Saturday, July 4, 2009

Salman the Persian

Salman the Persian or Salman al Farisi (Persian: سلمان فارسی Salman e Farsi, Arabic: سلمان الفارسيSalman al-Farisi) was one of the Islamic prophet Muhammad's companions.

During some of his later meetings with the other Sahaba, he was referred to as Abu Abdullah ("Father of Abdullah").



[edit] Biography

[edit] Iran

Salman the Persian was born with the Persian name Rouzbeh in the city of Kazerun in Fars, Iran. He grew up in the town of Isfahan in Persia, in the village of Jayyan. His father was the Dihqan (chief) of the village. He was the richest person there and had the biggest house.His father loved him, more than he loved any other. As time went by, his love for Salman became so strong and overpowering that he feared to lose him or have anything happen to him. So he kept him at home, a virtual prisoner, in the same way that young girls were kept.

Salman’s father had a vast estate, which yielded an abundant supply of crops. He himself looked after the estate and gathered harvest. One day as he went about his duties as Dihqan of the village, he said to Salman, ‘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 the way to the estate, Salman passed a Christian church and heard voices raised in prayer, which attracted his attention. He did not know anything about Christianity or, for that matter, about the followers of any other religion. His father had kept him in the house away from people. When he heard the voices of the Christians, he entered the church to see what they were doing. He was impressed by their manner of praying and felt drawn to their religion. He said, ‘This religion is better than ours. I shall not leave them until the sunsets.’ Salman asked and was told that the Christian religion originated in Syria. He did not go to his father’s estate that day and at night, he returned home. His father met him and asked where he had been. Salman told him about his meeting with the Christians and how he was impressed by their religion. His father 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,’ he insisted. His father became upset and afraid that Salman would leave their religion. So he kept Salman locked up in the house and shackled his feet. Salman managed to send a message to the Christians, asking them to inform him of any caravans going to Syria. Before long they contacted him with the information he wanted. He broke the fetters and escaped his father’s estate to join the caravan to Syria. When he reached Syria, he asked regarding the leading person in the Christian religion and was directed to the bishop of the church. He 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 Salman entered the church in his service. Salman soon found out, however, that the bishop was corrupt. He would order his followers to give money in charity while holding out the promise of blessings to them. When they gave the bishop anything to spend in the way of Allah, he would hoard it for himself and not give anything to the poor or needy. In this way, he amassed a vast quantity of gold. When the bishop died and the Christians gathered to bury him, Salman told them of his corrupt practices and, at their request, showed them where the bishop had kept their donations. When they saw the large jars filled with gold and silver they said, ‘By Allah, we shall not bury him.’ They nailed him on a cross and threw stones at him. Salman stayed on, in the service of the person who replaced him. The new bishop was an ascetic who longed for the Hereafter and engaged in worship day and night. Salman was devoted to him and spent much of the time in his company.

After the new bishop died, Salman attached himself to various Christian religious figures, in Mosul, Nisibis and elsewhere. The last one told him that there was none left on the earth that were following the correct path. He also told him that the time had arrived for the advent of a Prophet in the land of the Arabs, who would have a reputation for strict honesty, one who would accept a gift but would never consume charity (sadaqah) for himself.

A group of Arab leaders from the Kalb tribe passed through Ammuriyah. Salman asked them to take him with them to the land of the Arabs, in return for whatever money he had. They agreed to take him along. When they reached Wadi al-Qura (a place between Syria and Madinah), the Arabs broke their agreement and made him a slave, then sold Salman to a Jew. Salman worked as a servant for him but he eventually sold him to a nephew of his, belonging to the tribe of Banu Qurayzah. This nephew took Salman with him to Yathrib, the city of palm groves, which is how the Christian at Ammuriyah had described it. At that time the Prophet was inviting his people in Makkah to Islam but Salman did not know of this because of the harsh duties slavery imposed upon him. When the Prophet reached Yathrib after his hijrah from Makkah, Salman was on top of a palm tree doing some work. Salman’s master was sitting under the tree. A nephew of Salman’s master came up and said, ‘May Allah declare war on the Aws and the Khazraj (the two main Arab tribes of Yathrib). By Allah, they are now gathering at Quba to meet a man, who has just today, arrived from Makkah and who claims to be Prophet.’

Salman felt light-headed upon hearing these words and began to shiver so violently that he had to climb down, in fear that he may fall. He quickly swung down from the tree and spoke to his master’s nephew. ‘What did you say? Repeat the news for me.’ Salman’s master grew angry at this breach of protocol and struck him a terrible blow. ‘What does this matter to you’? Go back to what you were doing,’ he shouted.

That evening, Salman took some dates that he had gathered and went to the place where the Prophet had alighted. He went 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 are.’

The Prophet ordered his companions to eat but he himself refrained. Salman gathered some more dates and when the Prophet left Quba for Madinah, Salman 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. The strict honesty of the Prophet was one of the characteristics that led Salman to believe in him and accept Islam. Salman was released from slavery by the Prophet , who paid his Jewish master a stipulated price, and who himself planted an agreed number of date palms to secure Salman’s manumission. After accepting Islam, Salman would say when asked whose son he was, ‘I am Salman, the son of Islam from the children of Adam.’

[edit] Battle of the Trench

Salman was the one that came with the idea to dig the moat in the Battle of the Trench

While some sources gather him with the Muhajirun (immigrants from Mecca),[1]MuhajirunMuslims of Medina known in Arabic as the Ansar. A lively argument began between the two groups, each of them claiming that Salman belonged to their group, and not to the other group. Muhammad arrived on the scene, and heard the argument. He was amused by the claims but he soon put an end to their argument by saying: "Salman is neither Muhajir nor Ansar. He is one of us. He is one of the People of the House, ahl al-Bayt."[2] other sources narrate that during the Battle of the Trench, one of stated "Salman is one of us, Muhajireen", but was challenged by the

[edit] Abu Bakr's era

According to Sunni Muslims, Salman gave allegiance to Abu Bakr along with Ali, who gave allegiance after a period of six months after Muhammed's death.[3]Shi'ite Muslims, Salman gave his allegiance only to Ali, not to Abu Bakr, and became one of the Shi'ites of Ali. According to

[edit] Uthman's era

Salman the Persian died during the reign of the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan. There is some debate on his age at the time of death. He is buried in Ctesiphon, in present-day Iraq. Though that city fell into abandon, there is still a town there named after him, Salman Pak.

[edit] A hadith

A measure of and scriptual attainment can be gleaned by the following narrations. (Note that the second narration seems to indicate that he could read Hebrew.)

[edit] Legacy

His shrine at Al-Mada'in was attacked on February 25 and 26, 2006, and seems to have been destroyed in the violence following the destruction of the Al-Askari Mosque.[6]

His grave is shown also in Lod (Lydda), Palestine/Israel, now inside the modern quarter called Ramot Eshkol.

[edit] Works

He translated part of the Qur'an into Persian, thus becoming the first person to interpret the Muslim holy scripture into a foreign language.[7]

[edit] Quotation

"I am Salman, the son of Islam from the children of Adam." -- Salman (From "Companions of The Prophet", Vol.1, By: Abdul Wahid Hamid)

[edit] Shi'a view

Shia have a very favorable view of him. He is mentioned in one hadith regarding the perfect Shia.

Ali Asgher Razwy, a 20th century Shi'a Twelver Islamic scholar states:

If anyone wishes to see the real spirit of Islam, he will find it, not in the deeds of the nouveaux riches of Medina, but in the life, character and deeds of such companions of the Apostle of God as Ali ibn Abi Talib, Salman el-Farsi, Abu Dharr el-Ghiffari, Ammar ibn Yasir, Owais Qarni and Bilal. The orientalists will change their assessment of the spirit of Islam if they contemplate it in the austere, pure and sanctified lives of these latter companions.[8]

Twelvers in particular, hold Salmān in high esteem for a hadith attributed to him, in which all twelve Imāms were mentioned to him by name, from Muhammad[9].

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