The Well of Madinah “Romah”
The Well of Uthman Raziallah Anhu! ( May Allah be Pleased with Him )!
A blessed and famous well in Al-Madinah is the well of Romah which is situated near to Masjid Al-Qiblatayn. It was originally dug up by a man from the tribe of Muzainah, many years before the arrival of the Prophet (SAW) to the city. It was later owned by a man from Bani Ghifar, the tribe to which the famous Sahabi Abu Thar Al-Ghifaari belonged. Finally, by the time the Prophet (SAW) arrived to Al-Medina along with his companions, it was in the ownership of a resident Jew. It so happened that during a time of severe draught, all the surrounding wells had dried up, except for the well of Romah- which the people were forced out of necessity to buy water from. Subsequently, the Jewish owner was profiting heavily from the difficult situation faced by the companions.
The blessing of this particular well was such that the Prophet (SAW) was reported to have said “The best dug well is the well of Muzni” i.e. Romah. (Wafaa Al-Wafaa, Assayid Assamhoudi, Part 3, P.g 967). When the Prophet (SAW) saw the companions struggling to buy the water, which was being sold by the Mudd (a measure of specified volume approx. 750 ml) he wished to alleviate their suffering and asked the Jewish owner to sell it in exchange for a spring in Jannah- to which he refused.
This is one of those moments when the brilliance and foresight of the companions of Rasoolullah (SAW) would shine. They always had their goal set on the biggest picture possible, and the final destination to which we are all heading al-Akhira. When Uthman ibn Affan (RA) caught ear of this offer he immediately went to the Prophet (SAW) to confirm whether if he were to buy it would the offer of Jannah be extended to him instead. The Prophet (SAW) affirmed “Yes”.
Uthman (RA) immediately went to the Jewish owner and offered to the buy the entire well off him outright. As the owner was profiting heavily from the well he gave a not so surprising response by saying ‘No’. Most people when they hear their first no, they tend to give up straight away with defeating statements such as ‘it wasn’t meant to be’ or ‘Allah decreed it’ etc. a statement although undoubtedly true, however, for the things which are still playing out or for future events which have not yet occurred it is an incorrect placement and use of a truthful phrase.
Uthman (RA) quickly countered the Jewish owner’s objection and offered to instead purchase half of the well. The owner contemplated over the offer, and thought to himself that there was no harm in it as he would benefit from an immediate cashflow and still continue to benefit from recurring income from the shared ownership of this profitable well. If they both shared ownership, then he could simply adjust his price according to his partner’s prices plus enjoy the added bonus of having a successful entrepreneur as his business partner. So he accepted the offer and the mutual condition set and agreed by both parties was that they would utilise the well as they each saw fit on alternating days- one day for the Jewish owner and the other for Uthman (RA).
Unbeknown to the Jew, Uthman (RA) announced to the Prophet (SAW) and the rest of the companions who were struggling to pay for the water, that on his day everyone could drink and draw as much water as they wanted and needed- free of charge. It was Uthman (RA) waqf/endowment that he left for generations to come in exchange for a spring in Paradise. All the Muslims then drew all that they needed for that day plus what they needed for the next day when it would fall under the control of the Jewish owner.
The Jewish owner seeing that not one person stepped forward to buy the water during his day realised that Uthman (RA) had got the better of him. As his lucrative income source all of a sudden turned to 0 he had no choice but to sell the rest of the ownership of the well to his partner to salvage what he could from his miscalculation. Uthman (RA) purchased the entire well for a price which is reported to be anywhere from 20,000 to 35,000 dirhams. For the past 1,440 years that very same well has been servicing the Muslims for generations upon generations. To this very day there is an endless stream of passive income of Ajr/reward flowing to the account of Uthman (RA).
It is reported that the Prophet (SAW) was very pleased with Uthman (RA) for the manner in which he used his wit to bring this well in the way of Allah (SWT) to service his (SAW) community. There are many great lessons to be gained from the Well of Uthman (RA)- but one which really stands out and needs to be underlined is that there are certain moments in our lives where a short window of great opportunity will present itself. Indeed, every Ramadan we are blessed to encounter, every chance to serve one or both of our parents and every time we hear the name of our beloved Prophet (SAW), we are gifted with moments of great opportunity for which we should seize with all our vigour as Uthman (RA) did and for which the reward is hoped to be immense and everlasting.