`Abd al-Rahman b. `Awf (d. 31 H)


A Companion of the Prophet and one of the ten to whom the Prophet explicitly promised paradise. `Abd al-Rahman led the dawn prayer on the expedition to Tabuk when the Prophet was late in coming to the congregation. When the Prophet arrived, he joined the prayer behind `Abd al-Rahman. He, thus, became the only Companion behind whom the Prophet prayed. The other was Abu Bakr, but that was a partial case.

Abd al-Rahman b. Awf was an early Qurayshi Muslim and was one of those who emigrated to Abyssinia, and later to Madinah. He fought at Badr and at all other major battles. He was sent by the Prophet with command over 700 men to Dumatu al-Jandal in 7 H. The Christian chief of the place became a Muslim and `Abd al-Rahman married his daughter.

`Umar had named him one of the six from whom, and between whom, they were to choose his successor. `Abd al-Rahman withdrew his candidacy, although Sa`d ibn Waqqas had withdrawn in his favor. So, he already had one of the five in his favor. But he himself withdrew in favor of `Ali and `Uthman. Talha and Zubayr also withdrew. Ultimately, he was entrusted the responsibility to select between `Ali and `Uthman. We can hear the rest of the story from a narrator:

Miswar ibn Makhramah said:

“`Abd al-Rahman surprised me with a knock on my door deep in the night. He kept banging the door until I woke up. He said, ‘Probably you were asleep. By Allah, I haven’t slept much these last three nights. Come out and bring me Zubayr and Sa`d.’ So I went out and brought them forth. He consulted with them. Then he called out to me again saying, ‘Get `Ali here.’ I brought him up. He counseled him through much of the night. Then `Ali left him. He seemed to be in a hopeful state. But `Abd al-Rahman seemed to be somewhat apprehensive of `Ali’s responses.

“However, he asked me to get `Uthman. So I went out and brought him in. `Abd al-Rahman spoke to him until the Prayer call separated them. When the morning Prayers were over, these (six) people assembled near the mimber of the mosque. `Abd al-Rahman sent for the Immigrants and the Helpers who were then around in Madinah. He also got in the commanders of various forces. They had come (from their fronts) to perform Hajj with `Umar.

“When they had all gathered, `Abd al-Rahman said the customary words of supplication and then went on to say: ‘O `Ali! I have tried to read the people’s mind. I do not find them but preferring `Uthman. Therefore, let there be no hard feeling in your heart.’ Then he (turned to `Uthman and) said: ‘I pledge my hand unto you on the Sunnah of Allah, His Messenger, and the two caliphs after him.’

“Thus, `Abd al-Rahman pledged his hand and the people followed him: the Immigrants, the Helpers, the commanders of the forces and the rest of the people.

`Abd al-Rahman was pretty rich succeeding in business ventures where others would fail.