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    Questions and Answers from the Risale-i Nur Collection
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Why Can No One Else Be on Par With the Companions?


There are some narrations which say: At a time when religious innovations are widespread and heresy is on the attack, some of the righteous among the God-fearing believers who try to conform to God’s laws of religion and life, may attain to the rank of the Companions, or even be more virtuous. Are these narrations authentic? If so, what is their true meaning?

Answer: It is decisively proven that the Ahl al-Sunna wa’l-Jama‘a (the majority of Muslims who follow the way of the Prophet and his Companions) are unanimously agreed that, after the Prophets, the Companions are the most virtuous of mankind. Therefore, the authentic parts of the narrations such as the one above have to do with [not virtuousness in general but] with some particular virtues. One less virtuous may excel a more virtuous one in some particular virtues. From the viewpoint of general superiority, no one can be on a par with the Companions, whom God describes as having praiseworthy qualities at the end of the sura al-Fath in the Qur’an, and whom the Torah and Gospel predicted and praise highly. Out of many reasons for their superiority, for the time being I shall mention only three:

First reason: The companionship of the Prophet and being taught by him is such an elixir that one who is honored with it even for a minute may receive as much enlightenment as another can in years of spiritual journeying. For companionship and the Prophet’s education is the cause of being colored with the color of the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, and receiving his reflections. As is known, by following the Prophet and being illumined by the greatest light of Prophethood, one can rise to the highest of the spiritual levels. This is like a servant of a great king reaching through servanthood and absolute allegiance to the king to the rank which even an ordinary king cannot. For this reason, even the greatest of the saints cannot rise to the same degree as the Companions. Even those saints who, like Jalal al-din al-Suyuti, have conversed with God’s Messenger many times while awake, cannot be on a level with the Companions. For the Companions were illumined by the light of the Prophethood of Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings; he lived among them and communed with them as a Prophet. Whereas, the saints who see God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, after his death, are honoured with the light of his sainthood. That is, God’s Messenger manifests himself to them as a saint, not as a Prophet, because Prophethood ended with his death. Since this is so, those two types of communication with God’s Messenger differ from each other to the extent of the difference between Prophethood and sainthood.

It shows what an enlightening elixir is the Prophet’s conversation and companionship that a primitive Bedouin who had been so wild and hard-hearted as to bury his girl alive, was honored with an hour of the Prophet’s companionship and became so compassionate and tender-hearted that he no longer trod on even an ant. Savage and ignorant persons were honored with the Prophet’s conversation and companionship only for one day and then went as far as India and China to teach truths and guide people to human perfections.

Second reason: As is explained during the discussion on ijtihad in The Twenty-seventh Word, the absolute majority of the Companions were at the highest degrees of human perfections. For at that time, through the great revolution of Islam, good and truth were seen in all their beauties, and evil and falsehood, in all their ugliness, and they were actually experienced. Such a difference was apparent between good and evil and such a distance opened between truth and lying that they drew apart and were distant from each other to the extent that belief is distant from unbelief and Paradise is from Hell. The Companions, who by nature had lofty emotions, were enamoured of moral virtues and inclined to dignity and glory, never approached evil and falsehood voluntarily, nor fell to the level of Musaylima the Liar, who was the sample and herald of lying, evil and falsehood and became a laughing stock through his ridiculous words. Witnessing the degree of the Beloved of God, the highest of human perfections, who is the sample and herald of truth, right and good, the purity of the Companions’ nature impelled them to exert all their strength and efforts to follow him.

It sometimes happens that due to their dreadful results and detestable effects, people (far from buying them) flee in disgust from certain things in the market of human civilization and the ‘shop’ of human social life, while as if beneficial cures or brilliant diamonds, certain other things are in much demand and draw everybody’s attention because of their good effects and valuable results. Everybody does his utmost to buy them. Likewise, since in the market of human social life at the Age of Happiness, the ‘articles’ like unbelief, lying and evil yielded results like eternal doom and torment and produced base laughing- stocks like Musaylima the Liar, it was certain that the Companions, who were enamoured of high moral qualities and praiseworthy virtues, fled from them in disgust as from a killing poison. And surely, the Companions, with their pure natures and elevated characteristics, would, with all their strength, feelings, and faculties, be desirous of, and customers for, truth, right, and belief, which result in eternal happiness and have produced illustrious fruits like God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, as if they were most beneficial cures and most precious diamonds. However, since then, the distance between truth and lying has gradually become so slight that they are now standing side by side in the same shop and being sold together. Social morality has been corrupted. Political propaganda has encouraged lying and made it in demand. At a time when the awesome ugliness of lying remains concealed and the brilliant beauty of truths is no more visible, who could claim to have the same degree of strength, firmness and meticulousness as the Companions had in justice, truthfulness and moral sublimity? In order to clarify the matter to some degree, let me describe an experience of mine:


This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.