Integrity of the Prophet's Companions

By Muhammad Alkhider

Some people intentionally or unintentionally do refer to the meaning of Integrity and the concept of Infallibility as synonymous, although the difference between them is crystal-clear. As such, they think that attributing virtuousness to the companions of the Holy Prophet necessitates their infallibility. What a grave mistake!

Integrity of the Prophet’s companions means that: they were neither hypocrites, liars, lewd, immoral nor infidels. Besides, they were righteous believers who would err sometimes and correct their mistakes thereafter. They committed mistakes after which they hastened to repent and seek forgiveness from Allah Almighty. They obeyed God, the Most High, and expected His acceptance of their acts of devotion without an iota of doubt.

Infallibility requires of a person to be exalted from committing sins or perpetuating shortcomings. Both his mind and body should be immaculate of blemishes and shortcomings that can easily defame his rank and traduce his status.

The difference between Integrity and Infallibility is crystal-clear in Islam. The Sunni Muslims do refer to the companions of the Holy Prophet as straightforward, virtuous and honest but not infallible. Impeccability according to the belief of the Sunni Muslims is only attributed to Prophets and Messenger of God Almighty.

Regarding the source of integrity and the question whether it is a Philosophical theory or rather an Islamic fact that a host of texts has proved authentic, the answer is as follows:

A pondering and reflecting look at the Holy Qur’an and a study that Muslims render to the Book of God and the authentic traditions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is able to provide a convincing answer to the aforementioned question. Allah, the Holy One, says in the Holy Qur’an: “Allah’s good pleasure was on the believers when they swore Fealty to thee under the Tree: He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down Tranquility to them: and He rewarded them with a speedy victory.” (48: 18)


God Almighty in the above-mentioned verse explained to His messenger and the entire believing folk that His pleasure was on the believers, men and women, who plighted fealty to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). He informed his messenger furthermore that He knew what was concealed in their hearts regarding faith in Him and truthfulness. Hence, He sent down tranquility, peace, calm and sense of security and confidence to them. This suffices as testimony from God Almighty regarding the veracity of the companions’ faith, their truthfulness and sincerity. It has been proven that the messenger of God (PBUH) said: “No one among those who swore their fealty to me under the tree will be consigned to Hell except the owner of the red camel.” (Related by At-Tirmidhiy in “Al-Mana’qib [Virtues of the Companions], and Muslim in the same titled book)

The man who was doomed to Hell-fire according to the above-mentioned Hadith, was among the arch-hypocrites of Madinah called Al-Jaddu bin Qais.

The number of the companions who swore their fealty to the Prophet (PBUH) was 1,400. According to other traditions it reached 1,500. God Almighty testified to their sincere and truthfulness and confirmed to His messenger that there was no grain of hypocrisy in their hearts except one man. The messenger of God (PBUH) eventually revealed his name to the companions. His name was Al-Jaddu bin Qais. He did not swear his fealty to the messenger of God as did the companions under the Tree of Allah’s Pleasure. Allah, Exalted in Might, says in the Holy Qur’an: “Not equal among you are those who spent (freely) and fought before the victory (with those who did so later). Those are higher in rank than those who spent (freely) and fought afterwards. But to all has Allah promised a goodly (reward.) (57: 10)

God, the Most High, in the above-mentioned verse, promised the companions who spent freely before and after the speedy victory of the liberation of Makkah, a goodly reward. Moreover, He passed a verdict regarding the ones He promised a goodly reward, that they would be safe from the torment of the Hell-fire on the Resurrection Day. He says in the Holy Qur’an: “Those for whom the good (record) from Us has gone before, will be removed far therefrom. Not the slightest sound will they hear of hell. What their souls desired, in that will they dwell. The Great Terror will bring them no grief.” (21: 101-103) Allah Almighty also says in the Holy Qur’an: “Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah.” (3: 110)

However, it is incredible for a nation (People) that Allah Almighty has referred to as the best of people evolved for mankind, as testimony from Him to be as the Shiite Adherents and Sources maintain! For they say: “The emigrants (from Makkah to Madinah) and the Ansa’r (those who welcomed, helped and hosted the Prophet and his companions who came from Makkah) all of them recanted their religion except three.” (Al-Kaafiy, 2/244)

Had it been true that they were really as described by the Shiite Sources, Allah Almighty would have not praised and placed them in a lofty rank in the aforementioned verse and in many others. The messenger of God (PBUH) says: “Prophet Noah (on him be peace) is going to be summoned by God Almighty on the Resurrection Day. He will say: “Here I am at your service O my Lord!” Then God Almighty will ask him: “Did you convey the message?” Noah’s response will be: “Yes.” Then God Almighty will ask Noah’s people: “Did he convey the message?” They will apparently say: “No Warner came to us.” Then God Almighty will ask Noah (Peace be upon him): “Who will testify that you conveyed the message?” Noah will obviously say: “Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his people (followers).” Then the followers of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) will unanimously testify that Noah (on him be peace) delivered the message entrusted to him by God Almighty.”

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) informed us of the aforementioned situation in his interpretation of the following verse: “Thus have We made you an Ummah (nation, people) justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over yourselves.” (2: 143)

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the context of his interpretation of the aforementioned verse said: “To be justly balanced means: to be straightforward.” Related by Al-Bukha’riy

Thus the messenger of God (PBUH) confirmed the non-shaky integrity of his honest, truthful and sincere companions.