It is said that no wali (saint) can reach the degree of sahabas (companions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)). Can you explain it? Some saints had a conversation with Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) after his death. Can they reach the level of sahaba?

Every human being comes to this world with a predestination and reason. No one chooses his own time. Whatever time Allah chooses for us is the most auspicious time for us. Being born in sahaba time does not mean that we will be one of them; there is also the probability of being Abu Jahl of that time. Do we have a guarantee that we could put up with the tortures and keep our faith when dying if we were in the place of Yasir family who were massacred by separating their legs?

Prophet Muhammads saying my brother for some people of the end of time is for attracting attention to dreadful disorders of the end of time and for praising people who keep their faith against those disorders. Their exceeding the degree of sahaba is in some virtuous areas. Otherwise, sahabas can not be exceeded by degree in the overall.

Let us explain why sahabas can not be reached in the overall virtue degree:

1- They can not be exceeded for the effect of talking to the Prophet.

Yes, they cannot be reached because the Prophet of Allah talked to them. Prophet Muhammads (pbuh) conversation is like an elixir. He who listens to his conversation for a minute, changes with that; (1) turns into diamond when being a coal before. He who listens to him gains the light of truth in a short time, which can take years to gain normally. He gets colored with the light of the sun of the prophethood. Sahabas who are students of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) got painted spiritually with the paint of the biggest of the prophets. Therefore, that spiritual paint cannot be applied that way after the era of prophethood. (2) They got that light directly and they became the stars reflecting His light. Thus, sahabas reached the highest degrees.

After Prophet Muhammads (pbuh) death, some big saints like Jalaluddin Al-Suyuti had conversation with him in a wakeful state. However, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) talked to them not as a prophet but as a saint, since prophethood had ended with His passing away. It is no longer possible to see him as prophet and become a sahaba.

2- Just as the degree of the prophethood is higher than that of sainthood soo too is the talk with a prophet higher than the talk with a saint.

Great scholar of Zaydis, as-Sanani (H. 1059-1182) explains why sahabas have the highest degree:
Firstly, Prophet Muhammad said that his era was the most auspicious era. It is understood that the people that are mentioned in that hadith and similar hadiths are his ummah that lived in his era and that were organized like the organs of man or the cogwheels of a factory. (3)

Secondly; most scholars think that sahabas were superior individually. And some scholars think that they were superior as a community to other Muslims of later eras. Those who joined Badr and Hudaybiya, whether they were sahabas or not, are superior to the ones who follow. According to the second opinion, all of the sahabas are superior to those coming after them. (4)

It is understood that Islamic scholars agree on the superiority of the sahabas. (5)

3- They can not be exceeded as for the prophecy ambience trained them.

Environment affects ones attitudes greatly. Sahabas, who are the companions of the Prophet in his cause, generally have highest degrees because a big revolution took place then. Just as all the beauties appeared with the revolution of Islam (6), so too did all the evils show themselves. Good and the evil separated evidently. At one side, the Prophet being on the highest point of perfection, his sahabas, endless affection and mercy, at the other side Abu Jahl, the Pharaoh of this ummah, false prophets, leaders of kufr (blasphemy) in the middle of disgrace, the fierceness of burying ones own daughter and the idolaters in the lowest of the low (7).

In such a situation sahabas who had unprecedented high ethics were together with Prophet, the advocate of honesty, charity and truth and the best example of Allahs cause, supporting him; and got painted with his paint.

4- The era of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is like fruitful soil having plentiful rain.

As transmitted by Abu Musa, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) describes the physical properties of the environment of the place he lived as follows:
The true path and knowledge Allah sent through me is like a generous rain falling on the ground. Some part of that ground is good. It accepts the rain and produces grass and plants. Some part of that ground is infertile. It holds the water and does not pass it. Thus, Allah makes people use that water; they drink it, water and pasture their cattle. And some part of that ground is desert, flat and wide but not holding water nor producing grass. This simile is an example of the people who has a good realization of the religion and benefits from what Allah sent through me and make others benefit from it and of the people who do not look at the true path and knowledge and do not accept it. (8)

References:

1. See Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Azim, IV, 305; Hayat as Sahaba III, 141, 279, 281, 282. Also see Jawahir al Bukhari p. 231; Sharh al Aqida al Tahawiyya II, 691-692; al Qamus al Muhit, I, 93; as Savaiq ul Muhriqa p. 212; Sharh al Maqasid, V, 319.
2. See Sharh al Aqida al Tahawiyya II, 693.
3. Subul al Salam, IV, 127.
4. ibid, IV, 127; Also see al Jami li Ahkam al Quran IV, 170; Ibn Qutaybah Abdullah bin Muslim, Ta'wil Mukhtalif al Hadith, Beirut, 1985, p. 107-108.
5. Scholars of qalaam and usul ad din put their opinions on this too.
6. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) says Muslim community will get fainted, lose its spirit, and will resemble to non believer communities in time. See Sunan Ibn Majah II, 1304, 1305, 1310, 1319, 1320, 1333, 1340, 1343, 1348; Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Azim IV, 204; 230; Riyaz us Salihin p. 271-282, 369; Ramuz al Ahadith no: 1366, 6308; Sharh al Aqida al Tahawiyya II, 691; al Bahr al Muhit, III, 301; Jawahir al Bukhari, transl. Mustafa Muhammad Umare, İstanbul, p. 231, 405; Sharh al Fiqh al Akbar, p. 206.
7. Surah of Nahl, 58-59, Çağatay, Neset, İslam Dönemine dek Arap Tarihi... p. 86, 106, 122. Surah of Taqwir, 8-9. Mahmud Esad, Tarih-i Din-i İslâm, İstanbul, 1983 p. 138; Berki Ali Himmet Keskioğlu Osman Hz. Muhammed ve Hayatı, Ankara, 1993,.... p. 169. Heyet, Doğustan Günümüze I-XIV, İstanbul, 1989, I, 182.
8. Riyaz us Salihin, p. 149, no: 162; Majma al Tafasir (Lubab al Ta'wil). III, 483.

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