What was the rank and role of these later converts to Islam [From Mecca , T’aif, Yemen, Oman, and other regions] in preserving the Sunnah?

According to the most authoritative Sunni view, the companions are graded into twelve different levels, or ‘Tabaqat’. Al-Hakim, one of the most famous and respected Sunni scholars Al-Hakim has categorised them in the following manner [1]:

1– Those who came first into Islam in Mecca. 2– Companions who entered Islam before the consultation of the people of Mecca in Darul-Nadwah. 3– Those who made Hijrah(migration) to al-Habashah (Abyssinia). 4– The Companions of the first ‘Aqabah and they were twelve men from the Ansar. 5– The Companions of the second ‘Aqabah and they were mainly from the Ansar except for Ibn Abbas (ra). 6– The Mouhajirun who reached the Prophet in Qubaa before he entered al-Madinah. 7– Ahlu-Badr (Soldiers who fought at the battle of Badr). 8– Those who made Hijra(migration) between Badr and al-Hudaibiyah. 9– Ahlu-Baya’at al-Rudwan (Those who took the oath of fealty under the acacia tree at Hudaibiyah). 10– Those who made Hijrah between al-Hudaibiyah and Fath Mecca (conquest of Mecca) such as: Khalid ibn al-Walid and ‘Amro bin al-‘Aas. 11– Muslim at Fath, those who embraced Islam on the day of the conquest of Mecca. 12– Those of them who were children and they saw the Prophet SAWS on the day of the conquest, the farewell sermon and other occasions.  

The highest rank given is to those who entered Islam at the very begging when the Prophet Muhammed ﷺ began to openly declare his prophethood. The ones in the succeeding ranks seem to be categorised based on how much later they converted, as well as whether or not they were present at key battles or incidents. The penultimate rank is given to those who embraced Islam on the day of the conquest of Mecca and the lowest rank to those who embraced Islam after the Arab conquests in the last year or so of the life of the Prophet ﷺ. Thus, when it comes to rank and closeness, as well as companionship to the Prophet ﷺ those who accepted islam and were from Mecca, as well as Yemen, Oman, T’aif would be included in the lowest ranks.

We here wish to make a distinction that it does not mean the Sunni do not respect these companions, or claim that had some contribution towards the religion of Islam. However, they had seen very little of the Prophet ﷺ, had far less awareness of the Sunnah, and for the vast majority of his prophethood, were hostile to him up until the last year of his life. In addition to this, those who converted after the conquest of Mecca and the subsequent conquests in the Arabian Peninsula are termed as “Mu’alafati Quloobuhum” . The sunni scholar Al-Saghani [d.650] compiled a list of narrations and their number according to Ibn Hazm for each of the members of the Mu’alafati Quloobuhum who have narrated a tradition directly from the Prophet ﷺ. Of the 42 narrators of hadith listed, only four of them narrated more than one tradition, some narrated one and the majority narrated none at all [2].

This is a clear indicator as to who played the greatest role in transmitting from the Prophet ﷺ among his companions; the Muhajirun (لمهاجرون ) and the Ansaar (الأنصار‎ ) of Medina. If there was ever a need to make an important declaration that would have been understood by those who were trusted by the rest of the Arabian Peninsula in transmitting the words and commands of the Prophet ﷺ, it is only those who resided with him in Medina. Thus, even if one claims that the declaration was given on the way back to Medina, in the presence of the Muhajirun and Ansaar, and a number of tribes also travelling north, but in the absence of the residents of Mecca and those living south, one can still affirm the message was declared to the most important and influential group of Muslims. It is these Muslims who transmitted -for sake of argument- the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ and were trusted to convey his words and teachings, and so it is no surprise that they were also to be trusted to convey the clear declarations of the Prophet ﷺ to those who were absent. 



[1] Tajrid Asmaa al-Sahaba – Al-Hakim Nishapuri

[2] Mu’alafa Quloobuhum – Saghani