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6/18/2016 CaseStudyofaMuslimMan:LessonsfromAbdulRahmanibnAwfTheIdealMuslimMan

TheIdealMuslimMan

"Amongthebelieversarementruetowhattheypromised
Allah"(Qur'an33:23)

CaseStudyofaMuslimMan:LessonsfromAbdul
RahmanibnAwf

Whenitcomestoexamplesofmanlinessfromthelivesofthesahabah,AbdulRahmanibnAwf
standsoutfromthecrowd.HeconvertedtoIslamatitsverydawn;atonepoint,heconstitutedoneof
eightMuslimmenintheentireworld.HeenduredthetrialsandtribulationofMakkah,losing
everythingandmigratingtwice,oncetoAbyssiniaandoncetoMadinah.InMadinah,startingwith 1/7
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6/18/2016 CaseStudyofaMuslimMan:LessonsfromAbdulRahmanibnAwfTheIdealMuslimMan

everythingandmigratingtwice,oncetoAbyssiniaandoncetoMadinah.InMadinah,startingwith
onlytheclothesonhisback,herefusednancialaidand,throughtheblessingsofAllah,built
himselfintothewealthiestmaninthecity.Adjustingforinationandbuyingpower,somepeople
estimatethatAbdulRahmanibnAwfleftanetworthof$160millionwhenhepassedaway.In
additiontohiswealth,heleftbehindalegacyofgenerositythatcontinuestoinspireMuslimstillthis
day.Oneofthetenpromisedparadise,AbdulRahmanibnAwfslifeisabrilliantcasestudyofwhat
itmeanstobeanIdealMuslimMan.

Amanmustbewillingtosacrificehiscomfortsandstartoverinanew
place

InMakkah,AbdulRahmanibnAwfwaswellestablishedasamerchant.Hehadconnectionswith
othermerchantslikeAbuBakr(ra)andUmayyahibnKhalaf(theinfamousownerofBilal).He
belongedtotheBanuZuhra,arespectedclanoftheQuraish,thesameclanasthemotherofthe
Prophet.Inshort,hewascomfortableandcouldhaveledalifeofeaseandcomfortifhewanted.

ButcomfortandeaseinthislifearenotthegoalsofMuslimmen.

InMakkah,theabilitytopracticeIslamwasrestrictedandfurthermore,thenascentMuslim
communityneededtoestablishapresenceelsewheresothatIslamwasnotconnedtoMakkah.
WhentheProphetgaveinstructionstosomesahabahtomigratetoAbysinniatopracticeIslamand
formaMuslimminoritycommunityabroad,AbdulRahmanibnAwfjumpedatthechance.Hewas
readytogiveuphiscomfortablesurroundingstopursuesomethingthatwasmoreimportantforhim
theakhirah.

AftersomerumorsabouttheQurayshenteringintoIslam,AbdulRahmanibnAwfreturnedto
MakkahalongwithsomeotherMuslims.Later,hemadethehijrahtoMadinah,addinghisnameto
theelitegroupofsahabahknownasAshabalHijratayn,thepeopleoftwohijras.

Inbothcases,AbdulRahmanibnAwfgaveupwhathehadandstartedoverfromscratch.

Lesson:

Nexttimeyoureinasituationwhereyoureweighingcomfortandeaseononehandagainst
somethingthatisbeerforyouinthisworldandnextintheotherhand,remembertheexampleof
AbdulRahmanibnAwf.Comfortandeasedonotcreategreatmen.

Amandoesnottakehandouts,hereliesonAllahandthenhimself.

WhenAbdulRahmanibnAwfmadehijrahtoMadinah,theProphetpartneredhimwithSaadibn
alRabi.InaccordancewiththelegendarygenerosityoftheAnsar,Saadoeredtosplithisentire
wealthinhalfwithAbdulRahman.Instead,AbdulRahmangavehisfamousanswer,MayAllah
blessyouinyourfamilyandyourwealth.Ihavenoneedofthis.Justdirectmetothemarketplace.
Andhewenttothemarketandbeganbuyingandselling,leveragingwhatlilehehadtogetmore.

Veryshortlyafterthis,heranintotheProphetwhowassurprisedtodetectawhioffemale
perfumeonAbdulRahmansclothes.ThiscouldonlymeanonethingbutknowingthatAbdul
Rahmanhadjustmigratedandwouldlikelystillbepoor,theProphetexclaimedinsurprise,What
isthisohAbdulRahman?AbdulRahmansmiled,IvegoenmarriedtoanAnsariwomanya

Rasulallah.Andwhatonearthdidyougiveherforhermahr?Goldequivalenttoadatestone. 2/7
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Rasulallah.Andwhatonearthdidyougiveherforhermahr?Goldequivalenttoadatestone.
TheProphetbeamedathiscompanionandthentoldhimthatheshouldprepareafeast,awalima,
topublicizehismarriage.AndsowithinafewdaysofarrivinginMadinah,AbdulRahmanibnAwf
invitedfriendsandfamilytohiswalima.

ThroughtheblessingsofAllahandthenhisstrongworkethicandintelligenceinthemarket,
AbdulRahmanibnAwfhadaccumulated,injustashorttime,enoughmoneytonotonlysupport
himself,butsupportawifeandgivehergoldasapresent.

Lesson:

RememberthestoryofAbdulRahmanibnAwfthenexttimesomeoneoersyouahandout.The
Prophetsaid,Theupperhandisbeerthanthelowerhand.Itisfarbeertodepriveyourselfof
somecomfortthantostretchforthyourhandinfrontofanotherperson.Ifyoureshortofmoney,go
outandwork,relyingonAllahtoblessyouinthemoneyyouearn.ItwassaidofAbdulRahman
ibnAwfthathewasalwaysdoingsomething.Ifhewasntprayinginthemasjidorghtingalongside
theProphet,hewasinthemarketplace,earningalivelihood.

Amandoesnotbecomesoengrossedwithmoneythathelosessight
ofhisvalues.

Despitebeingthewealthiestmanofthesahabah,AbdulRahmanibnAwfalwayskepthispriorities
inorder.Heusedtosay,Ilefthalfofwhatishalal,afraidIwould
accidentallyengageinriba.ForAbdulRahman,makingalargeprotpaledincomparisonto
acceptingapennyofharammoney.Whenhepassedawayandleftinheritancetobedistributed
acrossMadinah,wealthysahabahsuchasUthmanibnAaneagerlyreceivedthemoney.When
peoplequestionedtheirdesiretoreceivethemoney,whentheythemselveswerewello,Uthman
ibnAanrepliedthatthemoneyofAbdulRahmanibnAwfwasguaranteedtobepureandhalaal
andthatwhateverheboughtwiththatmoneywouldalsobepureandhalal.Thedesireformoney
nevertrumpedAbdulRahmanibnAwfsdesireforAllahspleasure.

Lesson:

Allahhasmademostthingsinthedunyahalalforus.Inthepursuitofthosethings,itsimportant
toneverlosesightofourultimategoal,thehereafter.Whetheritsthepursuitofmoneyoreducation
orfameorsomethingelse,itshouldalwaystakesecondstagetoourpursuitofAllahspleasure.
Nexttimeyouretemptedtocrossthelinefromhalalintoharam,askyourselfwhatyourvaluesare.

Amanjudgesothermenontheircharacter,notontheirsocialstatus
orwealth

Once,AbdulRahmanibnAwfwasfastingandtimecameforiftar.Ashebegantobreakhisiftar,the
peoplesawtearsprofuselyowingformhisfaceandhecouldnoteat.Hesaid,MusabibnUmair
wasmartyredandhewasbeerthanme.Hewaswrappedinagarmentsothatifitcoveredhishead,
hisfeetshowed,andifitcoveredhisfeet,hisheadshowed.Hamzawasmartyred,andhewasbeer
thanme.Theyfoundnofuneralshroudtowraphiminotherthanclotheshewaswearing.Nowthe
worldhasbeenexpandedforus,andwehavebeengivenmuch.Imafraidourblessingsarehastened

[i..e,giveninthisworldandnotthenext].DespitebeingoneofthetenguaranteedParadise,despite3/7
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[i..e,giveninthisworldandnotthenext].DespitebeingoneofthetenguaranteedParadise,despite
beingaveteranofBadrandaparticipantofHudaybiyyah,despitebeingoneoftheashabalhijratan,
AbdulRahmanibnAwfwasneverarrogant.

Inanerawhereracismwasrampant,wherethosewhowereblackandnonArabwerelookeddown
upon,AbdulRahmanibnAwfinsteadfelthonoredwhenBilal(ra)expressedinterestinmarryinghis
sister.AbdulRahmandidnotbuyintothejahalitraditionoftribalismandbloodstatus.Hesawin
BilalagreatsahabiandthemuaddhinoftheProphetandhappilysupportedthemarriageofhis
sisterwithBilal(ra).Indoingso,heleftanimportantmessageforMuslimsinthecenturiestocome.
HissisterwasanArab,aQurashi,oftheclanofBanuZuhrawhereasBilal(ra)wasafreedslavefrom
Abysinnia.YetastheProphetsaid,AnArabhasnosuperiorityoveranonArab,nordoesanon
ArabhaveanysuperiorityoveranArab.Awhitepersonhasnosuperiorityoverablackpersonnora
blackpersonoverawhitepersonexceptbypietyandgoodaction.

Lesson:

Whenyoulookatotherpeople,whatlensdoyouusetolookatthemthrough?AbdulRahmanibn
AwfsawtheworldthroughthelensofIslamandtaqwa.Indoingso,hebecameblindtosocialstatus,
towealth,andtoethnicity.Nexttimeyoujudgeaperson,examinewhatcriteriayoureusingtojudge
them.

Amanuseshismoneywell

AbdulRahmanibnAwfhadenoughmoneytolivealifeofluxuryandease,indulginginwhatever
pleasureswereavailabletowealthymenofhisera.Instead,however,hewasconstantlylookingfor
waystobuythehereafter.EverytheProphetaskedformoney,AbdulRahmanibnAwfwouldstand
up.EverytimeAbuBakraskedformoney,AbdulRahmanwouldstandup.EverytimeUmarasked
formoney,AbdulRahmanwouldstandup.EverytimeUthmanaskedformoney,AbdulRahman
wouldstandup.

AttheBaleofTabuk,hedonatedgenerouslyfortheexpeditionandthenspentmoneyequipping
thosepeoplewhoweretoopoortoequipthemselves..Afterthedeathoftheprophet,hetookit
uponhimselftolookaftertheneedsoftheMothersoftheBelievers,xingthemstipendsfromhis
ownmoneyandtakingthemonhajjwhentheywanted.

Talha(ra)usedtosaythatallofthepeopleinMadinahwerelivingoofAbdulRahmanibnAwf.He
said1/3ofmoneyhaddebtswhichAbdulRahmanibnAwfhadpaidoftheirbehalf.1/3hadtaken
loansfromhimthathehadneverrequestedrepaymenton.And1/3hadreceiveddirectsadaqahfrom
him.

Lesson:

Moneyinthehandsofagoodpersoncanbeverybenecialbutthatsamemoneycancauseaperson
tobecomecorruptanduseitonlyforthemselves.Evenifyouhavenotbeengiventhewealthof
AbdulRahman,lookatthewealthyoudohaveandevaluatehowwellyouareusingit.If100%goes
toyourselfandnotapennytothosewhoarepoor,youarenotfollowinginthefootstepsofthebest
ofmen.

Amandoesntchooseonlyoneavenuetodogood.

AlthoughtheenormouswealthofAbdulRahmanmeansthatthemajorityofstoriesabouthimfocus4/7
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AlthoughtheenormouswealthofAbdulRahmanmeansthatthemajorityofstoriesabouthimfocus
onhisgenerosity,makenomistake,thiswasnotamanwhohadonlyonesetofgooddeeds.Agood
businessmandiversieshisinvestmentsandAbdulRahmanibnAwfdiversiedhisinvestmentsnot
onlyinthislife,butinthenextaswell.Inadditiontohisgenerosity,hepersonallytookpartinmost
ofthefamousbalesoftheProphet.HebelongedtotheelitegroupofsahabahtoghtatBadr.
DuringUhud,hevaliantlydefendedtheProphetwithhisswordandbody,sustaininginjuries
whichcausedhimtolimpfortherestofhislife.HealsosatandlearnedIslamdirectlyfromthe
Prophetandbecameoneofthemostknowledgeableofthesahabah.Infact,hewasactuallygiven
permissiontoissuefatwaduringthelifeoftheProphet.Hewasknownforhiswisdomandwas
chosenasoneofthesixmembersofshuratodecidethekhalifahafterthedeathofUmar(ra).Hewas
alwaysinthemasjid,inthefrontrow,forsalah.WhenUmar(ra)wasfatallystabbedinFajrsalah,he
pulledthebehindhimtonishleadingsalah.ThatpersonwasAbdulRahman,alwaysstandingfront
andcenterbehindtheimam.

Lesson:

Dontconneyourselftoonepathwayofgooddeeds.Beinggenerousdoesnotmeanyoucanbe
rude.BeingknowledgeableofIslamdoesnotmeanyoucanneglectyoursalah.Frequentingthe
masjiddoesnotexcuseyoufromstrengtheningthetiesofkinship.Bebalancednotjustbetweendeen
anddunya,butwithinyourdeenaswell.

Amanstepsuptotheplatewhenneeded

OneofthemostfamousincidentsinthelifeofAbdulRahmanibnAwfoccurredwhenheledthe
Prophetinsalah.DuringtheexpeditionofTabuk,thetimeforFajrcameonedaybuttheProphet
wasnotwiththesahabah.Theyrealizedhehadgonetoanswerthecallofnaturebutastheywaited,
thetimeforFajrbegantickingaway.Knowingtheimportanceofsalah,thesahabahbeckonedto
AbdulRahmanibnAwftocomeforwardandleadtheminsalah.Hesteppeduptotheplateandled
thesahabahinSalatulFajr.Duringthesecondrakah,theProphetrejoinedthesahabahandprayed
behindAbdulRahman,givinghimtheuniquedistinctionandhonorofbeingtheonlypersontolead
theProphetinprayer.

Lesson:

Modestyisanimportantaribute.Thesahabahneveraggrandizedthemselvesorboasted.However,
theydidnotgototheotherextremeeitherandwalkaroundwithlowselfesteem,shyingawayfrom
everyopportunitythatcalledforthemtoshoulderleadershipandresponsibility.Whenitsyourtime
tostepuptoplate,doso.

Amanignoreshisdetractors

WhenAbdulRahmanibnAwfdonatedamassivesumofmoneyduringtheBaleofTabuk
(estimatedtobearoundaquartermilliondollarstoday),thehypocritesofMadinahmadefunofhim,
sayingthatheonlygavethemoneytoshowo.Interestingly,whenapoormancametotheProphet
todonatetheonlythinghecould,ahandfulofdates,theymadefunofhimaswell.Allah
respondedtotheirmockeryintheQuran:

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Amongthehypocritesarethosewhoslanderthebelieversastothecharitableoeringstheyvolunteer.Indeed,
theyslanderthosewhondnomoretooerincharitythantheirpersonaleorts.Still,theyscoatthem.
Rather,Godscosatthescoersamongthem!Andforthem,thereisamostpainfultormentawaitinginthe
Hereafter.

EvensomeMuslimgroups,uncomfortablewiththeideaofsuchawealthysahabi,propagatedafalse
narrationaboutAbdulRahmanibnAwf,sayingthattheProphetsaidhesawAbdulRahmanibn
Awfenterparadisecrawling.ImamalQurtubiinhisbookonIslamicasceticism,QamAlHirsiBiAl
ZuhdiWaAlQanaah,usesharshwordstodescribethoseMuslimswhobelieveinthismyth.

Lesson:

Whetherfromenemies,misguidedfriends,orjustdisinterestedthirdparties,youwillmeet
detractorsonyourpathtoAllahspleasure.BelikeAbdulRahmanibnAwf.

MayAllahmakeusmeninthemoldofAbdulRahmanibnAwfanduniteuswithhimandthe
Prophetinthehereafter.

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theidealmuslimman

ThroughoutIslamichistory,therehasalwaysexistedastrongemphasisonthetarbiyyahoffuture
generations.Siingwithascholarusuallyentailedlearninghisadabandcharacterbeforeever
learningasinglehadithorqhscenario.Unfortunately,thisisnotsomethingmanyMuslimmen
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