On Saturday 28th January 2017 at Al-Mahdi Institute, the Centre for Intra-Muslim Studies held a roundtable discussion on the topic “The concept and nature of Sahaba in light of Shi’i perspective”. The meeting was attended by eminent scholars and community leaders from both Ahl al-Sunnah and Shia schools of thought. The meeting opened with the recitation of Quran followed by a presentation by Syed Hossein Qazwini (Islamic Seminary of Karbala). The presentation was followed by extensive discussion and deliberations from the attending scholars, including questions and answers based on the presented paper.
Syed Hossein Qazwini, the guest speaker presented his research paper on the above-mentioned topic and elucidated the Shia view-point concerning sahaba from a Quranic basis. This was followed by a Q&A session, contributed to by all participants.
The following captures some of the results of the dialogue on the topic;
Points of agreement
– The Quran, established sunna and established historical facts clearly demonstrate that the sahaba (companions of the Prophet) were human beings and not infallible (masum).
– The term “Adul (Just)” cannot be attributed to all sahaba if the Quran and sunna are to be applied appropriately and meticulously, for some of the companions of the Prophet are excluded from being so by the Quran and the Prophet.
– The righteous sahaba deserve respect, and blasphemy is unaccpetable, however differences of opinion (ikhtilaf) and respectful criticism is acceptable and should be seen as distinct from of blasphemy and insult.
– Narrations of Prophetic teachings are accepted from the companions of the Prophet, subject to meeting the specific criteria of the scholars of hadith and rijal (biographies) which differ both across and within the two schools of Sunni and Shiʿi thought
Points of difference
– Within the Shia-school of thought a notion of ‘Adala (justice)’ is acceptably applied only in the case of those sahaba whose adala has been confirmed by way of the Quran, the Prophet or the Ahlul Bayt while to Ahl al-Sunnah it is applied to the majority of them.
– Shia’ scholars, in light of evidence such as hadith of “al-Thaqalain” depend mainly on the institution of Ahl al-Baytin terms of receiving and imparting ahadith of the Prophet, whereas Ahl al-Sunnah have been associated with both sahaba and Ahl al-Bayt equally and seek to rely on both sources.
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