Today there are people commonly called experts in various areas. They naturally express their ‘expert opinion’ on only their fields. However, when the subject is religion, a lot of people who do not even have enough knowledge easily give a so-called opinion. As a matter of fact, it is also the principle of religious sciences like of all other sciences that ‘those who are knowledgeable talk about it.’
At such a time when people who are not knowledgeable talk and stir up trouble, we can also come across people who are knowledgeable but distort things, or meet some others who presume themselves to be knowledgeable. Especially those who know the truth and reality of things but distort and change them – and even disregard the most important realities – are running wild on TV channels, radios, the web and social media. They try to deceive innocent minds, young intellects and the ignorant with their fancy words, tricks of logic and cliché slogans which they use to argue their every claim.
Although they seem apart from one another, we understand that these people serve the same purpose. In regard to religion, they sometimes deny predestination and sometimes the hadiths. At times they disregard the opinions of the sahaba (companions) and the mujtahid (interpreters) and then totally ignore the four real mazahab (Schools of Legal Thought). Moreover, they themselves make interpretations about every ruling of Islam, and they even fall to the low degree of criticizing the Prophet (asw).
We are at a time when these types of people are popularized and praised through some of the media. Although they try to damage the good opinion of the people of religion in regard to the companions, the imams of the Schools of Legal Thought and the interpreters, and they openly deny even the articles of faith, these people are considered as scholars by some; and as a matter of fact they do not get a serious reaction.
There are some evaluations of Imam Bediuzzaman Said Nursi about the root of this problem and the ways out – like about many other issues that threaten the belief of the people of religion in these end times. In his Risale-i Nur Corpus Imam Bediuzzaman explains the structure of thought of these people as follows:
“The other group, however, consists of the most conceited people who want to spread their denial of the Schools of Legal Thought by claiming equality with the great interpreters of the law, and to further their irreligion by claiming equality with the Companions. This is because, in the past, those people of misguidance have become decadent, and have become addicted to indulgence; and they cannot carry out the obligations of the Islamic law, for they form an obstacle to their dissipation. In order to find a pretext for themselves, they say: ‘These matters may be interpreted. The Schools of Legal Thought are opposed to each other in these issues. And the interpreters of the law were human beings like us, and may have made mistakes. In which case, we shall interpret the Divine law like them and perform our worship as we wish. Why should we be compelled to follow them?’ Thus, due to these Satanic wiles, these wretches put themselves outside the scope of the Schools of Legal Thought.” (The Addendum of The Twenty-seventh Word)
We see that the problem in this issue is not about thought but rather about the lower self once again. They claim equality with the Companions and the imams of the Schools of Legal Thought by saying “They were human beings like us, why should we be compelled to follow them?” The thought behind this mindset is actually to find a pretext for their debauchery, to open a way to their sins and suggest that they are halal (permissible), or to find so called scholarly excuses in their own way in order that they do not perform the obligatory actions and sunnahs which they would not practice anyway. In the meantime, they make a lot of people believe their weak and baseless claims, thus harming their faith.
Imam Bediuzzaman determined that the underlying reason for this type of people’s attacking the Companions is that they desire to deny some articles of faith which do not serve their purpose. He says the following:
“That group of the people of misguidance saw that the matter does not end with the interpreters of the law, for what lay on their shoulders were only the theoretical matters of religion. Whereas this group wants to give up and change the essential teachings of religion. If they say ‘We are better than them, the matter does not finish there. This is because the interpreters of the law may interfere in theoretical matters and in secondary matters which are not categorical. However, these people of misguidance who follow no school of thought want to mix their ideas in the essentials of religion as well, and to change matters which are not capable of being changed, and to oppose the definite fundamentals of Islam. And so they are bound to attack the Companions, who are the bearers and supports of the essentials of religion, alas! It has been proven decisively in the Twenty-seventh Word that not animals in human form like them, but true human beings and even the greatest of the saints, who are the most perfect of true human beings, cannot win the case claiming equality with the least of the Companions.” (The Addendum of The Twenty-seventh Word)
If these people say, “We are better than the imams of the four Schools of Legal Thought and the interpreters,” their matter does not finish there. This is because the matters that the interpreters of the law interfere with are theoretical matters. And the theoretical matters are capable of being changed which are not categorically defined by the Qur’an and hadiths. It is not enough for them to interfere with, ruin and change these theoretical matters in their own way. Their real purpose is to interfere in the essentials of religion, to mix the matters of faith and to damage the articles of faith.
When they start to lecture a subject, they talk as if they are from Ahl al-Sunnah (the people of sunnah) which is the majority of the Islamic world; in this way, they try to convince their audience that their faith is not misguided. Then with some confusing expressions which they gradually use among their sentences, they try to leave question marks in the minds of their listeners about the article of faith which they are going to deny in the end. If they feel satisfied that they have talked about the subject enough and the audience seems ready, they reveal their real ideas; this process sometimes takes years. For instance, if their final aim is to deny predestination, which is one of the articles of faith, they first deny the hadiths about predestination. They accuse the Companions and the narrators, who narrated the hadiths on predestination, of lying. They say that this matter is not in the Qur’an. In other words, since their real aim is to deny the fundamentals of faith, they carry out their biggest attacks against the Companions.
We should ask these persons: You are giving lectures about a lot of subjects and historical events down to the last detail and accusing almost all of the Companions of lying. Well then, where do you learn these events that you talk about in detail? How can you be sure that the things you lecture are true while you are accusing everyone of lying?
What these people are doing is merely accepting whatever serves their purposes and rejecting whatever does not serve them. Nobody has the right to just deny the hadiths reached to our present day with such narration chains that are thoroughly scrutinized and the strongest in the world. Nobody has the right to accuse the Companions of lying – they contributed the most effort so that Islam would reach today in its original form. Nobody has the right to deny and disregard the imams of the Schools of Legal Thought and the interpreters who gave fatwas which were necessary for Muslims to truly live Islam and who conveyed those matters to today with the books they wrote and the students they educated.
The funny thing is that these people deny the Schools of Legal Thought and the interpreters, but they perform worship, the salah being in the first place, in the way those imams interpreted.
As an answer to those who make accusations against the Companions, we can summarize the three proofs from the Twenty-seventh Word that show how spiritually high the Companions are and that no one can reach their level:
1- The Companions’ conversation was with him as Prophet through the light of Muhammad’s prophethood (pbuh). After his death those who have seen the Prophet in spiritual realms have conversed with him (pbuh) through the light of his sainthood. Since that is so, however much higher the level of prophethood is to that of sainthood, there is a major difference of level between the Companions and the Muslim saints or scholars who have come after them. For there is a luminous elixir in the conversation. The spirituality of the lecturer has an effect on the audience. A person who conversed with the Prophet for one hour used to be a companion. A person who conversed with the Prophet for a day used to become a teacher and guide of civilized peoples.
2- In the age of bliss, Islam’s first years, such a difference was apparent and such a distance opened up between belief and unbelief, truthfulness and lying, and good and evil that the Companions completely and strongly took sides with belief, truthfulness, good and goodness. However, after that time, the distance between truthfulness and lying has gradually and by degrees diminished. In Imam Nursi’s words “[Truthfulness and lying] Having begun to be sold together in the same shop, social morality has become corrupted. The propaganda of politics has caused greater demand for lying. The horrible ugliness of lying has begun to be concealed and the shining beauty of truthfulness has begun not to be apparent.” In such an environment who can attain to the level of the Companions?
3- In the age of bliss, all individuals used to wonder “What is it that our Lord wished us to do?” Their hearts would turn towards the hereafter even while they were engaging with worldly affairs. It doesn’t seem possible to reach that level of awareness of the age of bliss today. From this aspect no one can reach the Companions who attained spiritual ranks with a speed faster than the saints with the grace of Allah and the mystery of His nearness. Since the Companions formed the first rank in the establishment of Islam and the spreading of it, a share of all the good deeds of all the Muslim community passes to them in accordance with the rule ‘the one who causes is like the doer’. For this reason no one can reach the level of the Companions in terms of reward. And when we consider the amount of reward that the Companions, who struggled for the cause of belief in the first and most difficult times of Islam, will get, the fact that their level cannot be reached is better understood.