Assalamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullah Sheikh Gibril,
Hope you and the family are well and healthy.
Imam an-Nawawi (in Sharh Sahih Muslim) and Mulla Ali al-Qari (Mirqat al-Mafatih) attribute the following saying to Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi whereas Imam Laqqani (Hidayat al-Murid) and Imam Yusuf an-Nabahani (Shawahid al-Haq fil-istighatha bi-sayyid al-khalq) attribute it to Abu Mansur al-Maturidi.
قال أبو منصور البغدادي أصحابنا مجمعون على أن أفضلهم الخلفاء الأربعة على الترتيب المذكور ثم تمام العشرة ثم أهل بدر ثم أحد ثم بيعة الرضوان وممن له مزية أهل العقبتين من الأنصار وكذلك السابقون الأولون
Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi said, “our companions are in agreement that the best of them [the Companions] were the four khalifs, on the mentioned order, then the remainder of the Ten [given glad tidings of Paradise], then the Companions of the Battle of Badr, then the Companions of the Battle of Uhud, then those who took the Accepted Pledge of Allegiance [Baya`t ar-Ridwaan], then preference is given to the those who pledged allegiance at `Aqaba on two occasions, as well as the forerunners [the first to accept Islam, as mentioned in the Quran 9:100].
Some questions I had were:
– To which Abu Mansur should this saying be attributed?
– Does “our companions” refer to the Shafi’i school or Ash’ari school?
– If there is ijma‘ (consensus) on the tarteeb (order) of the Companions in virtue, what would be the ruling to believe otherwise?
May this find you and yours well.
They are not mutually exclusive and could have both said it, except that al-Maturidi would not say “our companions”. The latter, in `Abd al-Qahir’s mouth, would mean the Ash`aris and/or Shafiis. Nevertheless, the writings of these two authorities would need to be checked directly as they are all available, and there is no excuse for merely citing them from late secondary sources if one is doing a tahqiq of the mas’ala; to which should be added the many other authoritative representatives of the two doctrinal schools. Note: “Laqani” (no tashdid).
Yes, such ijma` has been stated by several authorities, even if it comes later than the Sahaba and Tabi`in generations. To believe otherwise is a classic innovation of Shi`ism, or Kharijism, and mukabara.