'Abd al-Rahman ibn 'Awf

Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf
عبد الرحمن بن عوف 2.png
Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf's name in Arabic calligraphy
Abd Amr or Abd al-Ka'ba

c. 581
Diedc. 654
Burial placeAl-Baqi Cemetery
Spouse(s)Habiba bint Jahsh
Umm Kulthum bint Uqba
RelativesUthman (brother-in-law)
shrine attributed to the companion Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf, located in the Jubeiha area area, north of Amman, capital of Jordan

Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf (Arabic: عبد الرحمن ابن عوف, romanizedʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʿAwf; c. 581–654) was an Arab businessman, entrepreneur and investor. He was a trader and was the owner of a large number of camels, horses and sheep. He was one of the wealthiest people in Arabia in the 7th-century.

The son of a wealthy Qurayshite, Abd al-Rahman embraced Islam in 611 and became one of Muhammad's prominent companions. He migrated to Medina in 622 and started his business there.

Ancestry and early life[]

Abd al-Rahman was born in Mecca in c. 581. His father Awf ibn Abd Awf hailed from the Zuhra clan of the Quraysh tribe. Abd al-Rahman's mother al-Shifa bint Awf ibn Abd ibn al-Harith also belonged to the Zuhra clan.[1]: 94 [1]: 94, 103 [2]

His original name was Abd Amr ("servant of Amr"). It was Muhammad who renamed him Abd ul-Rahman ("servant of the Most Merciful").[1]: 94  It is also said that his original name was Abdul Kaaba.[1]: 94–95  His name has also been transliterated as Abdel Rahman Ibn Auf.


Abu Bakr spoke to Abd al-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; Abd al-Rahman was one of the first eight men to accept Islam.[3]: 115–116 [4] 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."[3]: 143  The usual threat to Muslim merchants was: "We will boycott your goods and reduce you to beggary."[3]: 145 

Abd al-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; so they could worship Allah without fear, and the Negus had shown them kind gesture and warm hospitality as was foretold by the prophet even before they departed."[3]: 148  In late 619 or early 620 "they heard that the Meccans had accepted Islam." This turned out not to be entirely true, however a fair number of people did accept Islam as a result of the conversion of both Umar ibn Khattab and the prophet's own paternal uncle, the Lion himself, Hamza ibn Abdulmuttalib. Abd al-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."[3]: 167–168  where he lodged with Saad ibn Al-Rabi.[3]: 218 

Life in Medina[]

Abd al-Rahman was friends with Umayyah ibn Khalaf, a stern opponent of Islam. When Abd al-Rahman emigrated to Medina, the two reached a written agreement, according to which Abd al-Rahman was to protect Umayyah's property and family in Medina, while Umayyah would protect Abd al-Rahman's in Mecca. When Abd al-Rahman wanted to sign the document, Umayyah protested, saying "I do not know Ar-Rahman" and requested that the pre-Islamic name "Abd Amr" should be used, to which Abd al-Rahman agreed.[5] The two met again in the Battle of Badr in March 624. A hadith attributed to Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf reports:[citation needed]

On the day (of the battle) of Badr, when all the people went to sleep, I went up the hill to protect him. Bilal(1) saw him (i.e. Umaiya) and went to a gathering of Ansar and said, "(Here is) Umaiya bin Khalaf! Woe to me if he escapes!" So, a group of Ansar went out with Bilal to follow us (Abd al-Rahman and Umaiya). Being afraid that they would catch us, I left Umaiya's son for them to keep them busy but the Ansar killed the son and insisted on following us. Umaiya was a fat man, and when they approached us, I told him to kneel down, and he knelt, and I laid myself on him to protect him, but the Ansar killed him by passing their swords underneath me, and one of them injured my foot with his sword. (The sub narrator said, " Abd al-Rahman used to show us the trace of the wound on the back of his foot.")

Sunnis tend to view this as Sahih and have included it in Sahih Bukhari[6].

Abdel Rahman was one of those who stood firmly beside Muhammad at the Battle of Uhud when most of the warriors fled.[1]: 98  Later, he also participated in the pledge of the Tree during the first pilgrimage of the Medinan Muslims[7][8] Abd ar-Rahman participated in all military operations led by Muhammad.[9]

Invasion of Dumatul-Jandal[]

In August 626 Muhammad directed Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf to raid the Kalb tribe in Daumatul-Jandal, instructing him: “Take it, Ibn Awf; fight everyone in the way of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah. Do not be deceitful with the spoil; do not be treacherous, nor mutilate, nor kill children. This is Allah's ordinance and the practice of His prophet among you.” Muhammad also instructed him on the correct way to wind a turban.[3]: 672  Abd al-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.[10]: 207–208 

Rashidun caliphate[]

In August 634 the dying Caliph Abu Bakr called in Abd al-Rahman and Uthman to inform them that he had designated Umar ibn al-Khattab as successor.[citation needed]

Abd al-Rahman ibn Awff witnessed the Battle of al-Qadisiyyah, which took place in the 14th year of migration, before the Muslim armies continued to subdue Ctesiphon, the capital of the Sasanian empire.[11] Later, Abd al-Rahman also participated in the battle of Jalula in the year of 16 AH, where the Muslims managed to seize massive spoils of war.[11] Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf and Abdullah ibn Arqam were then assigned by caliph Umar to escort the spoils to the capital of the caliphate.[11] Later, After the conquest of Jerusalem, Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf was involved in the writing of the 'covenant of Umar' regarding the newly subdued Jerusalem, which was ratified by the caliph.[11] Nevertheless, during the caliphate of Umar, Abd al-Rahman was mostly pursuing a scholarly career and assumed the leadership of the Hajj pilgrims' convoy.[11]

In 644 the dying caliph 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, Abdel 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 Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf.[12]


Abd al-Rahman died in Medina in c. 654 at the age of seventy-two. At his death, Abd al-Rahman left an inheritance, in which a quarter of his property alone was worth 84,000 dinars.[13] He was buried in the Al-Baqi Cemetery.[14]

Personal life[]

Abdel Rahman ibn Awf was known for his wealth. He was also known for his astute entrepreneurship. After his Hijra to Medina, where he had initially come as a poor man, he started a business making clarified cheese and butter. That business, combined with the gift by Muhammad of two small palm groves called al-Hashsh and al-Salil in Syria, quickly became profitable.

Abdel Rahman was recorded as possessing a hundred horses in his stable and a thousand camels and ten thousand sheep, which all grazed in the area of Al-Baqi'.[15][13] The area was also tilled using twenty of Abdel Rahman's camels, enabling Abdel Rahman's family to grow crops on the land.[15] As Abdel Rahman participated in all of Muhammad's battles, Asad Q. Ahmed believed that his wealth grew substantially thanks to his gaining a large portion of spoils of war after the battles.[15] Abd al-Rahman was known as a successful businessman during his lifetime.[16][17]

There is an anecdote regarding his "midas touch" that when he was asked about the secret of his success, Abdel Rahman replied that he never lifted a stone unless he expected to find gold or silver under it.[1]: 96 [15]

Family tree[]

His sister was married to Bilal Ibn Rabah.[citation needed]

He married at least sixteen times and had over thirty known children.[1]: 97 [18]: 77–78 

  1. Umm Habiba bint Zama'a, a sister of Sawda. No children are known from this marriage.
  2. Umm Kulthum bint Utba of the Abdshams clan of the Quraysh in Mecca.[10]: 167 
    1. Salim the Elder (died before Islam).
  3. The Daughter of Shayba ibn Rabia ibn Abdshams.
    1. Umm Al-Qasim (born before Islam).
  4. Habiba bint Jahsh of the Asad tribe, a sister of Zaynab bint Jahsh (childless).[10]: 171 
  5. Tamadir bint al-Asbagh of the Kalb tribe. Although Abdur-Rahman 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.[1]: 104 [10]: 207–209 
    1. Abdullah the Younger (Abu Salama).
  6. Umm Kulthum bint Uqba from the Umayya clan of the Quraysh in Mecca.[10]: 163 
    1. Muhammad, from whom he took his kunya of Abu Muhammad.
    2. Ibrahim.
    3. Humayd.
    4. Isma'il.
    5. Hamida.
    6. Amat ar-Rahman the Elder.
  7. Sahla bint Asim from the Baliyy tribe of Medina.
    1. Maan.
    2. Umar.
    3. Zayd.
    4. Amat ar-Rahman the Younger.
  8. Bahriya bint Hani of the Shayban tribe.
    1. Urwa the Elder (killed at Ifriqiya).
  9. Sahla bint Suhayl of the Amir ibn Luayy clan of the Quraysh.[10]: 190 
    1. Salim the Younger (killed at Ifriqiya).
  10. Umm Hakim bint Qariz of the Kinana tribe.[10]: 304–305 [18]
    1. Abu Bakr.
  11. The Daughter of Abu al-His ibn Rafi from the Abdulashhal ibn Aws tribe of Medina.
    1. Abdullah (killed during the conquest of Africa)
  12. Asma bint Salama
    1. Abd al-Rahman.
  13. Umm Horayth, a war-captive from Bahra
    1. Mus'ab.
    2. Amina.
    3. Maryam.
  14. Majd bint Yazid from the Himyar tribe.
    1. Suhyal (Abu'l-Abayd)
  15. Zaynab bint As-Sabbah.
    1. Umm Yahya.
  16. Badiya bint Ghaylan from the Thaqif tribe.
    1. Juwayriya.
  17. Ghazzal bint Khosrau (concubine), a war-captive from Al-Mada'in
    1. Uthman
  18. Other Concubines (unnamed).
    1. Urwa.
    2. Yahya.
    3. Bilal.
    4. Saad.[18]
    5. al-Miswar (died at al-Harra).[18]
    6. Fakhita, a wife of Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan.[18]
    7. Umm al-Qasim the Younger, a wife of Yahya ibn al-Hakam (brother of Marwan I).[18]
    8. Daughter, a wife of Abdullah ibn Uthman ibn Affan.[18]
    9. Daughter, a wife of Abdullah ibn Abbas.[18]

Philanthropy []

Many stories are told of Abdel Rahman's personal generosity. He once furnished Muhammad's army with 1,500 camels.[citation needed] He bequeathed 400 dinars to the survivors of Badr and a large legacy to the widows of Muhammad.[citation needed]

Dhahabi reported that Abdel Rahman brought a caravan of 700 merchant-camels into Medina.[19] Aisha remarked, "I have heard Allah's Messenger say: 'I have seen Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf entering Paradise crawling.'" This was repeated to Abd al-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.[20]

Abdel Rahman also reportedly once has given charity of 50,000 gold dinar of his personal wealth.[15]

Physical features []

Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf was tall and bent-backed with a fine, light, rosy complexion and a handsome face. In old age he did not dye his hair.[1]: 101  Other descriptions refer to his curly hair; lustrous, long-lashed eyes; convex nose; somewhat protruding upper teeth; thick hair under the earlobes; long, elegant neck; and thick, masculine hands and fingers.[citation needed] He had a limp due to the wounds that he incurred at the Battle of Uhud.[citation needed]

Sunni view[]

Sunnis regard him as one of al-ʿashara al-mubashsharūn—the ten companions that Muhammad prophesied would enter Paradise.[21]

See also[]




  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Muhammad ibn Saad. Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir Volume 3. Translated by Bewley, A. (2013). The Companions of Badr. London: Ta-Ha Publishers.
  2. ^ "Abdel-Rahman Ibn Awf (580Ad-32Hijri/652Ad) A study in his Religions, Economic and Political Role in the State of Islam During its Emergence and Formation". An-Najah Scholars. An-Najah National University. 2014. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Muhammad ibn Ishaq. Sirat Rasul Allah. Translated by Guillaume, A. (1955). The Life of Muhammad. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  4. ^ Note that the expression "the first eight men" does not include a few female converts whose profession of faith may have been earlier.
  5. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, 3:38:498
  6. ^ USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts Archived 2005-12-02 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Ahmad 2021, p. Quoting Muhammad Owaidah, Chapter of the Discourse on Asceticism, Foolishness and Literature , p. 565, Part 1. Adapted
  8. ^ Ahmad 2021, p. Quoting ismail Al-Asbahani, The Lives of the Righteous Ancestors , Riyadh, Dar Al-Raya for Publishing and Distribution, p. 249. Adapted
  9. ^ Ahmad 2021, p. Quoting Ali Ibn al-Atheer (1994), The Lion of the Forest in the Knowledge of the Companions (first ion), Beirut, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyya, p. 475, Part 3. Adapted
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Muhammad ibn Saad. Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir Volume 8. Translated by Bewley, A. (1995). The Women of Madina. London: Ta-Ha Publishers.
  11. ^ a b c d e Ahmad 2021, p. Quoting Rahma Awad (2014), Abd al-Rahman bin Auf, a study of his religious, economic and political role in the state of Islam in the stage of infancy and formation, Nablus - Palestine, An-Najah National University, page 69. Adapted
  12. ^ "Family and Women Affairs". Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  13. ^ a b Lewis 1970, p. 222.
  14. ^ "الموسوعة العقدية". Archived from the original on 2021-12-07. Retrieved 2022-02-14.
  15. ^ a b c d e Ahmed 2011, pp. 51
  16. ^ "Lessons for Muslim Men in the life of Abdel Rahman ibn Awf". The Ideal Muslim Man. 2015-12-02. Archived from the original on 2017-04-11. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
  17. ^ "Wealthy Sahaba : Abdel Rahman bin Auf". 20 February 2011. Archived from the original on 2017-04-10. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h Ahmed, A. 1. (2011). The Religious Elite of the Early Islamic Hijaz: Five Prosopographical Case Studies. Oxford: Unity for Prosopographical Research.
  19. ^ Zaman 1970, p. 40.
  20. ^ Abdel Rahman Ibn Awf, The Richest Muslim Who Bought His Way to Jannah Archived 2015-12-11 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "Jami' At-Tirmidhi". Archived from the original on 2021-05-06. Retrieved 2021-03-11.


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