Abdur-Rahman Ibn Awf

AbdulWahid Hamid

eBook: Companions of The Prophet



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Aishah, may God be pleased with her, heard the commotion and asked: "What is this that's happening in Madinah?" and she was told: "It is the caravan of Abdur-Rahman ibn Awl which has come from Syria bearing his merchandise."

"A caravan making all this commotion?" she asked in disbelief.

"Yes, O Umm al-Muminin. There are seven hundred camels."

Aishah shook her head and gazed in the distance as if she was trying to recall some scene or utterance of the past and then she said: "I have heard the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, say: 'I have seen Abdur-Rahman ibn Awl entering Paradise creeping.' "

Why creeping? Why should he not enter Paradise leaping and at a quick pace with the early companions of the Prophet?

Some friends of his related to Abdur-Rahman the hadith which Aishah had mentioned. He remembered that he had heard the hadith more than once from the Prophet and he hurried to the house of Aishah and said to her: "Yaa Ammah! Have you heard that from the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace?"

"Yes," she replied.

"You have reminded me of a hadith which I have never forgotten," he is also reported to have said. He was so overjoyed and added: "If I could I would certainly like to enter Paradise standing. I swear to you, yaa Ammah, that this entire caravan with all its merchandise, I will give to sabilillah."

[Webmaster Note: For here on the story continues as authentic.]

One day while the Prophet(saw) was giving a khutbah in Medinah one of Abdur-Rahman's caravans began to approach the city. During the time famine had hit the Muslims and supplies were low. The drums to inform the people of the caravan began to be hit and the Muslims ran to the caravan due to their fear that it would leave. Only around 12 of the sahabah remained sitting in the Jummah khutbah all the while the Prophet(saw) continued speaking. When Abdur-Rahman came to know the reason for everyone leaving the khutbah was because of his caravan he became distraught and decided to do something in order to make up for what he had done. When the merchants of Medinah came to him offering to buy his caravan the first said to him, "We will buy your caravan for an extra 1/3 of what you paid." Abdur-Rahman responded saying, "Someone has already bought it for more." Then the another merchant said, "Then I will buy it for an extra 1/2 that you paid." Again Abdur-Rahman said, "Someone has already bought it for a high price." Confused the merchants replied back, "We are the only merchants here, who could have bought it for more?" With this Abdur-Rahman exclaimed, "I have given it for the sake of Allah and his Messenger and their price is more than anyone can give."

And so he did. In a great festival of charity and righteousness, he distributed all that the massive caravan had brought to the people of Madinah and surrounding areas.

This is just one incident which showed what type of man Abdur-Rahman was. He earned much wealth but he never remained attached to it for its own sake and he did not allow it to corrupt him.

Abdur-Rahman's generosity did not stop there. He continued giving with both his hands, secretly and openly. Some of the figures mentioned are truly astounding: forty thousand dirhams of silver, forty thousand dinars of gold, two hundred awqiyyah of gold, five hundred horses to mujahidin setting out in the path of God and one thousand five hundred camels to another group of mujahidin, four hundred dinars of gold to the survivors of Badr and a large legacy to the Ummahaat al Muminin and the catalogue goes on. On account of this fabulous generosity, Aishah said: "May God give him to drink from the water of Salsabil (a spring in Paradise)."

All this wealth did not corrupt Abdur-Rahman and did not change him. When he was among his workers and assistants, people could not distinguish him from them. One day food was brought to him with which to end a fast. He looked at the food and said: "Musab ibn Umayr has been killed. He was better than me. We did not find anything of his to shroud him with except what covered his head but left his legs uncovered. Then God endowed us with the (bounties of) the world... I really fear that our reward has been bestowed on us early (in this world)." He began to cry and sob and could not eat.

May Abdur-Rahman ibn Awl be granted felicity among "those who spend their substance in the cause of God and follow up not their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury. For them their reward is with their Lord, on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve". (The Quran, Surah al-Baqarah, 2: 262).