We love the Companions of the Prophet. Nonetheless we do not go to extremes in the love of anyone of them, nor do we forsake anyone of them. But we hate him who hates them, and talks of them in an unseemly manner. As for us, we do not mention them but in good terms. Their love is religion, faith, and excellence. And their hatred is disbelief, hypocrisy and rebellion.
This is because Allah spoke well of them, as did His Messenger. Allah was pleased with them and promised them “the good.” He said:
“And the Outstrippers from among the Immigrants and the Helpers and those who followed them in good deeds, Allah was pleased with them and they were pleased with Him. He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein forever. That is the great triumph.” (Al-Tawbah, 100)
Allah also said:
“Muhammad the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him, are hard upon the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves, you see them bowing down, prostrating themselves.” (Al-Fut-h, 29)
The Sahihayn have a report narrated by Abu Sa’id al-Khudri. It says that something happened between Khalld b. Walid and ‘Abdul Rahman b. ‘Awf, Khalld said a harsh word to ‘Abdul Rahman. The Prophet (saws) said: “Don’t say harsh things to any of my Companions. If one of you were to spend gold equal to Mount Uhud, he will not achieve in any measure what any one of them achieved – not even half of that.” Thus we see that the Prophet (saws) prohibited one who had latter companionship from speaking against one who had earlier companionship. This, when a person of the stature of Khalid ibn Walid is involved, who embraced Islam before the fall of Makkah. What about him who had no share of his companionship?
Incidentally, what is narrated of the Prophet’s words, viz., “My companions are stars. Whomsoever you followed, you will be guided” is a weak report not to be found in any of the authentic collections.
However, the following is an authentic report from the Prophet. He said: “No one who pledged his hand under the tree will enter the Fire.”
‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud put it very aptly when he said describing them: “Allah looked upon the hearts of the people and found the heart of Muhammad as the best among them. So He chose him for Himself, and sent him with His message. Then He looked at the hearts of the people, after the heart of the Prophet (saws), and found the hearts of his companions as the best among the people. Therefore He made them helpers to His messenger.”
Referring to Tahawi’s words, “Their hatred is disbelief and hypocrisy,” we have already spoken over the declaration of apostasy while speaking of the innovators. This disbelief (as used by Tahawi) is of the same nature as mentioned in the words of Allah:
“And whoever did not judge by what Allah has revealed, they, such are the unbelievers.” (Al-Ma ‘idah, 44)
Imam Ali Ibn Abi al `Izz al Hanafi