14 Nov Abu Aqil (r.a.)
Abu Aqil was an individual who embraced the Messenger of Allah and sacrificed his life, property and wealth for his sake, who was eager to benefit from his blessed talk and who was praised by the Quran. He was a member of Ansar. Abu Aqil was one of the lucky people who accepted the invitation of the Prophet without hesitation and became a Muslim.
When the Messenger of Allah educated these people who served Islam as individuals who devoted themselves to the true religion, he also cleaned and enlightened their minds and hearts with the clear water of Islam, eliminating the traces of heresy and superstitions of Jahiliyya. Since Arabs were generally a nation that worshipped idols, they gave their children the names of their idols, names with the meaning of “the slave of this or that idol”.
The Prophet aimed to remove any traces of unbelief on man by changing names, which can directly affect the personality of a person. This was the wisdom behind the changing of the names of many male and female Companions after becoming Muslims. The previous name of Abu Aqil was “Abduluzza”, which meant the slave of the famous idol called “Uzza”. The light of belief shone so brightly in Abu Aqil, he became so hostile to the idols, he was so adherent as to sacrifice himself for their sake and the things that were regarded as gods other than Allah that the Prophet understood his feelings and changed his name from “Abduluzza” to “Abdurrahman” and gave him the nickname “Aduwwul-Awthan”, which meant “the enemy of the idols”. [ Tabaqat, 3: 473-4. ]
Hz. Abu Aqil, who represented his new name and nickname fully, joined all the battles against the polytheists with the Prophet. He was an indomitable mujahid against the group of idolaters in the Battle of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq and in all of the other battles.
Abu Aqil was a self-sacrificing and bold person. He was honorable, abstemious and contented. He worked with his body and soul as well as with his wealth to spread and elevate Islam and to convey it to the people who needed it. Abu Aqil was poor but he had such an intention that he could have spent all his money if he had. He received the reward of this intention from time to time.
The Prophet (pbuh) encouraged his Companions to give sadaqa for the sake of Allah in one of his talks. When such an invitation was made, the Companions knew that an important and great service for Islam would be done. After this talk, all of the Companions, primarily Abdurrahman bin Awf, who was one of the wealthiest Companions, started to bring some of their wealth one by one.
Hz. Abdurrahman bin Awf divided his wealth, which was 8000 dirhams into two; he left 4,000 dirhams of it in his house and brought 4,000 dirhams of it to the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet prayed for him as follows:
“May Allah make what you gave as sadaqa and what you left at home blessed for you.”
With the blessing of this prayer, the wealth of Abdurrahman increased so much that when he died, one-eighth of his heritage that remained to one of his wives was 160 thousand dirhams.
After him, Asim bin Adiyy brought 100 wasaqs (about 20 tons) of dates and handed them to the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet prayed for him too. The hypocrites were astonished by such a big amount of sadaqa; they found something to criticize and said, “What they do is nothing but show off.”
Abu Aqil was there too. He went home and returned with a few dates. He said, “O Messenger of Allah! I watered a palm orchard yesterday evening and I earned two sa’s (about six kilos) of dates. I left one sa’ to my family and brought one sa’ to you to spend in the way of Allah.” He offered it to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). The Prophet told him to pour it on the heap.
Abu Aqil gave half of what he earned and what he had. That was all he could afford. By doing so, he gave the greatest sadaqah in terms of his wealth. Therefore, he was at ease. If he had a lot of dates, he was ready to give half of them. The hypocrites, who watched this humble act of Abu Aqil started to laugh at him. They spoke sarcastically: “Abu Aqil brought a sa’ of dates to be mentioned together with the rich. Is Allah in need of the dates Abu Aqil brought? ”( Usdul-Ghaba, 5: 257; Sirah, 4: 196; Ibn Kathir, 2: 375 )
Abu Aqil was saddened by these words of the hypocrites but he could not answer. While he was sad like that, Hz. Jibril revealed the following verse:
“Those who slander such of the Believers as give themselves freely to (deeds of) charity as well as such as can find nothing to give except the fruits of their labour and throw ridicule on them,― Allah will throw back their ridicule on them: and they shall have a grievous penalty.” [ at-Tawba, 79. ]
Thus, Allah Almighty defended Abu Aqil and the other Companions while embarrassing and disgracing the hypocrites.
Musaylima was the most prominent fake prophet that emerged after the death of the Prophet. Hz. Abu Bakar wanted to punish these impertinent reckless people without spending any time. He sent a great force against Musaylima, who lived in Yamama, located in the eastern part of Arabia. There were many companions who participated in the Battle of Yamama. Abu Aqil was also in this army of mujahids.
Abu Aqil was impatient to punish those raving people who were the enemies of Allah. Having a very agile and brave personality, Hz. Abu Aqil was unfortunately the first mujahid who was wounded during the offensive. An enemy arrow hit him between his shoulders. The arrow did not touch his internal organs; so it did not cause him to die. Only his left side was paralyzed. His friends removed the arrow and placed him in a tent. It was before noon.
Meanwhile, the battle was getting hot. At some point, the enemy forces raided the Islamic army and tried to scatter the Muslims. At that time, Abu Aqil was too ill to move. He could not get up. The Muslims escaped and walked through their tents. Ma’n bin Adiyy, who could not tolerate this situation, shouted at Ansar as follows:
“Fear Allah, Fear Allah! Do not leave your trenches. Return and attack the enemy!”
Hz. Ma’n rushed to attack the enemy again by shouting, “Come here, come this way!” Finally, Ansar arrived one by one and came together.
When Hz. Abu Aqil heard Ma’n’s voice, he wanted to get up in order to join them. However, it was quite clear that he could not stand up.
“O Abu Aqil! What are you doing? You cannot fight! ”
Abu Aqil said, “Do not you see that they are calling me?” They said, “He is calling Ansar, not wounded people.” Abu Aqil said, “I am a member of Ansar. I will go even if by crawling.” He pulled himself together, tied his belt around his waist and stood up. He took his sword by his right hand and joined his friends. He felt himself well. He forgot about his wound. He could not imagine that the Islamic army would be defeated. He encouraged his friends as follows:
“O Ansar! Return and do not give any chance to the enemy just like you did on the day of Hunayn and became victorious.”
Thereupon, all of the members of Ansar gathered in front of the Islamic army. They attacked the enemy bravely; they drove the enemy to the wall of their own gardens and squeezed them. The two armies clashed there; only the swords moved up and down.
Abdullah bin Umar narrates the situation of Abu Aqil after that as follows:
“At some point I saw Abu Aqil. His wounded arm had been separated from his shoulder and fell down. Furthermore, he received 14 more lethal wounds. Finally Musaylima, the enemy of Allah, was also shot.
After the war, I went to Abu Aqil; he was breathing his last. I said, ‘O Abu Aqil!’ He answered lispingly, ‘Yes!’ He immediately asked who won the battle.
‘I said,’ Good news!’ I said loudly, ‘The enemy of Allah was killed! ’
“He raised his finger upon this good news. He said ‘Alhamdulillah!’ and passed away.
“I told my father about what happened when we returned to Madinah. My father said, ‘May Allah rest his soul! He always wanted martyrdom. Since I knew him, he had been one of the most distinguished people of the Companions of the Prophet; and he was one of the first Muslims.” [ Tabaqat, 3: 474-475. ]
May Allah be pleased with them!