Now, while we bid farewell to the graceful company of the Companions of Muhammad the Messenger of Allah (May peace and blessings be upon him and upon them all), we may ask ourselves, have we given the matter what it deserves? Have we taken into account all such great men?
The answer is, No. We have been honored by their greatness through a close examination and have followed a blessed number of them during some bright moments, but we were not fortunate to accompany all of them.
Indeed, the sixty men introduced in this book stand for many thousands of others of their glorious brethren who saw the Messenger (PBUH), lived during his time, believed in him, and struggled with him. In the lives of these sixty righteous men we perceive the images of all the Companions. We see their faith, their steadfastness, their heroism, their sacrifices, and their loyalty. We see the effort they exerted and the victory they achieved. We also see the role they played in liberating all humanity from the paganism of conscience and the loss of destiny!
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These sixty men, then, are a superb and magnificent example the significance of which we welcome and contemplate. We see in this example the heroes and soldiers of the greatest epoch of human struggle in general and of religious struggle in particular. It was an epoch when the ancient world was destroyed by the new force of truth which came to announce the oneness of Allah and the unity of creation. There were no idols or images in the new era, no worshiped emperors or czars. There is only One God Who is Allah, while all people are as equal as the teeth of a comb.
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I desire not to repeat what I have already written about the causes that induced that amazing faith which filled the hearts of these men.
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Muhammad (PBUH) with his truth, steadfastness, purity, and eminence could not but reflect faith of a rare quality on the people around him. It was the faith of people who had known him well and had seen him in all his perfection and grace, saw his humanity and his devotion to Allah, saw his loftiness and modesty, saw all his superb qualities and his simplicity, saw him in his strength and his compassion.
They saw him and perceived the nobility of his motives and his undeviating and straight method Therefore, doubt did not prevent them at all from believing in him. They did not even make use of their right to ask him for a miracle to ascertain his prophethood and his mission.
Every nation has asked its prophet for a miracle in order to believe in him, except Muhammad's Companions, the men round the Messenger. They never said, "Show us a miracle as proof of your truthfulness." This was because Muhammad himself was the miracle! Seeking another miracle outside of him, his personality, and his principles would have been a kind of naiveté such intelligent people could not be involved in, especially after their hearts had been filled with the guidance of Allah and their perceptions had been illuminated with His light.
Indeed, the faith of that first generation of Muslims bestowed upon the whole of humanity - with its different religions, different ages and races - a great trust that revived its youth and its determination. After all, they were human beings. They lived during certain circumstances. They appeared unable to do what they actually did afterwards. Collectively they had not yet achieved all the necessary characteristics to form a society. They were scattered, discordant, fighting tribes led by inflexible narrow-minded individuality. As a political power, they had not achieved anything that could be mentioned. As an economic power, they were the poorest of people. In number, they were less than other peoples.
What happened, then, to make these minorities the constructors of a new world having wonderful features? Was it due to the power of weapons and the plenitude of armies? But Alexander before them and Genghis Khan after them had plenty of weapons and a great number of soldiers. Where is Alexander today? Where is Genghis Khan? What is left of them and their waves of armies or their astounding victories? What is left of all that, in the conscience of life and the conscience of mankind? Nothing.
Therefore, materialistic power in all its aspects was not the reason that turned the Companions of the Messenger (PBUH) into what we have seen. It was but faith: faith in truth and in what is good. Above that, faith in the Lord of truth and good. This is the true lesson which was given and is still given to all mankind by Muhmmad, the Messenger of Allah, (May Allah be pleased with him and his Companions).
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When people devote their lives to the cause of truth and benefaction, surely darkness turns into light, chaos turns into order, weakness turns into strength, property becomes protected, humiliation becomes greatness, ignorance becomes knowledge, privation becomes plenitude, and all thorns become flowers. That was what the Messenger (PBUH) and his Companions did, and that was what had been done before by all the messengers and their companions of believers. And it is the lesson they left us to learn from.
Since truthfulness and benefaction were the quintessence of the role of the Messenger (PBUH) and his Companions, and since true, pure, and brave faith was their means and principle, we saw them bequeathing the best heritage to humanity. They filled the human conscience with vigor, illumination, and integrity of behavior.
Today, most of the radios of the world openly broadcast verses from the Glorious Qur'aan which was to the Messenger (PBUH) and his Companions the guide and the light. Most of the radios of the world, even the states that have another religion and the states that have no religions, most of them start their program with verses from the Qur'aan in their broadcasts in Arabic. In all the spots of the earth, among Muslims and Christians, among Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists, and in the territories of states that have no religion, the lofty minarets are erected to repeat from their top the same words reverberated through the voice of the muezzin of the Messenger (PBUH) 1400 years ago!
Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest
I bear witness that there is no god but Allah
I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah
Come to the Prayer
Come to success
Everywhere on earth the Qur'aan of that religion is recited, everywhere on earth the mosques are filled, and everywhere on earth its principles are announced.
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What power has given Islam such eternity? It is the same power we witnessed before that gave this religion and its men a superb and extraordinary power to change the world and to change the people, values, and destinies in it. It is the power of faith in truth and benefaction; Above all, it is the belief in the Lord of truth and benefaction, in the Messenger, and in all other messengers who came before and devoted their lives to truth and benefaction, who gave everything and took nothing for themselves.
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There remains one word to be said in this conclusion. It is a question that inevitably occurs to the mind after witnessing such illuminating scenes such as we beheld in these 60 men of the Messenger's Companions. The question is, "How could dispute and disagreement ruin the strong ties between the rightly guided brothers, and how could the civil war that broke out between Aliy's supporters and those of Mu`aawiyah - some incidents of which we have witnessed throughout this book - overcome their splendid brotherhood?"
In order to give an answer to this question, we have to go back to the virtue of faith in these Companions, and then to other historical factors as well. Indeed, their true, clear, and decisive faith had made them follow the same path. To them, truth had but one face which they recognized and followed. It did not have multiple and assumed faces to let some waver among them according to their dispositions and interests. While the Messenger (PBUH) was living among them, guidance to what is true and right - a matter in which people differed - was an easy matter. Revelation or the Messenger, or both of them, usually clarified every obscure or unintelligible matter.
When the Messenger (PBUH) passed away, they never differed in what had been clarified and explained by Allah's revelation or through Muhammad's interpretation. However, when `Uthmaan (May Allah be pleased with him) was killed, his murder had been preceded and accompanied with pernicious commotion which shook all Islamic nations at that time. As a consequence of that terrible occurrence, the dispute widened. It was inevitable for each of the Companions according to his attitude to choose one of the multiple views.
Their way of choosing, like their way of believing, was characterized by clarity and decisiveness. There was no hesitation or hypocrisy. Those who were convinced of imam `Aliy's point of view chose his side, and those convinced that the two parties were wrong chose a third side in which they urged the two disputing parties to renounce their differences. When the die was cast, they chose to be neutral and abandoned the dispute.
The above concerns the Companions, the early believers in Islam who lived at the time of the Messenger (PBUH) and fought with him the forces of polytheism and darkness. However, these Companions did not represent by themselves the "center of gravity " in the Islamic state at the time of the dispute between `Aliy and Mu'aawiyah. This is because the state at that time had expanded tremendously, and a new power emerged and started to take part in the events and direct them. The best evidence for this is that the conspiracy to claim the life of Caliph Uthmaan and the agents assigned to carry it out came from outside Al-Madiinah, rather from outside the whole Arab Peninsula. They came from some distant Islamic countries.
This new power played a role which the first Companions could not repel. The role was serious and effective in turning the dispute between Aliy and Mu'aawiyah into warfare. This reached the extent that the people of Syria siding with Mu'aawiyah and the people of Iraq siding with `Aliy, become the real protagonists in that war. Even in the final analysis, the war was not between two Islamic camps as much as it was between two regional ones: the Syrians on one side and Iraqis on the other!
There was a third force which should not be ignored, an evil force which lay waiting for Islam since sovereignty was taken from its hand and leveled to the dust. That was the power represented in the remains of Persia and some few who continued to perpetuate their schemes against Islam through their many agents who infiltrated Islam, pretending to embrace it. Some of them were able to cause a lot of damage and destruction in the ranks of Muslims, which the two defeated empires could not do.
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This is a rapid look at the circumstances of that critical situation which the Companions and Islam as a whole passed through. However, we should not ignore another fact, which is that each of the leaders of the two fighting camps did not think at all that the matter would develop to that terrible degree. Iman `Aliy and his followers saw their advance towards Syria as merely a scare tactic and thought that Mu'aawiyah would soon awaken to realize the power of the state and would respect and obey it.
On the other hand, Mu'aawiyah and his followers believed that Imam `Aliy was merely testing their strength and their readiness. lf he found they were strong and well equipped, he would seek a reconciliation through another means. Yet, the matter developed in a strange and unusual way. This sudden and strange development discloses the hidden forces working in each camp to turn the dispute into warfare.
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Let us now end our talk about this war with this incident. Az Zubair (May Allah be pleased with him) was fighting in the ranks of Mu`aawiyah, but at the end of the battle he realized his mistake in joining the war, and so he withdraw. However, some fighters followed him and stabbed him to death while he was praying. The killer robbed Az-Zubair of his sword and ran to Imam `Aliy, desiring to tell him the good news of the murder of Az-Zubair and to lay in his hands the sword he had used in fighting with Mu'aawiyah against `Aliy. He came to the Imam's door asking for permission. When `Aliy learned of the matter he shouted a command to dismiss the killer, saying, "Give the good tidings to the killer of Ibn Sufiyah that he will be cast in hell-fire." By lbn Sufiyah, he meant Az-Zubair (May Allah be pleased with him). He ordered further to have Az-Zubair's sword taken from the killer and brought to him.
When `Aliy saw the sword, he kept kissing it. He was crying and saying, "A sword whose owner had so many times removed the distress from the Messenger of Allah."
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This remarkable and great scene bestows upon the above mentioned disagreement and its painful development much calmness and tranquility. It fills us with much understanding and appreciation when we remember it.
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Now we bid farewell to those men with whom we lived a happy and blissful time on the pages of this book. We thank Allah for His blessings, hoping to have more blessing, compassion, and good health from Almighty Allah.
With awe and reverence, we say to our eminent teacher, the last of the Messengers, "May peace and the mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you. May Allah grant you the best reward for the teachings you gave and for your guidance." And with a renewed, overflowing yearning, we say to his blessed Companions, "Righteous men, farewell!"
But, when were they really absent from our lives to bid them farewell? Let our greeting to them be, "Peace". Peace we extended at the beginning with awe and reverence, and peace is extended at the end with awe and reverence.