The Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) occupy the highest status among the Muslim Ummah. Their role in supporting the religion, helping the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), spreading his teachings and even transmitting the Noble Qur’an can never be overlooked. In fact, raising doubts regarding their faithfulness, trustworthiness, sincerity, or honesty unquestionably entails casting doubts on the truthfulness and authenticity of the entire religion, for the Qur’an and the prophetic traditions were handed down to us through their transmission. This is why some scholars mention that loving the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) is among the basic principles of Islam.
In his response to this issue, Sheikh Muhammad bn Salih Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi scholar said:
Undoubtedly, it is a sign of great misguidance that a person occupies himself with slandering the Companions of the best of mankind (peace and blessings be upon him) or arguing about the disputes that arose between them, instead of occupying himself with doing that which will benefit him in both his worldly and spiritual affairs.
No one has a reason to slander, hate or bear grudges against the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). They have so many virtues; they are the ones who supported Islam and spread the faith; they are the ones who fought the polytheists (mushriks); they are the ones who transmitted the Qur’an, Sunnah and Sharia rulings. They sacrificed themselves, their blood and their wealth for the sake of Allah the Almighty who chose them to be the Companions of His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Therefore, no one should slander or hate them and the one who does so is a hypocrite who does not love Islam or believe in it.
It was narrated that al-Bara’ (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) say: “ The Ansar: no one loves them but a believer and no one hates them but a hypocrite. Whoever loves them, Allah will love him, and whoever hates them, Allah will hate him.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
If someone who hates the Ansar cannot be a believer and this renders him a hypocrite, then how about the one who hates the Ansar and the Muhajirin and those who followed them in truth, and slanders them, curses them, and denounces them and those who love them as disbelievers (kafirs)– as the Rafidisdo? Undoubtedly, such people are more deserving to be regarded as kafirs and hypocrites, and of not being believers.
Imam Al-Tahhawi said:
We love the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) without exaggerating in our love for any of them, nor do we disavow any of them.
Indeed, we hate those who hate them, and we only mention them in good terms. Loving them is part of our religious commitment, faith and ihsan, and hating them is disbelief, hypocrisy and wrongdoing.
Imam Abu Zar’ah al-Razi said: If you see a man criticizing one of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), then know he is a disbeliever.
Imam Ahmad said: If you see a man mentioning one of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) in a negative way, then call his Islam into question.
Giving more details about this issue IbnTaymiyah said:
If a person slanders them in a way that does not impugn their good character or religious commitment, such as describing one of them as being stingy or cowardly or lacking in knowledge or not being an ascetic and so on, then he deserves to be rebuked and disciplined, but we do not rule him to be a kafir because of that. This is how we should interpret the words of those scholars who did not judge such (slanderers) as disbelievers.
If a person curses them and slanders them in general terms, this is an area of scholarly dispute, depending on whether this cursing is motivated by grudge or by a belief.
If a person goes beyond that and claims that they apostatized after the death of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), apart from a small group of no more than ten or so individuals, or that most of them rebelled and did evil, then there is no doubt that such a person is a kafir, because he has denied what is stated in more than one place in the Qur’an; that Allah the Almighty was pleased with them and praised them, … because this implies that those who transmitted the Qur’an and Sunnah were kafirs or evildoers and that the best of this Ummah which is described in the verse (You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind) (Aal `Imran 3: 110) – the first generation – were mostly kafirs and hypocrites. This implies that this Ummah is the worst of nations, and that the first generations of this Ummah are the most evil. No doubt this is blatant disbelief, the evidence for which is quite clear.
Hence, you will find that most of those who proclaim such views will sooner or later be shown to be heretics.
In conclusion, there are some groups of those who slander the Companions concerning whom there is no doubt that they are kafirs, others who cannot be judged to be kafirs, and others concerning whom there is some doubt regarding that.
Imam Taqiy al-Din al-Subki also stated:
If a person slanders all the Companions, then he is undoubtedly a kafir. The same applies if he slanders one of the Companions just because he is a Companion, because this is demeaning the virtue of the Companions and indirectly slandering the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). So, undoubtedly the person who does this is a kafir.