Abdur Rehman bin Auf
Hadrat Abdur Rehman bin Auf (RA)
(رضي الله تعالٰي عنه) عبد الرحمن بن عوف
Hadrat Abdur Rehman bin Auf (Allah be pleased with him) was one of the greatest followers and the contemporaries of Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). He was a wealthy person. He was a merchant by profession. Besides his business, he owned an agricultural farm also. He worked on such a large scale that on a single unit of the farm he used to employ twenty camels at a time for watering fields. Apart from his business and farming the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) had also given him a big piece of land. Allah had blessed his trade, farm and his land so much that the three concerns yielded him quite a big income. He himself used to say that I benefited from any investment I made and any project I started.
His wealth and riches can be assessed by an instance that once his merchandise reached Medina out of which seven hundred camels were loaded with wheat, flour and other foodstuff. It does not mean that he enjoyed an eminent position in Islam on accounts of his wealth. Wealth is not a symbol of greatness and nobility in Islam. Nobility and greatness are measure according to the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:
بلى من أوفى بعهده واتقى فإن الله يحب المتقين
“Yes indeed, (but) whoever fulfils his covenant and is pious (to Allah), then surely Allah loves the pious.” [3:76]
Hadrat Abdur Rehman bin Auf (Allah be pleased with him) was no doubt very rich but the wealth did not include in him the capitalist mentality. His life was an example of this undeniable fact. The huge merchandise mentioned above also confirmed this notion. When Hadrat Ayesha (Allah be pleased with her) heard about the arrival of this huge convoy of merchandise she narrated a Hadith which stressed that the wealth often degrades a person. When Hadrat Abdur Rehman bin Auf (Allah be pleased with him) came to know of it, he at once rushed to Ummul Momeneen and said, “I make you a witness that I have given away whole of the merchandise convoy along with the camels in the name of Allah (سبحان الله).”
Not withstanding this instance he always spent his wealth generously for the cause of Islam.
When the great Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) were persuaded through Surah Baraat (Tawbah) to spend their wealth in the cause of Islam as:
قل إن كان آباؤكم وأبناؤكم وإخوانكم وأزواجكم وعشيرتكم وأموال اقترفتموها وتجارة تخشون كسادها ومساكن ترضونها أحب إليكم من الله ورسوله وجهاد في سبيله فتربصوا حتى يأتي الله بأمره والله لا يهدي القوم الفاسقين
Say, [O Muhammad ﷺ], "If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and jihad in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people." [9:24]
Hadrat Abdur Rehman bin Auf (Allah be pleased with him) offered half of his wealth for the cause of Islam. Still he was not satisfied. He offered another forty thousand Dinars next. Later at a call of Jehad he offered 500 horses and 500 camels.
An idea of his charitable nature and munificence may be had from the fact that he set free thirty slaves in a single day. Once he sold a piece of land for forty thousand Dinars and gave away the amount in the name of Allah. Even with this generosity he often feared that his wealth may prove harmful in the life of hereafter. With this fear in mind he once went to Hadrat Umm-e-Salma (the mother of all faithful) and said, “Mother, I fear that excessive wealth may doom me for ever.” She advised, “Spend as much as you can in the name of Allah.”
The fear of the Doomsday was so much dominant over him that whenever he was served with good food, he started weeping remembering the days when the Muslims could not get enough to satisfy their hunger. He used to say, “Musa’b bin Umair was better than me. When he laid his life for the cause of Islam, he had only one sheet of cloth for his shroud. If his head was covered, his feet were exposed and if the feet covered, his head was uncovered. Hadrat Hamza also passed away in the same state. He was also better than me. Now the conditions have changed and we are enjoying so many amenities of life that it appears as if we have received the very reward of our good deeds in this worldly life.” Saying so he would start weeping and withdraw from the meal.
Fear of Allah and the Doomsday had developed many virtues in him. The way in which he spent in the name of Allah has been described to some extent above. He also abhored family and racial pride. He embraced Islam at the age of thirty when he reached maturity. His original name was Abd-e-Amar. Since according to Islam every person is the ‘Abd (Slave) of Allah, the creator, and not of any creature, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) changed his name to Abdur Rehman. The salve of Allah accepted this name gladly and abandoned his family name. When the Muslims were ordered by Allah to migrate from Mecca to Medina, nothing nor the love of his birth place could resist him. When he reached Medina, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) tied him in brotherly bond with Saad bin Az Zabee, who was the richest and most generous of all Ansars. He took his homeless brother to his own house and said, “I give half of my wealth to you.”
It has been observed generally that those who are wealthy are often very coward, weak, materialist and compromising, but Hadrat Abdur Rehman bin Auf (Allah be pleased with him) so much feared Allah and Doomsday that he could not even think of anything evil. He was not a coward either. He took part in all the battles along with the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), and fought valiantly for the glory of Islam. In the battle of Badr it was he who pointed out Abu Jahl to the Ansari warriors (Mu‘awwidh ibn ‘Afrā’ and Mu'ādh ibn 'Amr ibn al-Jamūḥ, may Allah be pleased with them) who slew this Pharoah of Islam. He also fought so bravely in the battle of Uhud that he received more than twenty wounds on his body. His foot was very badly injured and even after having been crushed he had to limp throughout the rest of his life.
On Sha’ban, the sixth, when he was leaving for the expedition of Dawmat ul-Jandal, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) decorated his head with a turban with his own hands. He was also given the flag and the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Go for the cause of Allah. Fight with those who are disobedient to Allah and indulge in vices. But do not cheat anybody nor play any tricks. Do not kill children. When you reach Dawmat ul-Jandal, present the teachings of Islam to the tribe of Kalb and when they embrace Islam, marry the daughter of their Chief”.
Hadrat Abdur Rehman bin Auf (Allah be pleased with him) acted according to the instructions of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and performed his task so amicably that all the people gladly embraced Islam within three days. He then married the daughter of the Chief of tribe.
Besides enormous wealth, sprit of sacrifice, generosity, valour and chivalry, Allah had blessed him equally with the wealth of wisdom and intelligence. In the cause of Islam whatever counsel he gave to anybody, it proved most pertinent and fruitful. After the departure of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), when there arose the problem of his successor, he actively participated in setting the matter successfully. Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Allah be pleased with him) always regarded him as a sincere adviser and always consulted him. At the time of the election if Umar ibn Al-Khattāb (the Second Caliph) asked his opinion, it was the same as was given the majority of the other great venerable companions (Allah be pleased with them). Later when Hadrat Umar Farooq (Allah be pleased with him), constituted as Advisory Council to carry out the work of Caliphate, Hadrat Abdur Rehman bin Auf (Allah be pleased with him) was also included in it. During the reign of the Second Caliph too he continued giving his advices with great sincerity and many goals were achieved under his intelligent advice.
On many occasions, his advice was eventually adopted by all the seasoned Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) such as in the matter of expedition to Iraq’s battle of Nehawand, the conquest of Iran and other such important issues. Hadrat Umar Farooq (Allah be pleased with him) had nominated him in the panel for the third Caliph but he withdrew his name. Again, when he voted for Hadrat Usamn (Allah be pleased with him) to be the third Caliph, all the other Companions agreed with him. In short, he served the cause of Islam throughout his life with great sincerity and spirit of sacrifice.
He died at the age of seventy-five. Hadrat Ali (Allah be pleased with him) stood by his coffin and paid tributes to him in these words:
“O Ibn Auf! You drank the clean water of the world and avoided the impure one.”
Hadrat Saad bin Abi Waqqas (Allah be pleased with him) paid homage to him in these words:
“Alas! That towering personality that looked high and unshakeable like a mountain has also passed away!”
Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) himself had a great regard for him, for Abdur-Rahman was one of the Blessed Ten. Once Ibn Auf had some crosstalk with Hadrat Khalid bin Waleed (Allah be pleased with him), the great military strategist of Islam. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) restrained Ibn Waleed (Allah be pleased with him) saying, "No one can achieve the status of the Sahaaba, even if they possessed a mountain of gold and spent it in the way of Allah! (Ibn Sad: Vol. 2, p. 431)
His knowledge and wisdom, truthfulness and piety were such that in all complicated matters of jurisprudence and interpretation of the tenets of Islam, he gave out his free and frank opinion to the Caliph, and it was always in perfect accord with Islamic principles. In the matter of inheritance and treatment with the non-Muslims his opinion was upheld by all venerable companions (Allah be pleased with them). During the days of Hadrat Uthman Ghani (Allah be pleased with him) when Hadrat Zubair (Allah be pleased with him) filled a complaint, Hadrat Uthman Ghani (Allah be pleased with them) made Hadrat Abdur Rehman himself the judge. After the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), the responsibility of looking after the Holy wives (Allah be pleased with them) of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was entrusted to him. This shows the respect and confidence he enjoyed among the companions of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). This respect and regard was enhanced further when we find that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) had foretold in his life about Hadrat Abdur Rehman bin Auf (Allah be pleased with him) being destined for the Paradise. This was because he served the cause of Islam with all the talents and resources at his command. Allah blessed him with wealth and riches and he spent it for seeking the pleasure of Allah. Allah gave him intelligence, knowledge and wisdom and he used all these faculties in promoting the cause of Islam akin to the way he promoted his trade. He was imbued with the sprit of self-respect and modesty. Although a rich person he never enjoyed anything better than ordinary food.
Abdur Rahman bin Awf
Companions (RA) of the Prophet (SAW) By Abdul Wahid Hamid
The Collection of Biographies of the Companions (Sahaabah)
Men around the Messenger (SAW)