The Nineteenth Narration
‘Amr ibn al As radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
قال لي رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يا عمرو اشدد عليك سلاحك وثيابك وأتني ففعلت فجئته وهو يتوضأ فصعد في البصر وصوبه وقال يا عمرو إني أريد أن أبعثك وجها فيسلمك الله ويغنمك وأزعب لك من المال زعبة صالحة قال قلت يا رسول الله إني لم أسلم رغبة في المال إنما أسلمت رغبة في الجهاد والكينونة معك قال يا عمرو نعما بالمال الصالح للرجل الصالح
The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent word to me saying, “Put on your garment and take up your weapon, then come to me.”
I came to him while he was performing ablution. He looked up at me, and then he looked away and said, “I want to send you as the head of an army. Allah will keep you safe and grant you booty, and I hope that you will acquire some wealth from it.”
I said, “O Messenger of Allah, I did not become Muslim for the sake of wealth; I became Muslim to wage war and to be in your company.”
He said, “O ‘Amr, good wealth is good for the pious man.”
The chain of narration is authentic as recorded by Imam Ahmed and others. Abu ‘Uwanah, Ibn Hibban, al Hakim, Dhahabi, ‘Iraqi, and others have authenticated it. Whoever references this narration to Sahih Muslim is mistaken.
Commentary and Lessons Learnt from this Narration:
1. This narration holds much virtue of ‘Amr ibn al As radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Amongst them are:
a. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam conferring him with the title of being a pious man.
b. His sincerity in assisting the faith and companionship of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
c. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointing him as a leader over an army wherein there were other great Companions such as Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.
d. The trust and confidence Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had in his faith and trustworthiness. He was sent as the leader of an army after having accepted Islam just recently. He accepted Islam in the seventh year and was sent as the leader of an army a few months later in the same year.
e. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam considering him and thereafter appointing him as a leader is an indication that he was one to wage war against the enemies of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and his Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
f. The honour afforded to him by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as a leader of many great Companions in Masjid al Nabawi. Imam Ahmed has recorded the following with a sound chain from Harith ibn Hassan:
مررت بعجوز بالربذة منقطع بها من بني تميم ، فقالت : أين تريدون ؟ فقلت : نريد النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم . فقالت : احملوني ، فإن لي إليه حاجة . قال : فجئنا المسجد فإذا هو غاص بالناس ، وإذا راية تخفق ، قلت : ما شأن الناس اليوم ؟ قالوا : هذا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يريد أن يبعث عمرو بن العاص…
I passed by an old lady of the Banu Tamim who had been cut off from her caravan. She asked me as to where I was heading?
I said, “I am heading to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”
She asked me to take her with as she had a need to present to him. We then came to the masjid which was overcrowded with people and had a flag flapping.
I asked, “What is it with the people today?”
They replied, “This is Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam preparing to send ‘Amr ibn al As radiya Llahu ‘anhu…”
2. It portrays the asceticism of ‘Amr ibn al As radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his love for Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and his Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. If this was his state, then dear reader, what do you think was the condition of the great Companions; the Four Khalifas’, the Ten Given Glad Tidings of Paradise, and the Companions of Badr.
3. The narration states, “And grant you booty”. This proves that he had in fact gained wealth from this expedition; The Expedition of Dhat al Salasil. Some historians claim otherwise which does not ring true when weighed against this narration.
4. It disproves the false notion held by some ascetics, who encourage the leaving out of wealth totally. Similarly, it encourages the pious to be self-sufficient and not be a burden upon the creation. Ibn Abi Shaybah has included a chapter in Musannaf wherein there are narrations encouraging taking up a business.
5. This narration is a sign of the true prophethood of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He prophesied his safe return with wealth and it so happened.
6. The permissibility of making apparent a good intention when there is a need.
7. The permissibility of anticipating wealth when going out to fight in the cause of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. This intention should be secondary though, the primary intention being the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was once asked:
الرجل يقاتل للمغنم والرجل يقاتل للذكر والرجل يقاتل ليرى مكانه فمن في سبيل الله
A man fights for war booty; another fights for fame and a third fights for showing off; which of them fights in Allah’s Cause?
قال من قاتل لتكون كلمة الله هي العليا فهو في سبيل الله
He who fights so that the word of Allah may reign supreme, fights in the path of Allah.
8. When intending battle, the Imam should review those to be appointed in roles of leadership.
9. Those that have an aptitude for battle should be given posts of leadership in battle even though they may be lower in status.
10. Wearing an army combat uniform when going to battle forms part of the preparation of battle.
11. At times one who is of a lower status reaches unheard heights through his sincere intentions. This should make one aware of the importance of intentions. The acts of the heart at times carry greater weight than that of the limbs.
12. The permissibility of allotting some portion of the booty to individuals in the army, if the need be, even though others are worthier of receiving it.
13. The leaders of the armies need more wealth than the soldiers in order to carry out their responsibilities in a good and timely fashion. That is why – and Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows best – Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to him, “I hope that you will acquire some wealth from it.”
14. The word نعما as it appears can be both with a kasrah of the Nun and ‘Ayn or with a fathah of the Nun. Abu ‘Ubaid has it with a kasrah followed by a sukun. All these are correct in its own dialect. The origin of this word is نعم ما.
The Ba in بالمال is for emphasis just as in the verse:
وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ شَهِيْدًا
And sufficient is Allah as Witness.
The scholars of grammar refer to this as a Za’idah (extra).
 Musnad Imam Ahmed, Hadith: 17346.
 Musnad Imam Ahmed, Hadith: 15635.
 Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 2655.