Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to speak about one particular person in his family. He said, “Let he who has someone that he looks up to look at who my uncle is. My uncle is Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas (radiallahu anhu).” Having embraced Islam at the age of 17, Sa’d (radiallahu anhu) was always regarded as a serious and intelligent man.
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) loved Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas (radiallahu anhu), he adored him and he counted him amongst the ten who were guaranteed Paradise. In fact Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas (radiallahu anhu) was given the guarantee of Paradise on more than one occasion. He was given the guarantee of Paradise in the Battle of Badr. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) once guaranteed him Paradise individually.
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) gave Sa’d (radiallahu anhu) a very special gift and made dua to Allah SWT to accept Sa’d’s (radiallahu anhu) dua. Everything Sa’d (radiallahu anhu) would make dua for was answered by Allah SWT. The Sahabah (radiallahu anhum) were afraid of offending Sa’d because they thought he might make dua against them.
Sa’d (radiallahu anhu) was a governor in Iraq under the Caliphate of Umar ibn Khattab (radiallahu anhu) and at other times he led delegations in Iraq. On once occasion someone cursed Ali (radiallahu anhu) in his presence and Sa’d (radiallahu anhu) said, “Don’t curse Ali or I will curse you.” The person continued to curse Ali (radiallahu anhu) and Sa’d made dua against that man. There are various narrations that say a beast of the kind never seen before came into Iraq and it stomped this man to death.
There is a special quality – amongst many – we can learn from Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas (radiallahu anhu). Sa’d (radiallahu anhu) lived for a long time. He lived to see the fitnah that took place when Uthmaan (radiallahu anhu) was murdered and the fitnah that would follow after that. Although Sa’d (radiallahu anhu) was someone who was in line to become Khalifah, he decided to avoid the negativity.
Al Hussain bin Karijah (radiallahu anhu) said that he made dua to Allah SWT when Uthmaan (radiallahu anhu) was murdered to give him a sign as to what he should do. He had a dream wherein he was between the Dunya and the Aakhirah and he came across a group of angels and asked them where the Shuhadah were. He wanted to see Uthmaan (radiallahu anhu). The angels told him that the martyrs were even higher and so he went up looking for the martyrs and he kept on going up until he met Rasulullah (sallallahu alyhi wasallam) and the prophet Ebrahim (alayhi salaam) and he listened to the conversation between them. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) asked Ebrahim (alyhi salaam) to ask for forgiveness for his Ummah. Ebrahim (alayhi salaam) said to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), “you do not know what your Ummah did after you left. They killed their imam and they started to spill each other’s blood.” Ebrahim (alyhi salaam), a close friend to Allah SWT, then said, “I wish they would have done as my close friend Sa’d had done.”
Al Hussain (radiallahu anhu) woke up and went to Sa’d (radiallahu anhu) to tell him about the dream. While all this was taking place, Sa’d decided to buy some sheep to avoid the fitnah altogether and to raise sheep. He avoided the politics and the negativity. When Sa’d (radiallahu anhu) heard the dream he became happy and overjoyed and said what a loser a person would be if Ebrahim (alayhi salaam) would not take him as a khaleel – close friend. Al Hussain (radiallahu anhu) said he understood from the dream that he should seek advice from Sa’d and asked him what he should do. Sa’d (radiallahu anhu) aked him if he had any sheep and told him to keep himself busy tending to his sheep until the fitnah is over.
Sa’d (radiallahu anhu) insisted on being productive instead of involving himself in politics and negativity. He was among those who stayed away from the dispute between Ali and Muaawiyah (radiallahu anhum) refusing to take sides. His nephew Hashem ibn Otbah came to him saying, “One hundred thousand swords are waiting for you to lead them. They believe that you deserve to be their master.” Sa’d replied, “I just want one single sword out of those 100,000; a sword that when I use to hit a believer it would not harm him, yet when I strike with it an infidel it would cut him.” Sa’d refused to have any part in the matter and is reported to have said, “We and our companions are like some people who were travelling on the road, when suddenly it all turned dark around them. Some of them said that the road was going right and they walked right. Others said that it went left and they turned left. But we said that we do not see to which way the road goes and we decided to stay where we were standing till the darkness clears. When it cleared, we carried on taking the original road.”