Respect for the Companions of Sayiddina Muhammad (s)

But you must know that “My Companions are like the stars” is another hadith narrated by al-Daraqutni in the Fada’il and Ibn `Abd al-Barr through his chain from Jabir, and he said: “This is a chain through which no proof can be established firmly.” al-Bazzar said of `Abd ibn Humayd’s narration: “It is denounced (munkar) and unsound.” Ibn `Adi narrated it in al-Kamil from Nafi` from Ibn `Umar with a weak chain. Bayhaqi narrated something similar in al-Madkhal from `Umar and Ibn `Abbas and he said: “Its matn is well-known (mashhur) and its chains are weak.” al-Halabi said: “The author should not have cited it as if it were definitely a hadith of the Prophet due to what is known about it among the scholars of this science, and he has done the same thing several times before.” I say: It is possible that he had established a chain for it, or that he considered the multiplicity of its chains to raise its grade from da`if to that of hasan, due to his good opinion of it, although the weak hadith may be put into practice for meritorious acts (fada’il al-a`mal), and Allah knows best.

The author of Kanz al-`ummal (#1002) cited the similar hadith mahma utitum min kitabillah. . . :

“Whatever is brought to you from Allah’s Book, it is obligatory to practice it, there is no excuse for leaving it; if it is not from Allah’s book, then a Sunna established by me; if not one of my Sunnas, then what my Companions said; verily, my Companions are equivalent to the stars in the sky: whichever of them you pinpoint, you will be guided, and the differences among my Companions are a mercy for you.”

Ibn `Abd al-Barr said in his book Jami` bayan al-`ilm (2:84):

`Umar ibn al-Khattab was angry about the disagreement between Ubayy ibn Ka`b and Ibn Mas`ud on the question of praying in a single cloth: Ubayy said that it was fine and good, while Ibn Mas`ud said that this was done only when clothes were scarce. `Umar said: “Two men disagreeing from among the Prophet’s Companions who are those one looks at and takes [knowledge] from?!” — and this supports the import of the hadith which they have declared weak whereby My Companions are like the stars; whoever among them you use for guidance, you will be rightly guided.

Anas relates that the Prophet said: “The simile of the scholars of knowledge (al-`ulama’) on the earth is the stars in the sky by which one is guided in the darkness of the land and the sea. When the stars are clouded over, the guides are about to be lost.”

All the above narrations are confirmed by the hadith in Muslim and Ahmad narrated by Abu Musa al-Ash`ari whereby the Prophet said: “The stars are trust-keepers for the heaven, and when the stars wane, the heaven is brought what was promised (i.e. of the corruption of the world and the coming of the Day of Judgment); and I am a trust-keeper for my Companions, so when I go my Companions will be brought what was promised them (i.e. of fitna and division); and my Companions are trustkeepers for my Community, so when they go my Community will be brought what was promised to you (i.e. following hawa and vying for dunya).”

This trust-keeping is what `Umar meant when he named the Companions: “Those whom people look at and take (knowledge) from” when he disapproved of the difference of opinion between Ubayy ibn Ka`b and `Abd Allah ibn Mas`ud, as related in Ibn `Abd al-Barr’s Jami` bayan al-`ilm (2:84).

This is further confirmed by al-Zuhri’s saying related by Darimi in the introduction to his Sunan: “Beware of evaluating things for yourself. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if you evaluate things for yourself you will assuredly declare lawful the unlawful and declare unlawful the lawful. Rather, whatever reaches you from those who learned from the Companions of Muhammad — peace be upon him — put it into practice.”

Similar to this is al-Awza`is’ saying: “Knowledge is what comes from the Companions of Muhammad — peace be upon him — and whatever does not come from one of them is not knowledge.” Narrated by Ibn `Abd al-Barr in his Jami` bayan al-`ilm (2:36).

Anas said that the Messenger of Allah said:

mathalu ashabi ka mathali al-milhi fi al-ta`am.

“The likeness of my Companions (among people) is like salt in the food. Food is not good without it.”

The author of Nasim al-Riyad (3:469) said:

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