It is upon every Muslim to love the Sahaba . We do not pick between them by liking some and disliking others.
According to the correct opinion, to be a Sahabi, one has to fulfil 3 conditions:
- Be a Muslim
- Met the prophet whilst believing in Islam (seeing is not a condition because one can be blind)
- Died upon Islam
The above conditions exclude the person who was a Muslim at the time of the Prophet but did not meet him. For example as we see in the hadith reported by Bukhari and Muslim:
Narrated Ibn Abbas
The Prophet sent Muadh to Yemen and said, “Invite the people to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and I am Allah’s Apostle, and if they obey you to do so, then teach them that Allah has enjoined on them five prayers in every day and night (in 24 hours), and if they obey you to do so, then teach them that Allah has made it obligatory for them to pay the Zakat from their property and it is to be taken from the wealthy among them and given to the poor.”
Vol. 2 No. 478 Sahih Bukhari
All of these people in Yemen who accepted Islam, did not come out and meet the prophet , yet they became Muslim at the time of the Prophet, so we cannot call them Sahaba, they are taabi’een.
Meeting or seeing the prophet is a great honour. It means that someone like Abu Bakr , who was very close to the prophet all his life, and was even his friend before Islam, and someone who only saw the prophet once during the farewell Hajj are both called Sahabi. Yet, their ‘Sahabihood’ is at different levels.