The most superior people
The Companions are in the highest level because they received light directly from the sun of the prophethood. The reason why saints cannot catch up with them no matter what they do is the Companions' talking and listening to the Prophet. Conversation has a different property. A person is cleaned and affected during a conversation. Those who listened to the Prophet even for a minute had such spiritual abundance and acquisition that even the greatest saint cannot attain it.
Great saints like Jalaluddin Suyuti, who talked to the Messenger of Allah while he was awake and who watched the Throne in the sky while he was on the ground, are ranked only after the Companions.
The most important reason for this big difference between the Companions and saints is that the Companions saw the sun of the prophethood and the saints saw the reflection of this sun on the mirror.
The Companions are the names of the people who were the closest people to Allah spiritually because the Messenger of Allah himself educated them and purified their spirits and hearts of evil thoughts.
The Companions nurtured and developed all of their feelings through belief in an Islamic atmosphere. All of their faculties were awake. When they uttered “subhanallah, alhamdulillah, etc”, they uttered them by being aware of their meanings. When they performed prayers, they virtually left the world and forgot about everything. They appeared in their bodies but they spiritually flew to high realms.
That is why it is necessary for today's man, many feelings and abilities of whose have lain fallow or who have turned and proceeded toward different directions, to work very hard and continuously to awaken his feelings. As it is stated in Sözler (Words) here lies the secret why the virtue and rank obtained by a Companions in 40 minutes can be obtained only in 40 days even in 40 years by other people.
All of the thoughts of the Companions were about attaining the consent of Allah. Their days and hours were spent on finding answers to the question, "How can we attain the consent and pleasure of Allah?" and being in that way. Their attention was focused on it and their hearts were connected with it. Their intentions, talks and relations were all about it. In their eyes, happiness in the world was important to the extent that it was a means of attaining happiness in the hereafter.
It is not possible for today's man, who is struggling to make ends meet, who is interested only in the worldly life, material interests and politics, whose ideas and hearts are scattered, whose minds have been alienated from spirituality and whose efforts have been broken off, to catch up with the Companions.
It is also impossible to catch up with them in terms of rewards. A soldier keeps watch and ward at an important place in a battle and is martyred; he attains the high rank of martyrdom in a minute. Similarly, the life of the Companions is like the minute in which that soldier is martyred. Who can catch up with the Companions, who ignore all kinds of worldly interests, who do not sacrifice even one question of Islam for the biggest worldly interest, who do not abandon their belief and the true way despite all kinds of fears and threats? Besides, it is not possible to catch up with them in terms of rewards as the saying goes, "'The cause is like the doer." For, the same amount of rewards is recorded in their book of deeds when the believers do good deeds that they started.
Said bin Zayd, one of the ten Companions who were given the glad tidings of entering Paradise, explains the reason why the others cannot catch up with the Companions in terms of virtue as follows:
“A person's living with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and getting dusty in jihad is better than all of the good deeds of another person even if he lives as long as the Prophet Noah.”
To speak against and to defame the Companions, who are so lofty spiritually, will definitely burden a big load on them. Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (1002-1071) expresses the issue as follows:
“The Companions are honest and just because Allah stated that they were honest and pure. If you see someone look at one of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah with an evil eye, know that he is an unbeliever. For, the Quran, the Prophet (pbuh) and what he brought are true. Those who conveyed them to us are the Companions.” 
 al-Isaba, 1: 10.