Business Lessons from Abdurrahman bin Auf
In Greek mythology, we have heard the story of King Midas who was able to turn everything held into gold. The famous story is recorded in the Historia manuscript by Herodotus, and becomes an eternal folklore been spoken from generation to generation through various rides. Including animated films, Tad the Lost Explorer and The Secret of King Midas (Paramount Classics, 2017) that adopted the story.
King Midas, the founder of Ankyra, a city in the upper valley on the River Sangarius is said to have received extraordinary privileges after saving Silenos, the spiritual teacher of Dionysos. For his kindness, Midas was rewarded with one request.
Midas asked that whatever he touches turns to gold. Dionysos, Zeus’s son, immediately granted, although he regretted why Midas did not ask for something better.
Midas was very happy. He touched trees, rocks, including the walls of the palace and his bathing pool, it all turned into chunks of gold. Midas felt that he was now ready to become the richest king in the world. The imagination of the big empire that he would set up echoed in his skull.
A problem rose when he asked the waiter to serve food. He just realized that the dish in front of him could not be enjoyed. He even made his daughter and wife become gold. Midas was frustrated. Everything he touched became gold, it brough the end of a tragic story.
The phrase “everything that I hold is gold” in reality is embedded in the companion of the Prophet, Abdurrahman bin Auf. The story is real, it’s just the process and the end of the story that distinguishes between Abdurrahman bin Auf and King Midas.
The statement “I see myself if I would raise a stone I would get gold or silver.” Revealed Abdurrahman bin Auf, close friend of Sayyidina Abu Bakar ash-Siddiq, who was certified as a resident of heaven.
The difference, Abdurrahman bin Auf is not a narrow-minded person. Living in luxury and neglecting the surroundings. The eighth person who claimed to be Muslim in the presence of the Prophet Muhammad, revealed that sentence because he was grateful to be awarded God as a genius merchant.
The interesting story began when Abdurrahman bin Auf moved to Madinah. All of the wealth that had been collected was suddenly sold out after being seized by the ruler of Quraish. He came to Medina without any wealth at all.
In Medina, the Messenger of Allāh brought together muhajirīs who were mostly traders, with indigenous people of Madinah who were mostly farmers. No exception, Abdurrahman bin Auf, who was in a courtship with a journalist.
In a narrative revealed by Anas bin Malik, he stated that Abdurrahman bin Auf had been heard by the Prophet with Sa’ad bin Ar-Rabi ‘Al-Ansari. At that time Sa’ad Al-Ansari had two wives and indeed he was known to be very rich.
Then he offered Abdurrahman bin Auf to share in his wife and property. Sa’ad’s wife will be divorced and then handed over to Abdurrahman after his ‘iddah.
Receiving this extraordinary offer, Abdurrahman bin Auf’s attitude was truly unexpected.
“May Allah bless you in your family and treasure,” Abdurrahman answered after accepting the offer.
“Just show me where the market is located,” he continued.
While in Medina, Abdurrahman started a business from scratch. He was famous for his efforts in cheese and samin oil. It didn’t take long, trade profits were increasing.
He became a cross-country merchant; from Yemen, Syam, even a few items brought to Madinah are said to have originated from the Chinese territory.
Abdurrahman bin Auf was a genius and astute trader. When he went to the market, he did not only trade, he also watched carefully. From his observations he knew, the stalls that were occupied by the merchants turned out to belong to Jewish merchants. The traders sell there renting the land, not much different from the current traders who rent stall at the mall.
Abdurrahman had creative ideas, as well as efforts to break the hegemony of Jewish merchants. He asked the help of his new brother to buy a less valuable land located next to the market. The land was then plotted. There were well facilities. Anyone could take water and sell on the land without paying rent.
If they benefit from trading there, he appealed to them to share the profits. Of course traders were happy because the usual operating costs were reduced a lot. Long story short, the traders moved to the market in droves developed by Abdurrahman bin Auf.
An independent, hardworking, and tenacious attitude in trading, is the strong character of Abdurrahman bin Auf. This attitude certainly inspired the surrounding population, so that all Muslims in Medina rose and worked as farmers, traders and laborers.
None of them are unemployed. By the Prophet Muhammad, what Abdurrahman did was used as an example of how a Muslim rose.The magnitude of Abdurrahman bin Auf’s caravan was described in Imam Ahmad’s history of Anas RA. When Aisha RA was at her house, she heard a noise echoing in the city of Medina.
Ayesha asked, “What is that?”
Then it was answered, “(That) camel caravan belonging to Abdurrahman who arrived from Sham, carried all kinds of goods as many as 700 camels.”
When Abdurrahman bin Auf’s business grew rapidly, the Prophet (PBUH) often advised, “O Abdurrahman, you are now a rich man and you will enter heaven by crawling. Lend your treasure to God so that your feet are smooth. “(Al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak).
Abdurrahman then gave his charge to jihad in the way of Allah. He did not want his property to slow his footsteps into heaven. Abdurrahman bin Auf inherited a thousand camels, three thousand goats, one hundred horses herded at Baqi. In addition, he also planted crops.
During the Prophet’s time, Abdurrahman bin Auf also gave half of his wealth. He then gave forty thousand dinars. He handed over five hundred horses and five hundred camels. In other literature mentioned, in a day he freed thirty slaves.
When he died, Abdurrahman bin Auf burst into tears. Friends around him then asked, “What burden makes you so sad?”
Abdurrahman replied, “Indeed, Mush’ab bin Umair is better than me. He died at the time of the Prophet Muhammad and he had nothing to forgive. Hamzah bin Abdul Muttallib is also better than me. We don’t get a shroud for him. Surely I am afraid if I become an accelerated kindness in the life of the world. I am afraid of being detained from my friends because of my wealth. “
“O Allah, protect me from my own delicacy!” That’s prayers which he often deliver when tawaf in front of the ka’bah.
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