Allah said in the Quran,
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. [The Noble Quran 9:100]
Have you ever contemplated upon this verse? Allah is saying in this verse that He is pleased with ‘them’ and ‘they’ are pleased with Him. Does Allah need anyone’s pleasure? Does He need anyone to be satisfied with Him?
No He does not. Allah is al-Ghaniy. Allah is free of all needs. Yet Allah is saying in this verse that ‘they’ are well pleased with Him.
Do you know who ‘they’ are; who have received such a commendation from Allah, the Lord of the Universe and all that exists?
Yes, you know the answer. If you did not know, you have probably guessed it from the title of the post. They were the companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). They were the people who met the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) during his lifetime, accepted Islam, and also died upon Islam.
They were the chosen generation. They were the best generation. They were chosen by Allah to accompany His greatest Messenger (ﷺ). They were chosen to propagate the message of Islam. They were chosen to endure hardship. Allah said in the Quran:
For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. [The Noble Quran 94:5]
Because the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and his companions bore the hardships for the sake of Islam, today we can find Islam just by the click of mouse.
I will give you a small example, which inshallah I believe will be helpful in understanding the enormity of the sacrifice the companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had made for the sake of Islam.
When a person converts into Islam in a community, everyone praises Allah and celebrates the event. However, after the initial euphoria, the new convert often discovers himself in an isolated environment. He is willing to learn the deen of Allah, but he struggles to find a Muslim friend who is willing to regularly dedicate a certain amount of time to teach the new religion.
Teaching a new convert the basics of religion may require only a few hours of commitment per week. Yet, majority of us do not find a window in our schedule to shoulder the responsibility of teaching a new brother in faith. The companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) on the other hand had to shoulder the responsibility of teaching multitudes of new Muslims and transmitting an ocean of knowledge without even paper. Compare our commitment to Islam to that of theirs and you will understand the profundity of their dedication.
Shouldering this tremendous responsibility of transmitting the knowledge of Islam itself was a great trial for them, but it did not stop there. Allah tested them with the greatest of trials. And it was the death of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).
None other than Allah will be ever able to comprehend the love that the companions had for the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). They were the witness of him (ﷺ) being commissioned as the Messenger of Allah. They listened the Quran from his voice. They fought beside him. They said their prayer behind him. For twenty three years they strived alongside the Prophet of Allah (ﷺ) for the sake of Allah.
Then the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) died.
Yes, their faith was billion times stronger than us. So what? They were still human beings. And how does a human being feel when a loved one dies? By Allah, when my uncle died (and he was uncle only, my mom’s brother, and we were close in age and we used to play together), I felt the world crumbling upon me. The whole world became totally meaningless to me. It took a few months for me to recover from this blow.
And here, the companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), who was dearer to them than their parents, wives, children, and their own selves, had to deal with the demise of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). Can we imagine how it affected them? Can we imagine the deepness of the scar in their heart? Can we imagine what a great void they felt inside whenever they thought that their eyes would never behold the sight of the beloved Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) in this life anymore? Didn’t life suddenly become meaningless to them after losing someone who was closer to them than their own hearts?
Life felt meaningless to them. But the responsibility that Allah had placed upon their shoulders did not cease. They had no other option but to withstand the pain and stand up to propagate the eternal message of Islam. They stood up. They fulfilled their obligations. They remained firm upon their duty until they met Allah.
That is why simply knowing them is not enough. You have to know them well. Very well. Here are some other reasons of why you should learn about the lives of the companions of the Messenger of Allah:
- Allah praised the companions in the Quran. That is enough as a reason to be eager to learn about them.
- The companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) were the greatest followers of his sunnah. By leaning about them, you will come to understand what it means to follow the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).
- It is incumbent upon us to understand and interpret Islam the way they have understood and interpreted Islam. No one will understand Islam better than them. Because the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was their teacher. If you learn about them, you will also learn about how they understood the deen of Allah.
- If you read the biographies of the companions, you will learn that it is possible to develop totally distinct characters yet after following the same faith, the same book, and the same role model.
- Reading the biographies of the companions will increase you imaan.
- If you know the lives of the companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), you will be able to tell good stories to your children or your younger brothers and sisters when they ask you to tell a story.
- You will come to understand and get a clear picture of what it means to have faith in Allah and His Messenger and the last day.
- Islam has reached us through the sacrifice of the companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). So, how can we be apathetic about learning the lives of these great men through whom the mercy of Allah has reached us?
I hope and wish that after you read this post of mine, you put some effort to learn about the companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). Here are some resources to help you in this regard:
Men Around the Messenger (ﷺ) [Very good book. I have read it]
I have also prepared a quiz that you can use to test your knowledge about the companions. This post contains the first installment of the quiz. This quiz can be considered as a diagnostic test to determine where you stand regarding your knowledge about the companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). There will be three more installments of this quiz, which you may use to see how much progress you are making (assuming that you will read some of the books that I have linked above).