For this session we will try to bring examples of the sahaba who are known for their wealth. The main objective is to show them the examples on how the wealthy sahaba spent their wealth. The sahaba are the best based on what prophet Muhammad sallahu alaihi wasalam said
Allah’s most beloved Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), told us: “The best of my followers are those living in my century (generation), then those coming after them and then those coming after the latter.” [Bukhari]
Therefore, the people to love the most and look up to, after Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), are his Sahabah (radi Allahu anhum).
Most importantly we want to gather lessons and examplary actions so that we can emulate their behaviour so that we can please Allah. May Allah be please with us as He has been pleased with them.
I used this book to narrate the story to the children – Heroes of Islam by Prof Mahmoud Esma’il Sieny, published by Darussalam.
First of all imagine in the early years when Prophet Muhammad sallahu alaihi wasalam made a call to Islam. Usually among the early ones to embrace Islam are the poor and the one with no position in the community because they have nothing to lose and they all look forward to greater reward that Allah promised to the believers.
The rich however have more to fear of losing. Fear of losing wealth and status and to face hardship when responding to the truth. However that is not so for some sahaba. They were wealthy before Islam and even wealthier both in the world and even more in their eeman.
Abdur Rahman bin Auf
He is an example of the true follower of Islam whose wealth was a means to attain the pleasure of Allah rather than an end in itself.
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.
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 foe. 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 with 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 and 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 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.
“Yes,” replied Abdur-Rahman. “I have left for them more than what I give and better.” “How much?” enquired the Prophet.
“What God and His Messenger have promised of sustenance, goodness and reward,” replied Abdur-Rahman.
When the Prophet, peace be on him, passed away, Abdur-Rahman took on the responsibility of looking after the needs of his family, the Ummahaat al-Muminin. He would go with them wherever they wanted to and he even performed Hajj with them to ensure that all their needs were met. This is a sign of the trust and confidence which he enjoyed on the part of the Prophet’s family.
Abdur-Rahman’s support for the Muslims and the Prophet’s wives in particular was well-known. Once he sold a piece of land for forty thousand dinars and he distributed the entire amount among the Banu Zahrah (the relatives of the Prophet’s mother Aminah), the poor among the Muslims and the Prophet’s wives. When Aishah, may God be pleased with her, received some of this money she asked:
“Who has sent this money?” and was told it was Abdur-Rahman, whereupon she said:
“The Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, said: No one will feel compassion towards you after I die except the sabirin (those who are patient and resolute).”
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. The people of Madinah soon realized that a mighty caravan was entering the city. They stood in amazement as seven hundred camels laden with goods moved into the city and crowded the streets. There was much shouting and excitement as people called to one another to come out and witness the sight and see what goods and sustenance the camel 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 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 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?
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 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 giver sabilillah.”
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.
An interesting article about Al Rahji. May Allah accept his deeds and preserve him.