Abdur-Rahman Ibn Awl

Abdur-Rahman Ibn AwlAbdur-Rahman Ibn Awl From AlimĀ® Online

He was one of the first eight persons to accept Islam. He was one of the ten persons (al-asharatu-l mubashshirin) who were assured of entering Paradise. He was one of the six persons chosen by Umar to form the council of shura to choose the Khalifah afte r his death.

His name in Jahiliyyah days was Abu Amr. But when he accepted Islam the noble Prophet called him Abdur-Rahman – the servant of the Beneficent God.

Abdur-Rahman became a Muslim before the Prophet entered the house of al-Arqam. In fact it is said that he accepted Islam only two days after Abu Bakr as-Siddiq did so.

Abdur-Rahman did not escape the punishment which the early Muslims suffered at the hands of the Quraysh. He bore this punishment with steadfastness as they did. He remained firm as they did. And when they were compelled to leave Makkah for Abyssinia beca use of the continuous and unbearable persecution, Abdur-Rahman also went. He returned to Makkah when it was rumored that conditions for the Muslims had improved but, when these rumors proved to be false, he left again for Abyssinia on a second hijrah. Fro m Makkah once again he made the hijrah to Madinah.

Soon after arriving in Madinah, the Prophet in his unique manner began pairing off the Muhajirin and the Ansar. This established a firm bond of brotherhood and was meant to strengthen social cohesion and ease the destitution of the Muhajirin. Abdur-Rahman was linked by the Prophet with Sad ibn ar-Rabi’ah. Sad in the spirit of generosity and magnanimity with which the Ansar greeted the Muhajirin, said to Abdur-Rahman:

“My brother! Among the people of Madinah I have the most wealth. I have two orchards and I have two wives. See which of the two orchards you like and I shall vacate it for you and which of my two wives is pleasing to you and I will divorce her for you.”

Abdur-Rahman must have been embarrassed and said in reply: “May God bless you in your family and your wealth. But just show me where the suq is..”

Abdur-Rahman went to the market-place and began trading with whatever little resources he had. He bought and sold and his profits grew rapidly. Soon he was sufficiently well off and was able to get married. He went to the noble Prophet with the scent of perfume lingering over him.

“Mahyarn, O Abdur-Rahman!” exclaimed the Prophet – “mahyam” being a word of Yemeni origin which indicates pleasant surprise.

“I have got married,” replied Abdur-Rahman. “And what did you give your wife as mahr?” “The weight of a nuwat in gold.”

“You must have a walimah (wedding feast) even if it is with a single sheep. And may Allah bless you in your wealth,” said the Prophet with obvious pleasure and encouragement.

Thereafter Abdur-Rahman grew so accustomed to business success that he said if he lifted a stone he expected to find gold or silver under it!

Abdur-Rahman distinguished himself in both the battles of Badr and Uhud. At Uhud he remained firm throughout and suffered more than twenty wounds some of them deep and severe. Even so, his physical jihad was matched by his jihad with his wealth.

Once the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, was preparing to despatch an expeditionary force. He summoned his companions and said:

“Contribute sadaqah for I want to despatch an expedition.” Abdur-Rahman went to his house and quickly returned. “O Messenger of God,” he said, “I have four thousand (dinars). I give two thousand as a qard to my Lord and two thousand I leave for my family. “

When the Prophet decided to send an expedition to distant Tabuk – this was the last ghazwah of his life that he mounted – his need for finance and material was not greater than his need for men for the Byzantine forces were a numerous and well-equipped fo e. That year in Madinah was one of drought and hardship. The journey to Tabuk was long, more that a thousand kilometers. Provisions were in short supply. Transport was at a premium so much so that a group of Muslims came to the Prophet pleading to go wit h him but he had to turn them away because he could find no transport for them.

These men were sad and dejected and came to be known as the Bakka’in or the Weepers and the army itself was called the Army of Hardship (‘Usrah). Thereupon the Prophet called upon his companions to give generously for the war effort in the path of God an d assured them they would be rewarded. The Muslims’ response to the Prophet’s call was immediate and generous. In the fore front of those who responded was Abdur-Rahman ibn Awl. He donated two hundred awqiyyah of gold whereupon Umar ibn al-Khattab said to the Prophet:

“I have (now) seen Abdur-Rahman committing a wrong. He has not left anything for his family.”

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