Passing Judgement over Sahabah RadhiyAllahu Ta’ala ‘Anhum
Moulana ‘Ashiq Ilahi Mirthi rahimahu Llah while discussing the life of Shah ‘Abd al-Rahim Raipuri rahimahu Llah inTadhkirat al-Khalil writes:
As per his usual habit, one day after ‘Asr salah, he was sitting on a bedstead in the patio of the garden, surrounded on all sides by attendants and a large group of people, some of whom were seated on reed stools. At this instance, Rao Murad ‘Ali Khan brought up the subject of conflict between the Sahabah. People began expressing their opinions, someone said that so-and-so was wrong and so-and-so should not have acted in such a manner. When it reached this point, Hadrat (referring to Shah ‘Abd al-Rahim Raipuri rahimahu Llah) became enraged and broke his silence in a trembling tone, saying: “O Rao! Listen to my few words. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came to this world to inform the creation of all their necessities relating to their religion as well as to their worldly life that will arise until the Day of Resurrection. It is evident that he was granted a very short life span to pass on such a great message and to accomplish his role of informing the creation of every type of circumstance and eventuality that would arise. Through the outcome of these circumstances the world would learn how to conduct themselves in a particular situation.
In principle, no irrelevant incident occurred during the era of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. These occurrences were of two types. Firstly, there were those incidents which did not contradict the position of nubuwwah. Secondly, there were those that were in conflict with the prominent position of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself experienced the incidents which were from the first category, for example, marriage, having offspring, demise, burial, etc. Through all the incidents of happiness and sadness which Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallamexperienced, the world learnt the lessons of how to behave in these situations. When a relative passes away, for example, which actions are appropriate and which are not. At the time of birth or marriage of someone or at any other joyous occasion, what is permissible and what contradicts the Sunnah.
There were also those incidents which would be in conflict with the prominent position of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. If they were to occur with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself (which they did not) then the position of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would be undermined. For example, if adultery, stealing, etc, takes place, how should a penalty be executed, or if a conflict breaks out or an argument based on self-interests was to occur, how should reconciliation take place. It would be inappropriate if these occurrences were to happen to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself, while at the same time there was a need for them to occur.
The Sahabah presented themselves as servants of this din for this very reason. It was as if they agreed for such occurrences to happen to them, which were in conflict with the prominent position of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This was in order for the outcomes of these incidents to be defined so that Islam could reach its completion. Therefore all such things happened to the Sahabah which would serve as a means of guidance to all those to come after them until the Day of Resurrection. Through these events, every ordinary person would come to know how to act in such a scenario.
Are there any such courageous and devoted souls willing to endure every disgrace as honour, and defects as strength, together with bearing the brunt of criticism, solely for the completion of the religion of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? It is as if though their actions spoke out:
“Everybody desires fame, honour and prominence, but ask a lover what is the sweetness of devotion and what is the enjoyment experienced in enduring disgrace along the path of the beloved.”
Such true lovers sacrificed their honour and self-respect for the sake of our guidance and reformation. Yet, after thirteen hundred years, we sit like commissioners over their tribunals to pass a judgement on them. We find fault with them and spoil our own destiny. What will we get out of this? If we cannot appreciate these gems of the Sunnah, then at the least we should keep our mouths silent from criticising them.
Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Fear Allah! Fear Allah, regarding my Sahabah! Do make them the target of criticism after me!”
For a long while he continued his speech in this vain, as if though petals were being sprinkled from his mouth and the listeners were being captivated by its scent.