What is the meaning and status of this hadith?
It is said that the Prophet PBUH said:
أَصْحَابِي كَالنُّجُومِ فَبِأَيِّهِمُ اقْتَدَيْتُمُ اهْتَدَيْتُمْ
“My companions are like stars. Whoever among them you follow, surely you will be guided”
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
The companions of the Prophet PBUH are among the best generation because they lived during the time of the Prophet PBUH not counting being educated by the Prophet PBUH himself. This is acknowledged by the Prophet PBUH himself in his saying:
خَيْرُ النَّاسِ قَرْنِي، ثُمَّ الَّذِينَ يَلُونَهُمْ، ثُمَّ الَّذِينَ يَلُونَهُمْ
"The people of my generation are the best, then those who follow them, and then whose who follow the latter.
Sahih al-Bukhari (3651)
Besides, it is stated in the Quran that Allah SWT bless the companions and provide them with gardens where water flows beneath them:
وَالسَّابِقُونَ الْأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُم بِإِحْسَانٍ رَّضِيَ اللَّـهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
“And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajireen and the Ansar and those who followed them with good conduct - Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment.”
Surah al-Taubah (100)
Furthermore, The Prophet PBUH also forbids any form of degradation towards his companions as mentioned in his saying:
- As narrated Abu Said al-Khudri RA, the Prophet PBUH said:
لاَ تَسُبُّوا أَصْحَابِي، فَلَوْ أَنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ أَنْفَقَ مِثْلَ أُحُدٍ ذَهَبًا مَا بَلَغَ مُدَّ أَحَدِهِمْ وَلاَ نَصِيفَهُ
"Do not abuse my companions for if any of you spent gold equal to Uhud (in Allah's Cause) it would not be equal to a Mud or even a half Mud spent by one of them."
Sahih al-Bukhari (3673)
Referring back to the above question, Imam al-Baihaqi cited a narration which is almost similar with the above narration in his book, [Refer: al-Madkhal ila ‘Ilm al-Sunan, 2/580] as well as Imam al-Khatib al-Baghdadi in his book. [Refer: al-Kifayah fi ‘Ilm al-Riwayah, 1/48] which is:
إِنَّ أَصْحَابِي بِمَنْزِلَةِ النُّجُومِ فِي السَّمَاءِ, فَأَيُّهَا أَخَذْتُمْ بِهِ اهْتَدَيْتُمْ, وَاخْتِلَافُ أَصْحَابِي لَكُمْ رَحْمَةٌ
“Verily, my companions are of the same position as stars in the sky. Whoever you take from, surely you will be guided, and the disagreements of my companions are a blessing for you”
Moreover, the scholars disagreed on the evaluation of this hadith. Some of them view this hadith as very weak (dhaif), while some of them view it as fabricated. Here, we state the opinions of the scholars on this hadith:
- Imam Ibn Hazm (456h) views this hadith as bathil and a falsehood. [Refer: al-Ihkam fi Usul al-Ahkam, 5/64]
- Imam Ibn Abd al-Bar (463h) views this hadith as inauthentic (not sahih) narrated from the Prophet PBUH. [Refer: Jami’ Bayan al-‘Ilm, 2/923]
- Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jauziyyah (751h) views this hadith is narrated through numbers of chain, but all of them is not thabit from the Prophet PBUH. [Refer: ‘Ilam al-Muwaqqi’in, 3/543]
- Imam Ibn Mulaqqin (804h) views this hadith as inauthentic (not sahih) narrated from the Prophet PBUH. [Refer: al-Badr al-Munir, 9/587]
- Imam al-Syaukani (1250h) views that this hadith is not thabit from the Prophet PBUH. [Refer: Fath al-Rabbani, 5/2179]
Those are some of the evaluations from the scholars regarding this narration. Hence, we are of the opinion that this narration as inauthentic (not sahih) narrated from the Prophet PBUH. This is because, majority of the narrators in the sanad were evaluated by the scholars of hadith like al-Bukhari, al-Daruqutni, al-Nasai’e and others as narrators who are matruk (their narrations are abandoned), narrators who narrate on fabricated hadith, narrators who are mungkar (their narrations are refuted) and etc.
In conclusion, as a mu’min who loves the Prophet PBUH, we should preserve the reputation and physical being of the Prophet PBUH from any falsehood and accusation which comes from unauthorized persons. This is the sign of our love and adoration towards the Prophet PBUH as mentioned in his saying:
لاَ يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى أَكُونَ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ وَالِدِهِ وَوَلَدِهِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ
“None of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father, his children and all mankind,”
Sahih al-Bukhari (15)
Furthermore, it is our obligation before reading, writing, teaching, conveying or spreading on any particular hadith to first determine its source and status to avoid from being involved in the warning of the Prophet PBUH by not doing so. This is to preserve the purity of Islam as well as shielding it from any form of deprivation. The above hadith is not sahih and we are absolutely not permitted to spread it to others. Lastly, may Allah SWT preserve our lips from conveying and spreading hadiths which are not sahih. Ameen.