Subject : Ruling on Preferring Some Companions over others
Fatwa Number : 3367
Date : 04-03-2018
Classified : "Misconceptions about the Creed "Aqeedah
Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

What`s the ruling on preferring Ali Bin Abi Talib (May Allah be pleased with him) over the rest of the Companions (May Allah be pleased with them), including Abu Bakr and Umar (May Allah be pleased with them), but without criticizing any or calling them bad names?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.


Allah, The Almighty, Has Chosen from among the best of His creation Companions for His Messenger (PBUH), favoring them with learning the rules of Sharia at first-hand. Moreover, Allah, The Exalted, Praised the Companions where He Said (What means): "The vanguard (of Islam)- the first of those who forsook (their homes) and of those who gave them aid, and (also) those who follow them in (all) good deeds,- well- pleased is God with them, as are they with Him: for them hath He prepared gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever: that is the supreme felicity." {At-Tawbah, 100}. Islam has come as guidance and mercy to all creatures, so it eliminated hatred and uprooted its causes. In this regard, Allah, The Exalted, said, "And those who came after them say: "Our Lord! Forgive us, and our brethren who came before us into the Faith, and leave not, in our hearts, rancor (or sense of injury) against those who have believed. Our Lord! Thou art indeed Full of Kindness, Most Merciful." {Al-Hashr, 10}.


As regards preferring some Companions over others in particular, no clear-cut text was mentioned in this regard nor have the texts of Sharia touched upon the aspects of this preference. However, the majority of Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa'ah, having considered the virtues and merits of the Companions, are of the view that in terms of rank, after the death of the Prophet (PBUH), comes Abu Bakr, then `Umar, then Uthman Bin Affan - The Man with two Lights, then Ali Bin Abi Talib-The gate of the city of knowledge(May Allah be pleased with them). In other words, the rank of each agrees with the order in which they succeeded the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Some scholars are of the view that this order isn`t definitive; rather, it is fixed upon conjecture.


In his book {Shareh Sahih Muslim, vol.15/pp.148}, An-Nawawi (May Allah be pleased with him) stated: "People have differed in their preference to some Companions over others. A group said: We say not that one is higher in rank than the other is; rather, we refrain from that…The majority of Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa'ah are of the view that one is higher in rank than the other…is Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa'ah unanimously agree that Abu Bakr is the highest in rank, then `Umar; whereas, the majority of them say `Othman then Ali. Some of Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa'ah from the city of Al-Kufah (Iraq) say that Ali is higher in rank than `Othman. The preponderant opinion is that` Othman is higher in rank than Ali. However, the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa'ah differed on whether that preference was definitive or not? Among those who said that it is Abu Al-Hasan Al-Ash`ari who said: The order of their preference is the same as the order in which they succeeded the Prophet (PBUH). However, among those who said that it is based on individual assessment (Ijtihad) and conjecture is Abu Bakr al-Baqillani. In his book {Fateh al-Barie, vol.7/pp.16},


Ibn Hajar (May Allah be pleased with him) stated: "In the Hadith, `Othman comes, in rank, after Abu Bakr and Umar, as is the famous opinion of the majority of Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa'ah. However, some of the Salaf (Righteous predecessors) are of the view that Ali is higher in rank than `Othman. This is also the opinion of Sufian Al-Thouri, but it was said that he backed down on it. It was also the view of Ibn Khozaima and a group before and after him. Another view was that all of the Companions have the same rank, and this was adopted by Yahia Ibn Qahtan and Ibn Hazim." It is incumbent upon every Muslim not to hate any of the Companions because that is forbidden, as indicated by the texts of Sharia, they were specially privileged with having kept company with the Prophet (PBUH), He (PBUH) was their role model, they drank from the fountain of his knowledge, they adopted his judgments and acquired the rules of Sharia at first-hand. In his book {Kashif Al-Moshkhil, vol.1/pp.308}, Ibn Al-Jawzi stated: "Loving the Companions is an obligation, but it should be reflected in line with Sharia." Every discerning adult Muslim is obliged to observe moderation in their love for the Companions.


Therefore, it isn`t permissible to say that any of them is infallible or call him bad names. Rather, it is desirable to emulate their virtues and merits. Moreover, the common people who don`t understand the meaning of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah (Prophetic tradition) of the Prophet (PBUH) aren`t allowed to dwell on the disputes that took place between the Honorable Companions nor the Fitnah which followed the death of the Prophet (PBUH), because this usually leads to violating Sharia, and hating one of the Companions is an example of this. Al-Ghazali said in his book {Al-Ektisaad, 131}: "The Book of Allah contains verses that praise the Muhajireen and the Ansar. Similarly, there are continuously recurrent Hadiths (Mutawatir) in which the Prophet (PBUH) praised his Companions. For example: "My Companions are like the stars whoever of them you follow, you will be rightly guided." and " The best of my followers are those living in my generation (i.e. my contemporaries)." In fact, the Prophet (PBUH) praised each one of the Companions. Therefore, this should be every Muslim`s permanent impression about the Honorable Companions and never harbor ill thoughts about any of them, because the source of the historical narratives criticizing them could be a fanatic harboring hatred for them. In fact, their goal was noble and they had good intentions, even if they made wrong attempts of Ijtihad.


In conclusion, the General Iftaa` Department shares the view of Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa'ah in that Abu Bakr is the highest in rank, then Umar, then `Othman, then Ali (May Allah be pleased with them all). And Allah Knows Best.




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