The Prophet Muhammad (saw)

Abu al-Darda: A Tradesman who Feared Accounts

There was a bi-polar world in Medina before Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) came: Profit and Loss. Cavalryman Abu'd- Derda raced back and forth between these two poles on his mental horse. He knew that trade was a job of keeping accounts, and he would think a thousand times before taking a step. When the Prophet was met with tambourines, he was a step behind everyone. Everyone became Muslim, but Abu'd Derda postponed his journey for one year. He carefully sized up the life being offered with the life he knew. He made a Muslim friend: Abdullah bin Revaha. Look what happened while the sun dial was preparing to overshadow his moment of salvation a year after the Migration. Taking Abu Salama with him, Abdullah bin Revaha broke the idol Abu'd Derda worshipped when he was not around. When Abu'd Derda saw the idol, he criticized the idol as if he had been waiting for that moment: "Shame on you; you couldn't defend yourself!" Then he set out to see the Prophet. Seeing his anxiety, Abdullah bin Revaha said to Muhammad: "He must be looking for us!" Smiling, the Prophet said, "No, he is coming to become a Muslim. My Lord promised it!"

Abu'd Derda was the last Ansar to convert. But during this period he made such a calculation of profit and loss that he was the first to close his shop in Medina. He said, "Earning three hundred pieces of gold a day no longer makes me happy. I want to be among those who trade, buying and selling do not prevent from remembering Allah!" Thus, he turned over a new leaf and informed his friends that he did not want to continue trading even if he were to spend all his earnings on Allah's path. They asked with astonishment, "What don't you want?" Two words sealed his lips: "Large profits!" Ah, Abu'd Derda! How much your criteria had changed! While once grasping the world as much as he could, he now said, "Those who embrace the world have no world." Again he was afraid of closing the day with loss, but now the question he feared was: "Why didn't you practice what you know?"

He learned and taught the Quran. For the Prophet had said, "The best among you are those who learn and teach the Quran." The masjids were home to him. For he heard that the Prophet had said, "Masjids are the home of the pious." He tried to reconcile those who were offended with one another. For when the Prophet received a positive answer to his question, "Shall I tell you something more virtuous than prayer, fasting and charity," he said, "Making reconciliation between people." He pushed rocks to the side of the roads traveled by Muslims. For he remembered the Messenger's words: "A reward is written in Allah's presence for whoever removes something harmful from the path of Muslims. Whoever has reward in His presence will enter heaven." He told his friends: "Let's fast before we die!" For he had learned from Muhammad that fasting was "armor." He tried to gain knowledge, because he had heard that the Beloved of Allah had said, "If a person sets out to learn knowledge, Allah will open a path straight to heaven. Because they are pleased with those who pursue knowledge, the angels shelter them under their wings. The creatures on earth and in the heavens plead for forgiveness for those who possess knowledge. Even the fish in the bottom of the sea pray for them." He always smiled while reporting a hadith, for he had seen that the Prophet always smiled while talking.

Prophet Muhammad said in regard to him, "The sage of this community!" What good tidings! Saying, "Do not load people down with things they don't want to take on. Do not take people to account before Allah does," this merciful sage opened a path to sinners. Turning to those who harassed and cursed one of those, he asked: "If you had found this man in a well, wouldn't you pull him out?' Getting "yes" as an answer, he continued: "Then don't insult and further push this brother into the hole of sin he as fallen into; help him get out. Thank Allah for not putting you in his place. If you must get angry, then get mad at his sin and not his personality!"

Ah Abu'd-Derda! You would get angry with those who gathered goods together like crazy, those who accumulated goods in every valley. You would say, "There is a homeland we are all going to. Stock up goods for there!" What good did it do for Yezid bin Muaviye whose daughter wanted to marry Derda? She preferred a poor believer! One night when Umar went to Damascus, he visited Abu'd-Derda. When he saw that there was no lock on the door and that there were no furnishings except for a piece of felt he sat on and a saddle he used for a pillow, Umar cried the whole night long. Abu'd-Darda reminded Umar of these words of the Prophet: "Let your goods in this world be as much as the provisions of a traveler!" Abu-Derda saw people making new buildings and see what he said: "You keep renewing the world!"

Instead of renewing the world, he renewed his spirit. He loved not the world, but the Creator of the world. He always murmured this prayer he had learned from the Prophet: "Allah, I want your love! I want to love those who love You!" He never separated from this love in sickness or in health. There is a conversation between him and those who came to see him when he was ill; it has been related for centuries:

   _ What's your complaint, Abu'd-Derda?

   _ My sins are my complaint.

   _ Do you want anything?

   _ I want heaven!

   _ Shall we call a doctor for you?

   _ Actually it was a doctor who put me in bed.

Poet and writer Ali Ural continues to write about the Companions of the Prophet that reflect his light and radiance


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