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How many companions did the prophet muhammed have? - Islamiqate Seerah,prophet: muhammed,sahaba (companions),mecca,medina (yathrib),ijma al-sahaba (consensus of the companions)
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in category Seerah

How many companions did the prophet muhammed have?

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I understand the numbers varied throughout his life ie early phase, end of mecca and medina. It would be good if someone can point to research of the numbers through the prophet's life and how many there would have been after he passed away.
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Islamic researcher, graduated from Al-Azhar University, Islamic Studies in the English Language. I also studied at Temple University in the US.
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In a Nutshell:
At the demise of the prophet, the minimum number of companions is 60,000 and the maximum number is 124,000; a figure closer to the latter is more probable. 


Scholars Analysis

It is hard to count the number of companions before the Prophet (saw) passed away because almost all Arabia converted to Islam at that time. Scholars disagree on the average number of companions at the Prophet's death; some argue they were 114,000, others argue 124,000, and others argue 60,000.

The third-century hadith scholar Abu Zar'ah ar-Razi, the teacher of Imam Muslim, noted they were more than one hundred companions. Safaniri narrated:  

ذكَرَّ أَبُو زَرْعَةَ الرّازِيِّ ... أَصِحَابُ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيه وَسَلَّمَ يَزِيدُونَ عَلَى الماِئَةِ ألْفِ .... وَرَوَى أَنَّهُمْ مِائَةَ ألْفٍ وَأَرْبَعَةٌ وَعِشْرُونً ألْفًا مِمَّنْ رَوَى عَنْهُ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيه وَسَلَّمَ وَسَمِعَ مِنْهُ ، وَاُسْتَبْعَدَهُ الْبَرْمَاوِي . قُلْتُ : جَزَمَ بِهَذَا الْعَدَدِ الْجَلاَلُ السُّيُوطِيَّ .
"Abu Zar'ah ar-Razi said the companions of the Prophet (saw) were more than one hundred...
It was narrated, by those who narrated (or heard) from the Prophet (saw), they were 124,000, but Barmawi ruled this out.
I (Safarini) argue this number was confirmed by Suyuti." (Safarini, Ghidha' al-al-Bab, Vol. 1, p. 23)
The ninth-century scholar Sakhawi further argued they were 114,000 companions. He also narrated the Hanbali jurist Imam Ahmed, the founder of Hanbali madhab, said 30,000 men prayed with the Prophet (saw) before he passed away. (Sakhawi, Fath al-Mughith, Vol. 4, pp. 109-112) 

The second-century jurist Imam Shafi'i, the founder of the Shafi'i madhab, argued they were 60,000. The ninth-century historian al-Abidi narrated: 

وقَدْ قَالَ الْإمَامُ أَبُو عَبْدٌ اللَّهِ مُحَمَّدٍ بْنَ إِدْرِيسَ الشَّافِعِيَّ - رَحِمَهُ اللَّه تُوُفِّىَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيهِ وَسَلَّمً وَالْمُسْلِمُونَ سِتُّونً ألْفًا ، ثَلاثُونَ ألْفٍ بِالْمَدِينَةِ ، وَثَلاثُونً ألْفًا فِي غَيْرِهَا .
"(Meaning) Imam Shafi'i said: 'The Prophet (saw) passed away and Muslims were sixty thousand; thirty thousand in Medina and thirty thousand in other places.'" (Al-Abidi, Imta' al-Asma', Vol. 9, p. 82)

Evaluation 

The first view (more than one hundred companions) seems to be more probable because before the Prophet (saw) passed away all Arabia embraced Islam. It was also narrated the Prophet (saw) contributed in a battle against Rome (Tabuk) two year before he passed away and the number of only male fighters was more than 30,000; when we add to this number each one's wives and a large number of children, as well as the elders, widows, the new converts and so on, this number would be multiplied. (Ibn al-Qayim, Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. 3, pp. 526-529)

Bukhari and Muslim narrated this event: 

 وَالْمُسْلِمُونَ مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَثِيرٌ، وَلاَ يَجْمَعُهُمْ كِتَابٌ حَافِظٌ ـ يُرِيدُ الدِّيوَانَ
"Allah's Messenger (saw) was accompanied by a large number of Muslims who could not be listed in a book namely, a register." (Bukhari 4418, Muslim 6670)

Conclusion 

The minimum number of companions is 60,000, the maximum number is 124,000 companions and the latter are more probable. 

References 

Safarini, Ghidha' al-al-Bab;
Sakhawi, Fath al-Mughith;
Al-Abidi, Imta' al-Asma';
Ibn al-Qayim, Zad al-Ma'ad.

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