Concerning the Companions, he writes:
The Companions of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) gained the supreme station (maqam) in this abode, and in the abode of peace (dar al-Salam), the highest degrees of nearness (qurba) to God, the realization (tahaqquq) of faith (iman) through companionship (suhba). If any of us were to spend for the sake of God an amount that is equal to the mountain ‘Uhud’, it would never reach in reward a mudd [a measure of weight equal to 543 gr.] of theirs, or even half of it, and none of us will be good enough to be a servant to any of them. We are the brothers; security (aman) is ours; they are the Companions, hence they are the loved ones. (Ibn al-`Arabi, Rasa`il, Kitab al-Qurba).
He also says:
The Companions of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) have our good opinion (may God be pleased with all of them); we have no reason to defame any of them, even though they disagreed amongst themselves, and it is not for us to plunge into the dispute that broke out between them, for they are the people of knowledge and ijtihad and were newly acquainted with Prophet-hood. They are rewarded in all their judgements based on ijtihad whether it was right or wrong (Fut., I, p. 518).
As for Abu Bakr (may God be pleased with him), we find he says:
The highest among God’s (awliya`) is Abu Bakr (may God be pleased with him). It was inevitable [with leadership at stake] that there were those who were for, and those who were against [among the Companions]. One who was reluctantly plunged into the affair did so, either because of an uncertainty (shubuha) that troubled him if he had fear of God, or because of desire and passion if he had no fear of God. As for those Companions who did not accept his leadership, if it was not out of egocentric desire, we should excuse them through good opinion, but the rejection was the result of uncertainty [about Abu Bakr’s leadership] which caused any one of them to consider himself as being more qualified for leadership (imama) than Abu Bakr. This knowledge gained from such uncertainty is contradictory to God’s knowledge; for in the knowledge of God it had already been decreed that Abu Bakr would be a Caliph on earth (Fut., III, p. 16).
He also says about Abu Bakr:
None of Abu Bakr’s knowledge was ever exposed until the day the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) died, and the majority of the Companions were baffled, and said what we know except for Abu Bakr. God granted him success to demonstrate the strength He had given him, and that He exclusively qualified him to step forward and lead. The Imam must be sober not drunk. The strength that he showed on that day proved that God had assigned him as the head (muqaddim) of the group, to lead (Khalif) the community after the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace). The community then acknowledged the excellence of Abu Bakr over the rest of the Companions; therefore, he deserved to be put forward and deserved leadership (Fut., III, p. 16).
In another passage Ibn al-`Arbi says:
The ones who gave him allegiance (bay`a) did not do it in vain. Those who did not, refused either because they did not know about him that which they were also ignorant of concerning the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace), or because Abu Bakr’s leadership was disputable in his opinion, or because of interpretation (ta`wil). For the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) confirmed the excellence of Abu Bakr (may God be pleased with him), over the rest of the Companions because of a secret that settled in his chest. The virtue of that secret became manifest later on that day (Fut., III, p. 372).
He also says: It is possible that the Pole (Qutb) of the time is the Imam himself, as was Abu Bakr and others during their time (Fut., III, p. 137). .
About `umar Ibn al-Khattab (may God be pleased with him), he wrote:
This is `Umar the solid, the strong, the one over whom Satan has no means of access, and hopes most just to escape from him into safety. The Qur`an descended in agreement with his judgement. He used to say: ‘If the veil was left I would not increase in certainty’. He does not know of it [the veil] because of his faith and knowledge. He gathered both knowledge and direct witnessing (`ayan) and took the lead in the forefront of eye-witnessing (mushahada al-`ayan). Since his time and up until the day of resurrection (qiyama) no-one shall surpass him, and in no state (hal) would anyone come before him (Ibn al-`Arabi, Ruh al-Quds fi Muhasabat al-Nafs).
Concerning the Shi`ites, he wrote:
If you find yourself in the company of one of the Rawafid, and you know that he slanders the Companions, then you should never praise or even mention any of them, as he might, because of his disputatiousness, slander them, and therefore you will be responsible for their slander, for it was you who mentioned them in the first place (Fut., IV, p. 484).
He also wrote:
To God belongs all that is within us settled
And all that is hidden and concealed
He, glory be to Him for our heart
Is the best abode [tranquility]
Do not [wonder] saying, how could it be
[Truly] the heart is but an abode
And do not be like one who out of ignorance
Exceeded the limit [of love] hence was tested
Surely the people of rejection exceeded the limit
In the affair of Husayn and Hasan.
(Ibn al-`Arabi, al-Diwan, p. 460)
When he speaks about the people of innovation (bid`a) and desire (hawa`), he says:
Satan have given them a true premise (asl) which they cannot doubt, and, due to their lack of understanding, deceptions came upon them and led them astray. They attribute their misguidance to Satan because it was him that gave the original premise. While, in reality, Satan in that case is but a student learning from them, if only they knew. This is mostly dominant among the Shi`ites, especially the Imamis. At first Satans of jinn lured them into the exhaustive love of the Prophet’s family, which they considered the most sublime oblation to God. In fact it is, if they only stopped at the limits of loving the Prophet’s family; instead they violated all limits of such love in two different ways. One group imagined that the Prophet’s family are more entitled to these worldly positions [leadership], therefore took to hate, and insulted the Companions because they gave the Prophet’s family no precedence; and carried on with all the details [of slander] that are known about them in this regard. The second group, in addition to insulting the Companions, blamed the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace), and Gabriel (peace be upon him), and God (supreme is His greatness), because they did not state clearly the rank of the Prophet’s family, nor their entitlement to the leadership (khilafa) of the community, to the extent that one of them wrote: ‘He who sent the trustworthy is not trustworthy.’ All of these emanated from a true premise, i.e. the love of the Prophet’s family, which was corrupted through their reflection, so they went astray and led others astray too (Fut., I, p. 282).
In his book “Ijaz al-Bayan fi al-Tarjama `an al-Qur`an”, when Ibn al-`Arabi interprets the verse: ‘Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel – for he brings down the [revelation] on thy heart by God’s will’ (Quran 2:97), he says:
The Jews claim that God ordered Gabriel to keep the Prophethood in the children of Israel, but instead he gave it to the Arabs, therefore they took him as an enemy. This is similar to what the people of rejection (Rafida) did, when they claimed that God ordered Gabriel to give the Prophethood to `Ali, and instead he gave it to Muhammad (may God bless him and grant him peace). This is just an aspect of what the Prophet foretold would happen to his community when he said in the hadith: ‘You shall follow the footsteps [course of action] of those who came before you, handspan by handspan, and a cubit by a cubit’; and in the same report, ‘They asked, “O Messenger of God, the Jews and the Christians?” He replied, “Precisely”. That the people of Rejection followed the Jews, and accused Gabriel of betrayal, is only a confirmation of that report. It was precisely for this reason that God the exalted said: ‘Say: Whoever is enemy to Gabriel’, because Gabriel did not act of his own accord, neither did he deviate from the command of God; for it is God who revealed it on the heart of Muhammad ‘by God’s will’, meaning by His command the exalted said, [the angels say]: ‘We descend not but by command of thy Lord.’