me will not enter Hell.) [Tabarani] (It is declared in the Qur'an al-karim that all of the Sahabah will be in Paradise. Al-Hadid 10)
(My companions are far superior to all genies and human beings.) [Bazzar]
(Allahu taala chose me from among the Qouraish tribe, the noblest people, and selected the best people as companions for me. He chose a few of them as my viziers and my assistants in communicating Islam to people. And He singled out some of them as my as-har [i.e. my relatives through marriage]. Those who swear at them or slander them, upon them is the curse of Allah, of all angels, and of all human beings. On the Rising Day, Allahu taala will reject their fard and sunnat acts of worship.) [Hakim]
(Fear Allah and do not use bad language against my companions. Do not make them the target of your evil intentions after me. Whoever loves them loves them on account of his love for me. Whoever does not love me does not love them, either. Whoever offends them has offended me, and whoever offends me has offended Allahu ta'ala. The punishment for this is imposed without delay.) [Bukhari]
(Do not revile any of my companions. Whoever reviles them has reviled Allah.) [Bukhari]
(May Allah curse him who maligns my companions!) [Tabarani, Bayhaqi, Hakim]
(When you hear the names of my companions, remain silent. Do not utter a word that is against their dignity.) [Tabarani]
(Tell those who took part in the Battle of Badr the good news of Paradise.) [Dara Qutni]
It is unbecoming to a Muslim to ignore all these verses and ahadith by focusing on a single hadith-i sharif that needs clarification and thus imputing apostasy to the Sahabah. The hadith-i sharif mentioned in the question above speaks of those hypocrites and unbelievers pretending to be Muslims. Our religion judges a person by his/her outward appearance. If one says that one is a Muslim, one is treated as a Muslim. That is why Allah's Messenger ('alaihis-salam) described them, "They are my companions." Secondly, no one knows the ghayb except Allahu ta'ala. For this reason, the Messenger of Allah could not know whether or not there were hypocrites and unbelievers among his companions, unless Allahu ta'ala informed him of it. He could know only the ones whom Allahu ta'ala informed him of. Allahu ta'ala stated that all of the Sahabah will be in Paradise.
It is stated in hadith-i sharifs that some individuals who were thought to be of the Sahabah became apostates in the time of the Messenger of Allah, and they are not included in the honor of being the companions of our Master the Prophet. These people were dispatched as envoys by tribes such as Bani Hanif and Bani Saqif, said that they had become Muslims, and left. Afterwards, they lapsed back into apostasy.
Another person in this category is Harqus bin Zubeyr, who was with Hadrat Ali in the Battle of Camel and in the Battle of Siffin but joined the Kharijite movement afterwards. Scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah wa'l Jama'ah unanimously agree that all the Sahabah who performed pious deeds and made jihad against disbelievers depart this life as Muslims.
The Sahabah who took part in the Battle of Camel and in the Battle of Siffin on both sides are included in these fortunate people. None of them called another a disbeliever. Hadrat Ali said about the opposing group, "They are our brothers."
Hadrat Ibn Hajar al-Makki states:
"Every Muslim has to know all of the Sahabah as just, pious and learned Muslims and as walis and mujtahids. The Qur'an al-karim says [what means]: 'Allah is pleased with them all. Also, they are pleased with Him.' To blame or vilify any one of the Sahabah means to deny this verse" (Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah).
Allahu ta'ala says that He is pleased with the Sahabah. The attributes of Allahu ta'ala are eternal. Accordingly, His being pleased with them is eternal, too. It does not change. For this reason, none of the Sahabah, whom Allahu ta'ala is pleased with, became apostates or hypocrites later. The hypocrites among them were not of the Sahabah. That some of the hypocrites among them made known their disbelief does not mean that the Sahabah became apostates. For example, Sa'laba was a hypocrite, but he pretended to be a Muslim and performed salats. His hypocrisy came out into the open later when he refused to pay zakat. As he pretended to be a Muslim before that, it was said about him, "He was a Sahabi, but he became an apostate later." In truth, one who has attained real faith (iman al-haqiqi) never becomes an apostate, as is stated in the following verse:
Hadrat Sanaullah ad-Dahlawi states:
"One who has attained the grade of fana in Sufism will certainly depart this life as a Muslim. The 143rd verse of Surat al-Baqarah meaning 'Allah does not let your faith go to waste" and the hadith-i sharif meaning "Allahu ta'ala does not take the faith of His slaves back [the faith of those awliya' who have attained the grade of fana]' show that real faith will not be taken back from a person" (Irshad-ud-Talibin).
Faith (iman) is not even taken back from awliya'; that is, they do not become apostates. Then the Sahabah, who are superior to awliya', never become apostates. Allahu ta'ala does not make them apostates because He says that He is pleased with them and that He has promised Paradise to them. Does Allah break His word? The Qur'an al-karim says (what means):
(Allah never breaks His promise.) [Al-i 'Imran 9, Az-Zumar 20, Ar-Ra'd 31, Ar-Rum 6]
Question: Were all of the Sabahah a wali and a mujtahid each?
Yes, all of the Sahabah were a profound scholar and a mujtahid each. They were an ocean of knowledge in Sufism. That is, each of them was a great wali. They acquired all these branches of knowledge in a short time by seeing Allah's Messenger's blessed face, by hearing his blessed words that penetrated into the hearts and attracted the souls. This is one of the mu'jizat of our Master the Prophet ('alaihis-salam). When he, for example, sent an envoy to a foreign country, he would pay tawajjuh (focus, attention) to him, and that envoy would immediately learn the language of that country. Allahu ta'ala said "selected Ummah" about the Sahabah and stated that He was pleased with them all. He promised that He would put all of them into Paradise.
Question: Did 15,000 Muslims who murdered one another in the Battle of Camel depart this life as martyrs?
Yes, both sides departed this life as martyrs because any Muslim murdered in war is considered a martyr. Do two Muslims not quarrel or fight with each other? It is stated in the Qur'an al-karim that it is possible that two Muslim armies may fight with each other:
(If two parties of Believers battle with each other, make reconciliation between them.) [Al-Hujurat 9]
(Verily, Believers are brothers. Therefore, make reconciliation between your brothers [when they are at odds with each other].) [Al-Hujurat 10]
Question: Are the Sahabah superior to all awliya' of the later generations?
Yes, no Muslim and no wali can reach the rank of the Sahabah. All of them were scholars and pious. They were in the suhbah and service of the Master of humankind, and they helped him. Even a Sahabi who spent the least time in the suhbah of our Master the Prophet is superior to the greatest wali of the later generations. The states that occurred by the tawajjuh and in the suhbah of the Darling of Allahu ta'ala and the perfections that developed by the effects of his blessed breaths and looks did not fall to the lot of those who did not enjoy the blessings of that companionship and closeness. All of the Sahabah were freed from following their nafses in the first suhbah of the Messenger of Allahu ta'ala. (İslam Ahlakı)