Who is a Sahabi?


It is upon every Muslim to love the Sahaba raḍyAllāhu 'anhum (may Allāh be pleased with them). 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:

  1. Be a Muslim
  2. Met the prophet whilst believing in Islam (seeing is not a condition because one can be blind)
  3. Died upon Islam

The above conditions exclude the person who was a Muslim at the time of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) 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 ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), yet they became Muslim at the time of the Prophetṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), so we cannot call them Sahaba, they are taabi’een.

Meeting or seeing the prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is a great honour. It means that someone like Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), who was very close to the prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) all his life, and was even his friend before Islam, and someone who only saw the prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) once during the farewell Hajj are both called Sahabi. Yet, their ‘Sahabihood’ is at different levels.