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Abu-d Dardaa RA

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Early in the morning, Abu-d Dardaa RA awoke and went straight to his idol which he kept in the best part of his house. He greeted it and bowed to it. Then he anointed it with the best perfume from his large shop and put on it a new raiment of beautiful silk which a merchant had brought to him the day before from Yemen.

When the sun was high in the sky he left his house for his shop. On that day the streets and alleys of Yathrib were crowded with the followers of Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam returning from Badr. With them were several prisoners of war. Abu-d Dardaa surveyed the crowds and then went up to a Khazraji youth and asked about the fate of Abdullah ibn Rawahah.

“He was put through the most severe tests in the battle,” “but he emerged safely…”

Abu-d Dardaa was clearly anxious about his close friend, Abdullah ibn Rawahah. Everyone in Yathrib knew the bond of brotherhood which existed between the two men from the days of Jahiliyyah, before the coming of Islam to Yathrib. When Islam came to the city, Ibn Rawahah embraced it but Abu-d Dardaa rejected it. This however did not rupture the relationship between the two. Abdullah kept on visiting Abu-d Dardaa and tried to make him! See the virtues, the benefits and the excellence of Islam. But with every passing day, while Abu-d Dardaa remained a Mushrik, Abdullah felt more sad and concerned.

After some time he went with Abdullah and together they went to the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. There he announced his acceptance of Islam. He was the last person in his district to become a Muslim.

Abu-d Dardaa devoted himself completely to Islam. Belief in Allah and His Prophet animated every fibre of his being. He deeply regretted every moment he had spent as a Mushrik and the opportunities he had lost to do good. He realized how much his friends had learnt about Islam in the preceding two or three years, how much of the Quran they had memorized and the opportunities they had to devote themselves to Allah and His Prophet. He made up his mind to expend every effort, day and night to try to make up for what he had missed.

Ibaadah (worship) occupied his days and his nights. His search for knowledge was restless. Much time he spent memorizing the words of the Quran and trying to understand the profundity of its message. When he saw that business and trade disturbed the sweetness of his Ibaadah and kept him away from the circles of knowledge, he reduced his involvement without hesitation or regret.

Abu-d Dardaa did not only become less involved in trade but he abandoned his hitherto soft and luxurious life-style. He ate only what was sufficient to keep him upright and he wore clothes that were simple and sufficient to cover his body.

During the caliphate of Umar, Umar RA wanted to appoint Abu-d Dardaa as a governor in Syria. Abu-d Dardaa refused. Umar persisted and then Abu-d Dardaa said: “If you are content that I should go to them to teach them the Book of their Lord and the Sunnah of their Prophet and pray with them, I shall go.”

Umar agreed and Abu-d Dardaa left for Damascus. There he found the people immersed in luxury and soft living. This appalled him. He called the people to the Masjid and spoke to them.

The people wept and their sobs could be heard from outside the Masjid. From that day, Abu-d Dardaa began to frequent the meeting places of the people of Damascus. He moved around in their market-places, teaching, answering questions and trying to arouse anyone who had become careless and insensitive. He used every opportunity and every occasion to awaken people, to set them on the right path.

A youth once came up to Abu-d Dardaa and said: “Give me advice, O companion of the Messenger of God,” and Abu-d Dardaa said to him: “My son, remember Allah in good times and He will remember you in times of misfortune.

While Abu-d Dardaa was still in Syria, the Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab came on an inspection tour of the region. One night he went to visit Abu-d Dardaa at his home. There was no light in the house. Abu-d Dardaa welcomed the Caliph and sat him down. The two men conversed in the darkness. As they did so, Umar felt Abu-d Dardaa’s “pillow” and realized it was an animal’s saddle. He touched the place where Abu-d Dardaa lay and knew it was just small pebbles. He also felt the sheet with which he covered himself and was astonished to find it so flimsy that it couldn’t possibly protect him from the cold of Damascus. Umar asked him: “Shouldn’t I make things more comfortable for you? Shouldn’t I send something for you?”

“Do you remember, Umar,” said Abu-d Dardaa, “a Hadith which the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, told us?” “What is it?” asked Umar. “Did he not say: Let what is sufficient for anyone of you in this world be like the provisions of a rider?” “Yes,” said Umar. “And what have we done after this, O Umar?” asked Abu-d Dardaa.

Both men wept no doubt thinking about the vast riches that had come the way of Muslims with the expansion of Islam and their preoccupation with amassing wealth and worldly possessions. With deep sorrow and sadness, both men continued to reflect on this situation until the break of dawn.

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