What is the Shia view on the Sahaba (companions) of the Prophet (s), and specifically, the first three “Khulafa rashideen” (‘Rightly guided Caliphs’, and also the others which are considered extremely pious men by Sunnis?
The people who narrated the actions and words of the Prophet (pbuh) to us were his companions (ashab). Some of these were people who had met the Prophet only a few times or who did not have much interaction with the Prophet and they are called companions in a general sense. Others lived with the Prophet (pbuh) on an everyday basis and they were his companions in a specific sense.
When it comes to the companions, Sunnis and Shia have different beliefs.
The Sunnis believe that all companions were pious and that their word should be trusted and they should be followed. They have a false narration that says: ‘my companions are like stars, whichever of them you follow, you will be guided’. They also rely on the following Ayah:
وَالسَّابِقُونَ الأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالأَنصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُم بِإِحْسَانٍ رَّضِيَ اللّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُواْ عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
“And (as for) the foremost, from among the Muhajirs and the Ansars, and those who followed them in goodness, Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them for ever; that is the mighty achievement.” (9:100)
They argue that if the Qur’an praises the companions, how can we blame or criticise any of them?
We answer by saying that we criticise some of the companions and praise others. This is because this is also what the Qur’an does. The Qur’an says ‘from among the Muhajirs and the Ansars’ not all of them. This is why it uses the word ‘min’. It is praising those of them that were pious and who did good deeds. However, those who did not do good deeds and who were not pious are criticised by the Qur’an like anyone else would be. It does not make sense that they should not be criticised for doing the wrong thing just because they lived with the Prophet- this is a form of prejudice and has no logical basis.
We too praise the companions, as Imam Sajjad does in his Sahifatul Kamila, but only those of them who do good deeds and are faithful.
Answered by: Dr Ali Alsamail
Certified by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei