Mu`awiyyah ibn Abi Sufyan is one of the Prophet’s Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all). Therefore, we should respect them all, say good about them, and not indulge in defaming any of them.
The prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Muhammad At-Turki, professor at King Sa`ud University, states: “The narration that Mu`awiyyah is the one who initiated cursing `Ali ibn Abi Talib from the pulpit is not authentic. Moreover, Mu`awiyyah ibn Abi Sufyan was a prominent Companion who knew and respected the other Companions, so it cannot be believed on hearsay that he ordered Muslims to do this.
I would like to warn the questioner not to rely on history books on these issues, since these books are full of unauthenticated and spurious stories. Experts in history concur with this.
The position of Ahl Al-Sunnah (mainstream Muslims) on Mu`awiyyah ibn Abi Sufyan is similar to their position on other Companions. We ask Allah to bless them all and be pleased with them. Mu`awiyyah is one of them, and his companionship with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is firmly established. Hence, it is unlawful to derogate him, since he is a Companion, and whoever does so is facing real danger in his religion and belief.
I remind my dear questioner of what Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said when he heard a man derogate Mu`awiyyah and `Amr ibn Al-`Aas: “This man dares to talk about them because he has a corrupt heart. No one hates a Companion of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) except those who have corrupted hearts.”
When Al-Hasan Al-Basri was asked about those who curse Mu`awiyyah and Ibn Al-Zubayr, he said, “May Allah curse those who curse them.”
You should warn others of the seriousness of this issue. May Allah guide us all to the right path.”
Excerpted, with slight modifications, from:
Dr. Marawan Shahin, Professor of Hadith and Its Sciences, Faculty of `Usul Ad-Din (Theology), Al-Azhar University, adds:
“The scholars of Hadith hold the view that the Prophetic Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) are the best of all generations. After them come the Successors and then the followers of the Successors.
As for Mu`wiyyah, he was one of the most dignified Companions and he belongs to the best generation, as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that the best generations were the three generations after him.
We all know that `Umar ibn `Abdul-`Aziz is the fifth Rightly Guided Caliph and has many virtues. When some Muslim scholars were asked who is better, Mu`awiyyah or `Umar ibn `Abdul-`Aziz, they showed sadness and said, “As for Mu`awiyyah, he is his (the Prophet’s) Companion, his brother-in-law (the brother of Umm Habibah, the Prophet’s wife) and the scribe of revelation.” Such
reply refers to the fact that those scholars reject making a comparison between one of the Companions and another person, even if the later is among the high-ranked Successors.
The fight that occurred among the Companions was based on their ijtihad (personal reasoning). Each thought that he was right and the others mistaken and that he was obliged to stand for what is right. It was never a fight for power, as some people may think.
Hence, a Muslim should avoid discussing this fight or going into its details. We should make the best use of what happened and avoid differences among Muslims so as to avoid any further fights.”