The Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum) are that eminent group of peopleconcerning whom Allah Ta'ala has declared His eternal blessings in theindomitable words of the Qur'an. Therefore, any individual whochallenges and casts aspersions concerning the position of a Sahaabihas in fact challenged Allah's decree in the Qur'an.
Abdullah Ibn Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) declares concerning theSahaaba: 'He who wishes to follow anyone, let him follow the companionsof Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). They were the best and mostprestigious of this Ummah. Their hearts were the purest; theirknowledge the most profound; and they had the least formality aboutthem (their humility was such that anyone could approach them). Theywere a nation whom Allah Ta'ala selected and chose for thecompanionship of His Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and for thepropagation of His Deen. Imitate their characters and follow their wayof life, for I swear an oath by the Lord of the Kaaba; the companionsof Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) were truly on the straightpath.' (Hilya).
Whilst the collective favours of the Sahaaba upon this Ummah areinnumerable, some individual Sahaaba clearly excelled in their servicesof the Ummah. Amongst these noteworthy Sahaaba was Hadhrat Mu'awiya(Radhiallaahu Anhu) whose prestige and position in the eyes of Nabi(Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) was such that he was amongst thoseSahaaba to whom the delicate and tremendous taste of writing down wahi(divine revelation of the Qur'an) was entrusted. This special duty alsonecessitated his being regularly in the service of Nabi (SallallaahuAlayhi Wasallam) thus enabling his personality and character to bedeveloped directly at the hands of the noble master (Sallallaahu AlayhiWasallam) himself.
Such was the love Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) had for himthat he was given the following beautiful and concise Dua by Nabi(Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam): 'O Allah! make Mu'awiya (RadhiallaahuAnhu) a means of hidaayat and make him one who is himself on hidaayatand give people hidaayat through him.' (Majmau Zawaaid)
On another occasion Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said,'Allah! guide him with guidance from yourself, save him from anydisgrace and forgive all his past and future sins.' (Tabrani).
Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) even made Dua for the knowledgeof Mu'awiya (Radhiallaahu Anhu) where he said, 'O Allah endow Mu'awiyawith the special knowledge of the Qur'an and save him from punishment.'(Ahmad; Tabraani).
Mu'awiya (Radhiallaahu Anhu) was even privileged to be thebrother-in-law of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) since Umme Habiba(Radhiallaahu Anha), the sister of Mu'awiya, was one of Nabi(Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)'s wives. Once Nabi (Sallallaahu AlayhiWasallam) came home to find Mu'awiya (Radhiallaahu Anhu) with hissister. He asked her whether she loved him. To this Umme Habiba(Radhiallaahu Anhu) declared that he was her brother and therefore shedefinitely loved him. It was then that Mu'awiya (Radhiallaahu Anhu)received tremendous gladtidings from Nabi (Sallallaahu AlayhiWasallam), where he said, 'Allah and His Rasul definitely loveMu'awiya.' (Tabrani).
PROPHECY OF LEADERSHIP
Such was the confidence which Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)had in the leadership qualities and trustworthiness of Mu'awiya(Radhiallaahu Anhu) that Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) onceconsulted with Abu Bakr (Radhiallaahu Anhu) and Umar (RadhiallaahuAnhu) regarding a certain matter. They were unable to give a suitablesuggestion. Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) then sent for Mu'awiya(Radhiallaahu Anhu) saying: 'Consult Mu'awiya (Radhiallahu Anhu) inyour affairs since he is trustworthy and reliable.' (Tabrani, Bazzaar)
The confidence which Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) had in himwas of such a level that he even made Dua: 'O Allah endow him with theknowledge of the Qur'an and grant him leadership of the lands.'(Tabrani)
This Hadith in essence represents the prophecy of Nabi (SallallaahuAlayhi Wasallam) with regards to Mu'awiya (Radhiallaahu Anhu) gainingleadership. Similar confidence was exhibited by none other than Umar(Radhiallaahu Anhu) whose stringent requirements for governorship arewell known. He appointed Mu'awiya governor, in which position heremained throughout the life of Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) as well asthat of Usman (Radhiallaahu Anhu). Umar's (Radhiallaahu Anhu)perception of character was tremendous and it was he who said: 'Youpraise the rulers of Persia and Rome and speak highly of theirknowledge, whereas you have in your midst a man like Mu'awiya(Radhiallaahu Anhu)'.
Hafiz Ibn Katheer (R. A.) reports that none other than Ali(Radhiallaahu Anhu) said after the Battle of Siffin: 'O people, do nothate or talk ill of the leadership of Mu'awiya (Radhiallaahu Anhu), forif you loose him it would be such a tragedy as if you see your limbsfalling from your bodies'. The books of history are replete with suchpraises of Mu'awiya (Radhiallaahu Anhu) from other Sahaaba(Radhiallaahu Anhum).
Auf Ibn Malik (Radhiallaahu Anhu) says: 'Once whilst sleeping in amasjid in Areeha, I awoke suddenly to notice a lion coming towards me.I lunged for my weapon. The lion addressed me saying that he had beensent to deliver a message. I inquired as to whom had sent him. The lionreplied that Allah had sent him to instruct me to inform Mu'awiya(Radhiallaahu Anhu) that he was of the people of Jannat' (Tabrani).
In fact it is reported in Bukhari Shareef that Nabi (SallallaahuAlayhi Wasallam) said: 'The first army that will fight a naval battlein my Ummah will have made Jannat compulsory on themselves.' The firstnaval force was in fact headed by Mu'awiya (Radhiallaahu Anhu) duringthe Caliphate of Usman (Radhiallaahu Anhu).
In the light of the above, who can possibly doubt the benevolentposition of Mu'awiya (Radhiallaahu Anhu), yet we find that he isamongst those personalities that have become the target of evilpropaganda. This propaganda has its roots in the difference of opinionthat arose between Mu'awiya (Radhiallaahu Anhu) and Ali (RadhiallaahuAnhu). We have to understand that, on both sides there were eminentSahaaba, all of whom motivated by a sincere belief of the truth oftheir cause. In such matters it is best that we hold our tongues. Ofbenefit in this context is the following quotation from 'Shifa'a' byQaadhi Iyaad:
'If we claim to revere and honour the prophet (Sallallaahu AlayhiWasallam), we must also respect his Sahaaba. As Muslims, it isincumbent on us to appreciate that we owe them, to follow them and toask forgiveness of Allah for them. No doubt they had their differencesbut we have no right to comment on them. We must beware of the storiesforged by Shiahs, innovators and biased historians, whose mischievousmotive is to slander some of the Sahaaba and slight the others. We mustnever doubt the sincerity and honesty of Sahaaba. When we come acrossany event in history which appears likely to lower their status in oureyes, we must explain it as far as we can in their favour and attributeit to sincere motives, for they really deserve this line of action. Weshould always speak of their virtues and must hold our tongues inuttering anything likely to slight them. The Prophet (SallallaahuAlayhi Wasallam) himself has said: 'Observe silence in respect of mySahaaba (when they are mentioned with disrespect).'
Ayyub Sakhtiani says: 'Whoso honours Sahaaba, can never be amunafiq. Whoso reviles them, he is surely an innovator or Munafiq oranti Sunnat. No good action of such person, I am afraid, will beaccepted by Allah until he cleans his heart of their spite, and beginsto love all of them.'
May Allah Ta'ala grant us the true love of the Sahaaba. Ameen.