The exemplary young Companions: Selflessness in honorary service to one’s nation

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Rahmatullah Khan Shakir (1901-2000), Former Assistant Editor and Manager of Al Fazl

During the time of Hazrat Umarra, a large number of revenue collectors were needed to help perform the duties of the state. There arose great difficulty in their selection because they deemed it contrary to their piety and righteousness to accept a stipend and prefered to serve the nation without it.

Refusing payment for service to Islam

Once, Hazrat Abdullahra bin Saadi visited Hazrat Umarra. Hazrat Umarra said, “I know that you perform certain national duties, but when you are offered payment for your service, you refuse to accept it.” Hazrat Abdullahra replied that he owned horses and financially, he was sound, therefore he wanted to serve the Muslims for the sake of God, i.e. without taking any salary. (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 1, p. 17, Musnad Umarra bin Al-Khattab, Hadith 100)

In the time of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Abdullahra bin Arqam was tasked with the writing of letters. He also continued this service in the time of Hazrat Abu Bakrra and Hazrat Umarra. He was appointed as the secretary of finance as well by Hazrat Umarra

At his retirement, in the time of Hazrat Uthmanra, Abdullahra was offered 30,000 dirhams, or according to some reports, 200,000 dirhams. But he refused to accept it and replied that he had done that service for the pleasure of God and He alone would reward him for that service. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 3, p. 69)

Serving the Prophetsa with no desire for recompense

There is no denying the fact that the service of the Holy Prophetsa for the cause of faith was the greatest of all, as the foundation of Islam was laid due to his person only. Therefore, the Companions would also serve the Holy Prophetsa with great pleasure and would accept no recompense for it. 

It is reported about Hazrat Rabi‘ahra bin Salma that day in, day out, he would attend to the Holy Prophetsa. After the Holy Prophetsa would return home after the Isha prayer, Hazrat Rabi‘ahra would sit down at his door in order to perform any errand the Holy Prophetsa needed. 

Once, the Holy Prophetsa offered him some amount in lieu of his services, but he refused to accept it and said that he only wanted the Prophetsa to intercede for him before God Almighty so as to be delivered from the Fire.

Once, the Holy Prophetsa suggested that he should marry. But he replied that this botheration would hinder his service of the Holy Prophetsa, which is why he did not wish to marry. (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 4, p. 58, Musnad Rabi‘ah bin Ka‘b Aslami)

In addition to him, there were many other Companionsra who had devoted their lives for the service of the Holy Prophetsa. They would carry out even the most menial of tasks with utmost care. Cold water was a favourite of the Holy Prophetsa and a companion had tasked himself with this service, in that he would bring cold water for him. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Zuhad war-Raqa‘iq, Bab Hadith Jabir wa Qissatu Abil-Yusar)

Companionsra did not accept Islam for wealth, but for noble companionship of the Prophetsa

A common problem in this age is that when someone is tasked with something, first they evaluate their financial benefit in it. But the Companionsra were superior to such ignoble thoughts.

Once, the Holy Prophetsa wanted to send Hazrat Amrra bin al-Aas for an expedition and said to him that he would be given a large share out of booty if God Almighty granted any. He replied that he did not accept Islam for the sake of money; he accepted it only to be benefited by the company of the Holy Prophetsa. (Adabul-Mufrad, Bab Al-Malus-Salih lil-Mar‘us-Salih)

Hazrat Rabi‘ahra bin Kaab Aslami was a servant of the Holy Prophetsa. Once, the Holy Prophetsa desired to recompense him for his services and asked him to demand something. In reply he said, “O Prophetsa of God! I want nothing else but your companionship in Paradise.” 

The Holy Prophetsa asked him, “Anything else?” He replied, “Only this much do I want.” 

The Holy Prophetsa said, “Offer Salat profusely and as a result, you will be rewarded with riches. (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Salat, Bab Waqt Qiyamun-Nabi min-al-Lail)

An incident with regard to Hazrat Khalidra bin Waleed’s selfless service for Islam is the most distinguished of all. 

For certain reasons, Hazrat Umarra, in the beginning of his Khilafat, deposed Hazrat Khalidra bin Waleed from the post of commander-in-chief of the Muslim forces and assigned him to the leadership of Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra

The history of Islam is adorned with the military services, valour, courage, prudence and statesmanship of Hazrat Khalidra bin Waleed. It was due to his struggle and spirit of sacrifice that the resolve of Roman imperialism was shattered in the Battle of Yarmuk and the court of Caesar trembled with the fear of the Muslims. 

Despite this, Hazrat Umarra considered his deposition necessary and ordered for it. 

With magnanimity, Hazrat Khalidra complied with the command of the Khalifa of the time and let no scruples harbour in his thoughts. 

Being a subordinate to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, he exhibited the same valour and selflessness on the battlefield as he had exhibited when he was the commander-in-chief. (Futuh-ul-Buldan, Vol. 1, p. 118, Bab Amrul-Urdan)

This, in fact, is the spirit through which service on a national level can bring significant results. But the people who, for insignificant and nominal posts, hamper national activities and instead of being of some help, engage themselves in subversive activities, are a stigma for the nation. 

To serve one’s nation on a national level requires sincerity, selflessness and a distance from fame and glory. Anyone who is tasked with something on the national level should perform it being exalted of egoism. And this is the spirit which guarantees a nation’s success. 

(Translated by Shahid Mahmood Ahmad, Missionary in Ghana, from the original Urdu, Muslim Nau-jawanon kay Sunehri Karnamey)

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