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  • Writer's pictureAnees Bhayat

The Only Reward?

‘Abdur-Rahman ibn ‘Awf رضي الله عنه was fasting, and food had been laid down for him [to break his fast with]. Upon seeing this, he remarked, “Muṣ‘ab ibn Umayr was martyred, and he was better than me; he was shrouded in a sheet [so small] that if his head was covered with it, his feet would become exposed, and if his feet were covered with it his head would remain exposed. Ḥamzah [ibn ‘Abdil Muṭṭalib] was also martyred, and he was better than me. Then the world was laid out for us; we were given from excessively, so much so that we fear [the rewards of] our good deeds have been given to us prematurely.” He then started to weep so much that he got up and left the food [without eating it].[1]

‘Abdur-Raḥmān ibn ‘Awf رضي الله عنه was one from among the most affluent Ṣaḥābah رضي الله عنهم. He was also one of the elite; one of the ten most virtuous companions who were given the glad tidings of Jannah by the Prophet ﷺ in one gathering, in this very world.

In this incident, he was presented with food to break his fast with, upon which he was overcome with fear. His fear was that there had been Ṣaḥābah who he felt had been better than him: the likes of Ḥamzah and Muṣ‘ab ibn ‘Umayr رضي الله عنهم. These Ṣaḥābah رضي الله عنهم had left this world in an impoverished state, and had not enjoyed the luxuries of the world after having accepted Islām; they were to get their reward in full in the Hereafter. However, ‘Abdur-Raḥmān رضي الله عنه himself had lived long after them, and had been blessed with much wealth. His fear was that Allāh had given him the reward of his good deeds in this very world, and maybe in the Hereafter there would be nothing left for him except punishment. If not that, then because of reaping some rewards of his good deeds already, there would be less of a share lying in wait for him in the Hereafter.

This was the condition of a Sahābī when he saw just food having been laid down for him at the time of ifṭār. With Ramadan coming close, many of us will have started to think about the food we might be eating at iftār already. The women in the house may have already started to prepare this food. When we sit down to eat then, there will be many dishes, yet the thought of reading the du‘ā and thanking Allāh for them will seldom cross our minds; let alone of it being the only reward we get for our good deeds.

Let us take a lesson from this incident, and reflect upon the favours of Allāh upon us despite our misdemeanours, asking His Forgiveness and eternal Pleasure.

[1] روى الإمام البخاري في صحيحه قال: حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدَانُ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ، أَخْبَرَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ سَعْدِ بْنِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، أَنَّ عَبْدَ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنَ عَوْفٍ، " أُتِيَ بِطَعَامٍ، وَكَانَ صَائِمًا، فَقَالَ: قُتِلَ مُصْعَبُ بْنُ عُمَيْرٍ وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ مِنِّي، كُفِّنَ فِي بُرْدَةٍ: إِنْ غُطِّيَ رَأْسُهُ بَدَتْ رِجْلاَهُ، وَإِنْ غُطِّيَ رِجْلاَهُ بَدَا رَأْسُهُ، وَأُرَاهُ قَالَ: وَقُتِلَ حَمْزَةُ وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ مِنِّي، ثُمَّ بُسِطَ لَنَا مِنَ الدُّنْيَا مَا بُسِطَ، أَوْ قَالَ: أُعْطِينَا مِنَ الدُّنْيَا مَا أُعْطِينَا، وَقَدْ خَشِينَا أَنْ تَكُونَ حَسَنَاتُنَا عُجِّلَتْ لَنَا، ثُمَّ جَعَلَ يَبْكِي حَتَّى تَرَكَ الطَّعَامَ"

#food #breakfast #iftar #breakingfast #ramadan #fasting

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