Which Companions are the highest?
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
After all the Prophets, come the Companions in rank. To have love for the Companions is part of Deen and to have hatred and animosity for them is a sign of kufr and hypocrisy.
The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam has said; “The sign of faith is love of the Ansaar and the sign of hypocrisy is the hatred of the Ansaar.” (Sahih Bukhari P.534 V.1)
In another hadith, the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam has said; “Whoever abuses my companions, upon them is the curse of Allah, the angels and all the people.” (Tabaraani)
Out of the companions, Saaiduna Abu Bakr Radiallahu Anhu is the most virtuous, thereafter Saaiduna Umar Radiallahu Anhu, then Saaiduna Uthmaan Radiallahu Anhu and then Saaiduna Ali Radiallahu Anhu. There respective virtues are in keeping with their sequence of Khilafaah.
The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam has said; “Whoever will live after me will see a lot of differences of opinions, so people should hold strongly to my sunnah and the sunnah of the Khulafa Rashideen who are on the straight path.” (Sunan Ibn Majah P5 V.1)
Next in rank from amongst the Companions after the Khulafa Rashideen are those companions whom the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam had given glad tidings of Jannah. They are known as the ‘Ashara Mubassharah.’
They are: the four Khulafa Rashideen, Saaiduna Saad Bin Abi Waqqas, Saaiduna Abdur Rahman Bin Auf, Saaiduna Abu Ubaidah Bin Jarrah, Saaiduna Bin Zaid, Saaiduna Talha and Saaiduna Zubair (Radiallahu Anhum Ajmaeen).
Next in rank after the Ashara Mubasharah are the participants in the Battle of Badr. After them in rank, come the participants of the Battle of Uhud. After them in rank comes those who participated in Ba’it Ridwaan. Ba’it Ridwaan is that ba’it which the companions took at the hands of the Prophet of Allah just prior to the treaty of Hudaibia.
After these stated above, the next rank are the ones who were highest in knowledge and piety.
(Aqaaidul Islam- By Maulana Idris Kaandhlwi P.136 – P.156)
From the afore mentioned discussion we can deduce that Saaiduna Umar Radiallahu Anhu being one of the Khulafa Rashideen is the most virtuous. With regards to Saaiduna Ibn Abbas and Saaiduna Abu Hurairah Radiallahu Anhuma Saaiduna Ibn Abbas being the cousin of the Prophet of Allah could be better, however, it is best to refrain in from deciding who is best.
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham.