The best of this Ummah, after the passing away of its Prophet, is Abu Bakr, and then Umar, and then Uthmaan. This is what is reported to us from Ibn Umar, who said, We used to say, whilst Allahs Messenger was amongst us, The best of people after the Messenger of Allah is Abu Bakr, then Umar, thenUthmaan. The Prophet would hear of that and not criticise it. Then the best of people after them are Alee, Talhah, az-Zubayr, Sad ibn Abee Waqqaas, Saeed ibn Zayd, Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Awf and Abu Ubaidah Aamir ibn al-Jarrah. All of them were suitable to be Khaleefah. Then the best of people after them are the (rest of the) Companions of the Messenger of Allah, the first generation amongst whom he was sent, the first Muhaajirs and Ansaar, those who prayed towards both qiblahs, then the best of people after them are those who accompanied the Messenger of Allah for a day, a month, a year or less or more than that. We ask Allah to have mercy upon them. We mention their virtues and remain silent about any mistakes they made and we do not speak about a single one of them except favourably, as the Messenger of Allah said, When my Companions are mentioned then withhold, Sufyaan ibn Uyainah said, He who speaks a single word against the Companions of Allahs Messenger is an innovator.