Abdurrahman bin Awf (r.a.)

Abdurrahman was one of the first eight people who became Muslims and the fifth person who became a Muslim through Hz. Abu Bakr (r.a.). He was born in the year of the Incident of Elephant and was at the same age as Hz. Prophet (pbuh).

His name was "Abdulkaaba" before Islam but the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) changed it as "Abdurrahman". He was one of the Muslims who received the honor of migrating to both Ethiopia and Madinah. 

A very nice and exceptional scene occurred after the Migration:

Makkan Muhajirs and Ansars of Madinah were declared brothers with the suggestion of the Prophet. Ansar made more sacrifices for their Makkan brothers than they would do for their own brothers; they shared their houses, money and property with them. Everybody became brothers and hugged each other with warm and fresh feelings.

Two of the people that the Prophet had declared brothers were Abdur­rahman bin Awf of Makkah and Sa’d bin Rabi’ of Madinah.  Sa’d said to Abdurrahman,

"My brother! I am the richest person in Madinah. Here is my property; take half of it. I have two wives; I will divorce the one that you like so that you can marry her."

Abdurrahman’s answer was as follows:

"My brother Sa’d! May Allah make your property and family blessed for you! Just show me the way to the market."

They showed Abdurrahman the way to the market. He went straight to the market and returned home after earning a lot of money. Afterwards, Abdurrahman received the Prophet's prayer for the abundance of property. He soon became so rich that once he gave away 700 camels and their loads on the way of Allah. He said, "I saw that even a stone that I held turned to gold and silver." [1]

Hz. Abdurrahman, who took part in the battle of Badr displayed great heroism. 

During the Battle of Badr, when the Prophet could not see him, he asked where he was. A Companion said:

"O Messenger of Allah! I saw him on the foot of the mountain. Many polytheists had gathered around him. I wanted to help him but when I saw you, I came here." The Prophet said,

"Do not worry about him because angels are helping him."

Then, the same Companion went to look for Abdurrahman and saw that he had killed seven people. 

He asked Abdurrahman, "Did you kill all of them?" Hz. Abdurrahman said:

"I killed these two people but somebody I had never seen before killed the others." Thereupon, the Companion said, 

"The Messenger of Allah told the truth."

One of the Companions who protected the Prophet with their bodies in the Battle of Badr was Hz. Abdurrahman. He was wounded 21 times in the battle. The injury he received in his leg disabled him and caused him to limp.

Hz. Abdurrahman did not want the Prophet to be harmed or injured in any way. Therefore, he never left him alone. Once, he saw the Prophet going somewhere alone. He worried that something might happen to him and started to follow him. The Messenger of Allah prostrated and remained like that for a long time. Hz. Abdur­rah­man feared that he might have died. He approached the Prophet. Just then, the Messenger of Allah sat up. When he saw Abdurrahman, he asked,

"What is the matter?" Hz. Abdurrahman said,

"O Messenger of Allah! You remained in prostration so long that I feared you might have died." The Prophet said, 

"Jibril arrived and said, ‘A person who utters salawat for you will receive the forgiveness and salutation of Allah Almighty.’ I prostrated in order to thank Allah for it." [2]

Hz. Abdurrahman spent most of his days fasting and went to hajj every year. He did not hesitate to spend his wealth, which he obtained thanks to the abundance of the prayer of the Prophet. Once, he gave away 40 thousand dinars, 500 horses and 500 camels for jihad. He lived plainly and modestly; he always laid tables for the poor in his house. [3]

According to a narration of Anas, once, some sounds were heard in Madinah. Hz. Aisha asked,

"What is this?" They answered,

"It is Abdurrahman bin Afw's caravan." Thereupon, Hz. Aisha said,

"I heard the Messenger of Allah say­,

 ‘I saw Abdurrahman bin Awf entering Paradise by crawling.’"

When Abdurrahman was told about it, he said:

"If I could, I would like to enter Paradise by walking." Then, he gave away that caravan with all of the goods in it to the poor. [4]

Abdurrahman (r.a.) sometimes received the prayers of the Messenger of Allah. Once, the Prophet prayed as follows:  "O Allah! Make, Abdurrahman drink from the fountains of Paradise!" On the other hand, this lucky Companion received the following compliment from the Prophet: "Ab­durrahman bin Awf is trustworthy both on the earth and in the sky."

Abdurrahman bin Awf (r.a.) was so generous in spending his wealth in the way of Allah, was so careful and sensitive about his worship, and was so brave and self-sacrificing in jihad but he sometimes remembered the Companions that were more self-sacrificing than him and cried due to his anxiety that he might not make enough preparation for the hereafter. 

Once, while he was eating at the table, he could not help saying,

"Mus’ab bin Umayr, who was better than me, was wrapped in a cardigan when he was martyred. When his head was covered by it, his feet were left uncovered and when his feet were covered by it, his head was left uncovered. When Hamza, who was better than me, was martyred, he was in the same state. I fear that I will take the rewards of my good deeds in this world and that nothing will be left to the other world."

Hz. Abdurrahman could not eat after these statements. [5]

In the 6th year of Migration, the Prophet appointed Abdurrahman to go to the tribe of Kalb in Dumatul-Jandal to tell them about Islam. Before Abdurrahman set off, the Prophet wrapped Abdurrahman’s turban with his own hands and gave him the standard of the army. Then he said,

"Go with the name of Allah in the way of Allah.  Act in accordance with the orders of Allah. Invite the tribe of Kalb to Islam. If they accept, marry the daughter of the leader of the tribe of Kalb."

Abdurrahman bin Awf conveyed the message of Islam so nicely there that the majority of the Christian tribes accepted Islam and the remaining tribes accepted to pay jizyah. [6]

Once, Hz. Abdurrahman was leading a prayer when the Messenger of Allah came and followed Abdurrahman in the prayer, which increased his virtue. The incident took place during the expedition of Tabuk. The Prophet had left the caravan. The time for the morning prayer was about to end. The Companions asked Hz. Abdurrahman to lead the prayer and followed him in the prayer. The Prophet arrived when they were bowing down at the end of the first rak'ah. He joined the congregation and performed the prayer under the leadership of Abdurrahman.  After they ended the prayer, the Prophet stood up and completed his prayer. When he ended his prayer, he said,

"You performed the prayer very well. Well done!" Thus, he complemented Abdurrahman. [7]

Hz. Abdurrahman was one of the people who were aware of the fact that it could be dangerous to be wealthy. He was worried about it. Once he went to Umm Salama, one of the wives of the Prophet, and told her about his worry and said,

"The muchness of wealth causes destruction. Therefore, I am worried." Umm Salama said,

"However, wealth spent in the way of Allah is not like that." Then, Abdurrahman felt relieved because he always spent his wealth in the way of Allah.

Hz. Abdurrahman (r.a.), read ayatul kursiyy whenever he entered his house and prayed as follows:"O Allah! Protect me from the stinginess of my soul." When they asked him, "Is there not anything else that you want to ask from Allah?", he would answer as follows:

"If I am protected from the stinginess of my soul, I will not commit theft, fornication or any other sins."

Hz. Abdurrahman was one of the most important assistants of both Hz. Abu Bakr and Hz. Umar. Both caliphs gave importance to his views and consulted him about important issues. 

After Hz. Umar was martyred, people saw the great sacrifice and waiver of Abdur­rah­man bin Awf. When it became clear that Hz. Umar would not survive the assassination, the notable ones among the Companions asked him to nominate someone for the caliphate. Hz. Umar said he thought one of the following people should be chosen: "Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas, Hz. Talha, Hz. Uthman, Hz. Ali, Hz. Zubayr and Abdur­rahman bin Awf".

In the first consultation after the death of Hz. Umar, Abdurrahman made the following offer:

"Let three of us waive for the other three."

Thereupon, Hz. Zubayr, Hz. Talha and Hz. Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas waived in favor of Abdurrahman bin Awf. Then, Abdurrah­man waived and only two candidates were left: Hz. Ali and Hz. Uth­man.

Hz. Abdurrahman said to them:

"Let us give this duty to the one who will waive among you."

However, both of them kept silent. Thereupon, Abdurrahman said:

"Will you allow me to choose one of you? I will search who deserves it more and choose him."

Both Hz. Ali and Hz. Uthman accepted his offer.

Abdurrahman bin Awf consulted the Companions for three days and nights; consequently, he decided that Hz. Uthman should be the Caliph. Then, he called people and told them about his view. Then, he became the first person to pay allegiance to Hz. Uthman. Thereupon, everyone paid allegiance to Hz Uthman. [8]

Abdurrahman was one of the Companions that benefited from the knowledge of the Prophet the most. He reported many hadiths. Two of the hadiths he reported were as follows:

"If you hear that there exists plague in a place, do not go there. If plague breaks out in the place where you live, do not leave your place!" [9]

"If a woman performs five daily prayers, fasts in Ramadan, protects her chastity and obeys her husband, she will be addressed as follows: ‘Enter Paradise through any door you want.’" [10]

Abdurrahman bin Awf (r.a.) bequeathed that 400 dinars be given from his inheritance to each martyr of the Battle of Badr. The number of the martyrs of Badr was 100...

Abdurrahman died in the 21st year of the Migration at the age of 72. His janazah prayer was led by Hz. Uthman or according to another narration by Zubayr bin Awwam. May Allah make us follow their path!

[1] Musnad, 1: 91.
[2] Usdul-Ghaba, 2: 416, 3: 314; Mektûbât (Letters), p. 148.
[3] Usdul-Ghaba, 3: 314-317.
[4] Tabaqat, 3: 93.
[5] Tabaqat, 1:403.
[6] Sirah, 2: 256.
[7] Musnad, 4: 247; Hz. Muhammed ve İslamiyet, 9: 196.
[8] Asr-ı Saadet, 1: 393-394.
[9] Bukhari, Tib: 30; Muslim, Salam: 98.
[10] Musnad, 1: 191.

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