Tuesday 16 Rajab 1444 - 7 February 2023
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What is the ruling on likening someone to the Companions?

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Publication : 03-12-2022

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Question

Is it permissible to liken someone to the Companions of the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)?

Praise be to Allah.

The status of the Companions

It is a well-established fact that the Companions enjoy a great and lofty status , for Allah praised them and described them as having good qualities and sublime characteristics, as He, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

{And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajireen and the Ansar and those who followed them with good conduct - Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment} [at-Tawbah 9:100]

{So those who emigrated or were evicted from their homes or were harmed in My cause or fought or were killed - I will surely remove from them their misdeeds, and I will surely admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow as reward from Allah , and Allah has with Him the best reward} [Al ‘Imran 3:195]

{For the poor emigrants who were expelled from their homes and their properties, seeking bounty from Allah and [His] approval and supporting Allah and His Messenger, [there is also a share]. Those are the truthful

And [also for] those who were settled in al-Madinah and [adopted] the faith before them. They love those who emigrated to them and find not any want in their breasts of what the emigrants were given but give [them] preference over themselves, even though they are in privation. And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul - it is those who will be the successful} [al-Hashr 59:8-9]

{Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah ; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration. That is their description in the Torah. And their description in the Gospel is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers - so that Allah may enrage by them the disbelievers. Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds among them forgiveness and a great reward} [al-Fath 48:29].

Ibn Mas‘ud said: Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, looked into the hearts of His slaves and chose Muhammad, then He sent him with His message, for He chose him on the basis of His knowledge. Then He looked into the hearts of people after him, and chose for him his companions, who He made the supporters of His religion and the helpers of His Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).

Narrated by at-Tayalisi in his Musnad (1/199) and by Ahmad in his Musnad (3600).

For more information, please see question no. 159184 .

Ruling on emulating the Companions

Emulating the Companions is a great good deed and an immense blessing. Ibn Mas‘ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said: Whoever among you wants to take someone as an example, let him take the Companions of Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) as an example, for they were the purest in heart of this ummah, the deepest in knowledge, the most down to earth, the most guided and the best in attitude. They were people whom Allah, may He be exalted, chose to accompany His Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), so acknowledge their virtue and follow in their footsteps, for they followed right guidance."(Jami‘ Bayan al-‘Ilm  2/947).

Al-Hasan said: The companions of Muhammad were the purest in heart of this ummah, the deepest in knowledge, and the most down to earth. They were people whom Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, chose to accompany His Prophet and establish His religion. So imitate their attitude and conduct, for – by the Lord of the Ka‘bah – they followed right guidance."(Ash-Shari‘ah by al-Ajurri  4/1685).

Likening someone to the Companions

There is nothing wrong with likening someone to one of the Companions in any of his characteristics, actions of physical appearance. There does not seem to be any reason to disallow that, because he will resemble him in some ways and not others. So if you liken someone [to one of the Companions] by saying that he is courageous like Khalid, or knowledgeable like Mu‘adh, or strong like So-and-so among the Companions, or he has a beautiful voice like Abu Musa, that is permissible and there is nothing wrong with it.

In fact, if someone is likened to one who is greater and nobler, namely the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), there is nothing wrong with that, if what is meant is likening him to one of the characteristics, actions or manners of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that is not something that is a unique characteristic of Prophethood.

Many of the Companions made comparisons of this nature.

It was narrated that Anas ibn Malik said: No one resembled the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) more than al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali. Narrated by al-Bukhari (3752).

And he said regarding al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali: He was the one who most resembled the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). Narrated by al-Bukhari (3748).

Ibn al-Jawzi said: Among the Tabi‘in there was a man called Kabis ibn Rabi‘ah as-Sami, who resembled [the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)]. Mu‘awiyah sent for him, then he kissed him on the forehead and allocated some land to him. When Anas ibn Malik saw him, he would weep. End quote from Kashf al-Mushkil min Hadith as-Sahihayn (1/42).

Similarly, they might also liken people to him in terms of conduct and attitude.

Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman said: The one who most closely resembled the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) in dignity, physical appearance and conduct was Ibn Umm ‘Abd. Narrated by al-Bukhari (6079); he was ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud (may Allah be pleased with him).

It was narrated that ‘A’ishah the Mother of the Believers said: I never saw anyone who more closely resembled the Messenger of Allah in bearing, dignity and conduct, and the way in which she stood and sat, than Fatimah the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (lettings and peace of Allah be upon him). Narrated by at-Tirmidhi (3762), who said: This is a hasan sahih hadith. It was also classed as sahih by al-Albani.

The words translated above as dignity, bearing and conduct are close in meaning; they refer to outward appearance, conduct, being at ease with oneself, and so on. See: ‘Awn al-Ma‘bud (14/87).

It is as if she was referring to what could be seen of a person’s humbleness and humility towards Allah, and what he may possess of dignity, calm, a good attitude and gentle speech."(Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh Mishkat al-Masabih  7/2969).

See also the answer to question no. 179497 .

And Allah knows best.

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Source: Islam Q&A