“I am SALMAN, The son of ISLAM, from the children of ADAM”
When the light of truth is in the heart, eventually it will search for the purest truth,
Salman Al-Farisi, is one of the most well-known companions of Prophet Muhammad pbuh, his most famous contribution during Islamic history was when he participated in Battle of Trench, which he suggested the unknown battle tactic : making trenches surrounding Yatsrib (Madinah) , so the enemy from Mekkah could not enter the city.
Who is Salman ? and why did he know that strange battle tactic which people in Arabia never knew about it ?
but before we begin the story of Salman, he was referred as “Abu Al Kitabayn” (The father of the two books, i.e., the Bible and the Quran) so Salman was once a Christian before he converted to Islam.
and how did he have two religions ?
another background history during Salman early life : he was born in Persia, and during that time the Christians were massacre in Rome, by King Nero the Emperor of Rome, and some of the Christian refugees went to other countries and thus the remaining Christians lived across countries, one of them is Persian. and from the story of Salman’s life, he would encounter with those remaining Christians before he finally met with Rasulullah pbuh.
and here is the story of Salman, narrated by Salman himself :
“I grew up in the town of Isfahan in Persia in the village of Jayyan. My father was the Dihqan or chief of the village. He was the richest person there and had the biggest house.
Since I was a child my father loved me, more than he loved any other. As time went by his love for me became so strong and overpowering that he feared to lose me or have anything happen to me. So he kept me at home, a veritable prisoner, in the same way that young girls were kept.
I became devoted to the Magian religion so much so that I attained the position of custodian of the fire which we worshipped. My duty was to see that the flames of the fire remained burning and that it did not go out for a single hour, day or night.
My father had a vast estate which yielded an abundant supply of crops. He himself looked after the estate and the harvest. One day he was very busy with his duties as dihqan in the village and he said to me:
“My son, as you see, I am too busy to go out to the estate now. Go and look after matters there for me today.”
On my way to the estate, I passed a Christian church and the voices at prayer attracted my attention. I did not know anything about Christianity or about the followers of any other religion throughout the time my father kept me in the house away from people. When I heard the voices of the Christians I entered the church to see what they were doing.
I was impressed by their manner of praying and felt drawn to their religion. “By God,” I said, “this is better than ours. I shall not leave them until the sun sets.”
I asked and was told that the Christian religion originated in Ash-Sham (Greater Syria). I did not go to my father’s estate that day and at night, I returned home. My father met me and asked what I had done. I told him about my meeting with the Christians and how I was impressed by their religion. He was dismayed and said:
“My son, there is nothing good in that religion. Your religion and the religion of your forefathers is better.”
“No, their religion is better than ours,” I insisted.
My father became upset and afraid that I would leave our religion. So he kept me locked up in the house and put a chain on my feet. I managed however to send a message to the Christians asking them to inform me of any caravan going to Syria. Before long they got in touch with me and told me that a caravan was headed for Syria. I managed to unfetter myself and in disguise accompanied the caravan to Syria. There, I asked who was the leading person in the Christian religion and was directed to the bishop of the church. I went up to him and said:
“I want to become a Christian and would like to attach myself to your service, learn from you and pray with you.”
The bishop agreed and I entered the church in his service. I continued in the service of the person who replaced him after his death. The new bishop was an ascetic who longed for the Hereafter and engaged in worship day and night. I was greatly devoted to him and spent a long time in his company.
(After the death of the second Bishop, Salman attached himself to various Christian religious figures, in Mosul, Nisibis and elsewhere. The last Bishop had told him that no one else he knew that following this religion of Christianity was still alive but he predicted about the appearance of a Prophet in the land of the Arabs was already near.
So the last Bishop told the three signs of The Last Prophet : He would come from the city of palm (dates) grove, He who would accept a gift but would never consume charity (sadaqah) for himself. and the last was He who had the sign of Prophethood in his back
So Salman tried to go to Arab :
A group of Arab leaders passed through and I asked them to take me with them to the land of the Arabs but they broke their agreement and sold me as a slave to a Jew. I worked as slave to the tribe of Banu Qurayzah. This Jew took me with him to Yathrib, the city of palm groves
At that time the Prophet was inviting his people in Mekkah to Islam but I did not hear anything about him because of the harsh duties of slavery upon me.
When the Prophet reached Yathrib after his hijrah from Mekkah, I was in fact at the top of a palm tree belonging to my master doing some work. My master was sitting under the tree. A nephew of his came up and said:
“By God, they are now gathering to meet a man who has today come from Mekkah and who claims he is a Prophet!”
I felt hot flushes as soon as I heard these words and I began to shiver so violently that I was afraid that I might fall on my master. I quickly got down from the tree and spoke to my master’s nephew. “What did you say? Repeat the news for me!”
My master was very angry and gave me a terrible blow. “What does this matter to you? Go back to what you were doing,” he shouted.
That evening, I took some dates that I went to the place where the Prophet had stayed. I went up to him and said:
“I have heard that you are a righteous man and that you have companions with you who are strangers and are in need. Here is something from me as sadaqah. I see that you are more deserving of it than others.”
The Prophet ordered his companions to eat but he himself did not eat of it.
I gathered some more dates and I went to him and said: “I noticed that you did not eat of the sadaqah I gave. This however is a gift for you.”
Of this gift of dates, both he and his companions ate.
I felt excited, and began to search for the last sign of the Prophethood in Muhammad’s back, and without asking, Muhammad showed his back to Salman….
and Lo and Behold, there was the sign of Prophethood in his back !
I fell down and cried in joyful tears, after years of searching for the true religion, and traveling across so many countries, I finally met the Prophet Muhammad.”
Salman was released from slavery by the Prophet. After accepting Islam, Salman would say when asked whose son he was : “I am Salman, the son of Islam from the children of Adam.”
Salman was to play an important role in the struggles of the growing Muslim state. At the Battle of Khandaq (Trench), he proved to be an innovator in military strategy. He suggested digging a ditch or khandaq around Madinah to keep the Quraysh army at bay.
When Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Mekkans, saw the ditch, he said, “This strategy has not been employed by the Arabs before !”
Salman became known as “Salman the Good”. He was a scholar who lived a rough and ascetic life. He had one cloak which he wore and on which he slept. He would not seek the shelter of a roof but stayed under a tree or against a wall.
Later, after the death of Rasulullah, Salman became a Govenor of al-Mada’in (Ctesiphon) near Baghdad,
As a Governor and leader, Salman received a salary of five thousand dirhams. all of his salary he gave as sadaqah. He lived from the work of his own hands. When some people came to Mada’in and saw him working in the palm groves, they said, “You are the amir (leader) here and your sustenance is guaranteed and you do this work ?!”
“I like to eat from the work of my own hands,” Salman calmly replied.
As a scholar, Salman was noted for his vast knowledge and wisdom. Ali bin Abi Thalib said of him that he was like Luqman the Wise. And Ka’b al-Ahbar said: “Salman is stuffed with knowledge and wisdom of ocean that does not dry up.”
Salman had a knowledge of both the Christian scriptures and the Qur’an in addition to his earlier knowledge of the Zoroastrian religion.
Salman in fact translated parts of the Qur’an into Persian during the life-time of the Prophet. He was thus the first person to translate the Qur’an into a foreign language.
Salman, born in a rich Persian family but searching for the truth led him to leave his comfortable life and even to suffer as a slave.
According to the most reliable account, he died in the year thirty five after the hijrah, during the caliphate of Uthman, at Ctesiphon.
from the story of Salman we could learn :
- sometimes you must leave your own country if there are no other people with same religion
- it is better to be alone in the truth rather than in a crowd with false belief
“Salman is neither Muhajir nor Anshar. He is one of us. He is one of the People of the House” (Hadist)