Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: I have been talking to a group of muslims saying they are following the Ahl al-Bayt. I got very confused. They told me that Fatima is better than Aisha, that the companions were not good and that Aisha tried to poison the Prophet (Allah bless him). Can you please help me clear up my confusion?
Answer: assalamu `alaykum
The people that you have been speaking to are likely from the Shi`a. The Shi`a differ from Sunnis on fundamental issues relating to creed and law, which includes the question concerning the status of the Companions.
Sunni Belief Regarding the Companions
The Sunni belief regarding the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him) is that they were all upright followers of the religion. This is not a claim to their infallibility; the Companions, like other non-prophetic individuals, made mistakes. However, they were granted a unique rank that is attested to by God and the Prophet due to which the slips reportedly committed by them are overlooked by us and their service to the religion of Islam recognized.
The proof texts that dictate this Sunni belief include:
a. “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are hard against the unbelievers, merciful to the believers…” (48:29)
b. “The outstrippers, the first of the Muhajirun and the Ansar… Allah is well-pleased with them and they are well-pleased with Him.” (9:100)
c. “Allah was pleased with the believers when they gave allegiance to you under the tree.” (48:18)
d. “Allah, Allah! Fear Him with regard to my Companions! Do not make them targets after me! Whoever loves them loves them with his love for me; and whoever hates them hates them with his hatred for me. Whoever bears enmity for them, bears enmity for me; and whoever bears enmity for me, bears enmity for Allah. Whoever bears enmity for Allah is about to perish.” [Tirmidhi, Ahmad]
e. “None of you should come to me with anything (negative) about any of my Companions for I do not want to go out to you except except with a clear heart.” [Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi]
f. “Do not curse my Companions. If any of you were to spend the weight of Uhud in gold, it still would not reach the measure (mudd) of one of them nor even one half of it.” [Bukhari, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah]
g. “When my Companions are mentioned, hold back.” [al-Tabarani, Mu`ajam al-kabir]
These texts establish both the importance of holding the Companions in high esteem and an obligation to overlook what has been related of their errors and faults.
The Ahl al-Bayt
Similarly, the Ahl al-Sunna also deem it obligatory to love and respect the members of the prophetic house beginning with the Prophet himself, then his children, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandchildren, and so forth. Like our attitude towards the Companions, the love for the Ahl al-Bayt is based on countless textual proofs that couple love of the Prophet (Allah bless him) with their love, warn us to be mindful of them, and teach us to treat them with the highest degree of respect. There have been countless works authored on the merits of the Ahl al-Bayt and the requirement of Muslims to love them, such as the Arba`in of Imam Muhammad ibn Ja`far al-Kattani, which you can purchase here: Al-Arbain by Muhammad Ibn Jaffar al-Kattani
A Word About Polemics
Finally, I would advise you to not get into debates regarding these issues. The arguments against the Companions are well-known; they have been known for centuries and the scholars of our tradition have dealt with them repeatedly and extensively. There are large numbers of forgeries surrounding the claims made against the Companions by their detractors that were exaggerated with the passage of time, which includes what was mentioned to you concerning `A’isha (Allah be well-pleased with her). It is a baseless claim and a statement of grave sin.
There are essential conditions that a person must fulfill before engaging in intellectual debate: knowledge is one, a sound intellect and heart is another. The absence of these leads to the the harm that accrues from debate being greater than the good: envy, arrogance, haughtiness, deviance, are all a result of excessive quarreling by those unqualified to do so, and these sins will weigh heavily on the scale-pans of the next life. Therefore, I would again advise you from engaging with those who make debating about people who have passed away long ago their life passion. Rather, seek the company of those who lift you spiritually and ready you for the next life, and understand that you will be held to account for what you do in this world so use your time wisely.
If you have any questions, please feel free to continue sending them and we will be at your service.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani