Prophet's Companions

Q518 :The companions of the Prophet have been praised in the Qur'an and by the Prophet for their glorious deeds in support of the message of Islam. When a Muslim mentions any of the companions of the Prophet, he is supposed to pray for them that Allah may be pleased with them. In view of this, is it fair for any Muslim to criticize the actions of some or all the companions of the Prophet, if such actions have proved to be mistaken? Does such criticism affect the faith of a Muslim, or does it cause him or her any harm?

A518 : As you have said, Allah has praised the companions of the Prophet in the Qur'an describing them as keeping a tough attitude toward the disbeliever, treating one another with mutual compassion; you always see them bowing and prostrating themselves before Allah, seeking His grace and pleasure, etc. The Prophet also praised his companions for their dedication and courage in the defense of Islam. He also said that the best generation among his followers is that of his companions followed by their successors and the generation after that. Those three generations will remain better than any subsequent generations of Muslims. The companions of the Prophet were human beings who could make mistakes, errors, in judgment and could commit sins. It is undeniable that they were less liable to do this last thing than other Muslims, but the fact remains that some of them could be tempted to do so. But if you look at the record on every one of them, you will find them firm believers, dedicated to the cause of Islam, ready to defend it, even if its defense meant the loss of their lives. As such, they deserve all praise from us, because they have helped provide an ideal example of what human society will be like when Islam will be implemented. Criticism of any of the companions of the Prophet is most unbecoming of any believer. To start with, no one can aspire to the position of the companions of the Prophet, because of the great honor which they had of actively supporting the Prophet in his efforts to make the world of Allah triumphant. In every circle or society, criticism of an honorable personality by a lesser person looks particularly odd. When such superiority is dictated by the service given to the cause of Islam, the criticism becomes repugnant. You know that Khalid ibn Al-Waleed embraced Islam rather late, perhaps in the seventh year of the Prophet's emigration to Madinah. He had a quarrel with one of the companions of the Prophet. The Prophet said to him: "Leave my companions alone. If you were to spend all that the earth contains in gold, you would not make a person reach the standard of anyone of them or even half his standard." The general rule about such criticism is that Allah will hold the person who makes it to account. If it is unjustified, then he will make him do justice to the person so criticized or abused. In this life, such criticism does not speak well of the person who does it. Indeed, it raises a question mark about his sincerity. Whether it affects his faith or not is another matter. He may truly be a believer in the message of Islam but his criticism tells of his bad taste.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )