God made the Companions of our Prophet of mercy the same in belief, but diverse in characteristics. This “unity despite diversity” is what is so appealing about our Muslim nation. Our Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, taught his followers that in the body there is a lump of flesh, which if good, the whole self is good, and if corrupt, the whole self is corrupt. It is the heart. (Narrated by al-Bukhariyy and Muslim).
Our Prophet ﷺ spoke to the people’s hearts. He appealed to their hearts, not only by his words, but also by every action and response from his exalted self. Addressing our Prophet, God said in the Qur’an (al-Kahf, 6):
(فلعلك باخع نفسك على ءاثارهم ان لم يؤمنوا بهذا الحديث اسفا)
It means, “You would perchance die out of concern, following after them, in grief, if they do not believe in this message.“
Our Prophet ﷺ said to a Companion (what means):
“I am like a man trying to hold you by your waists to save you from Hell, but you are escaping from my hands.” (Narrated by Muslim)
The Prophet ﷺ knew without a doubt that he himself would be saved in the Hereafter. Despite that, he continued to extend himself to the utmost, hoping that, others would be saved as well. Truly, he loved for his fellow Muslims what he loved for himself, peace and blessings be upon him.
Concerning his dear Companions, our Prophet would never let any wrong actions of theirs go unchecked. Since his Companions were not prophets, they were liable to make mistakes, even mistakes that were serious. (Prophets are spotless of any sin, except of committing a small sin that is not abject). On the other hand, if Companions repented of sinning, our Prophet ﷺ never reminded them of their former sins, thus avoiding humiliating them. He knew that God had those sins erased.
He told his Companions that those who covered the faults of a believer in this life, would be granted a cover by God on the Day of Judgment, where there will be no cover but the one granted by Him. This means that those compassionate people in this life will not be exposed and humiliated before the people on the Day of Judgment. God, the One Who knows all things, will keep these persons’ secret bad doings a secret from others, and God will forgive them.
The Companions of the Prophet were of different classes, ages, and ethnicities. Many were very young, especially those Companions who are so famous for narrating hadith and telling the true meanings of the Holy Qur’an.
In order to heighten our awareness, it is beneficial to know the ages of some well-known Companions and family members in the year our Prophet ﷺ immigrated to Madinah:
- ^Abdullah ibnuz-Zubayr was born in that year.
- Lady ^A’ishah was nine (9) years old.
- Our Master ^Aliyy, was twenty-three (23) years old.
- Lady Fatimah, ^Aliyy’s wife, was eighteen (18) years old.
- Al-Hasan and al-Husayn, the Prophet’s famous grandsons, were not born yet.
- ^Abdullah ibn ^Abbas, the great explainer of the Qur’an, and the cousin of our Prophet, was four (4) years old.
- Usamah ibn Zayd was six (6) years old.
- Anas ibn Malik was ten (10) years old.
- ^Abdullah, the son of our Master ^Umar, was eleven (11) years old.
- Abu Sa^id al-khudriyy was eleven (11) years old.
- Zayd ibn Thabit, a translator for our Prophet and the compiler of the written sheets of the Qur’an in the hands of the Companions, was twelve (12) years old.
- Jabir ibn ^Abdillah was sixteen (16) years old.
Although Abu Hurayrah accompanied the Prophet ﷺ for only the last four years of our Prophet’s life, he narrated the most hadiths of any Companion. This was because he was also just a young man (about 26 years old) who, during those years, continually accompanied the Prophet ﷺ . If you go to any of the volumes of hadiths, these are the names that you will read over and over again, saying what they heard from the blessed Prophet ﷺ . Truly, the Companions of our Prophet of mercy were better than extremely precious jewels of all different sizes, shapes, and colours. Yet, they would say that they were jewels in the rough until their hearts were awakened, by God’s mercy, having the gift of Prophet Muhammad’s presence and example in their special, blessed lives.