Question:

Does the statement of the prophet ﷺ wherein he said:

“Perhaps the one who witnesses something will convey it to one who has more understanding than himself.”

(Does this) necessitate that individuals from this Ummah after the companions are more knowledgeable than individuals from the companions?

Answer:

The companions are of different levels, may Allaah’s Pleasure be upon all of them. From them is he who died before the completion of the Islamic teachings; having died as a martyr, however, acting upon that which Allaah had revealed (up to that point). From them is he who remained living out his life until the religion was complete.

The principle is that all knowledge which is inherited after their era is from their knowledge. So they have their distinction and they are the Imaams of the scholars and the point of reference of every scholar who comes after them. So it is not befitting to compare them to one who comes after them. Even if his knowledge is abundant he is still not to be compared to them, so that it is said that he is more knowledgeable than the companions of Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ. One should not forget about their companionship with the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ wherein none who comes after them can be equal with them, even if his knowledge is abundant.

Translated by: Raha ibn Donald Batts
Taken From: A Gift to the reader in Explanation of the Book of Knowledge from Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree pgs. 103-104
http://mtws.posthaven.com

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