He was one of the first eight persons to accept Islam. He was one of the ten persons (al-Asharatu-l Mubashshirin) who were assured of entering Paradise. He was one of the six persons chosen by Umar RA to form the council of Shura to choose the Khalifah after his death. His name in Jahiliyyah days was Abu Amr. But when he accepted Islam the noble Prophet Sallallahu Alyhi Wa Sallam called him Abdur-Rahman - the servant of the Beneficent Lord. Abdur-Rahman became a Muslim before the Prophet Sallallahu Alyhi Wa Sallam entered the house of al-Arqam. In fact it is said that he accepted Islam only two days after Abu Bakr as-Siddiq did so.
Abdur-Rahman did not escape the punishment which the early Muslims suffered at the hands of the Quraysh. He bore this punishment with steadfastness as they did. He remained firm as they did. And when they were compelled to leave Makkah for Abyssinia because of the continuous and unbearable persecution, Abdur-Rahman also went. He returned to Makkah when it was rumoured that conditions for the Muslims had improved but, when these rumors proved to be false, he left again for Abyssinia on a second Hijra. From Makkah once again he made the Hijra to Madinah.
Abdur-Rahman distinguished himself in both the battles of Badr and Uhud. At Uhud he remained firm throughout and suffered more than twenty wounds some of them deep and severe. Even so, his physical jihad was matched by his Jihad with his wealth. Once the Prophet Sallallahu Alyhi Wa Sallam was preparing to dispatch an expeditionary force. He summoned his companions and said: "Contribute Sadaqah for I want to dispatch an expedition." Abdur-Rahman went to his house and quickly returned. "O Messenger of Allah," he said, "I have four thousand (Dinars). I give two thousand as a Qardh (loan) to my Lord and two thousand I leave for my family."
When the Prophet, peace be on him, passed away, Abdur-Rahman took on the responsibility of looking after the needs of his family, the Ummahaat al-Muminin. He would go with them wherever they wanted to and he even performed Hajj with them to ensure that all their needs were met. This is a sign of the trust and confidence which he enjoyed on the part of the Prophet Sallallahu Alyhi Wa Sallam's family.
Abdur-Rahman's support for the Muslims and the Prophet Sallallahu Alyhi Wa Sallam's wives in particular was well-known. Once he sold a piece of land for forty thousand Dinars and he distributed the entire amount among the Banu Zahrah (the relatives of the Prophet Sallallahu Alyhi Wa Sallam's mother Aminah), the poor among the Muslims and the Prophet Sallallahu Alyhi Wa Sallam's wives. When Aisha RA received some of this money she asked: "Who has sent this money?" and was told it was Abdur-Rahman, whereupon she said: "The Messenger of Allah Peace Be Upon Him said: No one will feel compassion towards you after I die except the Sabirin (those who are patient and resolute)."
He earned much wealth but he never remained attached to it for its own sake and he did not allow it to corrupt him. Abdur-Rahman's generosity did not stop. He continued giving with both his hands, secretly and openly. Some of the figures mentioned are truly astounding: forty thousand Dirhams of silver, forty thousand Dinars of gold, two hundred Awqiyyah of gold, five hundred horses to Mujahidin setting out in the path of Allah and one thousand five hundred camels to another group of Mujahidin, four hundred Dinars of gold to the survivors of Badr and a large legacy to the Ummahaat al Muminin and the list goes on.
Source: Radio Islam News Letter