What this most detailed profile on Abdur Rahman Ibn Awf will cover:
- Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’s entry to Islam
- Why Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf was so successful
- You would love what Abdur-Rahman (ra) did when he arrived in Madinah
- What kind of businesses did he start and benefited the most from?
- What is the main lessons we can learn from him?
- Scaling a business
- Small business vs Empire
- Love of money
- Intelligence of Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’
- What Aishah, may God be pleased with her said about him?
- What Can You Do?
Business success comes to those who have a dream, strive towards it and do what it takes to grow. If you’re happy and content to sit at your desk and not take any risk, you’ll be sitting at your desk for the next 20 years. This is perhaps the first rule of business that applies to everyone, but for us Muslims, the first rule of business is to use two important beliefs:
- Belief in our sixth sense
- Belief that Allah will give you the best as long as you put in the work
We all know there are five senses but in order for you to really excel in business, you must call upon your sixth sense. That sixth sense is the belief that “you can do it and you will do it”, even when the odds are stacked against you.
If you read or listen to the rags to rich stories, they all have something in common, “against all odds the person believed in what he wanted to do”.
Believe in your dreams, ask Allah for help and make sure to give your zakat properly and you will see success in a whole new way.
Most powerful tool of growing your wealth
In fact one of the most powerful yet under promoted tool of growing your wealth is to follow one of the five pillars of islam (zakat).
When you give from your wealth in the way of Allah, your wealth increases many fold. Why wouldn’t it? Read on and see these Muslim business rules in action from Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’: The Godfather of Muslim businessmen, the man who bought his way to Janna.
Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’s entry to Islam
This is business, money and charity story of Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf, who was one of the very first people to accept Islam. It took very little time for Abdur-Rahman (ra) to see the truth and coherency in Muhammad’s (pbuh) message.
Abu Bakr (ra) invited him to meet with the Prophet (pbuh), and he did, and that was the point when he accepted Islam and thereafter became one of the first eight to accept the new way of life in Makkah.
- One of the very early people who accepted Islam
- His entry to paradise was told to him by Prophet of Allah (pbuh)
- His name was given to him by Prophet of Allah (pbuh)
- He is one of those who had the privilege to lead prayer before Prophet of Allah (pbuh)
- His charity was second only to one
- He started from nothing and became the richest businessman at the time
- He was an adviser to the best of best Muslims who walked the earth
- He was given the duty to care for the Prophet’s (pbuh) family
- And it is no wonder that Abdur-Rahman was one of the ten Companions of the Prophet who were guaranteed Paradise according to a saying of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
He was born with the name Abdul ‘Amr or Abdul Ka’bah, but when he accepted Islam, his new name was given to him by the most beloved person who ever walked the earth, the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) named him Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf, which means Servant of the Most Merciful One (Allah).
His privileged pedigree was common knowledge, son of a successful business man, ‘Awf ibn ‘Abd ‘Awf. He was considered a business prodigy, his father saw his skills early when he used to take him to his business meetings. It didn’t take long before he became the most successful businessman of his time.
How did he accomplish this achievement? What did he make money from? How did he financially grow his wealth? Read on and you will see business is not only sunnah but when it is done right, it can liberate all your financial worries – even when you have nothing.
That is exactly what Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf did when he sacrificed all his wealth for the sake of Allah and His messenger by converting to Islam and when he left, with nothing in his hands, from Makkah to Madinah.
While you read through this, keep in mind that you want to gather lessons and exemplary actions so that you can emulate his behavior to accumulate wealth and spend as he did, so that you can please Allah. May Allah be pleased with us as He has been pleased with them.
How often is it that Allah blesses a person with lots of wealth, and that person starts to forget who the true controller of his wealth and status is? The true believer is the one who can function with wealth but not be overcome by it.
Whilst an able and fit believer is not a burden on society, he does not rely on hand-outs, welfare or the dole. He or she tries every way possible to educate, train and secure a job or vocation, to feed, accommodate and clothe their loved ones and attain inner-satisfaction, self-respect and the pleasure of Allah (swt).
When Abdur-Rahman (ra) arrived in Madinah
When Abdur-Rahman (ra) arrived in Madinah, he had no money and no property. He had to start from scratch.
During the summer in 622 CE, about seventy Muslims set off with their families to Madinah, where they were lodged in the houses of the Ansar, the Muslims of Madinah, until they could set up their own homes.
Abdur-Rahman (ra) was paired up with Sa’ad Ibn Ar-Rabi’ah (ra) who was one of the wealthiest men of Madinah. On that occasion, Sa’ad (ra), out of generosity and kindness to his new brother, told Abdur-Rahman (ra),
“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 shall divorce her for you.”
This is the kind of love Muslims of the time had for each other. Sa’ad Ibn Ar-Rabi’ah was ready to part with his fortune and his family for the sake of Allah and offer it to another Muslim brother, all you can say is SubanAllah.
When most other Muslims accepted the sharing offered to them from their Muslim brothers of Madinah, Abdur-Rahman’s (ra) response is going to blow your mind away. It is going to raise the hair on your skin and it will truly make you appreciate the will of a Muslim.
Abdur-Rahman (ra) responded to Sa’ad Ibn Ar-Rabi’ah (ra) showing great appreciation,
“May Allah bless you in your family and wealth. But show me where the market-place is.”
It was “The market of Qainuqa” he was asking about.
He did not wish to be a burden on anyone inducing his paired brother Sa’ad (ra). Amid the gloom, there was one bright spot, a sign of things to come, He didn’t want to take a loan or a gift from anyone because he knew that Allah (swt) would provide for him, and he believed in his ability to earn from finding opportunities in the open market.
He was trained in business from his father, he ran businesses with his father up until he was 30 years old. Before accepting Islam, he was one of the high bloods of Makkah who were born with silver spoons.
This nose for smelling opportunities and the eye to see them anywhere, allowed him to enter the market, employ his business acumen and capitalize on opportunities.
What kind of businesses did Abdur-Rahman start?
Start of his trading is said to be in a humble way but he was quick to scale the opportunities he found and turned them into a fabulous career of business success.
Abdur-Rahman started off with some dried butter-milk (yogurt) and butter, and then he realised horse trading had a good volume. As he started to trade the horses, he quickly found the profit margin to be very small due to high supply and demand. He soon started to sell the saddles for the horses, which was lot more profitable compared to just horse sales.
As he bought and sold different commodities, saddles and horses, due to volume he turned over, his profits grew rapidly.
When your heart is clean, you conduct your business with sincerity and you know how to scale – the brighter future becomes a reality fast.
From day one since Abdur-Rahman (rta) began his own business in the market of Qainuqa in Madinah, Allah (swt) blessed him with bounty beyond his most daring expectations. It was not long before whatever he touched seemed to bring him instant success.
This constant growth didn’t take long before he was sufficiently well off and was able to get married. After his marriage, he went to the noble Prophet with the scent of perfume lingering over him. A perfume, which smelled very nice.
“Mahyarn, O Abdur-Rahman!” exclaimed the Prophet – indicating 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.
Imagine the best person who walked the earth is happy with you and gives you Dua like “may Allah bless you in your wealth”.
With a dua like this and that too, coming from Prophet (PBUH), there is no way eminent success will not touch the grounds you walk on. 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!
His wealth touched a number of different industries. He was a merchant by profession. Besides his business, he owned agricultural farms as well.
This makes sense since camels were mainly used for transportation then, and to be able to import and export, you would need them. These camels would need to be fed and the agricultural land can be a source for that. Having his own farm also allowed him to cut out the middlemen and become his own supplier.
What is the main lesson from this
Lesson from this is that, you must be able to realize the opportunity by first seeing it, then capitalizing on it and be able to scale it. Once you scale it, you must look at the efficiency of the entire process and see how you can best utilize the supply and demand.
His farms were at such a large scale that a single unit of his farm needed to have twenty camels just for watering.
This also shows the ability to be efficient, had he watered the farm with just humans, the time it would have taken and number of manpower he would have needed would have been a lot. To make the process streamlined, efficient and fast, he utilized both men and the animals.
When you are good at what you do and when your business thrives, you also get support from others. He was so good in business and what he did for the Muslims, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) gave him a big piece of land. He was able to use all the lands he owned and was able to grow his wealth while providing job opportunities to thousands of people.
When Allah blesses you in your business, nothing can stop you in becoming the wealthiest person around. He himself used to say that I benefited from any investment I made and any project I started.
This also tells you, the roadway to wealth is not a job but being able to make money from money (business), he did this by making wise investments and growing his business income instead of earned income. He didn’t find a job, instead he provided jobs to others.
He was so good at finding good opportunities and being able to profit from them, that, he never tasted failure in any of his business ventures. When anything you start can’t fail, imagine what will happen to your wealth. One of the reasons his business success might have been rapid is because he was good at figuring out what is in demand, finding out ways to acquire it and be able to supply it to people as or when they needed.
Scaling a business
This is inline with his importing and exporting expeditions, he figured out what was working and he took the steps necessary to scale it.
The hardest part in business is being able to survive the first year, which is why most businesses fail in this time-frame and those which survive the first year, most of them fail in the following year.
Those who figure out the process to profitability and do not scale, will always remain small businesses.
Look at it this way, Let’s say Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf along with someone else both figured out, it is profitable to sell dates. They both bought ten boxes of Dates from a local wholesaler and they both sold them at profit, the process was repeated many times.
They both looked at where to go to get a better deal or where does the wholesaler buys his shipment from. They find out he buys it from a bigger city but first you have to go there, buy it, and then bring it back to Madinah to sell it.
The other guy finds this to be too much work, he also thinks of all the things which can go wrong. The caravan can be robbed or by the time he brings it, the price could drop, his employees could steal from it or not do a good job in selling it; in other words he found lots of genuine reasons and situations that could go wrong and decides against taking the pledge. He sticks to buying his ten boxes of dates and makes his steady profit.
Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf at the other hand looks at it as an opportunity, not only to supply and sell in the market but he also speaks to the wholesaler and asks him, if he would be interested in the same shipment but at a better deal. Before going on the expedition of buying it from the other city, he also talks to other wholesalers in the city and tells them he is going to bring the dates and if they would be interested in buying it from him. He takes some hard orders, some soft commitments and starts his journey.
When he returns with his goods, he was able to convert some of those soft commitments into sales also. The reasons were simple. Why would a wholesaler go to another city and buy something when he can get it risk free in his city at the same or lower cost.
Shipment of the goods
Bringing goods from other cities requires transportation, at the time that transportation was mainly via camels. The first shipment he brought could have been by hiring the camels from someone else but now that he made profit, he decided if he had some of his own camels, he could make more money.
Purchase of camels takes place, camels going to the other city empty didn’t make sense. What can he do to make sure the camels start earning money right away. He could have done two things:
1. Rent the camels to someone else
2. Buy something, which is produced in Madina and is needed in the other city.
If he was to scale, he cannot think short-term gains, he would not rent his camels but instead he would use them as a transport to take goods from Madinah to the other city and make a profit from the sale.
He gets to the other city with his goods and sells them, and uses the money to buy an even bigger shipment to bring back. Bigger shipment needs more camels, so he buys more.
He comes back to city with a shipment which superseded the one before.
Venturing into the Farms
The camels must be fed, and the feeding requires buying the food.
He intensifies his growth in the agriculture and starts to grow things on his land. What can he grow to make sure, it will earn him good profits? He already had the need to feed the camels, so farms were used to grow the feed. He brings dates from the other city. The main producer in the other city has vast lands used to produce dates.
Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf already has buyers in Madina who bought dates from him. He decides to grow dates himself also. This allows him to make even more profit now that he is producing dates at a much better price and he does not have the cost of shipping them back to Madinah.
Small business vs Empire
Whats the main difference between the two men. They both found the same opportunity, one didn’t want to take it to the next level due to all the genuine reasons on what could go wrong. The other found all the reasons why that was the only way forward. The wealth of the one who didn’t scale grew slowly while the wealth of the one who scaled the business grew exponentially.
The one who didn’t take his business to the next level, stayed a small business while the one who took the logical next step, became the wealthiest man in the land. Please do not take this as the actual journey of Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’ to his wealth but it must have been along the same lines.
Having money is one thing but what you do with that money is actually more important than you can imagine. Why? Because you will be answerable for it.
Allah will say, I gave you wealth, what did you do with it. This question will not be asked while you have the wealth and it will not be asked while you can do anything about it, it will be asked when you are already gone, standing in front of the almighty on the day of judgement.
Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf knew this and he was one of those wise ones who took the steps to make sure, when he stands and answers for his wealth, it will be his wealth that will speak in his favour, by saying, Oh Allah, he used me in your way, he used me to help your cause and he used me to help the ummah. Give him the glad tiding as you did in the Dunya.
There is no doubt Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf was the wealthiest and the most generous of the Prophet’s Companions. Only person who has surpassed him in generosity was Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq, that too, not with money but because of who Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq was and what he did for Islam and Muslims.
It is often said that the rich pay the poor to fight their battles, but that was not the case with Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf. He was a true Muslim who was committed to Islam with everything he had, he participated in the battlefield, just as he contributed in charity.
This is the main reason Abdur-Rahman (ra) was one of the few in Islam whose financial commitment was matched with his physical one. His bravery was evident and he stayed on the forefront of the battles of Badr and Uhud, where he suffered several severe wounds.
Love of money
There was a rich young man who was looking to obtain eternal life, and someone wise told him to follow the Quran and sunnah.
When the young man tells the “wise man” that he has done all that, the wise man tells him to sell 30% of his possessions and give it to the poor.
The young man couldn’t do this; his wealth had become an idol — it was his master! There are people who love money, they love the status and they hold on to their wealth as if they will never part this world. But Abdur-Rahman (ra), although he was the wealthiest, had no attachment to his wealth.
It’s like asking God, oh Allah give me the unlimited amount of wealth but also please give me the heart to spend it in your name.
If he was making this dua, it was accepted in all forms and shape – which is why the wealth that Abdur-Rahman (ra) was blessed with was never attached to him – Abdur-Rahman (ra) gave charity with extreme generosity, at a level, which no one can match, yet he still didn’t think he did enough.
When you have wealth you can either be the master of that wealth or you can be a slave to it – in his case, he was the true master. His charity and generosity reached a point that it was reported that he said, “people of Al Madinah are all partners in Ibn Awf’s money; he lends a third of them, pays the debts of a third, and strengthens his ties of kinship and gives away a third.”
How many people can treat their wealth as a wealth of others around them? When we part with little money, we feel we have done enough but if we learn from him, we will realise that more you give, more wealth you accumulate.
An idea of his charitable nature an munificence may be had from the fact that he set free thirty salves in a single day.
One of his properties, a piece of land was sold for forty thousand Dinars, he gave the entire amount in the name of Allah.
During the pre Islamic times there were two different forms of currency, Dinar (which were the Byzantine currency) and Dirham (which was the Persian currency), Arabia used both types. The weight of the Dinar was one mithqal, which equaled to about 5 grams.
The value of the money would have been determined by silver or gold, assuming the forty thousand Dinars he gave was gold, the value of that wold be:
If it was gold:
40,000 * 5 gram per Dinar = 200,000 grams of gold. This would be 200 kilogram of Gold given in the name of Allah.
Gold price per KG as of December 2015 = $ 33,857.31
200 KG * 33,857.31 = $ 6,771,462
This is from just one transaction, this is not taking into account present and future value of money. Imagine how much money would be 6.7 million of that time, today.
He was the true poster child for the humbleness of Duniya and fearfulness of hereafter. His constant need to do better compelled him to strive for answers.
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 not doom me for ever”. She advised, “Spend as much as you can in the name of Allah”.
This message from the mother of all faithful should not be taken lightly and applies even today, recycle your wealth and spread it in a way that it will continue to earn ajir for you even when you are gone.
We hear the call for charity through the media, from people we know and from seeing where innocent people need the most help. Some times we take actions and when the speaker really knows how to put a message across, the amount raised increases.
We will never have the opportunity to be able to answer a call for financial support from the best Muslim to walk the earth but Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’ had the pleasure to do so and responded.
When the Prophet (PBUH) was once organizing a military campaign, he made a call for financial support from his companions. Abdul-Rahman (may Allah give him the highest place in Jannah) without any hesitation was one of the first to come forward with help.
He said to the Prophet: “O Messenger of God, I have four thousand dinars. I offer two thousand as a gift to my Lord and two thousand I leave for my family.” (Ibn Abi Hatim)
This was the early days of his wealth, as stated above, he gave forty thousand dinars from just one property transaction. This again tells us, he knew how to give away half of his wealth, take his financial standing from four thousand dinars to two thousand and still accumulate wealth so fast that later he can give forty thousand from just one transaction. This once again proves it, when you give your money towards charity in name of Allah, you are bound to get lot more back in return.
He often used to weep out of fear that he would be deprived of blessings in the Hereafter because of the bounties Allah (swt) bestowed on him in this world.
Compare this with how we think; more we gain less time we have to spend towards the things that really matter. Our schedules are filled from morning to night.
One of my close friends is one of the richest people in Dubai, and it is amazing how little time he has for anything else. Even spending time with his own children is scheduled. Compare the wealthiest people of today and you will find a handful who can balance time prospering in this world compared to preparing for the hereafter.
This is not the path Abdur-Rahman (ra) took. Although he was very busy with his Business affairs; yet, whenever there was a call for leaving everything behind in the name of Allah, he never second guessed himself and eagerly participated in the great battles for the cause of Allah (swt).
Intelligence of Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’
He was a very smart man intellectually and physically, the proof of that was that he was chosen to lead the Muslim army by the Prophet (PBUH) himself. What an honour this must have been. People who read my last post, provided amazing feedback and it was pleasing to hear. These are just normal people some of whom i don’t even know, yet it made me feel good.
Just imagine the feeling Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’ must be going through for being chosen by the last Prophet (PBUH) sent to mankind from Allah.
His mission was to go to Doamatul Jandal area to conquer the tribe of Banu Kalb as the leader of the Muslim army. Subhanallah, not only was he appointed by the Prophet (pbuh) himself but he also had the honor where Prophet (pbuh) placed on his head the turban of the general and gave him the flag of the Mujahideen. Prophet’s (pbuh) instructions to Abdur-Rahman (ra) were to invite the tribe to follow the teachings of Islam.
Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims have high regards for women, children and elderly. This is evident from teachings of Islam and even from the message Prophet (PBUH) gave in instructions to Abdur-Rahman (ra) – Invite the people to islam and only if they would refuse to do so, the Muslim army was to attack and fight them. Furthermore; The Prophet (sa) also strictly forbade harming women, children and the elderly of the tribe.
Prophet (pbuh) was wiser than any person on earth and liked the intelligence of Abdur-Rahman (ra). This intellect was at display when after arriving to Domatul Jandal, Abdur-Rahman (ra) took his time and had the patience to spend three days explaining to the people of Banu Kalb the teachings of Islam.
They say speaking to someone wise for just few minutes is far better than reading a whole book. Abdur-Rahman (ra) was one of those wise men, and extremely good at negotiations. Him spending three days explaining Islam to people of Domatul Jandal really impressed the chief of the tribe.
The hidayat can only come from Allah but what also must have played a key role in the chief accepting Islam was the Iklhas of Abdur-Rahman (ra).
The role of Ikhlas (sincerity) in spreading Islam
The biggest reason Islam has spread around the world, beside Quran and the sunnah is the Ikhlas of the Muslims.
Being fully sincere, humble and looking out for the best interest of those around you. When others see how nice you are, how honest you are and your sincerity demands nothing in return, that is when someone says,
I want this;
and If this is what Islam teaches,
I want to be a Muslim;
If this is how Muslims are,
I stand in front of all the people present today and I say to the whole world:
“Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illaallaah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan-ar-rasool ullaah” (in Arabic)
“I bear witness that there is no God worthy to be worshiped but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad (PBUH) is the Messenger of Allah.” (Translation in English)
When others saw the leader accepting Islam, most of them also embraced the true message and became Muslims. Those, who did not want to accept Islam were not harmed in anyway and were allowed to live peacefully on condition that they would pay Jazyah tax to the Islamic government.
Thus, Islam spread in this area in a peaceful manner. The chief of the tribe was so impressed with Abdur-Rahman (ra) that he even gave his daughter’s hand in marriage.
The tales of Abdur-Rahman’s (ra) wealth and giving in the name of Allah were in their own league. He showed his sincerity with his actions on every chance he got. To support the Mujahideens, he gave five hundred horses trained for military combat. These are not just normal horses but horses of the highest quality and horses, which were provided enough financial and manpower support to be trained and to be readied for the battle field. Imagine the kind of value those horses provided in the glory of Islam during the battles.
On another occasion, his gift was fifteen hundred pure-bred Arab steeds. The pure bred Arab steeds were the most expensive of breeds at the time and are high in demand even today. It seems whatever best he owned, he acquired it to be given in the name of Allah.
The Arabian steeds of the first class are pure-bred animals. Their pedigrees are attested by their chiefs from the birth of the foal, preserved and handed down from father to son for many generations. It is the opinion of Oriental travelers that the Arabian pedigrees can be traced back in regular succession for five hundred years. The Arabian horsemen will give a pedigree running back to the stud of the Prophet (PBUH), without a flaw in the escutcheon.
One origin story tells how Muhammad (pbuh) chose his foundation mares by a test of their courage and loyalty. While there are several variants of the tale, a common version states that after a long journey through the desert, Muhammad(pbuh) turned his herd of horses loose to race to an oasis for a desperately needed drink of water. Before the herd reached the water, Muhammad called for the horses to return to him. Only five mares responded. Because they faithfully returned to their master, though desperate with thirst, these mares became his favorites and were called Al Khamsa, meaning, the five. (may allah forgive me for any mistakes).
Tabuk battle was to be one of the most important battles because of the wealth Byzantines had. This wealth allowed their army to have the best resources, not only was the army mighty but it was very well-equipped.
To compound this, the normally flourishing Madinah was going through recession due to a terrible year of drought. This recession brought scarcity at the time, and so provisions were in short supply.
Looking at the situation at hand, the Prophet (PBUH) called his Companions to generously support the battle campaign. The reward for their support would be from God Almighty and the calling of the support was from the best man to walk the earth. There were many companions of the Prophet (PBUH) who came forward to help but guess who was in the forefront?
Yes, it was Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’.
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.”
“Have you left anything for your family, Abdur-Rahman?” asked the Prophet (pbuh).
“Yes,” replied Abdur-Rahman. “I have left for them more than what I give and better.” “How much?” enquired the Prophet (pbuh).
“What God and His Messenger have promised of sustenance, goodness and reward,” replied Abdur-Rahman.
On the way to Tabuk, the Prophet was once absent when it was the time for prayer, Abdul-Rahman was chosen as the imam (prayer leader), and before the first unit of the prayer was over, the Prophet(pbuh) joined the worshippers and performed the prayer behind Abdul-Rahman ibn Awf.
This was indeed a great blessing and honor God Almighty conferred on Abdul-Rahman, because by this, he could become the imam of the imam of the prophets of Allah, Muhammad (pbuh).
Before you read on, please take a moment and pray for Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’ May Allah give him the highest place in Jannah.
Prophet (PBUH) loved Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’, and for all the right reasons. So far you have read about his wealth and bravery. Here is a story which reflects his dedication to justice.
The Prophet’s love for Abdul-Rahman was borne by an incident in the story of Banu Khuzaimah. The story involves Khalid ibn Al-Waleed, who was also known as the Sword of Allah (Saifullah). He is noted for his military prowess, commanding the forces of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and those of his immediate successors of the Rashidun Caliphate; Caliph Abu Bakr R.A and Caliph Umar R.A during the Islamic conquest in 7th century.
In the story of Banu Khuzaimah Khalid ibn Al-Waleed ordered the killing of the enemies to continue, even (may God forgive me for any mistakes) while they were crying aloud that they embraced Islam. Abdul-Rahman stood up and prevented him from this, and there ensued an altercation between the two of them, and then Khalid said to Abdul-Rahman:
“You only disregard us because you preceded us (in entering Islam).”
Abdul-Rahman complained to the Prophet (PBUH) about this.
And the Prophet (PBUH) said to Khalid:
“Do not abuse my Companions. By Him who holds my soul in His hand, had any of you spent in charity the weight of Mount Uhud in gold, he would not attain the standard of any one of them, or even half that.” (Al-Bukhari).
Abdul-Rahman as wealthy as he was, he was never attached to his wealth, and he never allowed it to corrupt him.
With time Abdul-Rahman’s trading caravans continued to grow larger and larger. Each trip brought to the people of Madinah large quantities of commodities they needed, commodities such as wheat, flour, butter, cloths, utensils, perfume, and on the way back he didn’t let the camels go empty by exporting whatever they had in surplus. This not only made the camels useful on the trip back but also gave him money to buy goods on both ends without having to carry large amounts of money.
How large the caravans became was evident from this story:
One day, a loud rumbling sound was heard coming from beyond the boundaries of Madinah normally a calm and peaceful city. The rumbling sound gradually increased in volume. In addition, clouds of dust and sand were stirred up and blown in the wind. It was not a sandstorm and the people of Madinah soon realized that a mighty caravan was entering the city.
It was Abdul Rahman bin Awf’s (ra) business caravan from Bilad as-Sham, which was approaching the city of Medina. By the time it got to the city, it was noted, that the caravan was so huge that the front camel was in one end of the border of Medina & the last camel was on the other end of the border (700 camels in total). When caravan entered the city, it crowded the streets. There was much shouting and excitement as people came out to witness the sight and see what goods and sustenance the caravan had brought.
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 Awf which has come 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 Awf entering Paradise creeping.”
Why creeping? Why should he not enter Paradise leaping and at a quick pace with the early companions of the Prophet?
When the news of the hadith Aishah had mentioned reached Abdur-Rahman, he remembered that he had heard the hadith himself from the Prophet (PBUH) and he ran 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.
She said to him, “Do you remember what the Prophet told you?”
The Prophet was once giving the good news of Paradise – he was congratulating the Jannati Sahabi, telling them, “You’re gonna go to Paradise. And YOU are going to Paradise.” (Oprah moment)
When the Prophet reached Abdul Rahman bin Awf, he said, “Abdul, you are going to Paradise, but you’re going to get left behind.”
Abdul Rahman bin Awf asks, “Why, O Rasullullah?”
Prophet: “Because all the accounting of your wealth is going to lag you behind.”
Hearing this, Abdul Rahman bin Awf became very teary-eyed. He was hit by her question.
“You have reminded me of a hadith which I have never forgotten,” he is also reported to have said. He was so over-joyed 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 in sabilillah.”
Immediately, he tells the people working for him to take all of his goods and give them to the Bayt al-Mal as sadaqah.
And so he did. In a great festival of charity and righteousness, he distributed all that massive caravan he had brought in the name of Allah.
This is what you call a perfect example of charity, which is absolutely central to the Muslim identity to feel care and compassion for one’s fellow human beings. Several ahadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) refer to this deep affection and brotherhood:
“You will not believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself”;
“The believers are like one body in their mutual love and affection: if one limb is injured, the rest responds with sleeplessness and fever”.
If a Muslim feels the pain of his or her fellow human beings, and wishes the same comfort and good life for others which he wishes for himself – it is a natural reaction to give in charity, to ease this suffering.
Abdul-Rahman continued giving, secretly and openly. On account of this fabulous generosity, Aishah, the widow of the Prophet said:
“May God allow him to drink from the water of Salsabil (a spring in Paradise).” (Al-Tirmidhi)
After the demise of the Prophet, Abdul-Rahman took on the responsibility of looking after the needs of “the Mothers of the Faithful”, the Prophet’s wives. He even performed Hajj with them to ensure that all their needs were met. What a responsibility to have, when you are looking after the family of the most beloved Muslim who is the best of all of us.
When a share of Abdul-Rahman’s legacy reached Aishah, she said she was reminded of the Prophet’s saying to her: “No one will feel compassion towards you after I die except the patient and resolute ones.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
Abdur-Rahman’s generosity did not stop there. He continued giving with both hands, secretly and openly. Some of the figures mentioned are truly astounding even by today’s standard but if you were to take value of the present and future money, the amount would be a huge sum:
- 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.
How many rich people today, act behave and mingle with the workers to the point that you can’t even distinguish among them? Most wealthy show their wealth in any way they can. Once someone asked a diamond dealer, how do you know the women coming into your shop is wearing a real diamond, he replied, “that’s easy, it depends on what car she is coming out from”.
This is the world we live in, one full of materialistic wants and desire to look wealthy. Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’s qualities are too many to list or even know them all but here is another one to ponder over. He had thousands of people who worked for him, when he was among his workers, 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 Awf 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).
Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’ not only was a great companion and a trusted friend of the Prophet (PBUH) but he performed a great service to the Caliphs afterwards.
Besides enormous wealth, spirit 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 proved to be most pertinent and fruitful.
After the departure of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) when there arose the problem of his successor, Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’ participation was eminent in setting the matter successfully.
Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Allah be pleased with him) knew how wise Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’ was and regarded him as a sincere adviser and always consulted him. At the time of the election of the Second Caliph Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’s opinion was the same as was given to the majority of the other great venerable companions (Allah be pleased with them).
Later when Hadrat Umar Farooq (Allah be pleased with him), the second Caliph, constituted an Advisory Council to carry out the work of Caliphate, Hadrat Abdur-Rehman Ibn Awf (Allah be pleased with him) was also included in it.
This is the level of Abdur-Rahman Ibn, Imagine he was trusted by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), then advisor to Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Allah be pleased with him) the first Caliph and then also trusted by Umar Farooq (Allah be pleased with him).
During the reign of the Second Caliph too he continued his advisory role with great sincerity and many great things were achieved under his intelligent advice. When Caliph Umar Farooq (rta) was stabbed while leading the prayer, it was Abdur-Rahman (rta) who finished leading that prayer. Before his death, Caliph Umar (rta) selected a board of six honourable men, who were to continue running the affairs of the Muslim state and to select the next Caliph. When Hadrat Umar Farooq (Allah be pleased with him) had nominated him in the panel for the third Caliph, Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’ withdrew his name.
This is what you call doing whatever you do for the love of Allah and not for the love of the people or power.
On many occasions the advice he gave sooner or later was 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.
Again, when he voted for Hadrat Usama (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.
Just before his death, Abdur-Rahman (ra) bequeathed in his will four hundred Dinars to each survivor of the battle of Badr.
He died at the age of seventy-five during the caliphate of Uthman Ibn Affan. He was buried in Jannatul-Baqahi. 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 unshakable like a mountain has also passed away!”
Many people used to pray to Allah (swt) for Abdur-Rahman (ra) and many still do. The Prophet (sa) himself prayed for the prosperity of Abdur-Rahman (rta) and gave him the wonderful news of being accepted in Paradise.
The Prophet’s (sa) wife Aisha (ra) often used to ask Allah (swt) to give him to drink from the sweet waters of the stream of Salsabil in Paradise. He also received supplications from the other wives of the Prophet (sa), as he was the one who used to provide for their needs during Hajj.
I will end the post with this : Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’ was a great Muslim an example to all of us. May Allah give him the highest place in Jannah.
Thank you for reading this post. It came about when one of our co-founders was speaking to brother Yassir Mahmood in UK about the launch of MuslimInc.com.
Brother Yassir spoke about Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’ with so much enthusiasm, it compelled our co-founder to put it on the publishing calendar. Thank you brother Yassir, may Allah be pleased with you.
What Can You Do?
Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’ has done amazing things for the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), the Caliphs and the entire Muslim Ummah – it is our duty to remember him in our prayers. It is our duty to share this post so more Muslims can hear the name of Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’ and learn what he has done for all of us. Beside sharing, please raise your hands to pray for Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’, may Allah give you those rewards also.
We share all kinds of funny stories, videos and emotional posts, the ones, which have animals or kids in them, but this share and spread is not about that, it is about getting as many Muslims to learn about Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’ and pray for him.
The more you share, the more people will offer their duas. May Allah be happy with you and your loved ones.
Please share: Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’, the Godfather of Muslim investors, the man who bought his way to Jannah.