Many of you might be aware of the argument of the Shias when they appeal to these hadith:
Narrated ‘Abdullah: The Prophet said, “I am your predecessor at the Lake-Fount”. ‘Abdullah added: The Prophet said, “I am your predecessor at the Lake-Fount, and some of you will be brought in front of me till I will see them and then they will be taken away from me and I will say, ‘O Lord, my companions!’ It will be said, ‘you do not know what they did after you had left.’
Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 8.578
Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, “Some of my companions will come to me at my Lake Fount, and after I recognise them, they will then be taken away from me, whereupon I will say, ‘My companions!’ Then it will be said, ‘You do not know what they innovated (new things) in the religion after you.”
1. Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 8584 2. Sahih Muslim, part 15, pp 53-54
Narrated Abu Hazim from Sahl bin Sa’d: The Prophet said, “I am your predecessor (forerunner) at the Lake-Fount, and whoever will pass by there, he will drink from it and whoever will drink from it, he will never be thirsty. There will come to me some people whom I will recognise, and they will recognise me, but a barrier will be placed between me and them.” Abu Hazim added: Nu’man bin Abi ‘Aiyash, on hearing me, said. “Did you hear this from Sahl?” I said, “Yes.” He said, ” I bear witness that I heard Abu Said al-Khudri saying the same, adding that the Prophet said: ‘I will say: They are my companions. Then it will be said to me, ‘You do not know what they innovated (new things) in the religion after you left’. I will say, ‘Far removed, far removed (from mercy), those who changed after me.” Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet said, “On the Day of Resurrection a group of companions will come to me, but will be driven away from the Lake-Fount, and I will say, ‘O Lord (those are) my companions!’ It will be said, ‘You have no knowledge as to what they innovated after you left; they turned apostate as renegades (reverted from the true Islam)”
Sahih al Bukhari Hadith: 8585
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “While I was sleeping, a group (of my followers were brought close to me), and when I recognized them, a man (an angel) came out from amongst (us) me and them, he said (to them), ‘Come along.’ I asked, ‘Where?’ He said, ‘To the (Hell) Fire, by Allah’ I asked, ‘What is wrong with them?’ He said, ‘They turned apostate as renegades after you left.’ Then behold! (Another) group (of my followers) were brought close to me, and when I recognized them, a man (an angel) came out from (me and them) he said (to them); ‘Come along.’ I asked, ‘Where?’ He said, ‘To the (Hell) Fire, by Allah.’ I asked, ‘What is wrong with them?’ He said, ‘They turned apostate as renegades after you left.’ So I did not see anyone of them escaping except a few who were like camels without a shepherd”. Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 8.587
to try and prove that the companions of the Prophet apostatized after his death.
First of all, the narration no where indicates that the majority of the companions of the Prophet would apostatize. On the contrary, the hadith says:
Some of my companions will come to me…
Furthermore, Ibn Hajar also argues that in another narration the Arabic word أصيحابي is used to denote that these groups of people are very small in number:
في رواية أحمد ” فلأقولن ” وفي رواية أحاديث الأنبياء ” أصيحابي ” بالتصغير وكذا هو في حديث أنس وهو خبر مبتدأ محذوف تقديره هؤلاء
Al Khattabi argues that not a single companion apostatized and we should definitely not speak badly against the famous companions:
وقال الخطابي : لم يرتد من الصحابة أحد وإنما ارتد قوم من جفاة الأعراب ممن لا نصرة له في الدين وذلك لا يوجب قدحا في الصحابة المشهورين
Some opine that the hadeeth is not speaking about apostasy (which means one has left Islam), but that they are still Muslims who unfortunately did great sins and did Bidah. (See Imam al Qurtubi in al Mufham, Volume 1, page 504). So I guess that they would argue that when the word ارتدوا was used in the hadeeth, it is not referring to apostatizing from Islam, but have withdrawn from the path of the Sunnah. This is linguistically possible. Also Ibn Abdul Birr said that those who innovate are away from the Lake Fount (another good clarification of the hadeeth):
كل من أحدث في الدين فهو من المطرودين عن الحوض كالخوارج والروافض وسائر أصحاب الأهواء
The Shias say:
The Prophet knew who the hypocrites were, so he wouldn’t have called them his companions. Thus, some of the Sahabah did actually apostatize.
Well it is possible that the Prophet (peace be upon him) only knew the hypocrites during his lifetime. He didn’t necessarily have to know about who would apostatize after his death. As Imam Nawawi said, this is one of the three possible meanings:
والثاني : أن المراد من كان في زمن النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – ثم ارتد بعده
Secondly, we already are aware of some of the companions who apostatized after the Prophet’s death (e.g.. those who refused to pay the Zakah during Abu Bakr’s caliphate and died fighting and Al Sindi in his commentary on Al Nasa’ee suggested that it was those who joined the ranks of Al Musaylama al Kidhaab http://hadith.al-islam.com/Display/Display.asp?hnum=2060&doc=3&IMAGE=%DA%D1%D6+%C7%E1%CD%CF%ED%CB
Also Imam Al Khattabi in his book Al Farq Baynal Firaq said that Ahlus Sunnah are agreed on certain tribes that apostatized after the Prophet’s death:
أجمع أهل السنة على أن الذين ارتدوا بعد وفاة النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم- من كندة ، وحنيفة وفزارة ، وبني أسد ، وبني بكر بن وائل ، لم يكونوا من الأنصار ولا من المهاجرين قبل فتح مكة
Thirdly, why don’t you be consistent you Shias? You are appealing to our hadith literature to try and prove your case? Well our hadith literature states that Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman are going to heaven. So when we bring these hadith together we know that they are not from the companions that apostatized. So don’t cherry pick the narrations that suite you.
Fourthly, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that the best generation is his. Are you trying to tell us that the best generation of this Ummah is a big group of apostates?
In conclusion, the Shias have no case and as usual are very desperate.