Shi’a And Ahalul Sunna: Who Insult (Abuse) The Sahaba?

By Danladi Babangida

The issue of “Insulting” or “Abusing” Sahaba has been the strong weapon that is being used by Ahalul Sunna or any anti-Shia to castigate the Shia so much so that some people even consider Shia as infidels because of that. Others will attribute any trial (test) that befall the Shia, such as the Zaria massacre, to “abusing”Sahaba.

A popular proverb says: “Give a dog a bad name and hang him”. That is why some individuals or group worldwide (including Nigeria) always use the issue of “abusing” Sahaba in their campaign against the Shia. However, History has shown that the issue of insulting Sahaba is not exclusively attributed to Shia. Ahalul Sunna also criticize or insult the Sahaba and some Sahaba themselves insult one another during and after the time of Prophet (SAWA).These facts are contained in books written by both Ahalul Sunna and Shia. For example, Muawiyyah Ibn Abu Sufyan (the founder of Ahalul Sunna sect) used to abuse and ordered people to abuse Amirul Mumineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (AS); Aisha (Ummul Mumineen) used to abuse Othman Ibn Affan; Imam of Ahalul Sunna, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal accused Muawiyya of drinking alcohol; Shaikhul-Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah inferred some Sahaba and Tabeen (Salap Saliheen) as hypocrites as well as insulted Ail Ibn Abi Talib (AS) and  his wife Fatima Bint Muhammad (AS); Nasirudeen Albani accused some Sahaba of utilizing the Prophet (SAWA)’s Mosque to enable female voyeurism and also narrated that Abu Talha would eat ice whilst fasting; the Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi criticized Othman Ibn Affan; Dr. Ahmad Mahamud Gummi belittled Imam Hussaini (AS) and many more instances. We shall give account of those instances latter.

In this piece we will try to explain the difference between insult and criticism and whether or not insult and criticism are allowed in Islam. We shall also examine who are the Sahaba? Are the Sahaba infallible? What is the position of those who insult or criticize Sahaba according to the scholars of Ahalul Sunna? Is insulting Sahaba tantamount to Kufur (infidelity) or committing great sin that call for condemnation or legalizing the shedding of one`s blood? We will try to draw conclusion to who really abuse or insult the Sahaba? Is it Ahalul Sunna or Shi’a?


The Arabic word Sabba means Insult or Abuse. According to Encarta dictionary, Insult (Abuse) refers to offensive words or action while criticism is defined as spoken or written opinions that point out one or more faults of somebody or something. Criticism is allowed in Islam. Because people are bound to make mistakes or commit faults, and if they do, pointing out the faults is done to correct or differentiate between what is right and what is wrong for people to learn lessons. Qur`an and Prophetic Hadiths contain many stories of some righteous servants of Allah who committed some faults and the stories were narrated for lessons to be derived. So no matter how high placed a person is, reporting his actions (whether good or bad) cannot be regarded as insulting or condemning the person since he is bound to make mistakes.

Insult, on the other hand, is prohibited in Islam in any form, whether written of verbal. Quite number of verses of the Holly Qur’an as well as Prophetic Hadiths command Muslims not to insult or abuse one another.

We read in Qur’an 49:11, where Allah (SWT) said:

“O you who believe! Let not a group derides another. It may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor let women deride other women. It may be that the latter are better than the former. Neither defames one another, nor insults one another by nicknames [since] doing wrong after having faith is an evil practice [unbefitting you]. And whosoever does not repent [of committing such deeds], then they are indeed wrong-doers”.

We also read in the following Hadith that, Hazrat Abdullah Bin Umar (R.A) Narrates That the Holy Prophet (SAWA) said: “One of the major sins is to abuse your parents. A companion asked how a person can abuse his parents. The Holy Prophet (SAWA) replied. “If he abuses someone’s father, that person abuse back at his father. And if he abuses at someone’s mother, that person will abuse back at his mother”. (Narrated by Bukhari & Muslim).

In another Hadith, It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah bin. Mas’ud that the Messenger of Allah (SAWA) said: Abusing a Muslim is an outrage and fighting against him is unbelief. Zubair said: I asked Abu Wa’il: Did you hear it from Abdullah narrating if from the Messenger of Allah (SAWA)? He replied: Yes. (Narrated by Muslim).

Having explained the meaning of insult and criticism the question now is which words uttered or actions carried out by someone could be referred to as insult or abuse? If, for instance, Mr. X did something wrong and Mr. Y reported or narrated it exactly the way it happened (may be in a book). Can Mr. Y be accused of insulting Mr. X? Certainly, the answer in no. But if on the other hand what Mr. Y reported about Mr. X was actually false, then Mr. Y could, in addition to insult, be charged with defamation of character as well.

Sometimes reporting incidents as they happened is done in order to drive lessons from them. Allah (SWT) narrated different stories in the Qur’an about what happened between His righteous servants and their enemies in order for us to guard against falling victims of similar circumstances. Allah (SWT) Said about Prophet Adam (AS) in Qur’an 20:116-124 when Allah (SWT) created him, commanded the angels to prostrate to him and subsequently put him in the Garden of Al-Janna:

And [mention] when We said to the angels, “Prostrate to Adam,” and they prostrated, except Iblees; he refused. (20:116)

So We said, “O Adam, indeed this is an enemy to you and to your wife. Then let him not remove you from Paradise so you would suffer. (20:117)

Indeed, it is [promised] for you not to be hungry therein or be unclothed. (20:118)

And indeed, you will not be thirsty therein or be hot from the sun.” (20:119)

Then Satan whispered to him; he said, “O Adam, shall I direct you to the tree of eternity and possession that will not deteriorate?” (20:120)

And Adam and his wife ate of it, and their private parts became apparent to them, and they began to fasten over themselves from the leaves of Paradise. And Adam disobeyed his Lord and erred. (20:121)

Then his Lord chose him and turned to him in forgiveness and guided [him]. (20:122)

[Allah] said, “Descend from Paradise – all, [your descendants] being enemies to one another. And if there should come to you guidance from Me – then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray [in the world] nor suffer [in the Hereafter]. 20:123.

It could be seen from the above verse (20:121) that Allah (SWT) said categorically that Adam disobeyed His Load and erred.  However, it is unanimously believed, by both AhalulSunna and Shia, that all The Prophets are infallible, but we all read this verse as it was revealed in the Qur`an. We can neither skip it while reciting, nor delete it from the Qur’an. The lesson contained in the verse is notfor narrating the error Adam (AS) has committed, but for us to ponder over what happened between him and Iblees so that we will guard ourselves against similar temptations. Quite number of similar stories about Prophets (AS) and righteous servants of Allah (SWT) are found in the Qur`an with different lessons to be derived from such stories.


Shia and Sunna have different views about who is Sahabi. We shall briefly state their views.

According to Sunna, Sahaba are all those who met the Prophet (SAWA) and died as Muslims. Some scholars have said that they were 114,000 in number [as stated by Abu Zur’ah, the teacher of Imam Muslim, and recorded by Suyootee].They are praised in many Qur’anic verses:

“You are the best of peoples ever raised for mankind, you enjoin good and forbid evil, and you believe in Allah.” [3:110].

“And the first to embrace Islam of the Muhajiroon (the Emigrants from Makkah) and the Ansar (the citizens of Al-Madeenah who helped the Muhajiroon) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.” [9:100]

“Indeed, Allah was pleased with the believers when they gave their pledge to you (O Muhammad) under the tree. He knew what was in their hearts and He sent down calmness and tranquillity upon them…” [48:18].

Ahalul Sunna consider all the Sahaba as STARS of whichever one follows will be guided. They based their reasons on some hadiths which were attributed to the Prophet (SAWA). We shall only bring one Hadith because of conciseness:

“My Companions are like the stars; whoever among them you use for guidance, you will be rightly guided.”

Narrators of this Hadith include, but not limited to: Ibn Umar, Abu Huraira, Jabir, Ibn Abbas and Anas. There are, however, critics of this Hadith among the scholars of Ahalul Sunna who categorized it as weak, forged or even condemned.

Those who categorized it as weak include:

  • Imam Suyuti in his books of Manahil al-Safa (page 193, No. 1027) and Jami al- Sagir (No. 4603).
  • Ibn Hajar. According to him, Ja’afar Ibn Abdul-Waid al-Hashim who was among the chain of narrators, as reported by Abu Huraira, was declared a liar.
  • Ibn Hajar in his book Talkhih al- Kabir (page 190-191, No. 2098) described the Hadith as Condemned (Munkar) while Ibn Hazm described it as forged.

According to Shi’a, the companions are divided into three groups:

First group are those who believed in Allah (SWT), believed in the Prophet (SAWA), and gave all they could for the sake of Islam. These are the highest in rank. These companions always supported the Prophet and were with him. They never disobeyed him in every other issue.

Second group are those who were Muslims, but were not sincere in their acts.

Third group are those who became apostate after the death of Prophet, or those who neither believed in Allah (SWT), nor the Prophet (SAWA) in the first place. These are the hypocrites.

They based their reasons on the following verses of the Qur’an:

The first group of the companions are characterized by Allah (SWT) in this verse:

“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against the unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. Thou wilt see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. On their faces are their marks, (being) the traces of their prostration.

This is their similitude in the Taurat (Torah); And their similitude in the Gospel is: Like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the Unbelievers with rage at them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds Forgiveness, and a great Reward. (Qur’an 48:29)”

According to Shia, The above verse does not refer to all the Sahaba, because the last sentence said: “Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds Forgiveness and a great Reward”. Meaning that not all of them believe and do righteous deeds.

As for the second group of the companions, Allah (SWT) said:

“O ye who believe! What is the matter with you, that when ye are asked to go forth in the Cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place; But Him ye would not harm in the least, For Allah hath power over all things.”(Qur’an 9:38-39)

According to Shia the above verse clearly indicated that some (but not all) Sahaba were lazy during the call to the Jihad and other activities. Thus they were reprimanded by Allah.

Similar accounts were given in the Qur`an such as: (Qur`an 47:38) and (Qur`an 49:2).

Authentic Sunni traditions confirm that there were some companions (Sahaba) who used to oppose the Prophet’s order and quarrel with him in several occasions during his life time as enumerated below:

  1. There was the issue of the captives of the battle of “Badr” that the Prophet ordered their freedom for payment of the ransom money (Fidyah), and some companions went against it.
  2. There was the battle of “Tabook” when the Prophet ordered them to slaughter the camels, to save their lives, and some people went against it.
  3. There was the treaty of “Hudabiyyah” when the Prophet wanted to make peace with people of Mecca, and some companions went against it and they even cast doubt about the Prophet hood of Muhammad (SAWA).
  4. There was the battle of “Hunain” where some accused the Prophet (SAWA) of injustice in distributing the war booty.
  5. There was the appointment of “Usamah Ibn Zayd” who was assigned as the leader of Islamic army by the Prophet, and some companions disobeyed the order to follow him.

As for the third group of the companions, there is a whole chapter in the holy Qur’an addressing them: “al-Munafiqun –The Hypocrites — Ch. 63”, and beside that there are many other verses in this regard as well. Allah (SWT) states in the Qur’an:

“O ye who believe! If any from among you turn back from his faith, soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him, –Lowly with the Believers, Mighty against the Rejecters, in the way of Allah, and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault. That is the Grace of Allah, which He will bestow on whom He pleaseth. And Allah encompasseth all, And He knoweth all things. (Qur’an 5:54)”

According to Shia, the above verse points out the possibility of some companions turning back from their faith after the demise of the Prophet (SAWA). The Hadith, as reported by Abdullah, in Sahihul Bukhari (Vol. 8 No. 578) also buttressed this point:

The Prophet said, “I am your predecessor at the Lake-Fount. “Abdullah added: The Prophet said, “I am your predecessor at the Lake-Fount, and some of you will be brought in front of me till I will see them and then they will be taken away from me and I will say, ‘O Lord, my companions!’ It will be said, ‘you do not know what they did after you had left.’

Anas also reported in Sahih Muslim, Part 15, Page 53-54 as follow:

The Prophet said, “Some of my companions will come to me at my Lake Fount, and after I recognize them, they will then be taken away from me, whereupon I will say, ‘My companions!’ Then it will be said, ‘You do not know what they innovated (new things) in the religion after you.”

Books of history, written by Ahalul Sunna and Shia, contain many stories about the Sahaba; their actions, their speeches or utterances, their interactions between one another, etc. And for the fact that the Sahaba are not infallible, as agreed by both Ahalul Sunna and Shia, the stories are both positive and negative for some of them irrespective of their status.

Perhaps the bone of contention is the mode and the manner of how these stories were reported and more importantly who reported the stories. Because these stories are contained in books written by Ahalul Sunna and Shia, as earlier stated, but whenever Shia referred to or quoted from these books, people will accuse them of insulting Sahaba. But these are indelible facts that will remain in history forever no matter how people try to bury or conceal them.

I think the problem is the position of the Sahaba which differs between Ahalul Sunna and Shia. Ahalul Sunna consider all Sahaba to be just and thus no fault can be attributed to any of them while the Shia categorized them in ranks.

Another philosophy which Ahalul Sunna hold is that of “keeping-off” from what has transpired between them (The Sahaba) and that of Ijtihad which states that if one is Mujtahidi whatever action he takes or does, which has no clear verdict from Qur`an or Sunna, he will be rewarded whether he is right or wrong.


Ahalul Sunna believe that all the Sahaba are just and righteous and that criticizing any one of them is tantamount to great sin or even kufur. But ironically they believe that no one is considered to be infallible except the Prophets (A.S.). Shia on their part do not consider all the Sahaba to be just and according to them, no one is considered infallible except Prophets and Imams (A.S.). Therefore, they can commend or criticize any one of the Sahaba.

So based on the fact that the Sahaba are not infallible (according to Ahalul Sunna), therefore they can commit sins or make mistakes. And some of the sins and mistakes committed by some of them are recorded in many authentic Sunni books (We shall give some examples later). But the problem is that if anybody tries to narrate the stories of those sins or mistakes committed by the Sahaba, Ahalul Sunna will castigate or even condemn that person. Now the question is who is at fault, is it the Writer of the stories or the Reader of the stories? If, for instance, a story is written in Sahihul Bukhari and someone read and explain the story, may be to his students or during a seminar, who is to be blamed? Is it Imam Bukhari who wrote it or the person who read it?

Many stories about Sahaba are recorded in Ahalul Sunna books; but we will limit ourselves to the following:


It was reported in Sahihul Bukhari: Book 5, Volume 59, Hadith 717 as narrated by Ubaidullah bin ‘Abdullah that:

Ibn Abbas said, “When Allah’s Apostle was on his deathbed and there were some men in the house, he said, “Come near, I will write for you something after which you will not go astray”. Some of them (i.e. his companions) said, “Allah’s Apostle is seriously ill and you have the (Holy) Quran. Allah’s Book is sufficient for us”. So the people in the house differed and started disputing. Some of them said: “Give him writing material so that he may write for you something after which you will not go astray”. While the others said the other way round. So when their talk and differences increased, Allah’s Apostle said, “Get up.” Ibn Abbas used to say, “No doubt, it was very unfortunate (a great disaster) that Allah’s Apostle was prevented from writing for them that writing because of their differences and noise.”


Narrated by Aisha (mother of the believers) that: After the death of Allah ‘s Apostle Fatima the daughter of Allah’s Apostle asked Abu-Bakr As-Siddiq to give her, her share of inheritance from what Allah’s Apostle had left of the FADAK and Fai (i.e. booty gained without fighting) which Allah had given him. Abu Bakr said to her, “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘our property will not be inherited; whatever we (i.e. prophets) leave is Sadaqa (to be used for charity).” Fatima, the daughter of Allah’s Apostle got angry and stopped speaking to Abu-Bakr, and continued assuming that attitude till she died. Fatima remained alive for six months after the death of Allah’s Apostle. (Bukhari, Book 4, Volume 53, Hadith 325).

This is what the Prophet (SAWA) said about Fatima (AS): Al-Miswar bin Makhrama narrated that: Allah’s Apostle said, “Fatima is a part of me, and he who makes her angry, makes me angry.” (Bukhari, Book 5, Volume 57, Hadiths 61 & 111).


Othman gave the Bani Umayyad authority over the life and honour of the people. Consequently, disorder prevailed in Muslim lands. He appointed his favourites to high positions against the wishes of the Holy Prophet, Abu Bakr, and Umar. For instance, he gave high positions to his uncle, Hakam Bin As, and Hakam’s son, Marwan, both of whom were banished and cursed by the Prophet (SAWA).

Allah called the Bani Umayya “The Accursed Tree” in the Qur’an (17:60). Ibn Abbas reported that the “Accursed Tree” in the Qur’an refers to the Umayya tribe. In a dream, the Prophet saw monkeys climbing up and down his pulpit (and driving men away from his mosque). When he woke, the Angel Gabriel revealed this verse and told the Prophet that the monkeys were the Bani Umayyad, who would usurp his caliphate after him. His place of prayer and pulpit would remain in their control for a thousand months.

Imam Fakhru’d-Din Razi, Tabari, Qurtabi, Nishapuri, Suyuti, Shawkani, Alusi, Ibn Abi Hatim, Khatib Baghdadi, Ibn Mardawaih, Hakim, Maqrizi, Baihaqi, are among those that narrated  it from Ibn Abbas. There are many hadiths from Sunni sources about Bani Umayya being cursed, but we will limit ourselves with to one mentioned above.

Similar story about CaliphOthman was narrated by the present Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido (II) in a public lecture titled ” Probity and Accountability in Islam” he delivered in Law School in Lagos on 3rd December, 2000. Below is an excerpt of the lecture:

“Othman became Caliph in old age and lasted for 12 years.  The first six years were in keeping with the Sunna of the Messenger and of Abu-Bakr and ‘Umar.  Then old age set in, and some of ‘Othman’s greatest strengths became weaknesses – he loved his family, and in old age became hostage to them.  He was generous in spirit and in old age allowed profligacy with public funds.  He held that as Imam he had the right to give public funds as gifts and allowances. When Harith ibn al-Hakam married Othman’s daughter, the latter gave him 200,000 dirhams from the public Treasury leading to a showdown with and removal of Zaid ibn Arqam from his position as treasurer.  ‘Othman gave al-Zubair 600,000 dirhams one day, and Talha 200,000 and presented his cousin Marwan b. Hakam with one-fifth of the land tax of the entire province of Ifriqiyya. The Companions expostulated with him but he insisted that he had a duty to take care of his relatives and kinsmen.  Most of the latter day actions of Othman were carried out under the influence of his family, the Bamu Umayya.  Abu Sufyan, the prophet’s arch-enemy who refused to join Islam until the defeat of his forces in Makkah, and who even after joining Islam had nothing but contempt for Islamic values, especially the high esteem in which early Companions who he considered “slaves” like Bilal, Salman and Suhaib were held, was still alive.  Like a mother-hen, he (Othman) gathered his flock around him.  He guided his son, Muawiya, his nephews Othman and Marwan b. Hakam, and other Umayyad like al-Hakam b. al-As [who had been expelled by the prophet but rehabilitated by ‘Othman], Abdullah ibn. Sa’d ibn Abi Sarh, and so on.  Marwan had unlimited control of the Treasury, he dispensed gifts as he wished, supported oppressive Umayyad governors and ruthlessly destroyed dissenting voices.  Abu Zarr, the prophet’s companion was exiled for his strident criticism of the prodigality of the Umayyad.  At the end of the day, the excesses of Othman’s appointees led to the fitnah in which he was sadly killed. But the seeds of corruption had been sown”.


Muawiya from the Umayyad dynasty, the founder of the Sunni sect used to order Muslims to curse Imam Ali (AS) and instituted the tradition of cursing Imam Ali (AS) from the pulpits of mosques and during sermons on Fridays for more than 50 years until Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz stopped the practice.                                                                                                                                                              (References: (i) History of al-Tabari, vol.4, p188, (ii) History of Ibn Kathir, Vol.3, p234; Vol.4, p154, (iii) al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Vol.8, p259; Vol.9, p80).                                                                               This fact was also reported by Ibn Taymiyyah. He said: “The followers (Shias) of Othman used to abuse Ali openly from the Mosque pulpits” (Minhaj al Sunnah, Volume 6, page 201).

“Verily plenty of Sahaba and Tabeen used to hate, abuse and fight against Ali.” (Minhaj al Sunnah, Volume 7, page 137-138).

Narrated Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas: Muawiyah, the son of Abu Sufyan, give order to Sa’d, and told him: “What prevents you that you are refraining from cursing Abu Turab (nickname of Ali)?” Sa’d replied: “Don’t you remember that the Prophet said three things about (the virtue of) Ali? So I will never curse Ali.” (Sahih Muslim, Chapter of Virtues of Companions, Section of Virtues of Ali, Arabic version, Vol.4, p1871, No.32).

Such types of stories about Sahaba are recorded in both Ahalul Sunna and Shia books. The issue here is the positions of Ahalul Sunna and Shia about such stories. Ahalul Sunna discourage or even prohibit narrating the stories while Shia hold a contrary view. But one important point here is that these are indelible facts that happened in history that cannot be denied. Therefore reporting or narrating the stories should not be considered as insulting or abusing the Sahaba, otherwise, the authors of the books, where the stories are written, should have a greater portion of the blame. If the readers of the stories are considered as sinners of infidels, the writers should also be considered as such.

My dear readers, I want to crave your indulgence to please compare the above mentioned stories with what some of the prominent scholars of Ahalul Sunna said about some Sahaba as stated below.


Ahmad ibn Abdul-Halim ibn Abdus-Salam popularly known as Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah was a renown Ahalul Sunna scholar, especially among the Salafis, who was believed to have an extraordinary knowledge among his contemporaries. Many scholars confessed that they have not seen the like of him in terms of knowledge (of Qur`an and Sunna) and piety. Among those that made the confession were: Al-Hafidh Ibn Kathir; Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi; Al-Imam Ibn Daqiq al-‘Eid; Al-Hafidh Adh-Dhahabi; etc.

One will wonder if someone like Ibn Taymiyyah, who was believed to have knowledge of Qur`an and Sunnah, as stated above, and who was known to be one of the staunch critics of Shia, will openly criticize and abuse Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (AS), the first of the twelve Imams of Shia Ithna Ashariyyah and the fourth Caliph of Ahalul Sunna. Ibn Taimiyya used words to insult Imam Ali (AS) that even the Quraish unbelievers could not use such words to abuse Imam Ali (AS). Because no one among the Quraish could question Imam Ali (AS)‘ s Belief, honesty, sincerity, bravery and piety. We shall state what Prophet (SAWA) said about Imam Ali (AS) and we will read what Ibn Taymiyyah said contrary to that.

(i). Abu Said Khudri narrated that: The Prophet (S) said: “There is amongst you a person who will fight for the interpretation of the Qur’an just as I fought for its revelation.” The people around him raised their heads and cast inquisitive glances at the Prophet (S) and at one another. Abu Bakr and Umar were there. Abu Bakr inquired if he was that person and the Prophet (S) replied in the negative. Then Umar inquired if he was that person and the Prophet (S) replied “No. He is the one who is repairing my shoes (i.e., ‘Ali).”

Abu Said Khudri said: Then we went to ‘Ali and conveyed the good news to him. He did not even raise his head and remained as busy as he was, as if he had already heard it from the Messenger of Allah (S).”

Sunni references:

  • al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p122,
  • Khasa’is, by al-Nisa’i, p40
  • Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v3, pp. 32-33
  • Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v6, p155
  • Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v9, p133

Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p173

This is what Ibn Taymiyyah said about Imam Ali`s fighting in his famous book Minhaj al-Sunnah, Volume 8, page 230:

“Ali fought to secure obedience and rule the people and money, so how can that be deemed as fighting for sake of religion?”

(ii). Ahmad bin Hanbal says: Qutaybah bin Sa‘īd has related to us from Hātam bin Ismā‘īl from Bukayr bin Mismār from ‘Amir bin Sa‘d from his father (Sa‘d bin Abī Waqqās) who narrated the hadith that when the Prophet on leaving for a campaign asked (Imam) ‘Alī (‘a) to stay (behind in the city) in his place, the latter said:

“Are you leaving me with the women and children?” I heard the Prophet reply to him:

“Are you not pleased that your position to me is similar to that of Aaron to Moses, except that Prophet hood will cease after me?).” (Sa‘d bin Abī Waqqās says) I also heard (the Prophet say) on the Day of Khaybar: “(I will give the standard to the man who loves Allah and His Prophet and who is loved (in turn) by Allah and His Prophet).” All of us raised our necks (to see). He said: “Call ‘Alī to me.”

On hearing this instruction (Imam) Alī (AS) was brought to the Prophet with sore eyes. The Prophet rubbed his eyes with his saliva and gave him the standard and through his hands Allah conquered Khaybar for the Muslims. And when the ayah “Call our sons and your sons, and our women and your women and ourselves and yourselves” (3:61) was revealed, the Messenger of Allah called ‘Alī (AS), Fatima (AS), Hassan (AS) and Hussaini (AS) and said: “O Allah these [persons] are my family).”

Despite the above mentioned virtues which Imam Ali (AS) has, this is what Ibn Taymiyyah said about him:

“There are two opinions as to whether Ali’s conversion to Islam released him from kufr or not”.   (Minhaj al-Sunnah, Volume 4 page 137).

(iii).Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Masud narrates that the Prophet (s) said “Allah has ordered me to marry Fatima to Ali”. (Al Duratul Baydha fee Manaqib Fatima al Zahra (AS), Page 77)

This what Ibn Taymiyyah said about Ali (AS)`s marriage to Fatima (AS):                                                           “Ali intended to marry so as to hurt her (Fatima) on purpose.” (Minhaj al-Sunnah, Volume 7 page 172).

(iv).Narrated by Tirmidhi in Manaqib Ahlul-Bayt, Vol. 2, p.308, citing Umar ibn Abi Salama, the Prophet’s adopted son, who said “The verse, ‘Allah only wants to remove uncleanness far from you, O people of Ahlul-Bait, and purify you a thorough purifying’ was revealed in the house of Umm Salamah. Then the Prophet (s.a.w) called Fatima, Hassan, Husain and Ali, behind himself, covered them with a cover and said: “O Allah! This is my household, so remove uncleanness from them and purify them a thorough purifying. Umm Salamah said:’ Am I with them, O Messenger of Allah?’ He said: You are at your place. You are all right.”

Below is what Ibn Taymiyyah said about Imam Ali (AS) despite the Prophet (AS)`s prayer: “O Allah! This is my household, so remove uncleanness from them and purify them a thorough purifying”.

“Allah had revealed for Ali {O ye who believe! Draw not near unto prayer when ye are drunken, till ye know that which ye utter,} when he prayed and recited and then got mixed up.” (Minhaj al-Sunnah, Volume 7 page 172):

(v).The messenger of Allah said: “Loving Ali is the sign of belief, and hating Ali is the sign of hypocrisy.” And “The Love of Ali (as) is Imam (faith) and Hatred for Him is Kufr”.

Sunni references:

– Sahih Muslim, Vol.1, p48;

– Sahih Tirmidhi, Vol. 5, p643;

– Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol.1, p142;

– Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal Vol. 1, p84, 95, 128

– Tarikh al-Kabir, by al-Bukhari (the author of Sahih), Vol. 1, part 1, p202

The Messenger of Allah (SAWA) also said: “Whoever hurts Ali, has hurt me”


Sunni references:

– Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol. 3, p483

– Fada’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Hanbal, Vol. 2, p580, #981.

The Prophet (SAWA) said: “Whoever reviles/curses Ali, has reviled/cursed me”

Sunni reference:

– al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, Vol. 3, p121,

– Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol. 6, p323.

Despite all what the Prophet (SAWA) said about Imam Ali (S), Ibn Taymaiyya has this to say:

“The prophet said to them ‘{but man is more than anything contentious}’. When he said to him (Ali) and Fatima, ‘Wont you pray?’ They replied: “Our souls are in the hands of Allah (SWT)”.

(Minhaj al-Sunnah, Volume 3 page 53).

“When he (the Prophet) ordered them to offer the night prayer, Ali (ra) came up with the prepared excuse that ‘if Allah wants he will wake us up’, the Prophet realized that this was merely an argument that was not right, therefore he recited {but man is more than anything contentious}“.

(Minhaj al-Sunnah, Volume 8 page 161):

(vi).The Holy Prophet (SAWA) was reported to have said: “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate; therefore, whoever wants the city should enter through the gate”. (Tirmidhi, Al-Hakim, Suyuti).

This is what Ibn Taymiyyah has to say about the above Hadith:

“And what has been narrated from the Prophet (saw): “I am the city of knowledge and Alee (a.s) is its door.” This hadith is weak, it is rather fabricated among scholars of Hadith, but Al-Tirmidhi and others have narrated it, despite that it is lie. (Source: Majmu’a Al-Fatawa. Vol. 18, Pg. 216).

“Ali, there is disagreement about him as to whether he had memorized the whole Quran or not.”            (Minhaj al-Sunnah, Volume 6 page 67).

There are a lot of similar accusations levelled against Imam Ali (AS) by Ibn Tyamiyya which time and space will not permit us to bring them all. But readers can refer to his famous books: Minhaj-al-Sunna and Majmu`a Al-Fatawa.


One of the renowned scholars of the salafies, Nasiruddin Albaani recorded in Silsila Sahiha, Volume 5 page 608:                                                                                                                                                                  A woman used to pray behind the Prophet (s) and she was very beautiful, therefore the people would pray in the last line so that they could observe her whilst they bowed, one of them then went to the first line so that they were unable to see her, hence Allah revealed “To Us are known those of you who hasten forward, and those who lag behind”. (Qur’an 15:24)

He also recorded in Silsila Zaefa, Volume 1 page 140:

“Once the sky was raining ice while Abu Talha was fasting, then he started to eat the ice. Someone asked him: ‘Are you eating while you are fasting?! He replied: “It is blessing”. The chain is Sahih according to the conditions of two Sheikhs and ibn Hazam authenticated it in al-Ahkam.


Imam of Ahalul Sunna, Ahmad Ibn Hambali accused Muawiyya of drinking alcohol:

“Abdullah bin Buraida said: ‘I entered on Muawiya with my father, then he (Mu’awiya) made us sit on a mattress and brought food to us. We ate, then he brought drink to us, Muawiya drank and then offered that to my father, thus (my father) said: ‘I never drank it since the messenger of Allah made it Haram’….” (Musnad Volume 5 page 347).


Dr. Ahmad Mahamud Gummi (son of late Sheik Mahamud Gummi) made a remark which could be regarded as belittling Imam Hussain (AS), the grandson of the Holy Prophet (SAWA). When people were mourning to mark the Ashura day when Imam Hussaini was killed at karbala, Dr. Gummi said: “People are going about the street beating their chests, weeping and chanting slogans just because Hussaini was killed. If he was killed, so what”?

The tragedy of Karbal was a great tragedy the world has witnessed which even the Holy Prophet (SAWA) himself shaded tears before it happened. Heaven and earth including the Jinns also mourned the tragedy of Karbala. The following traditions were reported concerning the tragedy of Karbala:

  1. Ummul Fadhl the daughter of al-Harith said that she entered on the Messenger of Allah (S) and she said: “Oh! Messenger of Allah, I saw a strange dream last night. He said: And what is it? She said: It was difficult. He said: And what is it? She said: I saw, as if, a piece of your body was severed and was put in my lap! The Messenger of Allah (S) said: You saw well – Fatima will give birth, God willing, a boy so he will be in your lap. Then Fatima gave birth to al-Hussain (AS) and he was in my lap – just as the Messenger of Allah (S) said. So I entered one day on the Messenger of Allah (S) and put him in his lap, but I noticed that the eyes of the Messenger of Allah (S) pouring tears! So I said: Oh! Prophet of Allah, my parents are your ransom, what is with you? He said: Gabriel (AS) came to me and informed me that my nation (Ummah) will kill this son of mine.” (Al-Mustadrak al-Sahih by al-Hafidh al-Hakim al-Nisapouri, Vol. 3, p. 176, (al-Hakim said: “This is an authentic hadith (Sahih) on the conditions of Bukhari and Muslim”).
  1. Umm Salamah has said: “al-Hussain entered on the Prophet (S), while I was sitting at the door, so I saw in the hand of the Prophet (S) something he turned over while (Hussain) sleeping on his stomach. I said: Oh messenger of Allah, I looked and saw you turning something over in your hand when the kid was sleeping on your stomach and your tears were pouring? He said: Gabriel came to me with the sand upon which he (Hussain) will be killed. And he informed me that my nation (Umma) will kill him.” (Al-Musannaf by al-Hafidh Abu Bakr bin abi Shaibah, Vol. 12).
  1. Umm Salamah said: “I heard the Jinns mourning for al-Hussain (AS).” (Tarikh al-Kabir by Bukhari Vol. 4, Part 1, p. 26; Fadha’il al-Sahaba by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol. 2, p. 776, # 1373; Tabarani, Vol. 3, p.130-1; Tahdhib, Vol. 7, p.404).

Despite the fact that Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) mourned the tragedy of Karbala, yet Dr. Ahmad Gummi sees it as insignificant and thus criticized its mourners.

                               SAHABA CRITICIZING OR ABUSING ONE ANOTHER

The following Hadiths are recorded in Ahalul Sunna books:

1. Narrated ‘Urwa: I started abusing Hassan in front of ‘Aisha, whereupon she said: “Don’t abuse him, for he used to defend the Prophet (with his poetry).”(Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, No.731).

2.Narrated Hisham’s father: I started abusing Hassan in front of ‘Aisha. She said, “Do not abuse him as he used to defend Allah’s Apostle (against the infidels). ‘Aisha added, “Once Hassan took the permission from the Prophet to say poetic verses against the infidels. On that the Prophet said, ‘How will you exclude my forefathers (from that)? Hassan replied, ‘I will take you out of them as one takes a hair out of the dough.” Hisham’s father added, “I abused Hassan as he was one of those who spoke against ‘Aisha.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 466).

3. Narrated Said: Aban bin Said came to the Prophet and greeted him. Abu Huraira said, “O Allah’s Apostle! This (Aban) is the murderer of the Ibn Qauqal.” (On hearing that), Aban said to Abu Huraira, “How strange your saying is! You, a guinea pig, descending from Qadum Dan, blaming me for (killing) a person whom Allah favoured (with martyrdom) with my hand, and whom He forbade to degrade me with his hand.’ (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 545).

4. Sulaiman b. Surad reported that two persons abused each other in the presence of Allah’s Apostle (SAWA) and the eyes of one of them became red as embers and the veins of his neck were swollen. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (SAWA) said: I know of a wording, if he were to utter that, his fit of rage (would be no more and that wording is): I seek refuge with Allah from Satan the accursed. The person said: Do you find any madness in me? Ibn al-’Ala’ said: Do you see it? And he made no mention of the person. (Sahih Muslim, Book 032, Number 6316).

5. Narrated Abu Huraira: “One person was abusing Abu Bakr and Rasool Allah (s) was watching it and smiling. When he didn’t stop, then Abu Bakr refuted him. Upon this, Prophet Muhammad (s) stood up and left. Hadhrat Abu Bakr said: “O Prophet of Allah, till the time he was abusing me, you kept on sitting (and smiling), and when I refuted him, why you became angry?” Rasool Allah (s) said: “O Abu Bakr, when he was abusing you, an angel was refuting him from your side, and when you started refuting him, then came devil and I cannot sit with devil”.(Musnad Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, vol. 2, page 436).

6.“Khalid bin Waleed reported that there was an exchange of harsh words between Ammar bin Yasir and I. I abused Ammar and he went to Rasulul-llah (s) to complain against me. We were talking nothing in front of Rasool Allah (s) except abusing each other and Rasool Allah (SAWA) was sitting quietly. Ammar started weeping and said to Rasool Allah (s): “Don’t you see that he is abusing me.” Rasool Allah (SAWA) raised his head and said, “One who will show enmity towards Ammar, Allah will show enmity to him”. (Musnad Imam Ahmad bin Hambal, vol. 4, page 89-90).

7. Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) did her best to incite people against Othman, and she used to say: ‘Oh people! This is the cloth of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) still not ragged, while his Sunnah is ragged, kill Na’thal(old fool), may Allah kill Na’thal.’ (Al-Mahsol by Al-Razi, Volume 4, page 343).

8. Abdullah bin Muslim (ibn Qutayba) from Ibn Abi Maryam and Ibn Ufair – from Ibn Uon – from Mukhol bin Ibrahim and Abu Hamza al-Thumali – from Ali bin al-Hussain who said: ‘… then Ubaid said to her: ‘The first one to incite the people against him was you, and you used to say, ‘kill this ‘Na’thal’because he has become dissolute.’’ (Al-Imama wa al-Siyasa by Ibn Qutayba).

The hadith “kill Na’thal, May Allah kill Na’thal” refers to Othman. That happened from her when she (Aisha) got angry and went to Makka. (Al-Nahayah by Ibn Atheer, Volume 5, page 80).


Some Fatwas of Ahalul Sunna scholars state that cursing a Sahabi is not Kufr and is not subject to capital punishment:

  1. Fatwa of Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz:

Umar bin Abdul-Aziz’s letter to his representative in Kufa in response to his inquiry as to whether he should kill someone who has abused Umar (ra)? He (Umar bin Abdul Aziz) replied to him: “It is not allowed to kill any Muslim due to abusing any person, except in case of abusing Rasool Allah (s). Thus, if anyone abused him (Allah’s apostle) then his blood is Mubah”.

References:                                                                                                                                                                              1. Al-Shifa by Qadhi ‘Iyadh, vol. 2, page 325, .

  1. Salsala al-Risalah by Mulla Ali Qari, page 18,
  2. Al-Tabaqaatul Kubraa, vol. 5, page 369,

2.Fatwa of Imam Malik

“Anyone who abused Rasool Allah (s) should be killed. And anyone who abused Sahaba, he should be taught “Adab” (respect)”.


  1. Al-Shifa by Qadhi ‘Iyadh, vol. 2, page 376,
  2. Al-Sarim al-Maslool, page 569.
  1. Imam Mohiyyuddin Nawawi (Al-Shafi’yee)

Qadhi (Iyadh) said that abusing someone of them (Sahaba) is a great sin, our sect and the majority’s sect is that he should be punished but not killed” (Al-Nawwawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim, vol. 2)

  1. Mulla Ali Qari

Mualla Ali Qari is one of the most respected Alim of Hanafi Fiqh. He gave his opinion in these words:

“It is neither proved by Sahaba nor Tabeen to kill a person or declare him kafir who insults Abu Bakr and Umar. And the 3 Imams i.e. Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Muhammad and Imam Abu Yusuf are unanimous that a person who insults Sheikhain (Abu Bakr and Umar) is neither Kafir nor Wajib-ul-Qatl. According to Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Abu Yusuf, even the witness of such a person is acceptable. (Silalatul Risalah, page 19).

  1. Imam Hafidh Ibn Taymiyyah al-Damishqi

Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (Shaikul-Islam of Salafies) wrote in his book Al-Sarema Maslool, page 579, while giving arguments against Kufr of person who insulted Sahaba:                                                                    “And merely abusing someone other than the Prophets does not necessarily make the abuser Kafir; because some of those who were in the time of the Prophet (i.e companions) used to abuse one another and none of them was declared kafir because of this (practice); and (also) because it is not Wajib to have faith particularly in any of the companions; therefore abusing any of them does not detract from the faith in Allah and His books and His messengers and the Last day”.

  1. Allamah Ibn Hajar al-Makki al-Hathaimi

The famous Muhaddith from Egypt Allama Ahmad bin Hajar al-Haithami writes:

“And I haven’t found any opinion of any learned Alim that abusing a companion makes it obligatory to kill a person And Ibn Mundhir says that I don’t know even a single person who considers it to kill the one who abuses anyone except Rasool Allah (saww).”(Sawiq-e-Muhariqqah, page 255).

  1. Abdul Hai Lakhnawi (Hanafi)

A very famous Hanafi Fiqhi Alim from Indian Sub-Continent Allama Abdul Hai Lakhnawi states while giving an answer to a question:                                                                                                                    “According to Fatawas, the most correct statement is that abusing Abu Bakr and Umar doesn’t constitute Kufr. And it is the fatwa of Imam Abu Hanifa.”

8         Caliph Abu Bakar

Lastly, this is what Abu Bakar (the first Calipah) said by himself:                                                                                                                                      A person asked Abu Bakr for his permission to kill another person who criticized Abu Bakr. But Abu Bakr said: “No one has the right to kill anyone unjustly after Rasool Allah (SAWA)) only due to his criticism on him. (Sunan Nisai, vol. 2, page 17).

It should be noted here that all the above references we gave are from books written by Ahalul Sunna scholars and all the Fatawas are unanimous that abusing Sahaba is not tantamount to kufur or liable to capital punishment. Such are the references the Shia always give in trying to prove their points. But if they do, the Ahalul Sunna (or any critic of Shia) will consider it as abusing the Sahaba.  At this juncture, one may ask: who is at fault, is it the writer or the reader? Now if the Shia could be accused of abusing the Sahaba because of narrating authentic stories (as recorded in books written by Ahalul Sunna) of mistakes or faults committed by the Sahaba, what is the position of Ahalul Sunna, the like of Ibn Taymiyyah, who narrated stories that showed his clear hatred against Imam Ali (AS) and Nasirudeen Albani who accused soma Sahaba of voyeurism? Furthermore, if insulting the Sahaba is tantamount to infidelity (Kufur) then, what is the position of those Sahaba who insulted or criticized one another? It is therefore, quite astonishing that the Salafis, who are the adherents of Ibn Taimiyya and Nasirudeen Albani, are the foremost in criticizing the Shia of “abusing” Sahaba!!! Because they say: “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”.

We have seen so far that the stories we narrated about the Sahaba are recorded in authentic books of Ahalul Sunna. We have also seen what Ibn Taymiyyah said about Imam Ali (AS) and his wife Fatima (AS), what Emir of Kano said about CaliphOthman, what Dr. Ahmad Gummi said about Imam Hussain (AS), what Nasirudeen Albani said about some Sahaba and so on. Therefore, one can draw a conclusion by asking: who really abuse the Sahaba? Is it the Shia who narrate stories (written in Ahalul Sunna books) concerning the Sahaba or the Ahalul Sunna, the like of Ibn Taymiyya, who concocted blatant lies against Imam Ali (AS),  Nasirudeen Albani, who accused some Sahaba of voyeurism and Dr. Ahmad Gummi who belittled  Imam Hussaini (AS)?


  1. Peshawar Nights by Sultanu’l-Wa’izinShirazi, 1927 A.D (1345 A.H.)
  2. Then I was Guided by Tijjani Al- Samawi, 2002 A.D.