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Abu ad Dardaa (Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu)

Early in the morning, Abu Dardaa (so named as he had a daughter named ad Dardaa) awoke and went straight to his idol which he kept in the best part of his house. He greeted it and bowed in homage to it. Then he anointed it with the best perfume from his shop and adorned it with silk which a merchant had brought to him 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 Madeenah were crowded with the followers of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) returning from Badr. With them were several prisoners of war. Abu Dardaa went up to a Khazraji youth and asked about the fate of ‘Abdullah ibn Rawaahah (radhiyallahu anhu). 

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

Abu Dardaa was clearly anxious about his close friend, ‘Abdullah ibn Rawaahah (radhiyallahu anhu).

Everyone in Madeenah knew the bond of brotherhood which existed between the two men from the days of Jahiliyyah, before the coming of Islam to Madeenah. When Islam came to the city, Ibn Rawaahah embraced it but Abu Dardaa rejected it. This however did not change the nature of their friendship. ‘Abdullah kept on visiting Abu Dardaa and tried to make him see the benefits and the excellence of Islam. But with every passing day, while Abu Dardaa remained a mushrik.
Abu Dardaa began trading and giving instructions to his assistants unaware of what was going on at his house. For at that very time, ‘Abdullah ibn Rawaahah (radhiyallahu anhu) had gone to the house. There he saw that the main gate open. Umm Dardaa was in the courtyard and he said to her “As salaamu alayki” She said “Wa alaykas salaam O brother of Abu Dardaa”. 
”Where is Abu Dardaa?” he asked. “He has gone to his shop. It won’t be long before he returns”. “Would you allow me to come in?” he asked. “Make yourself at home,” she said and went about busying herself with her household chores and looking after her children. 

’Abdullah ibn Rawaahah (radhiyallahu anhu) went to the room where Abu Dardaa kept his idol. He took out a chisel which he had brought with him and began gouging pieces of the idol saying “Isn’t everything baatil which is worshipped besides Allah?” When the idol was completely destroyed, he left the house. Abu Dardaa’s wife entered the room shortly afterwards and was horrified at what she saw. She beat her face in anguish crying “You have brought ruin to me, Ibn Rawaahah!”

When Abu Dardaa returned home, he saw his wife sitting at the door of the room where he kept his idol. She was weeping loudly and she looked absolutely terrified. “What’s wrong with you?” he asked. “Your brother ‘Abdullah visited us in your absence and did with your idols what you see”.
Abu Dardaa looked at the broken idol and was horrified. He was consumed with anger and determined to take revenge. After a while his anger subsided and thoughts of avenging the idol disappeared. Instead he reflected on what had happened and said to himself “If there was any good in this idol, he would have defended himself against any injury”. He then went straight to ‘Abdullah ibn Rawaahah (radhiyallahu anhu) and together they went to Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam). There he recited the shahaadah. He was the last person in his district to become a Muslim.

From this time onwards, Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) devoted himself completely to Islam. He deeply regretted every moment he had spent as a mushrik and the opportunities he had lost to do good. He realised how much his friends had learnt about Islam in the preceding few years. He made every effort, day and night to try to make up for what he had missed. ‘Ibaadah occupied his days and his nights. His search for knowledge was restless. Much time he spent memorising the words of the Qur’aan. 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 therein. Someone asked him why he did this and he replied “I was a merchant before my pledge to Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam). When I became a Muslim, I wanted to combine trade (tijaarah) and worship (‘ibaadah) but I did not achieve what I desired. So I abandoned trade and inclined towards ‘ibaadah. “By Him in whose hand is the soul of Abu Dardaa, what I want to have is a shop near the door of the masjid so that I would not miss any Salaah with the congregation. Then I shall sell and buy and make a modest profit every day.” “I am not saying,” said Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) to his questioner, “that Allah Great and Majestic has prohibited trade, but I want to be among those whom neither trade nor selling distracts form the remembrance of Allah”.
Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) did not only become less involved in trade but he abandoned his luxurious lifestyle. He ate only what was sufficient to keep him upright and he wore clothes that was simple and sufficient to cover his body.

Rasoolullah (Sallallhu Alayhi wa Sallam) made a bond of brotherhood (muaakhaat) between Salmaan al Faarsi and Abu ad Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhum). Salmaan (radhiyallahu anhu) paid a visit to Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) and found Umm Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhaa) dressed in shabby clothes and asked her why she was in that state. She replied, “Your brother Abu Dardaa is not interested in (the luxuries of) this world.” In the meantime Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) came and prepared a meal for Salmaan. Salmaan (radhiyallahu anhu) requested Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) to eat (with him), but Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) said, “I am fasting”. Salmaan (radhiyallahu anhu) said, “I am not going to eat unless you eat”.

So Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) ate (with Salmaan [radhiyallahu anhu]). When it was night and (a part of the night passed), Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) got up (to offer the night [tahajjud] prayer), but Salmaan (radhiyallahu anhu) told him to sleep and Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) slept. After sometime Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) again got up but Salmaan (radhiyallahu anhu) told him to sleep.

When it was the last hours of the night, Salmaan (radhiyallahu anhu) told him to get up then, and both of them offered the prayer. Salmaan (radhiyallahu anhu) told Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu), “Your Lord has a right on you, your soul has a right on you, and your family has a right on you; so you should give the rights of all those who has a right on you”.
Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) came to Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) and narrated the whole story. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said, “Salmaan has spoken the truth”. [Sahih al Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, no. 189]

A youth once came up to Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) and said “Give me advice, O companion of the Messenger of Allah,” and Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) said to him, “My son, remember Allah in good times and He will remember you in times of misfortune. “My son, be knowledgeable, seek knowledge, be a good listener and do not be ignorant for you will be ruined. “My son, let the masjid be your house for indeed I heard the Messenger of Allah say: The masjid is the house of every person who is wary of Allah (has taqwa) and Allah Almighty has guaranteed serenity, comfort, mercy and staying on the path leading to His pleasure, to those for whom masjids are their houses”.

While Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) was still in Syria, the Caliph Umar ibn al Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) came on an inspection tour of the region. One night he went to visit Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) at his home. There was no light in the house. Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) welcomed the Caliph and sat him down. The two men conversed in the darkness. As they did so, Umar felt Abu Dardaa’s (radhiyallahu anhu) “pillow” and realised it was an animal’s saddle. He touched the place where Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu) 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 (radhiyallahu anhu) asked him, “Shouldn’t I make things more comfortable for you? Shouldn’t I send something for you?” 

”Do you remember, Umar,” said Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu), “a hadith which Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) told us?” 

”What is it?” asked Umar al Faarouq (radhiyallahu anhu). 

”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 (radhiyallahu anhu). 

”And what have we done after this, O Umar?” asked Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu anhu). 

Both men wept no doubt thinking about the vast riches that had come to the 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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