19 June 2020
Men of Excellence
After reciting the Tashahud, Ta‘awuz, and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said:
In the previous sermon, I spoke about Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf. Some of his accounts were left to be narrated, which I will narrate today.
Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf had a long-standing friendship with Umayyah bin Khalaf. There is a detailed narration about this in Sahih Bukhari in which Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf narrates that he wrote a letter to Umayyah bin Khalaf stating:
“Umayyah would look after my property in Mecca and I would look after his in Medina. When I wrote my name as ‘Abdur Rahman’, Umayyah said, ‘I do not know any Abdur Rahman. Tell me and write down for me your name by which you went during the jahiliyyah, [i.e. the period of ignorance prior to the advent of Islam].’ So, I wrote my name as Abd Amr. When he came to participate in the Battle of Badr, I went up the hill to protect him once all the people had gone to sleep, but somehow Bilalra saw him. Hence, Hazrat Bilalra went to a gathering of the Ansar and standing among them, said, ‘Umayyah bin Khalaf is nearby; if he escapes, then my life will be in danger.’ So, a group of people who were with Hazrat Bilalra went out to follow us (i.e. Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra and Umayyah bin Khalaf because Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf went out to protect him and to offer him refuge).”
The narrator further states:
“Being afraid that they would catch us, I left Umayyah’s son behind so that they would first engage in fighting with him and we would be able to advance further ahead (i.e. those Muslims who were pursuing them would become busy with fighting the son and they themselves would gain some lead over them and he would take Umayyah to a safe place). Subsequently, they killed him, (i.e. they killed his son) and they did not let my plan succeed and carried on following us. Umayyah was of a heavy build, so he was unable to escape quickly. Eventually, when they approached us, I told him to sit down. So, he sat down and I laid myself on him to protect him but they killed him by piercing him with their swords underneath me and one of them also injured my foot with his sword.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Wakalah, Bab Idhaa Wakala al-Muslimu Harbiyyan fi Dar al-Harb, Hadith 2301)
Further details of this incident are recorded in Tarikh al-Tabari as follows:
Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf narrates:
“Umayyah bin Khalaf was my friend in Mecca. I used to go by the name Abd Amr at the time. While still in Mecca, I accepted Islam and I was given the name Abdur Rahman. After that, whenever he used to meet me, he would say, ‘O Abd Amr! Do you disregard the name given to you by your father?’ I used to say, ‘Yes’, upon which he would say, ‘I do not recognise any Rahman. It would be better if you proposed a different name and so, I will address you by that name because you do not respond to your old name. I will not address you by the name of something I am not aware of.’”
Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf further narrates:
“Whenever he used to call me by the name Abd Amr, I would not respond. I said, ‘O Abu Ali! You choose whatever you wish in this regard, but I will not respond to this old name.’ Umayyah bin Khalaf then said, ‘Well, in that case, Abd Ilaah would be a better name for you.’ I said, ‘Fine!’ Hence, whenever we used to meet after that, he would address me by the name Abd Ilaah. I would respond to him and talk to him and this continued like this until the day of the Battle of Badr arrived and I passed by Umayyah, who was standing and holding his son, Ali bin Umayyah’s hand. I was holding a few chin armours, which I had acquired, and I was walking with them. Upon seeing me, he called out to me saying, ‘O Abd Amr!’ However, I did not respond to him. Following this, he said ‘O Abd Ilaah!’ Upon this I replied and enquired what he wanted. He responded, ‘Am I not better than these chain armours you are carrying?’ I said that if this is the case then come with me. I threw away the chain armours in order to give him refuge and grabbed hold of his and his son, Ali’s hand. Upon this, he said ‘I have never seen a day such as this one.’”
Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf further relates:
“I took both of them and set off, whilst walking in between father and son, holding them by the hand. Umayyah asked me, ‘O Abd Ilaah! Who is it among you that has the feather of an ostrich marked on his chest?’ I replied that it was Hamza bin Abdil-Muttalib. Umayyah said, ‘He is responsible for our state’” i.e. this terrible state that they were in was due to him.
Nevertheless, he further relates:
“I was walking along with him when Bilalra saw me with them. Umayyah was the one who used to torture Hazrat Bilalra in Mecca so that he would leave Islam. He used to take him to the rocky part of Mecca and once they had become extremely hot under the intense heat of the sun, he would make him lay on his back on the burning surface. He would then order for a large rock, which would be placed upon his chest. Following this, he would say that he would continue to be punished until he left the religion of Muhammadsa. However, despite this torture, Bilalra continued to say, ‘Ahad, Ahad’”, that is, “He is One, He is One.” “Therefore, when he saw him, that is when Hazrat Bilalra saw Umayyah, he started saying that Umayyah bin Khalaf was the chief of the disbelievers and that I would not survive if he was spared.’”
Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf narrated:
“I said to him ‘O Bilal! Both of them are my prisoners.’ Upon this, Bilalra once again repeated that he would not survive if Umayyah was spared. I again said to Hazrat Bilalra, ‘O Ibn Sauda! Do you not hear [what I am saying]?’ Upon this, Bilalra once again said, ‘I will not survive if he is spared.’ Following this, Hazrat Bilalra said the following words in an extremely loud voice: ‘O Ansar! This is Umayyah bin Khalaf, the chief of the disbelievers. I shall be destroyed if he is spared.’”
Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf further relates:
“Following this call of his, people surrounded us from all sides and trapped us and I began to protect Umayyah. One individual struck his son with the sword and he fell to the ground. At that moment, Umayyah screamed in such a loud manner that I had never heard the like thereof before. I told him to run but he was unable to do so. [I said] ‘By Allah! I am unable to assist you in any manner.’ In the meantime, the attackers struck both of them with their swords to such an extent that they killed them both.”
Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf used to say, “May Allah the Exalted have mercy on Bilalra because not only did I lose my chain armours, but he also forcefully took my prisoners from me.” (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 35, Dhikr Waqi’ah Badr al-Kubra, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1987)
Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf also took part in the Battle of Uhud. When the Muslims lost their positions on the day of the Battle of Uhud, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf remained steadfast beside the Holy Prophetsa. (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Saad, Vol. 3, p. 95, Abdur Rahman bin Auf, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1990)
On the day of the Battle of Uhud, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf sustained 21 wounds. His foot was wounded to such an extent that he began to walk with a limp and also lost two of his front teeth. (Usdul Ghabah, Vol. 3, p. 476, Abdur Rahman bin Auf, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut)
Hazrat Ibn Umarra relates that during Sha‘ban [eighth month of the Islamic calendar] in 6 AH, the Holy Prophetsa sent a delegation consisting of 700 men towards Dumat-ul-Jandal under the leadership of Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf. The Holy Prophetsa wrapped a black turban around Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf’s head with his blessed hands and placed the loose cloth at the end of the turban between his shoulders. Following this, the Holy Prophetsa said, “O Abu Muhammad! I am receiving news of danger from Dumat-ul-Jandal. An army is gathering there in order to attack Medina. Set off into this direction, striving in the cause of Allah. Seven hundred mujahideen [people who strive in the cause of God] will accompany you. Once you reach Dumat-ul-Jandal, you should first present the message of Islam to their chief and their tribe of Kalb. However, in case a battle breaks out, you should be mindful of not being deceitful and dishonest with anyone, or breaking your oath. Do not kill children or women and purify the world from those rebelling against God.” Thus, war was permitted only with these particular conditions. Hence, when Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf reached Dumah, he invited them towards Islam for three days, however they continued to reject his message. Following this, Asbagh bin Amr Kalbi, who was their chief and a Christian, accepted Islam. Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf wrote to the Holy Prophetsa, informing him of the entire event. The Holy Prophetsa stated that he should marry the daughter of this chief, Tumazir. And so, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf married her and then returned with her to Medina. Tumazir was later known by the name Umm-e-Abu Salma. (Roshan Sitarey az Ghulam Bari Saif Sahib, Vol. 2, p. 106) (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Saad, Vol. 3, p. 96, Abdur Rahman bin Auf, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut) (Asharah Mubasharah, Bashir Sajid, p. 875, Al-Badr Publications, Lahore)
Umar bin Abd-il-Aziz relates that in 14 AH, on the occasion of the Battle of Jisr, when Hazrat Umarra was informed of the martyrdom of Hazrat Abu Ubaidra bin Masud. (I have previously mentioned the Battle of Jisr where an elephant of the Persian forces trampled over him.) Nevertheless, when Hazrat Umarra was informed of this and became aware of the fact that the people of Persia had chosen their king from among the family of Chosroes, he invited the Muhajireen and the Ansar for Jihad. Hazrat Umarra departed from Medina and stayed in Sirar. This was the name of a mountain in Medina, located at a distance of three miles from Medina on the way to Iraq. Nevertheless, he stayed there and sent ahead Hazrat Talhara bin Ubaidullah towards A‘was. Hazrat Umarra appointed Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf as the commander of the right flank of the army and Zubairra bin Awam as the leader of the left flank of the army and appointed Hazrat Alira as his representative in Medina. Hazrat Umarra took suggestions from the Muslims and all of them gave their suggestions to go to Persia. When the army departed, Hazrat Umarra did not consult anyone until they reached Sirar. When he reached Sirar, it was then that he consulted them. When Hazrat Talhara returned, he also held the same opinion as the others. Hazrat Talhara was not present at first, but when he returned, he agreed to head forward. However, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf was among those people who suggested to Hazrat Umarra to not advance forward and stating the reason for this, he said:
“Before this day, I had never expressed to sacrifice my parents for anyone but the Holy Prophetsa and I will never do so in the future. However, today, I say to you that may my parents be sacrificed for you; leave the final decision regarding this matter in my hands.” Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf said this to Hazrat Umarra, who was the Khalifa at that time. He stated, “You should stay at Sirar and send forth a large army. From the beginning until this moment, you have already observed what Allah the Exalted has decreed in relation to your army. If your army was to suffer defeat, it would not be the same if you were defeated.” Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf then stated the reason for this and said, ‘If you were to be killed in the beginning, or were defeated, I am fearful that the Muslims will neither be able to exalt Allah again, nor give the testimony of لا اله الا الله [there is no God but Allah].” Whilst these discussions were taking place, Hazrat Umarra was searching for an individual, who could be sent as the commander of the army. During this time, Hazrat Umarra received a letter from Hazrat Saadra, who was appointed to oversee the revenue from the alms collection [Sadaqah] in Najd at that time. After listening to Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf, Hazrat Umarra then asked who should be entrusted with this responsibility. Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf stated, ‘You have already found the individual.’ Hazrat Umar asked who he was. Hazrat Abdur Rahman replied, ‘It is the lion of the land, Saad bin Malik’, that is, he was a very brave person and an excellent commander. He should be made commander and sent forth. The other individuals also supported this opinion. This is also a reference from Tarikh al-Tabari. (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 3, pp. 381-382, Bab dhikr amr al-Qadisiyyah, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1987) (Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Vol. 2, p. 287, Sanah 13, Dhikr Waqi’ah Qass al-Natif, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2003) (Farhang Sirat, p. 172, Zawwar Academy Publications, Karachi, 2003)
The Holy Prophetsa gave accommodation in Medina to a number of tribes and companions. He provided the tribe of Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf a place to dwell in a land beside the Mosque of the Prophet, which was clustered with date trees. Furthermore, he granted Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf and Hazrat Umarra some land. Later, Hazrat Zubairra then purchased this land from the family of Hazrat Umarra, namely from his children. The Holy Prophetsa even vouchsafed to Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf that when the Muslims conquer Syria, he would have such and such portion of land. Thus, when the Muslims were victorious in Syria during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf was given those lands promised to him and that area which was promised to him was known as Salil. (Roshan Sitarey az Ghulam Bari Saif Sahib, Vol. 2, pp. 105-106)
Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf also had the honour of leading the prayer with the Holy Prophetsa in the congregation. Hazrat Mughirahra relates, “I participated alongside the Holy Prophetsa in the Battle of Tabuk.” He says, “The Holy Prophetsa had gone to answer the call of nature prior to the Fajr prayer, so I carried the leather bag which contained water for him. When the Holy Prophetsa returned and came close to where I was standing” as he was stood at some distance, “I began pouring the water onto his hands, so he washed both his hands three times and then washed his blessed face. Thereafter, he tried to take his arms out from his outer garment, but the sleeves were too tight, so he placed his hands inside the garment to uncover his arms and washed them up to his elbows. He then cleaned [his feet] by wiping over his leather socks. He then set forth, and I too walked with him until we found the people had ushered Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf forward and he was leading them in prayer. The Holy Prophetsa had reached during the second of the two rak‘aat [units of prayer], i.e. one rak‘at had already passed by that time and the second rak‘at of the Fajr prayer was being offered when he joined the lines of prayer in congregation. When Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf concluded the prayer with salam [salutation of peace], the Holy Prophetsa stood up to complete his prayer, which caused the Muslims to be anxious and they began increasing in performing the tasbih [glorification of God]. When the Holy Prophetsa had completed his prayer, he turned to the people and said, ‘What you did was right’, or ‘You did well.’”
In other words, the Holy Prophetsa expressed his delight over the fact that they began the prayer on time, by saying that they did well).
Hazrat Mughirahra further relates, “When the Holy Prophetsa and I reached there, I desired to make Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf step back but the Holy Prophetsa instructed me not to and to therefore allow him to lead the prayer. After the prayer the Holy Prophetsa stated, ‘Indeed, every prophet in his lifetime has the opportunity to pray behind a pious person from among his followers.’” (Sahih Muslim, Kitabus Salat, Bab Taqdeem al-Jama‘ah man Yusalli bihim idha Ta‘akhara al-Imam, Hadith 274) (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Saad, Vol. 3, p. 96, min Bani Zuhrah bin Kilab, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut)
This was another great honour he was given by the Holy Prophetsa, that is to say that not only did the Holy Prophetsa commend him for leading the prayer, but he also said that the fact he prayed behind Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf was testimony that he was a pious man.
In another account it is mentioned that Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf would offer lengthy prayers (voluntary prayers), before the Zuhr prayers and when he would hear the call to prayer, he would immediately make his way for the congregational prayer. (Roshan Sitarey az Ghulam Bari Saif Sahib, Vol. 2, p. 107)
Another narrator says that he witnessed Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf performing circuits around the Ka‘bah whilst supplicating to God to save him from the miserliness of the self. (Roshan Sitarey az Ghulam Bari Saif Sahib, Vol. 2, p. 110)
Hazrat Abdullah bin Umarra relates, “The year Hazrat Umarra was elected Khalifa, he appointed Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf as the amir for the Hajj.” (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, pp. 379-380, Dhikr Ibtidaa amr al-Qadisiyyah, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1987)
Abu Salama bin Abdir Rahman narrates that Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf once went to the Holy Prophetsa in complaint about the lice infestation, and pleaded, “O Messengersa of Allah, permit me to wear silk clothing.” (The traditional cotton clothing for some reason had a lot of lice at the time, perhaps after it had spread from his hair. It was not going away and so he requested permission to wear silk clothing to protect against this.) So the Holy Prophetsa granted him permission to wear it. After the demise of the Holy Prophetsa and Hazrat Abu Bakrra, when Hazrat Umarra was elected Khalifa, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf came to Hazrat Umarra along with his son Abu Salama. Abu Salama was wearing an upper garment made of silk, and so Hazrat Umarra asked, “What is this you are wearing?” Hazrat Umarra then placed his hand near the collar area of Abu Salama and tore the shirt. Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf then asked Hazrat Umarra, “Are you not aware that the Holy Prophetsa granted me permission?”, to which Hazrat Umarra replied, “The Holy Prophetsa only granted you permission to do so because you complained to him about the lice infestation, and this permission was not extended to anyone else.” (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Saad, Vol. 3, p. 96, Abdur Rahman bin Auf, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1990)
Saad bin Ibrahim relates that Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf would often wear a cloth, or once wore a cloth which was worth 400-500 dirhams. (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Saad, Vol. 3, p. 97, Abdur Rahman bin Auf, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1990)
In other words, he experienced such a time as well when he would wear extremely expensive clothes. Just observe the grace of Allah, that in spite of having no possessions at the time of migration, he was then able to wear the most expensive of clothes and God Almighty blessed him with many properties.
During the final illness of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, he appointed Hazrat Umarra as the Khalifa. When he had made this intention, he called Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf and asked for his opinion about Hazrat Umarra. Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf answered, “O Khalifa of the Messengersa, he is held in high esteem in the eyes of other people as well, but he can be rather strict in his temperament.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra then said, “The reason why he possessed this is that he would see me being lenient and so he would be strict to keep things balanced.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra continued, “When he is given this responsibility, he shall abandon many of his practices such as this and you shall not witness the same strictness in him.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra then said, “O Abu Muhammad, I have observed him closely that whenever I would express my displeasure at someone in a certain matter, Hazrat Umarra would counsel me to show leniency to them, and whenever I would show leniency to someone, he would advise me to be strict.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra then said, “O Abu Muhammad, do not mention what I have told you to anyone else.” Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf agreed to this. (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 3, Dhikr Istikhlafah Umar bin Khattab, p. 352, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1987)
After the conquest of Mecca, the Holy Prophetsa sent some delegations to various locations. Hazrat Khalidra bin Waleed was sent to the Banu Jazima. During the period of jahiliyyah [era of ignorance prior to the advent of the Holy Prophetsa], the Banu Jazima had killed Auf, the father of Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf and also Fakih bin Mughira, who was the paternal uncle of Hazrat Khalidra bin Waleed. During this visit, out of error, Hazrat Khalidra bin Waleed killed one of the men from that tribe. When the Holy Prophetsa learnt of this news, he expressed his displeasure. The Holy Prophetsa paid the blood-money and also compensated for everything that Hazrat Khalidra had taken from him. When Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf found out about this act of Hazrat Khalidra bin Waleed, he said to him” i.e. Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf said to Hazrat Khalidra bin Waleed, “‘Did you kill him because they had killed your paternal uncle?’ Hazrat Khalidra bin Waleed replied in a rather stern tone, ‘They also killed your father!’ Hazrat Khalidra bin Waleed further stated, ‘You wish to prolong those days’”, i.e. Hazrat Khalidra bin Waleed claimed that since Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf had accepted Islam in the very early days, therefore he considered this a great honour and wished to take advantage of this honour. “Hazrat Khalidra bin Waleed said this in a tone of anger and displeasure, and so this news also reached the Holy Prophetsa. When the Holy Prophetsa heard this, he stated, ‘Leave my Companions alone. I swear by Him in Whose hands lies my life that even if anyone amongst you was to spend gold [in the way of God Almighty] equivalent to the size of the mountain of Uhud, it will still be less than their smallest of sacrifices of these individuals.’” In other words, such was the lofty rank of those early companions, whose sacrifices are incomparable. (Roshan Sitarey az Ghulam Bari Saif Sahib, Vol. 2, pp. 108-109) (Usdul Ghabah, Vol. 3, p. 479, Abdur Rahman bin Auf, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut)
Regarding Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf, the Holy Prophetsa once stated, “He is the chief even amongst the leaders of the Muslims.” The Holy Prophetsa also stated, “Abdur Rahmanra is the amin [trustworthy and faithful] one in the heavens and on the earth.” (Al-Isti‘ab, Vol. 2, p. 846, Abdur Rahman bin Auf, Dar-ul-Jeel, Beirut)
On one occasion, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf became so severely ill that he lost consciousness and his wife let out a cry in that moment. In other words, such was the severity of his illness that she let out a cry due to her anguish. However, when Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf recovered and his health improved a little, he stated that when he became unconscious, he saw in a vision that two men came to him and stated, “Let us take you before God, the Most Supreme, and obtain a verdict regarding you.” However, a third individual then met them and said, “Do not take him away, for he was blessed with good fortune even from the time he was in the womb of his mother.” This was a vision Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf saw in relation to himself. (Al-Isabah Fi Tamyeez al-Sahabah, Vol. 4, p. 291, Abdur Rahman bin Auf, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1995)
Naufal bin Iyaas Hudhali narrates:
“Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf would sit in our gatherings and was a most excellent companion. One day, he took us to his home. After bathing, he brought us a plate of food which consisted of bread and meat, and then he began to weep. We asked him ‘O Abu Muhammad! Why do you weep?’ He replied, ‘The Holy Prophetsa departed this world in a state whereby he and his family were not even able to satisfy themselves with bread made of barely’” i.e. they did not even have enough bread made of barely to eat; “‘I do not think that our delay has benefitted us.’” In other words, he was not sure whether the fact that living for a long period of time was better for them or whether it was a trial or a test. (Al-Isabah Fi Tamyeez al-Sahabah, Vol. 4, p. 291, Abdur Rahman bin Auf, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1995)
Such were the sentiments of the Companionsra and their fear of God and the love they had for the Holy Prophetsa and his family. These sentiments were not limited only to the Holy Prophetsa and his family, but the companions had love for each other as well.
This mutual love can be witnessed through an incident related to Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf. One evening, food was brought before Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf. Different kinds of dishes were presented before him from which he took a morsel to eat. Just as he placed the morsel of food in his mouth, a state of great anguish and fervency came over him. He left the food saying, “Mus‘abra bin Umair was martyred in Uhud and he was better than I. He was buried in his own cloak” i.e. they did not have a cloth with which to bury him, “therefore they buried him using the cloak he was wearing. The condition of even that cloth was that if they would cover his legs, his head would become uncovered, and if his head would be covered, then his legs would become uncovered.” Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Aufra then stated, “Hamzara was martyred and he was better than I. We have been bestowed wealth and affluence. I fear lest we have been bestowed the reward for our deeds in this life.” After this he began to weep and left his food. Such was the fear of God they had within themselves. (Roshan Sitarey az Ghulam Bari Saif Sahib, Vol. 2, pp. 111-112)
Hazrat Umm-e-Salamahra – the mother of the believers – narrates that Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf came to her and said, “O mother! I fear that I may be ruined due to affluence, as I am the wealthiest among the Quraish.” She replied, “O my son! Spend out of your wealth (i.e. spend in the way of Allah the Almighty and one can be saved from destruction) as I have heard the Holy Prophetsa say, ‘From among my companions, there will be some who I will not meet again after I depart.’”
In other words, some of them will not reach that rank and status. Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf then left and on the way, he met with Hazrat Umarra and informed him of what he had heard [from Hazrat Umm-e-Salamahra]. Hazrat Umarra then went to Hazrat Umm-e-Salamahra and said, “I implore you, in the name of Allah the Almighty to inform me if I am among those who you said would not be able to meet the Holy Prophetsa? Hazrat Umm-e-Salamahra said to Hazrat Umarra, “No, you are not among those people. However, from now on, I am unable to say with certainty who will be able to meet with the Holy Prophetsa.” (Al-Isti‘ab, Vol. 2, pp. 848-849, Abdur Rahman bin Auf, Dar-ul-Jeel, Beirut)
However, it should be made clear that as was mentioned before, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf was among the Asharah Mubasharah, i.e. those ten individuals who were given tidings of paradise by the Holy Prophetsa. However, despite this, they were so fearful of Allah the Almighty that they would always remain anxious regarding this, and after hearing the words of Hazrat Umm-e-Salamahra, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf immediately increased the amount of charity he would offer.
It is narrated by Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbasra that when Hazrat Umarra left for Syria, he stopped at Saragh. Saragh is the name of an inhabited area near the valley of Tabuk, which is situated near the borders of Hijaz and Syria and was at a distance of 13 days of travel from Medina. In other words, to reach there from Medina, it would take 13 days of continuous travel by modes of transport that was used in those days.
When Hazrat Umarra reached this area, he met the commander of the armies, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra bin Al-Jarah and his fellow companions. This incident took place in 18 AH, during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra after the conquest of Syria. They informed Hazrat Umarra that there was an outbreak of a plague in Syria. Hazrat Ibn Abbasra narrates that Hazrat Umarra asked for the early Muhajireen to come and take their suggestions. Hazrat Umarra consulted with them, however there was a difference of opinions amongst the Muhajireen.
Some of them were of the opinion that they should continue on with their journey and not turn back, whilst the others suggested that the noble Companions of the Holy Prophetsa were present in the army and therefore, it was not appropriate for them to be taken into an area where there was a plague and it was better to return.
Hazrat Umarra then told the Muhajireen to leave and invited the Ansar to present their suggestions. Just like the Muhajireen, the Ansar also had a difference of opinions, in other words, some suggested to return and others were of the opinion to continue going ahead.
Hazrat Umarra then invited the elders of the Quraish, who had accepted Islam at the occasion of the conquest of Mecca and came to Medina. All of them unanimously expressed their opinion of taking everyone back and that there was no need to enter an area where there was an outbreak of the plague. Accepting their suggestion, Hazrat Umarra announced to return.
Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra bin Al-Jarah then asked that was it possible for one to escapee from what God has decreed. Were they returning out of fear of the plague because this was God’s decree and one cannot escape from that. Replying to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, Hazrat Umarra stated, “O Abu Ubaidahra! I wish it was someone else who would have uttered what you have said. Indeed, we are moving away from one decree of God to another.”
Explaining what destiny is , Hazrat Umarra further stated and gave the following example: “Say you have some camels and you reach a valley which has two sides; one is a lush green area full of vegetation, while the other is a dry and barren land. Now, would it not be in accordance to the decree of God if you were to take your camels to graze in the area with lots of vegetation, and on the other hand, it will also be according to the decree of God if you decided to take them to the dry and barren land. Thus, the decree of God has presented you with two options”, i.e. a lush green area and the other a dry and barren land except for a few bushes or very little grass. “You cannot say that the vegetation has grown due its own decree and the dry and barren land is owing to the decree of God. In fact, both are due to the decree of God and you must now decide which option you take and it is obvious that you will take the option of the land which has vegetation.”
The narrator of this tradition states that when Hazrat Umarra had said all of this, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf came, who was not present before owing to some other work he was engaged in. Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf submitted, “Since you are asking for suggestions, I have the answer to this issue. I once heard the Holy Prophetsa say that if one learns about the outbreak of a disease in a certain area, they should not travel there. And if the disease has emerged in an area which one resides in, then they shouldn’t leave the area in order to escape from it.”
Thus, one should not travel to an area where there is the outbreak of disease and if one lives in area where the disease has developed, then they should not leave from there, so that the disease does not spread further to other people.
We are also observing this currently as well that those countries which implemented the lockdown in time were able to contain the disease to a large degree. However, those who failed to do so and showed negligence, the disease continues to spread. In any case, the Holy Prophetsa taught this fundamental principle to his companions right from the beginning.
Upon hearing this [i.e. from Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf], Hazrat Umarra praised Allah the Almighty and returned from there. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tibb, Bab Ma Yudhkaru fi al-Ta‘un, Hadith 5729)
Hazrat Miswar bin Makhrama relates that when Hazrat Umarra was in good health and would be requested to appoint a Khalifa after him, he would always refuse to do so. However, one day, Hazrat Umarra came to the pulpit and mentioned a few things and then said, “If I pass away, then I entrust your affairs to six individuals, whom the Holy Prophetsa was pleased with at the time of his demise. They are: Hazrat Ali bin Abu Talibra and bearing similarity to him, Hazrat Zubairra bin Awam; Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf and bearing similarity to him,Hazrat Uthmanra bin Affan; Hazrat Talhahra bin Ubaidullah and bearing similarity to him, Hazrat Sa’dra bin Malik. Hearken for I instruct you to adopt Taqwa and justice whilst carrying out your decisions.”
Abu Jafar relates that Hazrat Umarra bin Khattab told the members of the Electoral Committee, “Consult with one another and if your decision is equally split then consult again and if there are four votes to two, then go with the majority.”
Zaid bin Aslam relates from his father that Hazrat Umarra stated that if there was a split in the votes, i.e. three on each side, then choose and show obedience to the one who Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf voted for.
Abdur Rahman bin Saeed states that when Hazrat Umarra sustained an injury, he instructed that [after his demise] Hazrat Suhaibra would be Imam-ul-Salat, i.e. he would lead them in prayer and Hazrat Umarra repeated this three times. Hazrat Umarra then stated that [after his demise] they would consult with one another to appoint the next Khalifa and entrusted this matter to six individuals. He also stated that anyone who disobeys their decision and opposes them, should be killed. Thus, these six individuals were entrusted with appointing the next Khalifa and during this time, Hazrat Suhaibra was to lead the congregational prayers.
Hazrat Anasra bin Malik narrates shortly before his demise, Hazrat Umarra sent a message to Hazrat Abu Talhara stating, “O Abu Talha, take 50 men from among your tribe of the Ansar and go to those six men who are part of the electoral committee and remain there for three days until they appoint someone from amongst themselves as the Khalifa. O Allah, You are my guardian over them.”
Ishaq bin Abdullah relates that Hazrat Abu Talhara stood beside the grave of Hazrat Umarra for a while along with his men and then remained with the members of the electoral committee. When members of the committee decided to entrust the responsibility of electing their leader with Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf, Hazrat Abu Talhara along with his men stood guard at the house of Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf for three days until people took the Bai‘at of Hazrat Uthmanra.
Hazrat Salma bin Abi Salmara relates from his father that the first person to take the Bai‘at at the hands of Hazrat Uthmanra was Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf and after that it was Hazrat Alira.
Umar bin Umairah, the freed slave of Hazrat Umarra relates from his grandfather that the first person to take the Bai‘at of Hazrat Uthmanra was Hazrat Alira and after that everyone else took the Bai‘at. (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Saad, Vol. 3, pp. 44-46, Dhikr al-Shura wa maa kana min Amrihim, Dhikr Bai’ah Uthman, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1990)
According to a narration of Bukhari, it is stated that when Hazrat Umarra stood to lead the prayer and had just started it by saying “Allahu Akbar”, someone attacked him and in his state of injury, Hazrat Umarra held the hand of Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf, who was standing close to him and directed him to lead the prayer. Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf lead the prayer but kept it short. (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Fada‘il Ashab An-Nabisa, Bab Qissatul Bai‘ah wal-Ittifaq alaa Uthman bin Affan, Hadith 3700)
Mentioning the role of Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf during the election of Hazrat Uthmanra, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states (in the earlier two narrations, except for one detail, all the other details that have been mentioned are the same):
“When Hazrat Umarra was injured and realised that his demise was imminent, he nominated six persons and advised them to elect the Khalifa from among themselves. They included Hazrat Uthmanra, Hazrat Alira Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf, Hazrat Saadra bin Abi Waqas, Hazrat Zubairra and Hazrat Talhara. In addition to them, he included Hazrat Abdullah bin Umarra as an advisor, but did not declare him entitled to Khilafat. He also admonished that these people should give their verdict within three days, and Hazrat Suhaibra should lead the prayer during that period of time.
“He appointed Hazrat Miqdadra bin Al-Aswad to oversee the consultation and election process and directed him to gather the Electoral College at one place and to guard them with his sword.”
In the earlier narrations, it was stated that Hazrat Talhara was instructed to stand guard but after consulting various sources, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has concluded that according to him, it was Hazrat Miqdadra bin Al-Aswad who was instructed to stand guard until the Khalifa was elected.
“Hazrat Umarra then stated that the people should take the Bai‘at of the person who is elected by the majority of votes, and if any one declines to do so, then he should be killed. If there be three votes on each side, then Hazrat Abdullah bin Umarra would recommend who the Khalifa should be. If members of the Electoral College do not agree to the decision of Hazrat Abdullah bin Umarra, then the person favoured by Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf should be appointed as Khalifa.
“These five companions discussed this matter (as Hazrat Talhara was not in Medina at that time).”
According to Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, Hazrat Talhara was not in Medina at the time, hence there were five companions.
“However, they could not come to any conclusion. After a lengthy discussion, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf asked if anyone wanted to withdraw their name, but all of them remained quiet. On this, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf withdrew his name, then Hazrat Uthmanra withdrew his name and then two others did the same. Hazrat Alira remained quiet, however he then took a pledge from Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf that he (i.e. Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra) would be completely impartial, and they all entrusted the responsibility of making the decision to Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf. For three days, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf visited every house in Medina to obtain the opinion of every man and woman in regard to who they thought should be elected as Khalifa. All of them expressed their agreement to the Khilafat of Hazrat Uthmanra. Thus, he gave his verdict in favour of Hazrat Uthmanra and he became the Khalifa.” (Khilafat-e-Rashidah, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 15, pp. 484-485)
There is another narration in reference to this, however it is quite lengthy, therefore I will separately mention it later, if needed, whilst continuing to relate the accounts of Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf, insha-Allah. Or it is possible this lengthy narration may be mentioned with reference to Hazrat Uthman’sra Khilafat or in relation to the accounts of Hazrat Umar’sra life. However, apart from this narration, there are a few more accounts in relation to Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf’s life, piety and character which I will insha-Allah narrate in the future sermon.
(Original Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 10 July 2020, pp. 5-9. Translated by The Review of Religions.)