Abdur Rahman bin Awf
|Abdur Rahman bin Awf|
|Companion of Muhammad|
|Born||c. 580 C.E.
|Died||c. 653 C.E.|
His original name was Abdul Amr ("servant of Amr"). It was Muhammad who, on his conversion, renamed him Abdur Rahman ("servant of the Most Merciful"). His name has also been transliterated as Abdel Rahman Ibn Auf, Abdur-Rahman ibn 'Auf, Abdur-Rahman bin 'Auf and Abdel-Rahman ibn Auf.
Conversion to Islam
Abu Bakr spoke to Abdur Rahman about Islam, then invited him to meet Muhammad, who heard his declaration of faith and taught him the Islamic prayers. This was before the Muslims had entered the house of Al-Arqam; Abdur Rahman was one of the first eight men to accept Islam.
From about 614 the pagan Quraysh in Mecca "showed their enmity to all those who followed the apostle; every clan which contained Muslims was attacked." The usual threat to Muslim merchants was: "We will boycott your goods and reduce you to beggary."
Abdur Rahman was one of a pioneering party of fifteen Muslims who emigrated to Abyssinia in 615. Other Muslims joined them later, forming a group of over a hundred. "They were safely ensconced there and grateful for the protection of the Negus; could serve God without fear, and the Negus had shown them every hospitality." In late 619 or early 620 "they heard that the Meccans had accepted Islam." This probably refers to the Gharaniq episode. Abdur Rahman was one of forty who "set out for the homeland. But when they got near Mecca they learned that the report was false, so that they entered the town under the protection of a citizen or by stealth."
Emigration to Medina
Military campaigns during Muhammad's era
The Battle of Badr
Abdur Rahman was friends with Umayyah ibn Khalaf, a stern opponent of Islam. When Abdur Rahman emigrated to Medina, the two reached a written agreement, according to which Abdur Rahman was to protect Umayyah's property and family in Medina, while Umayyah would protect Abdur Rahman's in Mecca. When Abdur Rahman wanted to sign the document, Umayyah protested, saying "I do not know Ar-Rahman" and requested that the pre-Islamic name "Abdu Amr" should be used, to which Abdur Rahman agreed.
The two met again in the Battle of Badr in March 624.
Invasion of Dumatul-Jandal
In August 626 Muhammad directed Abdur Rahman ibn Awf to raid the Kalb tribe in Daumatul-Jandal, instructing him: “Take it, Ibn Awf; fight everyone in the way of God and kill those who disbelieve in God. Do not be deceitful with the spoil; do not be treacherous, nor mutilate, nor kill children. This is God’s ordinance and the practice of His prophet among you.” Muhammad also instructed him on the correct way to wind a turban. Abdur Rahman defeated the Kalbites and extracted from them their declaration of Islam and the payment of the jizya. He then sealed the alliance by marrying the chief's daughter Tamadur bint Al-Asbagh and bringing her back to Medina.
Role in successions to the Caliphate
In 644, the dying Umar nominated a board of six members (the Council of Shura) to elect one of themselves as the next caliph. The group consisted of Sad Ibn Abi Waqqas, Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf, Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, Talha ibn Ubayd Allah, Ali ibn Abi Talib and Uthman ibn Affan. Uthman was chosen as the third caliph by Abdur Rahman bin Awf after he consulted with women.
It was well-known his sister is married to Bilal ibn Rabah.
He married at least fifteen times and had twenty-eight known children.
- Umm Kulthum bint Utba al-Abdshamsiya.
- Salim the Elder (died before Islam).
- The Daughter of Shayba ibn Rabia ibn Abdshams.
- Umm Al-Qasim (born before Islam).
- Habiba bint Jahsh al-Asadiya (childless).
- Tamadir bint Al-Asbagh al-Kalbiya. Although he divorced her during his final illness, she, like his other three widows, inherited one-thirty-second of his fortune, which was 80,000 or 100,000 dirhams.
- Abdullah the Younger (Abu Salama).
- Umm Kulthum bint Uqba al-Umayyiya.
- Muhammad, from whom he took his kunya of Abu Muhammad.
- Amat ar-Rahman the Elder.
- Sahla bint Asim from the Baliyy tribe of Medina.
- Amat ar-Rahman the Younger.
- Bahriya bint Hani of the Shayban tribe.
- Urwa the Elder (killed at Ifriqiya).
- Sahla bint Suhayl of the Amir ibn Luayy clan of the Quraysh.
- Salim the Younger (killed at Ifriqiya).
- Umm Hakim bint Qariz.
- Abu Bakr.
- The Daughter of Abu al-His ibn Rafi from the Abdulashhal ibn Aws tribe of Medina.
- Abdullah (killed during the conquest of Africa)
- Asma bint Salama
- Abdur Rahman.
- Umm Hurayth, a war-captive from Bahra
- Majd bint Yazid al-Himyariya.
- Suhyal (Abu'l-Abayd)
- Zaynab bint As-Sabbah.
- Umm Yahya.
- Badiya bint Ghaylan al-Thaqafiya.
- Ghazzal bint Khosrau (concubine), a war-captive from Al-Mada'in
- Other Concubines (unnamed).
Many stories are told of Abdur Rahman's personal generosity. He once furnished Muhammad's army with 1,500 camels. He bequeathed 400 dinars to the survivors of Badr and a large legacy to the widows of Muhammad. One day he brought a caravan of 700 merchant camels into Medina. Aisha remarked, "I have heard the Allah's Messenger say: 'I have seen Abdur Rahman ibn Awf entering Paradise leaping.'" This was repeated to Abdur Rahman, who replied: "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 give in charity." And so he did.
- Muhammad ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah. Translated by Guillaume, A. (1955). The Life of Muhammad, pp. 115-116. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Note that the expression "the first eight men" does not include a few female converts whose profession of faith may have been earlier.
- Guillaume/Ishaq 143.
- Guillaume/Ishaq 145.
- Guillaume/Ishaq 148.
- Guillaume/Ishaq 167-168.
- Guillaume/Ishaq 218.
- Sahih al-Bukhari, 3:38:498
- USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts
- Muhammad ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 8. Translated by Bewley, A. (1995). The Women of Madina, pp. 207-208. London: Ta-Ha Publishers.
- Muhammad ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 3. Translated by Bewley, A. (2013). The Companions of Badr, p. 97. London: Ta-Ha Publishers.
- Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 167.
- Bewley/Saad vol. 3 p. 171.
- Bewley/Saad vol. 3 p. 104.
- Bewley/Saad vol. 8 pp. 207-209.
- Bewley/Saad p. 163.
- Bewley/Saad p. 190.
- Bewley/Saad pp. 304-305.