SALMAN THE PERSIAN

By Dr. Saleh Al-Saleh

Table of contents

Introduction

   All Praise is due to Allah, we praise Him, and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah, Most High, from the evils of our own selves and from our wicked deeds. Whomsoever has been guided by Allah, none can misguide him, and whomsoever has been misguided by Allah, none can guide him. I bear witness that there is no true god worthy of being worshipped except Allah, alone, without partner or associate. I further bear witness that Muhammad is His true slave and Messenger. May Allah, the Exalted, bestow His peace and blessings on the final Prophet Muhammad, upon his good and pure family, and upon all of his noble companions.

Today, many people are curious about Islam. People vary in terms of their knowledge about this Faith. Knowledge may have been gained form of an article, a book, part of a religious text book at high school, knowing some Muslims, passing by a Mosque, watching a documentary (or a Movie), the Evening news, being in a Muslim country, etc. To some it is "Just another religion". For many, however, it is becoming an interesting "thing" to "look" at. This Book is for everyone who is searching within himself for answers about many questions: Who am I? Who is the True God? What is the True Road for Salvation? Is It Islam? If I become a Muslim What does it mean to me, my family, and the society at large?

  Today many realize that all of the materialistic and secular progress produced a spiritual vacuum that led to social, economical, political and psychological problems. That is why people who used to say :"let us live this life and enjoy it." or "hey! We don't want to know about God", are in search again. They are raising similar questions like those raised above. This is so because the innate nature in man recognizes what is good and bad, what is true and false. It recognizes that the attributes of God must be true, unique, and all perfect. It does not feel comfortable towards any kind of degradation of His attributes nor does it relax towards associating human-like qualities to the Creator. It recognizes that there can be no more than One and Only One True God and thus One and Only One religion accepted by Him.  He does not request part of this World to worship Him alone yet orders others to worship "Jesus (peace be upon him), Buddha, Fire, Light, Krishna, Joseph Smith, Son, Moon, Khomeini, Rama, Temples, Prophets, Elijiah, Farakhan, a cross, a tree, a triangle, Saints, Priests, Monks, etc.” 

  All, except Allah, are created beings or things! They are imperfect. They are in need, but Allah is Self-Sufficient. The First, nothing before Him. The Last, everything will come to an end except Him, the Ever-Living; to Him is the Final Return; He does not begot nor He is begotten. No man named Him, He named Himself Allah which means the "True and Only God Who Deserves to Be Worshipped". He is not a “nationalistic or a tribal God", He is the Creator of everything. He, therefore, deserves that we submit to Him alone. He called this submission Islam.

  The confusion on the part of man came when people turned to worship created beings or things besides Allah! In the final Revealed Message to mankind, the Qur'an, Allah clearly states the purpose for man's presence in this World. Outwardly and inwardly, man is called to live in accordance with Allah’s way. This is the meaning of worship in Islam and it is the purpose for which we have been created. There are those who will accept Allah as the Only true God who deserves to be worshipped but may not live in accordance with Allah’s command. Their practices deviate from Islam. They are not the criteria upon which Islam should be judged. Islam is Perfect but men are not. People are called to search into Islam.

  The objective of this book is to call people to search for their salvation by examining an example of a long search by a man called Salman Al-Farisee, the Persian Salman. Why not? Do we know everything? When we know that we do not posses the air we breath and that we didn't create ourselves nor were we ourselves creators, then it becomes natural to want to know more about God (Allah) Who created us, gave us life and Who, one Day, will call us back to Him. On that Day, there is either an Endless Bliss or an Endless Torment.

 

 

SALMAN & HIS STORY

 

The Beginning

No one can tell the story of Salman better than Salman himself. He, may Allah's Mercy be upon him, told his story to one of the companions and a close relative of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by the name of Abdullah bin Abbas.

Salman said:

I was a Persian man from the people of Isfahaan from a town known as Jayi. My father was the town Chief. To him, I was the most beloved creature of Allah.

[This is an indication of a good behavior from the son towards his father. Salman is using the correct name of the true God, Allah. The Name, Allah, is the same Name used by all of the Prophets and Messengers. Allah is the same name of God in the Aramaic language of our beloved Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him.]

His love of me, reached the point whereby he trusted me to supervise the fire he lit. He would not let it die down.

 

A Different Religion?

My father owned a Daye’ah: great country with arable land. One day and while busy with his constructions, he told me to go and inspect his Daye’ah and to bring from it some things he wanted. On my way to his Daye’ah, I came across a Christian Church. I heard the voices of the prayers of the people inside. I did not know what goes on with (the lives) of people outside, because my father kept me confined to his house! So, when I came across those people (of the Church) and I heard their voices, I went inside watching what they were doing.

 

The Interest Arises

When I saw them, I liked their prayers and became interested in their matter (i.e., religion). I said to myself: 'By Allah, this religion is better than ours'.

[He gave himself the time to find out about this religion which he thought then it was the right belief. A perceiving and a kind heart charged with patience is needed to drive oneself from being confined to such thought as: " 0 well! I will try to find out, but I am kind of busy now. etc.!' Death may knock the door sooner than one hopes

  I left without actually inspecting my father’s Daye’ah. I asked (i.e., the people of the Church), "What is the origin of this religion?

[Seeking the "origin". This is a guide for those in search. The "origin", "original", the "essence" are essential terms that will help in the search process. What is the "origin" of Islam and what is its essence? It came from Allah, the Creator, the True God and its essence is the submission? to Him, Most Glorified and Exalted He is.]

They said: "From Ash-Shaam". I returned to my father who, became worried and sent (someone) after me. Upon my arrival he said: 'O son! Where have you be?  Didn't I trust you with an assignment?' I said: 'I came across some people praying in their Church and I liked what they were on from their religion. By Allah I sat with them until sunset".

[ Amazing honesty from a person who knows well his father's commitment to his religion. It is the kind of openness that is necessary for someone who searches truth.]

The Opposition

This is the theme of those who blindly follow others in the matter of faith. 
This reminds us with the saying of Allah:

 "And those who disbelieve say: ‘listen not to this Qur'an..” (Qur'an 41:26)

" We found our fathers following a certain way and religion, and we guide ourselves by their footsteps." (Qur’an .43:22)

    "...Nay, we shall follow that which we found our fathers (following)...” (Quran 3I:21)

" ...Never did we hear of this among our fathers of the old"  (Qur’an 28:36)

 [When you talk to those who have converted to Islam from the various religions, many times you hear the same arguments which Allah spoke about. The issue is the same. It comes in the form: "Do you want to leave the religion of your fathers and forefathers?' Not only that, but the parents and the family at large may take a stand against the convert. The magnitude of the opposition in this world may vary ranging from actual life threats to strong boycotting. This is the general trend. There are, however, cases of minor opposition and neutrality. ]

Salman Said:

'No, By Allah, it is better than our religion.'

[He loved his father, but he did no flatter him. He didn’t compromise what he thought  was the truth. What were his father's responses?]

Salman said: 

'he threatened me and chained me by my foot and kept me confined to his home.'

[A father torturing his beloved son to sway him away from exploring the truth. Many Prophets were opposed, accused and ill-treated by the members of their families because they opposed the 'tradition'! Did Salman stop there?]

The Way Out

He said: 

I sent to the Christians requesting to let me know of the arrival of any Christian trade caravan coming from Ash-Shaam. A trade caravan arrived and they informed me about it. I told (the Christians) to keep me informed about the people of the caravan once they finish their business and are about to return to their country. I (indeed) was informed when the (people of Ash-Shaam) finished their business and were about to return to their country. I took off the chains from my foot and accompanied (the caravan) until we reached Ash-Shaam.

He did not surrender to the unjust orders of his father. He was striving in the cause of the truth which led him ultimately to know the truth about the Creator, Allah:

“As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to our Path (i.e., Allah’s Religion, Islamic Monotheism).” (Qur’an 29:69)

 

[Salman made up his mind and took the journey,  regardless of the fact that it was a distant and strange land to him. Allah, Most Glorified and Exalted, knowing his honesty, assisted him by making it easy for him to find a ride to the land of Ash-Shaam.]

This is it. But…!

Upon my arrival I asked: 'Who is the best amongst the people of this religion (of yours)?

[Salman wants the clear truth and looks up high. Why not? people like to choose the best food, the best wife, the best clothes. Salman is searching for the best (correct) Faith.]

They said: 'The Bishop. (He is) in the Church'. I came to him and said: 'l like this religion and I love to be with you serving you in your Church, to learn from you and to pray with you.'

[Salman realized from the start that knowledge is gained by being with the people of knowledge. In return he was ready to offer himself as a servant to that Bishop. The humbleness of those searching for the truth brings them closer and closer to it. Against humbleness, there is arrogance. People see the Signs of the truth but their arrogance drives them away towards their destruction.

"And they belied them (Our Signs: proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, revelations, etc.) wrongfully and arrogantly, though their own selves were convinced thereof (that those signs are from Allah)..." (Quran 27:14)

 

[Wealth, social status, etc. must not prohibit the person from seeking the truth that would effect his future. All of these things will vanish and the person will go to his grave only with his deeds. The deeds are those of the heart (belief) and those of the tongue and limbs which are the manifestations of the actions of the heart. Did I submit to my Creator? Did I live according to His Commands as Explained in the Qur’an and by the teachings of the Last Messenger, Muhammad (PBUH)? This is what counts on the Day of Recompense.

 

 "The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, except him who brings to Allah a clean heart (clean from disbelief, polytheism and hypocrisy). " (Qur’an 26:88-89)]

 

He said: 'OK! you can see me' , "and I joined him."

After a while Salman knew something about this Bishop. He was a bad man who ordered and motivated his people to pay charity only to keep it for himself. He did not give it to the poor. He heaped up seven jars with gold and silver!

 

[This is one example of the corrupt and evil-doers in every age and land. The hypocritical and abusive ones. Did Salman stop there with that corrupt man? No! he moved to the next stage in his search. He did not turn away from religion.]

'I hated him so much because of what I saw him doing.'

 

[it is clear that his hate of the Bishop did not stop him from seeking the truth. Allah, Most Exalted, guided him knowing his sincere drive to know what is right.]

'He (the Bishop) died. The Christians gathered to bury him. I told them that he was a bad man who ordered and motivated you to release your charities only to keep it for himself and that he did not give anything of it to the poor.' They said: 'how did you know about this?' I said: 'I can show you his treasure.' They said: 'Show us'. I showed them the place and they recovered from it seven jars heaped up with gold and silver. When they saw it they said: 'By Allah we will never bury him'. They crucified him and stoned him.

The Urge is Strong

Salman said: 

They replaced their Bishop. I never saw a man (from those) who do not pray the five prescribed prayers better than him (i.e., the new Bishop), nor a man detached from this Worldly life and attached to the Hereafter more than him. Nor a committed person who works day and night harder than him. I loved him more than anything else I loved before.

[There are five daily prescribed prayers In Islam. Allah taught Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) how to conduct these prayers as well as their times during the day. It is not the kind of “prayers" developed and practiced by some people. Prayers are the foundation of Islam. If done according to the Prophet's way, they purify the person from sins and wrong-doings that he may commit during the day.]

l stayed with him for sometime before his death. When his death approached I told him: 'O (calling him by his Name), I stayed with you and loved you more than anything else I loved before. Now you are approached by the Decree of Allah (i.e., death), so whom would you recommend for me and what would you like to order me?

[The search for good people with good knowledge is on the mind of Salman. The urge and readiness to go after the truth is firm.]

The Bishop said: 'By Allah! people are in total loss, they altered and changed what they were on. I do not know of anyone who is still holding to what I am on except a man in Al-Moosil so join him (he gave him his Name).'

 Another Move   Top

When the man died, Salman moved to Al-Moosil and met the recommended person. 

Salman said: 

I told him that (such & such person), at the time of his death, recommended that I join you. He also told me that you are following to the same (religion) as he was.' [

[The man of Al-Moosil told Salman to stay with him] 

I stayed with him and I found that he was the best man holding on to the matter (religion) of his friend.  Soon he died.

 When death approached him, Salman asked him (as he did earlier with his first friend) to recommend some other person who is on the same religion. The man said: 'By Allah! I don't know of anyone on the same matter of ours except a man in Nasiyeebeen and he is (gives his name), so join him.'

One More Move

Following his death, I moved to the man of Nasiyeebeen! Salman found the man and stayed with him for a while. The same story repeated itself. Death approached and before he died, Salman came to the man and asked for his advise as to whom and where to go. The man recommended that Salman join another man on the same religion in Am’mooriyeeyah.

Salman moved to Am’mooriyeeyah after his friend died. He found his new reference and joined him on his religion. Salman worked and, 'earned some cows and one sheep'.

[The good and lawful way of earning is very important to the believer. Certainly the influence of money is great. Many have sold themselves and their principles for a cheap price. Many turn hypocrites for the sake of money. Many, however, can stand up for the truth regardless of what they may lose. This brings  peace of heart and mind.]

The Big Move

Death approached the man of Am’mooriyeeyah. Salman repeated his requests. The answer was different. The man said: 'O son! I don't know of anyone who is on the same (religion) as we are. However, the time of emergence of a Prophet will shade you, This Prophet is on the same religion of Abraham.'

[The Bishop knew the Path of Abraham. It is the Origin of monotheism. It calls for the worship of Allah Alone. The Bishop knew well the recommendation of Abraham to his children: 

"And this (submission to Allah, i.e.: Islam) was enjoined by Abraham upon his sons and (so did) Jacob, saying, "O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the (true) religion, then die not except on the Faith of Islam " (Qur'an 2:132)

Abraham married Sarah and Hagar. From Sarah's side he had the following progeny: Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon, Moses and Jesus, peace be upon them all. From his union with Hajar, he had Ishmael, and Muhammad, peace be upon them. Ishmael was raised in Becca (known also as Mecca) in Arabia. Muhammad was from the descendants of Ishmael.

The man knew that the Faith of Abraham is to be followed. He must have read the promise of Allah to bring a 'Great Nation" from Ishmael's side (Genesis 21:18), and he recommended to Salman the Prophet from the descendants of Ishmael, who submits to Allah and follows the path of Abraham:

 "Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall recite unto them Your Verses and instruct them in this Book (this Qur'an) and 'Al-Hikma' (Full knowledge of Allah’s Laws or Jurisprudence or wisdom or Prophethood, etc.), and sanctify them. You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise." (Quran 2:129)

  

"Then, We have inspired you (O Muhammad - PBUH) (saying): 'Follow the religion of Abraham 'Hanifan' (Islamic Monotheism. - to worship none but Allah) and he was not of the 'Mushrikeen"' [i.e., polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah and in His Messenger (PBUH), those who worship others along with Allah or set up rivals with (or partners to) Allah etc.] (Qur’an 16:123).

 

"Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Abraham are those who followed him, and this Prophet (Muhammad-PBUH) and those who have believed (Muslims). And Allah is the Wali (Protector and Helper) of the believers." (Qur'an 3:68)

The man said describing this Prophet: 'He is sent with the same religion as that of Abraham. He comes from Arabia and migrates to a place located between landscapes of black stones (as if burned by fire). Palm trees spread between these scopes. He has certain well known signs. He (accepts) and eats (from) the (food) gift and he does not eat from the charity. The seal of Prophethood is between his shoulders. If you could move to that land, then do so.

[The man knew about the coming of the Prophet from Arabia, from the brethren of the Israelites Deuteronomy 18:17-18: I will raise them up a Prophet from among their Brethren, like unto thee (i.e.: Moses) and will put My Words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.) Certainly this was not about Jesus as Paul tried to interpret it (Acts-I 3:22-23) because Jesus was neither of the descendants of Ishmael nor of the "brethren" of the Israelites being an Israelite himself.

The man knew about God's Revelation coming from Te’man (North of the City of Medinah in Arabia, according to J. Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible), and the 'holy one' coming from Paran. According to Genesis 21:21, the wilderness of Paran was the place where Prophet Ishmael settled and had twelve children, amongst them Kedar the second son of lshmael. In Isaiah 42:1-13, 'the beloved of God' is linked to the descendants of Kedar, the ancestor of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

When Prophet Muhammad called the people in Mecca to submit to Allah, most of them refused and they plotted to kill the Prophet . He was commanded by Allah to migrate with those who accepted Islam to the city of Medina. Soon a battle between the 'few and ill-armed" represented by Muhammad (PBUH) and his followers and the Pagans from Mecca took place in Badr a year after the Prophet's migration. The Prophet and his companions were victorious (Isaiah 21:13-17)

The man knew that Jesus (PBUH) informed of the coming of Prophet Ahmad (same as Muhammad). This was the glad tiding which Allah spoke about on the tongue of Jesus:

 

"And (remember) when Jesus, son of Mary, said: 'O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah unto you confirming the Torah (which came) before me, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad. " (Qur’an 61:6)

 

The man died. Salman stayed in Am’mooriyeeyah until one day 'some merchants from the tribe of Kalb passed by me'. 

Salman said:

  'I told them: 'take me to Arabia and I will give you my cows and the only sheep I have.' They said: 'OK'. Salman gave them what he offered and they took him with them. When they reached Wadee Al-Qura (close to Medinah) they sold him as a slave to a Jew. Salman stayed with the Jew. He saw the Palm trees. 'I hoped that this would be the same place described by my friend (see above)'. Salman said. A man who was a first cousin to Salman's master and belonged to the Jewish tribe of Bani Qureitha in Medinah came visiting one day. He bought Salman from his Jewish master: 'He took me with him to Medinah. By Allah! when I saw it I knew it, based upon what my friend had described.'

 

Then Allah sent His Messenger (i.e., Muhammad PBUH). He stayed in Mecca as long as he did. I did not hear anything about him because I was very much busy with the work of slavery. He then migrated to Medina.

 

Salman continued saying :

I was (one day) on a Palm-tree on top of one of its 'Adaaq (date-clusters) doing some work for my master. A first cousin of him came and stood in front of him (his master was sitting) and said: 'Woe to Banee Qeelah (people of the tribe Qeelah), they are gathered in Qibaa' around a man who came today from Mecca claiming that he was a Prophet!

When I heard that, I shivered until was about to fall down on my master. I came down and I said: what do say? what do you say!? My master became angry and punched me with a powerful punch and said: What kind of business do you have in this (matter)?' Go mind your business. I said: 'Nothing! I just wanted to be sure of what he was saying.

 

On that evening I went to see the Messenger of Allah while he was in Qibaa'. I took with me something I had saved. I went in and said: 'I was told that you are a righteous man and that your company (who) are strangers (here) are in need, and I want to offer you something I saved as charity. I found that you deserve it more that anyone else'. Salman said: 'I offered it to him; he said to his companions: 'eat, and he kept his hand off (i.e. did not eat). 'I said to myself: 'this is one (i.e., one of the signs about his Prophethood.)

 

Following this encounter with the Prophet (PBUH), Salman left to prepare for the test! This time he brought a gift and visited the Prophet (PBUH) in Medina. 

I saw that you don't eat from the charity, here is a gift that I wanted to honor you with. The Prophet (PBUH) ate from it and ordered his companions to do the same which they did. I said to myself: 'Now they are two (i.e., two of the Prophet's signs came true.')

 

On the third encounter, Salman came to Baqee' Al-Gharqad (The burial site of the Prophet's companions) where the Prophet (PBUH) was sharing in a funeral of one of his companions. 

Salman said: 

I greeted him (with the Islamic Salaam: Peace be upon you) then I moved towards his back attempting to see the seal (of Prophethood) that was described to me by my friend. When he (PBUH) saw me (doing so) he knew that I was trying to confirm something described to me. He took the garment off his back and I looked at the seal. I recognized it. I came down on it kissing it and crying. The Messenger of Allah told me to move around (i.e., to talk to him). I told him my story as I did with you Ibn Abbas (remember that Salman is telling his story to Ibn Abbas). He (the Prophet-PBUH) liked to tell my story to his companions.

The Slavery to Allah Alone    Top

Salman continued to tell his story to Ibn Abbas .  His time was still consumed to his master. He missed two battles with the Pagans of Arabia. The Prophet (PBUH) told him: 'Write O Salman (i.e., to free yourself from your master)'. Salman obeyed and wrote for his freedom. He reached an agreement in which he would pay his master forty ounces of gold and would plant and successfully raise up three hundred new palm trees. The Prophet (PBUH) said to his companions: 'Help your brother.'

 

They helped him with the trees and gathered for him the whole quantity. The Prophet (PBUH) ordered Salman to dig the proper holes to plant the "baby" trees, then he (PBUH) planted each one with his hands. 

Salman said: 

By Whom my Soul is in His Hands (i.e., Allah) no single tree died.

 So Salman gave the trees to his master. The Prophet (PBUH) gave Salman a piece of gold that was the size of a chicken egg and said: 'take this, O Salman, and pay (i.e., the master) for what you owe'. Salman said: 'This would be close enough (in value) for what I owe!' The Prophet (PBUH) said: 'take it! Allah will (make it) pay for what you owe'. I took it and I weighed a part of it and it was forty ounces'. Salman gave the gold to his master. He fulfilled the agreement and he was released.

 

Since then, Salman became a close companion of the Prophet (PBUH):

[One of the great companions of the Prophet (PBUH) by the name of Abu Hurairah reported: We were sitting in the company of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) when Surat Al-Jumaa (Chapter 62) was revealed to him. He recited these words:

 

"And He (Allah) has sent him (Muhammad) also to other (Muslims) who have not joined them (but they will come)... " (Qur’an 62:3)

 

A person amongst them said. Allah's Messenger! But Allah's Messenger (PBUH) made no reply, until he questioned him once, twice or thrice. And there was amongst us Salman Al-Farisee. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) placed his hand on Salman and then said. Even if faith were near Ath-Thuraiya (Pleiades, the highest Star) a man from amongst these (i.e. Salman's folk) would surely attain it.]

But They Will Come! 

Many in this World are like Salman: at the point of Search for the Truth about The True and Only One God. This Story of Salman has many similarities in our times. The search of some people took them from one Church to another. From a Church to Buddhism or Passiveness, From Judaism to "Neutrality!". From religion to meditation and to mental abuse. I've met and heard some of those who were moving from one place to another. They were 'afraid' to even want to know about Islam! When they met some Muslims, however, they came with an open mind. The story of Salman is that of a long search. You could make it shorter by benefiting from him.

References

- Qissat (the story of) Islam Salman: Arabic Text by Hussein Al-Awaishah.

 Completed on the 10th of Muharram, 1415

 corresponding to the 20th of June, 1994.