#10Companions: ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. ʿAwf (d. 31/654)
ʿAbd al-Raḥmān’s original name was ʿAbdul ʿAmr (servant of ʿAmr) but the Prophet (ﷺ) renamed him ʿAbd al-Raḥmān (servant of the Most Merciful) after he converted. He converted when he was around 21 years old, and although he did not have a direct link to the Prophet (ﷺ) he did share a bond of sort, his mother helped deliver the Prophet (ﷺ). He was the ninth of the ten companions that was promised paradise.
He emigrated twice, once to Ethiopia to escape persecution at the hands of the pagan Meccans, and later on his life to Madīnah. He is remembered by many to have been immensely rich, but he knew both poverty and wealth. When he left Mecca to go to Ethiopia he left behind everything, and later in his life when he emigrated to Madīnah he arrived penniless. When the companions emigrated the Prophet (ﷺ) paired them with an Anṣārī brother, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān was paired with one of the richest men, he offered him half of all of his wealth, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān thanked him, prayed for him and asked to be directed to the marketplace instead. He was an astute businessman, and in a matter of days would become wealthy once again, it was said that ʿAbd al-Raḥmān could turn over a stone and find gold beneath it. He got married soon after giving a brick of gold for mahr.
ʿAbd al-Raḥmān philanthropy did not bring about delusional overindulgence or arrogance. He still participated in all of the battles, and was one of the few that remained steadfast with the Prophet (ﷺ) at Uḥud, a battle in which he was wounded so badly that he would limp for the rest of his life. He had the most ḥalāl income stating that, “We left behind around half of ḥalāl income because we were afraid of ribā (usury).” He would give freely; pay of people’s debts, equip the army, whenever any of the Caliphs needed money he would be at the front giving. Ṭalḥah states that the people of Madīnah were living off ʿAbd al-Raḥmān, that’s how much money he gave. After the sad demise of the Prophet (ﷺ) he took it upon himself to fund the widows of the Prophet (ﷺ) such as Lady ‘Ā’ishah.
He also has the distinct honor of being the first companion to lead the Prophet (ﷺ) in prayer. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān was unaware as the Prophet (ﷺ) joined the prayer midway, the fiqh of missing a unit in prayer stems from this incident.
He left behind millions, and his funeral was one the largest seen. He was buried in Baqīʿ cemetery in Madīnah.
May God be pleased with him and fill his grave with light.
ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. ʿAwf
The Honest Merchant