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The sahabah (الصحابة‎; lit. "companions"; sing. sahabi) were the companions of Prophet Muhammad. According to tradition, an individual must have: seen Muhammad, believed in his prophethood, and died as a believer in order to be considered a sahabi or companion of the Muhammad (and thereby attain the concomitant theological status).[1][2] These would exclude, for example, Ubayd-Allah b. Jahsh (brother of Zainab b. Jash, the cousin and wife of Muhammad),[3] who was considered one of the sahabah but later converted to Christianity.[4] Those that saw Muhammad but held off believing in him until after his death are not considered Sahabah but rather tabi'un (sucessors).[2] In hadith attributed to Muhammad, he says that the sahabah are among the best generation of Muslims on Earth, along with the tabi‘un and the tabu' al-tabi'een (successors of the successors). These three generations (sahaba, tabi'un, and tabu' al-tabi'een are said to comprise the salaf al-salah, or "pious predecessors".

All the hadiths, or narrations describing a sayings and doings of Muhammad, are attributed to Muhammad via a chain of narrators that always concludes with a companion of Muhammad, who is trusted to have witnessed the events described or words recounted in the narration and faithfully described them. Consequently, all of Islamic doctrine not directly derived from the Qur'an is traced back to one or a group of Muhammad's companions. Even the Qur'an itself is interpreted in light of narrations attributed to Muhammad's companions which attest to the revelational circumstances of individual verses in the Qur'an (such narrations giving details on the meanings of the Qur'an comprise the earliest exegetical writings, or tafsirs). While hadith reports are generally viewed with a degree of skepticism by modern historians, Islamic scholastics rely on the authenticity of the hadiths as a basis for most of Islamic thought, including interpretation of the Qur'an. This reliance on companions' reports raises belief in the integrity of the companions to the level of basic Islamic doctrine. The emergent argument ad absurdum is as follows: if the integrity of the companions may be doubted, all of Islam may be doubted (even, indeed, the Qur'an, which the companions transmitted) - and since Allah must leave believers with knowledge of Islam that is certain, it follows that the sources of this knowledge must be reliable. The Shi'ite view is more nuanced, and allows the possibility of corrupted or unreliable companions, their judgement of character generally revolving around the companion-in-question's loyalty to Ali (notably, for Shi'ites, Aisha, Abu Bakr, and Umar do not make the cut).

Upon hearing or saying the name of a companion of Muhammad, Muslims are obliged to say radi Allahu anhu (lit. "Allah is pleased with him") - a practice inspired by a verse in the Qur'an.[5]

Descriptions in scripture

Sahaba in the Hadith

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "I have been sent (as an Apostle) in the best of all the generations of Adam's offspring since their Creation."
Narrated Abu Sa'eed Al-Khudri: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Do not abuse my Companions, for by the One in Whose Hand is my soul! If one of you were to spend gold the life of Uhud, it would not equal a Mudd - nor half of it - of one of them."
Grade: Sahih (Darussalam)

Sahaba in the Qur'an

Groups among the sahaba

al-Muhajirun (The Immigrants)

al-Ansar (The Helpers)

al-Badriyyun (Those of Badr)

In the hadith

Narrated Abu Az-Zubair: from Jabir, that a slave of Hatib [bin Abi Balt'ah] came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) complaining about Hatib. So he said: 'O Messenger of Allah (ﷺ)! Hatib is going to enter the Fire!' So the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: 'You have lied! No one who participated in (the battle of) Badr and (the treaty of) Al-Hudaybiyah shall enter it.'"
Grade: Sahih (Darussalam)

al-Asharah al-Mubasharah (The Ten of Glad Tidings)

In the hadith

Narrated 'Abdur-Rahman bin 'Awf: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Abu Bakr is in Paradise, 'Umar is in Paradise, 'Uthman is in Paradise, 'Ali is in Paradise, Talhah is in Paradise, Az-Zubair is in Paradise, 'Abdur-Rahman bin 'Awf is in Paradise, Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas is in Paradise, Sa'eed is in Paradise, and Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah is in Paradise."
Grade: Sahih (Darussalam)

Theological status


As transmitters of scripture

Qawl al-sahabi (saying of a companion)



Prominent companions

Later successors to Muhammad

Abu Bakr Abdullah b. Uthman

Umar b. al-Khattab

Uthman b. Affan

Ali b. Abi Talib

Wives of Muhammad

Aisha b. Abi Bakr

Khadijah b. Khuwaylid

See Also


  1. C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; W.P. Heinrichs et al., eds, (1995), "Sahaba", Encyclopaedia of Islam, 8 NED-SAM (New Edition [2nd] ed.), Leiden: E.J. Brill, pp. 827-829, ISBN 90 04 09834 8, 1995 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sh. G. F. Haddad - Sahaba - LivingIslam, January 7, 2009
  3. Bewley/Saad 8:72; Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 4; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 180; cf Guillaume/Ishaq 3; Maududi (1967), Tafhimul Quran, Chapter Al Ahzab
  4. Alfred Guillaume - The Life of Muhammad - Oxford University Press, 1955, reprinted in 2003. ISBN 0-19-636033-1
  5. Quran 9:100