Question: The Qur'an tells us to obey scholars. It also tells us that Allahu ta'ala is pleased with the Sahabah and that they will be in Paradise. Our Master the Prophet said that those who followed them would attain guidance (hidayah). Can one follow a person who is not a scholar or a mujtahid? Therefore, does it not imply that all of the Sahabah were a mujtahid each?
Of course, all of them were a mujtahid each. It is stated in a hadith-i sharif reported by eight hadith scholars:
(My companions are like the stars in the sky. Whomever you follow among them, you will be rightly guided.) [Tabarani, Bayhaqi, Ibn Asakir, Hatib, Daylami, Darimi, Imam-i Munawi, Ibn Adiy]
One must be an extreme la-madhhabi to write off a hadith-i sharif reported by a hadith scholar.
"Each of the Sahabah was a mujtahid and an imam of madhhab" (Mizan, Hadiqa).
Hadrat Ibn Hajar al-Makki states:
"No one can attain the great merits that the Sahabah attained. One of the merits of them is that the blessed looks of the Messenger of Allah penetrated into them, giving them spiritual support and help. Others do not have this exclusive merit. None of the later comers attained their perfections and vast learnings or the [spiritual property called] haqiqat that they inherited from our Master the Prophet. All of them were just, pious, learned, walis and mujtahids. The Qur'an al-karim says [what means]: 'Allah is pleased with them all.' To blame or vilify any one of the Sahabah means to deny this verse" (As-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah).
Hadrat Imam-i Busayri states:
"All of the Sahabah were qualified to do ijtihad. Allahu ta'ala was pleased with them all, and they were pleased with Him, too. No fault can be attributed to them" (Qasida-i Hamziya).
Imam-i Shafi'i said in his Risala-i Qadima, "The Sahabah are superior to all of us in knowledge, ijtihad, and wisdom" (Mizan).
"It is haram to speak ill of the Sahabah because all of them were a mujtahid each" (Manaqib Chihar Yar Ghuzin).
Hadrat Sahl bin Abdullah Tusturi states:
"Whoever does not hold all of the Sahabah in high esteem has not believed in the Messenger of Allah" (Radd-i Rawafid).
Hadrat Imam-i Taftazani states:
"When one speaks ill of the Sahabah, he/she will become a disbeliever if his/her words go against the Qur'an and ahadith. If they do not go against them, he/she has committed a major sin and has become an ahl al-bid'at [a person of heresy]" (Sharh-i Aqaid).
Such great imams as Imam-i A'zam and Imam-i Malik took as evidence and proof the words, conduct, and deeds of each of the Sahabah. The words of a non-mujtahid are not taken as proof and evidence.
Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states:
"The Sahabah attained such blessings in the first suhbah [of the Messenger of Allah] that the greatest wali of the later generations attained only a tiny amount of them in the final stage. For this reason, though Wahshi martyred Hadrat Hamza, he became superior to Uwais al-Qarani, the best of the Tabi'un, when he was honored with only one suhbah [of the Messenger of Allah] after converting to Islam. The merits of suhbah are above all merits and perfections" (Vol. 1, Letter 66; Vol. 1, Letter 210).
Hadrat Muhammad Masum Faruki states:
"All of the Sahabah were elevated to the stage of fana fillah [being a wali]. Glad tidings to those who have been elevated to that stage" (Vol 2, Letter 6).
All of the Sahabah deserved Paradise because they participated in the suhbah of the Messenger of Allah. All of them are superior to all human beings except prophets. It is stated in hadith-i sharifs:
(My Rabb revealed to me: "Your companions are like the stars in the sky. Some of them are brighter than others. Whoever follows any of them is on guidance.") [Daylami]
(My companions are superior to all genies and humans.) [Bazzar]
(Whoever follows any one of my companions will earn the love of Allahu ta'ala.) [Bayhaqi]
(The best of humans are the Muslims of my generation [the Sahabah].) [Bukhari]
Question: It is true that suhbah is of considerable benefit, but it does not cause one to acquire knowledge. How can a person grow into a mujtahid by means of only suhbah? Does it not mean confusing suhbah with mujtahidhood?
Do not mistake the suhbah of the Messenger of Allah for that of ash-Shawkani, al-Afghani, and Abduh. The suhbah of the former is a cure for hearts, while the suhbah of the latter is a poison. The superiority of the suhbah of the Messenger of Allah is above all ranks, virtues, and honors. Only an ahl al-bid'at (a person of innovation) denies this fact.
[suhbah: companionship; to make friends, to stay together for a long time; to talk to one another and to drive use from one another]
Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani, one of the most distinguished Ahl as-Sunnah wa'l Jama'ah scholars, states:
"It is necessary to love and respect all the Sahabah [companions of our Master the Prophet] as well as all the Ahl al-Bait. To dislike one of them means to dislike all of them, for all of them have the virtue of having been honored with the company of the Best of humankind [i.e., our Master the Prophet]. And the virtue of this company, which is called suhbah, is superior to all virtues. It is for this reason that Uwais-al Qarani, who was the best of the second generation of Muslims, was not able to achieve the status of the lowest-ranking one among the Sahabah. No superiority can be as high as the superiority provided by suhbah because the faith of those who were blessed with suhbah [that is, of the Sahabah] is so firm that it is as if they had seen, owing to the barakah of suhbah and owing to the barakat of the revelation. None of their successors had such high faith" (Vol 1, Letter 59).
"The disagreements and fights among the Sahabah were not caused by the desires of their nafses. Their blessed nafses were purified, thus getting rid of being of evil nature, by the suhbah of the Best of humankind (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and by listening to his words, which polished hearts. No desire that went against Islam was left in their nafses" (Vol 1, Letter 54).
"The Sahabah attained such blessings in the first suhbah [of the Messenger of Allah] that the greatest wali of the later generations attained only a tiny amount of them in the final stage. For this reason, though Wahshi martyred Hadrat Hamza, he became superior to Uwais al-Qarani, the best of the second generation of Muslims, when he was honored with only one suhbah [of the Messenger of Allah] after converting to Islam. The merits of suhbah are above all merits and perfections. What fell to the lot of Wahshi [radi-Allahu 'anh] in the beginning of the suhbah of the Best of humankind did not fall to the lot of Uwais al-Qarani even at the last stage, though he enjoyed such a high status" (Vol. 1, Letter 66).
"Nothing is as beneficial as suhbah. The companions of the Messenger of Allah became superior to others thanks to suhbah. They became superior to all others even Uways al-Qarani and 'Umar bin Abd al-'Aziz, except prophets ('alaihimus-salaam). In fact, Uwais al-Qarani and 'Umar ibn Abd al-'Aziz were elevated to the highest stage and attained all perfections other than suhbah. Hadrat Muawiyas mistake, owing to the barakah of the suhbah he had had with the Messenger of Allah, were more useful than the right deeds accomplished by Uwais al-Qarani and Umar ibn Abd al-'Aziz. By the same token, a mistake made by 'Amr ibn As was more virtuous than a discreet act managed by these two people. Because the companions saw the Messenger of Allah, were in the company of the angel, and witnessed revelation and miracles, their faith became a faith by seeing [the things to be believed in]. These superiorities that we have mentioned form the basis of all other superiorities. No one, except the Sahabah, attained them. If Uwais al-Qarani had known these virtues of suhbah, nothing would have been able to prevent him from it. He would have abandoned everything to attain that superiority" (Vol 1, Letter 120).
"Uwais al-Qarani, the best of the second generation of Muslims, could not reach the grade to which Wahshi (radi-Allahu 'anh), the murderer of Hadrat Hamza, was elevated owing to only one suhbah of the Messenger of Allah. The reason for this is that the virtues of suhbah are above all virtues and perfections. Their faith became strong by seeing. This blessing did not fall to the lot of anyone else" (Vol 1, Letter 210).
"As Uwais al-Qarani was not in the company [of the Messenger of Allah], he could not achieve the status of the lowest-ranking Sahabi among the ones [the Sahabah] who were in the company of Him. For this reason, his giving gold equal to a mount as charity could not become equivalent to their giving a handful of barley as charity. No honor can be like the honor of suhbah" (Vol 1, Letter 222).
"Think about Uwais al-Qarani (rahmatullahi 'alaih). He preferred seclusion. For this reason, he could not obtain the suhbah of the Best of humankind ('alaihi wa 'ala aalihis-salaatu was-salaam) and therefore could not reach the stages where suhbah would elevate him. As a result, he was included in the second generation of Muslims, and he took second place instead of first one" (Vol 1, Letter 270).
Question: The Sahabah became superior to all awliya' due to only one companionship (suhbah) with the Best of humankind ('alaihi wa 'alaihim-us-salawaatu wattaslimaat). Did they complete all spiritual states, such as sayr, suluk, fana', and baqa', only in one suhbah? Or was that one suhbah greater than all sayr, suluk, fana', and baqa'?
Imam Rabbani Ahmad al-Faruqi al-Sirhindi answered these questions as follows:
"It is not possible to answer these difficult questions of yours by way of writing. You have to spend time with me and have to serve for a long time. Is it easy to say at once that which nobody has disclosed so far and to write it with one stroke of the pen? It is not proper, either, to let them remain unanswered because you have asked them. The nearness [qurb] that one attains through fana', baqa', suluk, and jadhbah is called qurb-i wilayat. It is the nearness with which the awliya' of this Ummah are honored. The nearness that the Sahabah attained in the company [suhbah] of the Best of humankind ['alaihi wa 'alaihimus-salawaatu was-salaam] is called qurb-i nubuwwat. They reached the goal by following the Messenger of Allah and by being inheritors of him" (Vol 1, Letter 313).
As it is seen, Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states that the Sahabah are superior to other people in every respect, e.g., faith, virtues, knowledge, whether esoteric or exoteric. Being superior in terms of knowledge means being superior to all mujtahids.
Hadrat Ibn Hajar al-Makki states:
"All of them were just, pious, learned, walis and mujtahids. The Qur'an al-karim says [what means]: 'Allah is pleased with them all.' To blame or vilify any one of the Sahabah means to deny this verse" (As-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah).
Note that Hadrat Ibn Hajar al-Makki says that the Sahabah were a mujtahid each. He says what Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani said. In fact, Islamic scholars do not say differing things about matters related to faith. They differ from one another in their ijtihads related to practice, which is the order of our religion.
A distich reads:
A look from a scholar is a treasure hardly attainable;
Suhbah in his presence is a library inexhaustible.
If one look of a scholar is a treasure, then can you imagine what would be the effects of one look of the Messenger of Allah?
Question: If a person commits a grave sin like consuming alcohol, is it possible, in your opinion, for such a person to be a wali?
Islam is not based on personal opinions. The truth is that which Allah revealed, which His Messenger explained, and which his inheritors narrated. Allahu ta'ala says, "I promised Paradise to them all. I am pleased with them, and they are pleased with Me." His Messenger says, "My companions are superior to all humans and genies." The scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah wa'l Jama'ah say, "The most distinguished wali cannot achieve the status of the Sahabah." Do Allahu ta'ala, His Messenger, and scholars utter untruth (hasha!)?
Question: Do awliya' commit grave sins? As there were those who committed grave sins among the Sahabah, then is it correct to value them above awliya'?
A wali is not stripped of his wilayah (being a wali) due to a grave sin because he does not insist on committing that sin. The proof for this is as follows:
Mawlana Khalid al-Baghdadi, a distinguished scholar and one of the renewers of the thirteenth century, states in his book Adab al-Tariqa al-'Aliyya:
"There are hadith-i sharifs indicating that a person who objects to Ahlullah [friends of Allahu ta'ala] will depart this life as a disbeliever. It is not a requirement that awliya' be innocent of sins. Among the Sahabah, there were individuals who received hadd punishment, such as hand amputation. Despite these punishments that were inflicted on them, even the one with the lowest rank among the Sahabah was a wali. All of them are superior to all awliya' who are not of the Sahabah. All awliya' are protected from insisting on committing sins. Their sometimes committing sins causes them to feel a pang of remorse, to shed tears, and to implore Allahu ta'ala so much so that they are elevated in rank. For this reason, it is written in Hikam al-Ata'iyyah, 'A sin that causes contempt and worry is preferable to a good deed that causes self-esteem and arrogance.' It is narrated that of the two awliya' whose deeds and attributes are equal, the one with more repentance is superior to the one with no sins."
It is written in Sahih al-Bukhari, "Prescribed punishment for drinking wine was inflicted on a man named 'Abdullah from among the Sahabah. When our Master the Prophet heard that some people cursed him because of his deed, he said, "Do not curse him because he loves Allah and His Messenger." The book Maraj-ul-Bahrayn narrates from Ahmad Zarruk, "Being sinless and perfect is an attribute exclusive to only prophets. It is not a condition that a wali be sinless. Committing a grave sin does not cause wilayah to be removed from a wali unless he insists on committing it. A wali quits his sin and makes repentance. Committing a sin does not lead one to perdition. What leads one to perdition is to keep on committing it and not to make repentance. The dhalla (choosing the good though there is a better choice) of Adam 'alaihis-salam, therefore, differed from the defiance of Iblis."
Question: Among the Sahabah, there were laborers, villagers, farmers, tradesmen, slaves, servants, and shepherds. Therefore, I am out of my mind with bewilderment when I hear some people say that all of the Sahabah were a mujtahid each. Do you not share my view?
You may go out of your mind with this thought, but Allahu ta'ala, His Messenger, and inheritors of the Messenger of Allah do not say what you said. The knowledge that elevated the Sahabah to the rank of mujtahidhood was due to the mu'jizah of the Messenger of Allah. Did Allahu ta'ala not know that there would be shepherds, slaves, laborers, and villagers among the Sahabah? Why did He praise them in the Torah, in the Injil, and in the Qur'an al-karim? Why did He say that He was pleased with them all? Why were all of them pleased with Him? Why did He say that He promised Paradise to them all? If they were ignorant (never!), then why did the Messenger of Allah describe them as stars of guidance? Why did the imams of the four madhhabs take the words of the Sahabah as proof?
Those blessed people you classified as laborers, villagers, shepherds, and farmers did not receive that education by attending the classes of an ordinary teacher. They received it from the Messenger of Allah. They were elevated to that rank only by his one look. Whoever doubts this mu'jizah of his has doubted the power of Allahu ta'ala. The reason why you feel as if you are going out of your mind with that thought is your disbelief in mu'jizah. If you believed in it, you would not doubt Allah's power. Ahl al-bid'at (exponents of heresy) who do not believe in mu'jizat always interpret them into different things. For example, Abduh explained the birds pelted stones as microbes. Some people could not somehow conceive of what was a mu'jizah and, therefore, went off the rails. As a result, some of them became Freemasons, and some others severed connections with the four madhhabs.
One look of the Messenger of Allah, who was granted ascent to the heavens, split the Moon in two, and displayed countless mu'jizat, elevated the Sahabah to the highest degree. There is no need for years of studies to attain that knowledge. For example, among the Sahabah the ones to be sent to foreign countries as envoys used to learn the languages of those countries instantly. Such things are the mu'jizat of the Messenger of Allah. Abduh and his followers do not believe in them.
Question: If there were mujtahids among the Sahabah, then why is there not an iota of information about their madhhabs? If they are mujtahids, could you please tell me the basics of the madhhabs of the four caliphs? What were their madhhabs?
Apart from the Sahabah, there were many mujtahids among the Tabi'in and Taba at-Tabi'in as well, such as Hasan al-Basri, Sufyan as-Thawri, Muhammad al-Baqir. However, the madhhabs of the four caliphs, of the Sahabah, or of these mentioned people were not collected into a book, so their madhhabs are not known. Can we say that they were not mujtahids simply because we do not know about their madhhabs?