Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
1) Who is a Sahabi?
2) Who is referred to when Allah Says ‘Allah is pleased with them?
Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah khayr for your questions. I pray this finds you in the best of states.
Definition of a Sahabi (Companion)
The scholars consider a Sahabi as someone who fulfils the following conditions:
1. That they met (came into physical proximity) of the Prophet ﷺ in this world
2. That they were Muslim when they met the Prophet ﷺ
3. That the meeting was after the Prophet ﷺ received Prophethood
4. That they died upon Islam
The following are not conditions for the person to be deemed a Sahabi:
1. That they spoke with the Prophet ﷺ when they met
2. That they saw the Prophet with their eyes
From the above, we can know that Companions who were blind, such as Ibn Umm Maktum (may Allah be pleased with him), are considered Companions even if they did not see the blessed Prophet ﷺ with their eyes. It also includes the Angels who met the Prophet on earth, such as Jibril and Mika’il (May Allah be pleased with them both).
It excludes those individuals who initially kept the company of the Prophet ﷺ, but ultimately did not die upon Islam, such as Abdullah bin Khatl, though if the person left Islam but then returned to it and died upon Islam, then they are still considered a Companion, such as Abdullah bin Abi Sarh.
[Hashiyat al Bajuri ‘ala Jawhara al Tawhid, Sharh al Mandhuma al Bayquniyya]
‘Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him’
The various verses that Allah Most High says, ‘Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him’ is general and refers to those truthful and obedient Muslims until the Day of Judgement.
For example, in Surah al Ma’idah [5:119], it refers to the ‘truthful’ ones (Sadiqin) that Allah is pleased with, with the preceding verses mentioning the truthfulness of Sayyidna Isa, as an exemplar of those who are truthful. Thus anyone who follows the example in upholding the truth, is included in those Allah is pleased with.
In Surah al Tawba [9:100], Allah the Exalted first mentions the ‘forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajireen and the Ansar’ as those Allah is pleased with. This has been taken to mean those who fought at Badr or meaning all the Sahaba, while it has also been held that it refers to those who took the allegiance of Ridwan, or those who fought at Uhud, or anyone who became Muslim before the opening of Mecca.
Irrespective of the difference of opinion, those Quranic words are then immediately followed by the words, ‘and those who followed them in goodness’ meaning those Muslims who follow the virtuous conduct of the Salaf, and this refers to any righteous Muslim who follow the way of the Salaf in their faith and works until the Day of Judgement, as stated in the books of tafsir.
[Tafsir al Sawi]
In summary, the words of Allah Most High, ‘Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him’ refers to both specific people, such as Sayyidna ‘Isa and the Early Muslims, including Companions who had little contact with the Prophet ﷺ, as well as generally to any righteous and truthful Muslim who strives to follow the conduct of our pious predecessors.
May Allah grant you every good and make you and us of those who Allah is pleased with and who are pleased with Him.
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.