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In Islam, the Sahāba were the companions of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). This form is plural, the singular is Sahābi, which is Arabic for "friend, companion."
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Definitions of Companion
Anyone who saw Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in his lifetime, believed in his teachings, and died as a Muslim to be a Companion or Ṣahābi. Lists of prominent Companions usually run to fifty or sixty names, being the people most closely associated with Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
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It was important to identify the Companions because later scholars accepted their testimony (the hadith, or traditions) as to the words and deeds of Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), the occasions on which the Qur'an was revealed, and various important matters of Islamic history and practice (sunnah). The testimony of the Companions, as it was passed down through chains of trusted narrators (isnads), was the basis of the developing Islamic tradition.
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Other links in the chain of isnad
Because the hadith were not written down until many years after the death of Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), the isnads, or chains of transmission, always have several links. The first link is preferably a Companion, who had direct contact with Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). The Companion then related the tradition to a taba'een, the companion of the Companion. Taba'een had no direct contact with Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), but did have direct contact with the Ṣahāba. The tradition then would have been passed from the taba'een to the tabataba'een, the third link.
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The second and third links in the chain of transmission were also of great interest to Muslim scholars, who treated of them in biographical dictionaries and evaluated them for bias and reliability.

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Views of the companions
According to Sunni scholars, people of the past should be considered Companions if they had any kind of contact with Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). If they saw him, heard him, or were in his presence even briefly, they are Companions. Blind people are considered Companions even if they could not see Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Infants who could not remember their contact with Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) are still considered Companions. Even unlearned and unobservant Muslims are considered Companions. However, anyone who died after rejecting Islam and becoming an apostate is not considered a Companion.
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Sunni Muslim scholars classified Companions into many categories, based on a number of criteria. Imam Suyuti recognized eleven levels of Companionship. However, all Companions are considered just (udul); that is, Sunni scholars do not believe that Companions would lie or fabricate hadith.
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Most famous companions
* Hazrat Abu BakrRadhiAllahuAnhu
* Hazrat Umar RadhiAllahuAnhu
* Hazrat Usman RadhiAllahuAnhu
* Hazrat Ali RadhiAllahuAnhu
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