Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood (radiyallaahu-anhu) said:

Whoever wants to adhere to a path, then let him adhere to the path of the one who has passed away, for indeed the ones who are alive are not safe from trial, and they (i.e. those who have passed away) are Muhammad’s Companions. They were the best of this Ummah; the ones with the most righteous hearts, the most perfect in knowledge and the most uncomplicated. Allah selected them to accompany His Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and to establish His religion. Therefore, acknowledge their status, follow their footsteps and cling as much as you can to their pattern of behaviour and attitude because they traversed true guidance.

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[Source: Jaami Bayaan Al-Ilm Wa Fadlihi 2/947]