How can the religion brought to us by the Companions be reliable since they committed sins?

The Details of the Question

- All Companions are just. Does this attribute of justice comply with their committing sins?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The fights among the Companions are a result of ijtihad. 

The concept justice does not mean not committing any sins? What is meant by the Companions’ “being just”, which is accepted by the whole ummah unanimously, is that it is impossible for them to tell lies about the Quran and the Prophet intentionally.  

The unanimous agreement of the Islamic scholars except Shiite about the Companions is evidence that they are just.

The environment in which the Companions lived helped them to believe and it was accepted by the ummah that they would not slander the Prophet (pbuh) intentionally.

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi states the following regarding the issue:  

“Such a difference was apparent between good and evil and such a distance opened up between truth and falsehood that they drew as distant from one another as belief is from unbelief, and even Hell is from Paradise. The Companions, who by nature possessed elevated emotions, were captivated by the highest morality, and inclined towards dignity and virtue, would not voluntarily stretch out their hands to evil and falsehood, and so fall to the level of Musaylima the Liar and his ridiculous utterances. For he was the herald of falsehood, evil, and lies, and their embodiment. Their characters demanded that they looked to the rank of the perfections, those of God’s Beloved (PBUH) at the highest of the high, who was the herald and embodiment of truthfulness, good, and right, and that they hastened in that way with all their strength and endeavor.” (Sözler, p. 490)

In the market of every age, some objects are in demand while people flee from other objects. Similarly, in the Era of Bliss in the market of that age, goodness, honesty and trustworthiness were in demand. On the other hand, it is a necessity of the conscience and nature of the Companions to avoid the deeds the lead people to Hell like telling lies and committing evil deeds when they saw a bad example like Musaylima, who was at peak in terms of ugliness and telling lies. (see ibid)

“Yes, the absolute majority of the Companions of the Prophet were lovers of the truth, truthfulness, and justice. For in that age, the ugliness of lies and falsehood was shown in all its ugliness and the beauty of right and truthfulness was shown in all its beauty in such a way that the distance between them stretched from the ground to the Divine Throne. There was a clear separation between them, from the depths of Musaylima the Liar at the lowest of the low to the degree of truthfulness of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) at the highest of the high. Indeed, just as it was lying that brought Musaylima to the lowest of the low, so it.” (Sözler, s. 484).

The following verses contain statements indicating that the Companions are just:

“Thus, have We made of you an Ummat justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves.” (al-Baqara, 2/143). 

“Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors.” (Aal-i Imran, 3/110).

“ Those who believe, and adopt exile, and fight for the Faith, in the cause of Allah as well as those who give (them) asylum and aid,- these are (all) in very truth the Believers: for them is the forgiveness of sins and a provision most generous.” (al-Anfal, 8/74).

“The vanguard (of Islam)- the first of those who forsook (their homes) and of those who gave them aid, and (also) those who follow them in (all) good deeds,- well-pleased is Allah with them, as are they with Him: for them hath He prepared gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein for ever: that is the supreme felicity.” (at-Tawba, 9/100).

“Allah´s Good Pleasure was on the Believers when they swore Fealty to thee under the Tree: He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down Tranquillity to them; and He rewarded them with a speedy Victory; And many gains will they acquire (besides): and Allah is Exalted in Power, Full of Wisdom.” (al-Fath, 48/18-19).

“Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. Thou wilt see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. On their faces are their marks, (being) the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Taurat; and their similitude in the Gospel is: like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the Unbelievers with rage at them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds forgiveness, and a great Reward.” (al-Fath, 48/29).

Based on the verses above and hadiths regarding the issue, Ahl as-Sunnah scholars did not criticize the Companions, decreed that they were all just and that they would not resort to lies in their duties of the establishment of the religion of Islam.  

It is possible to see between the lines of the works narrating the lives of the Companions that they were very meticulous about the religion. 

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