Salman al-Farsi RA (Arabic: سلمان الفارسي), a Persian (today Iran) was a companion of Rasulullah ﷺ and the first non-Arab of Persian descent who converted to Islam. Other companion of Rasulullah ﷺ referred Salman Al Farisi RA as Abu Abdullah (“Father of Abdullah”). Known to be the Sahabi which suggest the digging of trenches around Madinah when it was attacked by Makkan pagan Quraish in the Battle of the Trench (Khandaq). Salman Al Farisi RA was raised as a Zoroastrian, then attracted to Christianity, and then converted to Islam after meeting Rasulullah ﷺ in the city of Yathrib, which later became Madinah. According to some traditions, he was appointed as the governor of Al-Mada’in in Iraq.
Illustration Only – Salman The Truth Seeker
Salman Al Farisi RA was born either in the city of Kazerun in Fars Province, or Isfahan. In a hadith, Salman Al Farisi RA also traced his ancestry to Ramhormoz. The first sixteen years of his life were devoted to studying to become a Zoroastrian magus or priest after which he became the guardian of a fire temple, which was a well-respected job. Three years later in 587 he met a Nestorian Christian group and was so impressed by them. Against the wishes of his father, he left his family to join them. His family imprisoned him afterward to prevent him but he escaped.
The following is a lengthy hadith about the story of how the great Sahabi Salman al-Farisi RA came to Islam. Salman al-Farisi RA was a Magian (Zoroastrian), then he became a Christian, then he became a Muslim. That was after he had met a number of Christian monks, the last of whom was a righteous man who had knowledge of the last Prophet. The monk advised Salman to go to Arabia, where the last Prophet would appear, and he described the place to him, and it was the City of Rasulullah ﷺ i.e., Madinah. But there is nothing in this hadith to suggest that Rasulullah ﷺ said that this monk was the Messiah ‘Isa ibn Maryam Alaihisalam rather ‘Isa Alaihisalam is in heaven; Allah took him up and he will remain there until the appointed time, then Allah will send him back down and he will support Islam at the end of time.
The story of how Salman al-Farisi RA came to Islam is a great story, full of lessons and exhortations. We will let the questioner read the hadith in full, so that he might benefit from it:
It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Abas said: Salman al-Farisi RA told me his story from his own lips.
I was a Persian man, one of the people of Isfahan, from a village thereof called Jayy. My father was the chieftain of his village, and I was the dearest of Allah’s creation to him. He loved me so much that he kept me in his house near the fire, as girls are kept in. I strove hard in the Magian religion until I became the keeper of the fire, which I tended and did not let go out for a moment.
My father had a huge garden, and he was busy one day with some construction work, so he said: “O my son, I am too busy with this building today, go and check my garden,” and he told me some of the things he wanted done.
I went out, heading towards his garden, and I passed by one of the Christian churches, where I could hear their voices as they were praying. I did not know anything about the people because my father had kept me in his house. When I passed by and heard their voices, I entered upon them to see what they were doing. When I saw them, I was impressed with their prayer and I was attracted to their way.
I said: ‘By God, this is better than the religion that we follow.’ By God, I did not leave them until the sun set, and I forgot about my father’s garden and did not go there.
I said to them: ‘Where did this religion originate?’ They said: ‘In Syria. ‘
Then I went back to my father, who had sent people out to look for me, and I had distracted him from all his work. When I came to him, he said: ‘O my son, where were you? Did I not ask you to do what I asked?’ I said: ‘O my father, I passed by some people who were praying in a church of theirs, and I was impressed with what I saw of their religion. By God, I stayed with them until the sun set.’ He said: ‘O my son, there is nothing good in that religion. Your religion and the religion of your forefathers are better than that.’ I said: ‘No, by God, it is better than our religion.’
Illustration only: Salam The Truth Seeker
He was afraid for me, and he put fetters on my legs and kept me in his house. I sent word to the Christians saying: ‘If any Christian merchants come to you from Syria, tell me about them.’ He said: ‘Some Christian merchants came to them from Syria, and they told me about them.’ I said to them: ‘When they have completed their business and want to go back to their own country, tell me about that.’
So when they wanted to go back to their own country, they told me about that, and I threw off the irons from my legs and went out with them, until I came to Syria. When I reached Syria, I said: ‘Who is the best person in this religion?’ They said: ‘The bishop in the church.’
So I went to him and said: ‘I like this religion, and I would like to stay with you and serve you in your church and learn from you and pray with you.’ He said: ‘Come in.’ So, I went in with him, but he was a bad man. He would command them and exhort them to give charity, but he kept a great deal of it for himself and did not give it to the poor; he had amassed seven chests of gold and silver. I hated him deeply when I saw what he was doing, then he died and the Christians gathered to bury him.
I said to them: ‘This was a bad man; he commanded you and exhorted you to give charity, but when you brought it to him he kept it for himself and did not give any of it to the poor.’ They said: ‘How do you know that? Show us where his treasure is.’ So I showed them where it was and they brought out seven chests filled with gold and silver. When they saw that they said: ‘By God, we will never bury him’; then they crucified him and pelted him with stones.
Then they brought another man and appointed him in his place. Salman said: I have never seen a man who does not offer the five daily prayers who was better than him; he shunned this world and sought the Hereafter and no one strives harder than him night and day. I loved him as I had never loved anyone before, and I stayed with him for a while. Then when he was about to die, I said: ‘O So and so, I was with you and I loved you as I had never loved anyone before, and now the decree of God has come to you as you see; to whom do you advise me to go? What do you command me to do?’
He said: ‘O my son, by Allah, I do not know of anyone today who follows what I followed. The people are doomed; they have changed and abandoned most of what they used to follow, except for a man in Mosul. He is so and so, and he follows what I used to follow, so go and join him.’
When he died and was buried, I went to the man in Mosul. I said to him: ‘O So and so, so and so advised me when he died to come to you, and he told me that you follow the same as he followed.’ He said to me: ‘Stay with me.’ So I stayed with him, and I found him to be a good man who followed the same as his companion had followed. But soon he died.
When he was dying I said to him: ‘O So and so, So and so advised me to come to you and told me to join you, but now there has come to you from Allah what you see. To whom do you advise me to go? What do you command me to do?’
He said: ‘O my son, by Allah I do not know of anyone who follows what we used to follow except a man in Nasayyibeen. He is So and so; go to him.’ When he died and was buried, I went to the man in Nasayyibeen. I came to him and told him my story and what my companion had told me to do. He said: ‘Stay with me.’ So I stayed with him and I found him to be a follower of the same way as his two companions, and I stayed with a good man.
Salman Al Farisi
By Allah, soon death came upon him, and when he was dying I said to him: ‘O So and so, So and so advised me to go to So and so; then So and so advised me to come to you. To whom do you advise me to go and what do you command me to do?’ He said: ‘O my son, by Allah we do not know of anyone left who follows our way and to whom I can tell you to go, except a man in ‘Ammuriyyah. He follows something like what we follow. If you wish, go to him, for he follows our way.’
When he died and was buried, I went to the man in ‘Ammuriyyah and told him my story. He said: ‘Stay with me.’ So I stayed with a man who was following the same way as his companions. I earned wealth until I had cows and sheep, then the decree of Allah came to him.
When he was dying I said to him: ‘O So and so, I was with So and so, and So and so told me to go to So and so; then So and so told me to go to So and so; then So and so told me to come to you. To whom do you advise me to go and what do you command me to do?’ He said: ‘O my son, by Allah, I do not know of anyone who follows our way to whom I can advise you to go. But there has come the time of a Prophet, who will be sent with the religion of Ibrahim. He will appear in the land of the Arabs and will migrate to a land between two harrahs (lave fields; land with black rocks), between which there are palm trees. He will have characteristics that will not be hidden. He will eat of what is given as a gift but he will not eat of what is given as charity. Between his shoulder blades is the Seal of Prophethood. If you can go to that land then do so.’
Then he died and was buried, and I stayed in ‘Ammuriyyah as long as Allah willed I should stay then some merchants of Kalb passed by me and I said to them: ‘Will you take me to the land of the Arabs and I will give you these cows and sheep of mine?’ They said: ‘Yes.’ So I gave them the cows and sheep, and they took me there, but when they brought me to Wadi al-Qura they wronged me and sold me as a slave to a Jewish man.
When I was with him I saw the palm trees, and I hoped that this was the land that my companion had described to me, but I was not sure. Whilst I was with him, a cousin of his from Banu Qurayzah came to him from Madinah, and he sold me to him, and he took me to Madinah. By Allah, as soon as I saw it, I recognized it from the description given to me by my companion. I stayed there, and Allah sent Rasulullah ﷺ who stayed in Makkah as long as he stayed, and I did not hear anything about him because I was so busy with the work of a slave. Then he migrated to Madinah, and by Allah, I was at the top of a palm tree belonging to my master, doing some work on it, and my master was sitting there. Then a cousin of his came and stood beside him, and said: ‘May Allah kill Banu Qaylah! By Allah, right now they are gathering in Quba’ to welcome a man who has come from Makkah today, and they say that he is a Rasulullah.
When I heard that, I began to shiver so much that I thought I would fall on top of my master. I came down from the tree and started saying to that cousin of his: ‘what are you saying, what are you saying?’ My master got angry and he struck me with his fist and said: ‘What has it got to do with you? Go back to your work!’ I said: ‘Nothing; I just wanted to make sure of what he was saying.’
I had something that I had collected, and when evening came, I went to Rasulullah ﷺwhen he was in Quba’, and I entered upon him and said to him: ‘I have heard that you are a righteous man and that you have companions who are strangers and are in need. This is something that I have to give in charity, and I see that you are more in need of it than anyone else.’
I brought it near to him and Rasulullah ﷺ said to his companions: “Eat,” but he refrained from eating. I said to myself: ‘This is one.’ Then I went away and collected some more.
Rasulullah ﷺ moved to Madinah, then I came to him and said: ‘I see that you do not eat (food given in) charity; this is a gift with which I wish to honor you.’ Rasulullah ﷺ ate some of it and told his companions to eat too. I said to myself: ‘This is two.’
Then I came to Rasulullah ﷺ when he was in Baqi’ al-Gharqad, where he had attended the funeral of one of his companions and he was wearing two shawls and was sitting among his companions. I greeted him with salaam then I moved behind him, trying to look at his back to see the Seal that my companion had described to me. When Rasulullah ﷺ saw me going behind him, he realized that I was trying to find confirmation of something that had been described to me, so he let his rida’ drop from his back, and I saw the Seal and recognized it. Then I embraced him, kissing (the Seal) and weeping, and Rasulullah ﷺsaid to me: “Turn around.” So I turned around and I told him my story as I have told it to you, O Ibn ‘Abas.
Rasulullah ﷺ wanted his companions to hear that. Then Salman was kept busy with the work of a slave, until he had missed attending Badr and Uhud with Rasulullah ﷺ. He said: Then Rasulullah ﷺ to me: “Draw up a contract of manumission, O Salman.” So I draw up a contract of manumission with my master in return for three hundred palm trees which I would plant for him, and forty Uqiyyah.
Rasulullah ﷺ said to his companions: “Help your brother.” So they helped me with the palm trees, one man gave thirty small trees and another gave twenty, and another gave fifteen, and another gave ten, i.e., each man gave according to what he had, until they had collected three hundred small trees for me. Then Rasulullah ﷺ said to me: “Go, O Salman, and dig the holes where they are to be planted. When you have finished, come to me and I will plant them with my own hand.”
Illustration Only: The Holy land is only Holy of good deeds.
So I dug the holes for them, and my companions helped me, then when I had finished, I came to him and told him. Rasulullah ﷺ came out with me and we started to bring the trees close and Rasulullah ﷺ planted them with his own hand. By the One in whose hand is the soul of Salman, not one single tree among them died.
So I had paid off the trees but there still remained the money. A piece of gold the size of an egg was brought to Rasulullah ﷺ from one of his campaigns. Rasulullah ﷺ said: “What happened to the Persian who had a contract of manumission?” I was summoned to him and he said: “Take this and pay off what you owe, O Salman.” I said: ‘How could this pay off everything I owe, O Messenger of Allah?’ Rasulullahﷺ said: “Take it, and Allah will help you to pay off what you owe.” So I took it and weighed it for them, and by the One in Whose hand is the soul of Salman, it was forty Uqiyyah, so I paid them their dues and I was set free. I was present Rasulullah ﷺ at al-Khandaq, and there after I did not miss any major event with him.
An Inspiration for Generations to come.
‘And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.’
[Surat Al-`Ankabūt, 29:69]
Certain circumstances in your life may make you give up searching for the Truth, whether you are a Muslim or a non-Muslim. You may give up the path of Haq. You may feel that you’re the only one on this road with no one beside you as a companion, as a supporter. You may have exhausted all your means to achieve a goal. You may be so very tired. You may have nowhere to go to and nobody to ask for guidance.
But know that there was a man, a Sahabi RA, of the name of Salman Al-Farisi RA who did not give up even though all circumstances were against him. Strong intentions can change your world for it definitely changed his.
You may be in a humiliated position, lost, uncared for, forgotten.
Nothing may be working out in your eyes. However, accept that the whole Creations of Allah SWT have been silently ordered by Him to take you to where your presence will complete the whole jigsaw puzzle and… perhaps complete you as a person.
Salman al-Farisi RA did not know anything about the world besides fire-worshipping but Allah SWT willed for him to teach the most knowledgeable of the Sahabah in Tafsir, i.e. ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Abas RA.
Salman Al Farisi RA was shackled by his father, he gave up his family, his security, comfort, land, nationality, was unjustly sold as a slave in the process but he ended up finally meeting Rasulullah ﷺ in the most phenomenal of Allah SWT’s Ways. When Allah SWT Wills, things do happen for believe it or not, he RA even became a ruler of Persia! A slave who had no knowledge became a knowledgeable ruler! Subhanallah! If that doesn’t give one goose bumps, what will?
This reminds me of a very beautiful ayah in the Quran. Allah SWT has said:
“وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُوا ۖ وَكَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ”
‘And We made from among them leaders guiding by Our command when they were patient and [when] they were certain of Our signs.’
[Surat As-Sajdah, 32:24]
We have individuals who give up studying Islam just because their parents do not approve of their going to a certain halaqah, while others who are over-zealous and are burnt-out in a few months. Both groups lack the determination, the consistency and the patience that is required to deal with the adhaa’ (the hurt) that comes with seeking knowledge. There are also those who gain a little bit of knowledge (studied from a few Sheikhs) and think that they have the right to comment on individuals left and right and therefore point out other people’s mistakes in a manner not befitting a knowledgeable Muslim, just in pursuit of feeding their ego. Knowledge sought for the right reason always makes an individual more humble.
What you will find in Salman al Farisi RA’s story is extreme humility, height of patience and this insatiable desire to seek the Truth.
Why have I choose to share something about sahabah? I believed the best people in this worldly life we should emulates and strive to be like them are the companion of Rasulullahﷺ. Acknowledging that Rasulullah ﷺ is the best of human being and his companions will be the manifestation of Rasulullah ﷺ message to human kind.
Salman Al-Farisi RA is exemplary in his love for knowledge. When we hear about Salman Al-Farisi RA, the eyes tear up, the heart beat goes high and the love of Rasulullah ﷺincreases in our heart as we begin to imagine how the scene was like when Salman al Farisi RA met Rasulullah ﷺ for the first time. Subhana Allah!!
What is amazing about Salman Al-Farisi RA is that he didn’t pity himself and give up in his challenging circumstances. With patience he excelled and the Sunnah of Allah that those whom Allah chooses because of their purity, before Allah gives them knowledge, Allah purifies their intention furthermore by putting them through trials. Those who accept the tests and persevere gain Allah Pleasure and Allah Numerous Gifts whereas those who despair and continue to despair fail the test.
It’s a story you must read about before you die and pass it on to others to leave a legacy of patience in the Path of Allah SWT:
It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Abas RA said: Salman al-Farisi RA told me his story from his own lips. He said:
Some people say that how wonderful it would have been if they were a Sahabi themselves. It is worth noting that the Sahabah RA was people of character. They deserved to be developed as the core group who would pass on the message to the entire world. They weren’t those who gave up memorizing the Quran just because it wasn’t their native language. They were true men and women who had ‘it’ in them the right traits of excellence. They were determined and focused. As a result they persevered.
He translated part of the Quran into Persian, thus becoming the first person to interpret and translate the Quran into a foreign language.
When exactly Salman died is unknown,however it was probably during The Caliphate of Saidina Uthman ibn Affan RA reign or the second year of Saidina Ali’s RA Caliphate. One source states that he died in 32 AH/652 or 653 AD in the Julian calendar, while another source says he died during Saidina Uthman’s era in 35 AH/655 or 656 AD. Other sources state that he died during Saidina Ali’s reign. His tomb is located in Al-Mada’in, or according to some others in Isfahan, Jerusalem and elsewhere.
The Maqam In Olive Hill – Baitul Maqdis – Jerusalem.
We may not be remotely linked to a Sahabi through lineage and we may not live to see the time when victory is given to us. The sahabah of Rasulullah ﷺ is the reflection of success in their highest esteem in achieving truth and knowledge. The Sahabah must be our source of inspiration and we must strive hard to emulate those shining stars of the companion after Rasulullah ﷺ.
To be able to build a path, one must envision the path. We must broaden our minds, get rid of the clutter, fine tune our focus and gather all our resources, unite and build this path together. We must look for solutions and our only solution lies in educating ourselves and building an alliance of educated individuals who know the value of memorizing even a single ayah from the Al Quran. Or if we can’t build the path, at least we can remove obstacles such as ignorance from our own lives so that we do not become burden on the society.
Every Muslim has to demand for opportunities to learn within their community. If you don’t have anyone decent in your community, you must exhaust all opportunities online and not waste your time. And like I always say, make a very strong and pure intention and just see how Allah SWT, Al Fattah, opens up doors for you to learn, teach and be part of the solution and how Allah SWT will aid you with people who will be your support in this Dunya and will be your companions in Jannah In-shaa’Allah.
All we need is a bit of self-discipline because we know what is good for us. The only problem is that we forget too quickly and let our narrow minds with limited goals stop us from being what the Sahabah were.
Allah SWT has said in Surat’l Baqarah, part of ayah 249:
But those who were certain that they would meet Allah said,
“How many a small company has overcome a large company by permission of Allah. And Allah is with the patient.”
Narrated by Ahmad in al-Musnad (5/441). The scholars of hadith said: Its isnaad is hasan.
Inspiration for the young generation of today – general perspective from the writer.
The Roles of Salman Al Farisi RA in the Battle of Khandaq (The Trench) and the conquest of Persia.
Salman Al Farisi RA was to play an important role in the struggles of the growing Muslim State. Towards the end of the fifth year after the Hijrah of Rasulullah ﷺ got intelligence that a massive Quraish army of about ten thousand strong, including a large cavalry force, had set out from Makkah in another major attempt to finish off the Muslims. They were to be joined by the Jews of Khaybar and other powerful ‘Arab tribes like the Banu Asad and the Banu Ghatafan in a mighty alliance.
The Muslims had only a week to make preparations to defend themselves. Rasulullah ﷺ alerted the people, urged them to be steadfast and, as he had done before, summoned them to a consultation to discuss how to meet the grave threat. It is said that after several ideas were put forward, Salman Al Farisi RA eventually rose up and said:
“O Messenger of Allah, in Persia when we feared an attack of cavalry, we would surround ourselves with a trench, so let us dig a trench about us now.”
The Battle of Khandaq Strategem.
The stunning suggestion was accepted. The course of the trench or Khandaq was carefully planned with Salman Al Farisi RA advising on the width and depth. Rasulullah ﷺ made each section of the community responsible for a part of the trench. It was a massive undertaking. The work was strenuous and everyone, including Rasulullah ﷺ, dug and shifted the earth and boulders while chanting to keep their morale and spirits high. Salman Al Farisi RA being fit and strong and used to such hard labor is said to have done the work of ten men. While each section of the Muslims sought to claim Salman Al Farisi RA as its own, Rasulullah ﷺ was moved to say, “Salman is one of us, the people of (my) household.”
The Khandaq was completed in six days and not a moment too soon. They army of the Quraish and their allies advanced and when they saw the Muslims camped outside the city, they were encouraged in their hope of putting an end to them as quickly as possible. When they drew nearer, however, they were amazed to see the broad trench that lay between them and the Muslim defenders on the other side. When Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Makkans, saw the trench, he said, “This stratagem has not been employed by the Arabs before.”
In the following days, the Quraish made several attempts to breach the trench, but they all ended in failure. A long siege followed in which the Muslims’ endurance was sorely tested, while they manned the trench day and night. In the end, the Quraish and their allies had to withdraw in disarray. The strategy of the trench, the steadfastness of the Muslims and, above all, Allah’s help saved the city and the Muslims from annihilation.
Salman Al Farisi RA continued in the service of Rasulullah ﷺ and stayed close to him in the few eventful years that followed. A better opportunity to acquire knowledge and wisdom could not be found. In every event, in every meeting, in every journey – there was something to be learned. Rasulullah ﷺ for example, was once with Salman Al Farisi RA and another person under a tree. He took a dry branch from the tree and shook it and the leaves fell. Rasulullah ﷺ asked Salman:
“Salman, aren’t you going to ask me why I have done this?”
“Why have you done this?” inquired Salman Al Farisi RA and Rasulullah ﷺ replied:
“When a Muslim make wudu’ and does it well, then performs the five (daily) prescribed Salat, his sins fall away just as these leaves fall away.”
And then Rasulullah ﷺ recited the verse of the Qur’an:
“And establish Salat at both ends of the day and during the early watches of the night. Indeed, good deeds drive away evil deeds. This is a reminder to those who are mindful (of God).”
(Surah Hud, 11:114)
Salman Al Farisi RA practiced what he learned. It is related that he was once with a group of Muslims engaged in dhikr or the remembrance of Almighty Allah. Rasulullah ﷺ passed by and so they stopped. He asked:
“What have you been saying?”
“We are remembering Allah, O Messenger of Allah.”
“Go on saying (your words of remembrance),” encouraged Rasulullah ﷺ “for indeed I saw grace and mercy descending upon you and I dearly love to share this with you.” Then Rasulullah ﷺsaid:
“Praise be to Allah Who has made such people among my Ummah with whom I am commanded to find calmness and patience (sabr) in myself.”
Salman Al Farisi RA proved to be a keen student and was regarded as one of the foremost scholars among the Muslims after the passing of Rasulullah ﷺ. It is related that when the well-known companion of Rasulullah ﷺ Mu’adh ibn Jabal RA was on his deathbed, a man who came to visit him began to weep.
“Why do you weep?” asked Mu’adh RA.
“Because of the knowledge that I would have gained from you,” replied the man.
“Don’t cry,” said Mu’adh RA comfortingly, “for when I die, seek knowledge from four persons: ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, ‘Abdullah ibn Salam, Salman and Abu-d Darda’ RA”.
As a scholar, Salman Al Farisi RA was noted for his vast knowledge and wisdom. Saidina Ali RA said of him that he was like Luqman the Wise. And Ka’b al-Akbar said, “Salman is stuffed with knowledge and wisdom – an ocean that does not dry up.”
Salman Al Farisi RA had knowledge of both the Christian scriptures and the Qur’an in addition to his earlier knowledge of the Zoroastrian religion. Salman Al Farisi RA in fact translated parts of the Qur’an into Persian during the lifetime of Rasulullah ﷺ. Salman Al Farisi RA was thus the first person to translate the Qur’an into a foreign language.
Salman Al Farisi RA was keen to pass on his knowledge. It is related that while he was in a mosque in Ctesiphon, about a thousand people gathered about him. Salman Al Farisi RA told them to sit down and started to recite from Surah Yusuf. They began to disperse until there were just about one hundred left. Salman Al Farisi RA became upset and said, “It is pleasant talk you want! But when I read the Book of Allah for you, you go away!”
In carrying out the instructions of Rasulullah ﷺ he remained faithful and thorough. As the commander of a Muslim army besieging a castle in Persia, he was urged by his forces to plunge immediately into attack.
“O Abu ‘Abdullah!” they said, “shall we not take the attack to them?”
Salman Al Farisi RA replied, “Let me invite them to Islam as I have heard Rasulullah ﷺ saying, ‘Invite them (to Islam).'”
Salman Al Farisi RA then addressed the besieged, saying:
“I am a man from among you, a Persian. Do you see the Arabs obeying me? If you accept Islam, you will have what we have and you will be up against what we are up against. If you do not accept Islam, you can come under the protection of the Muslims on payment of the jizyah (military exemption tax).”
The Persians refused both these options and said to Salman Al Farisi RA;”We will fight you.” The Muslim forces called on Salman Al Farisi RA to attack them forthwith but he continued to invite them to Islam for three days. Only when they remained obstinate, did he give the command to attack and they conquered the fortress.
There are other examples of the wisdom and correct behavior of Salman Al Farisi RA. It is related that he was once with a military post. Some distance away, a person began to recite the Qur’an from Surah Maryam. A non-Muslim listening to the recitation started to defame Maryam and her son, Rasulullah ﷺ, Isa Alaihisalam .The Muslims became incensed and set upon the man, beating him so badly as to draw blood. The man went to Salman Al Farisi RA) and complained, for it had become known that anyone who was wronged or unjustly treated could go to Salman. Salman Al Farisi RA went to those who had beaten the man and asked:
“Why did you beat up this man?”
“We were reading Surah Maryam and he vilified Maryam and her son,” they replied.
Salman Al Farisi RA reprimanded the Muslims and urged them to exercise restraint and treat the protected people (ahl al-dhimmah) with honor. He quoted the Quranic verse:
“Do not revile those whom they invoke instead of Allah lest they revile Allah out of spite and in ignorance.”
(Surah al-An’am, 6:108)
Salman Al Farisi RA became known as “Salman the Good”. He was a scholar who lived a rough and ascetic life. Salman Al Farisi RA had one cloak that he wore and on which he slept. He would not seek the shelter of a roof but often stayed under a tree or against a wall. A man once said to him:
“Shall I not build you a house in which to live?”
“I have no need of a house,” he replied.
The man persisted and said:
“I know the type of house that if you stand up in it, its roof will hurt your head and if you stretch your legs the wall will hurt them.”
Later, as a governor of al-Mada’in (Ctesiphon) near Baghdad, Salman Al Farisi RA received a stipend of five thousand dirhams. This he would distribute as Sadaqah. He lived from the work of his own hands. When some people came to al-Mada’in and saw him working in the palm groves making baskets, they were amazed.
“You are the Amir here and your sustenance is guaranteed and you do this work!”
“I like to eat from the work of my own hands,” he replied.
Once Salman Al Farisi RA was being pressed to eat a little more from the food he was served but he insisted, “This is enough for me. This is enough for me. I have heard Rasulullah ﷺ saying, ‘The one who fills his stomach the most in this world will be the hungriest in the Hereafter. O Salman, the world is but a prison for the believer and paradise for the disbeliever.'”
Salman Al Farisi RA however, was not extreme in his asceticism. It is related that he once visited Abu-d Darda’ RA with whom Rasulullah ﷺ had joined him in brotherhood. Salman Al Farisi RA found Abu-d Darda’s wife in a miserable state and he asked:
“What is the matter with you?”
“Your brother has no need of anything in this world,” she replied.
When Abu-d Darda’ RA came, he welcomed Salman Al Farisi RA and gave him food. Salman Al Farisi RA told him to eat but Abu-d Darda’ RA said:
“I am fasting.”
“I swear to you that I shall not eat until you eat also.”
Salman Al Farisi RA spent the night there as well. During the night, Abu-d Darda’ got up but Salman Al Farisi RA got hold of him and said:
“O Abu-d Darda’, your Lord has a right over you. Your family has a right over you and your body has a right over you. Give to each its due.”
In the morning, they prayed together and then went out to meet Rasulullah ﷺ. Rasulullah ﷺsupported Salman Al Farisi RA in what he had said.
Salman Al Farisi RA and Abu-d Darda’ RA remained closely attached to each other. When apart, they often wrote to each other offering advice and support, with certain frankness at times. Abu-d Darda RA once wrote to Salman Al Farisi RA requesting him to make haste and return to the “holy land”. Salman Al Farisi RA wrote back to him saying, “Surely the earth does not make anyone holy. Is it only man’s deeds which make him holy.”
Salman Al Farisi RA because of the influential household in which he grew up, might easily have continued to live a life of ease and luxury in the sprawling Persian empire of this time. His search for truth however led him, even Rasulullah ﷺ had appeared, to renounce a comfortable and affluent life and even to suffer the indignities of slavery. According to the most reliable account, he died in the year 35 AH, during the caliphate of Saidina Uthman RA, at Ctesiphon.
Selected hadiths narrated and attributed to and by Salman Al Farisi RA.
Found In: Sahih Bukhari Chapter No: 31, Fasting
Hadith no: 189
Narrated: Abu Juhaifa
Rasulullah ﷺ made a bond of brotherhood between Salman RA and Abu Darda RA. Salman paid a visit to Abu Ad-Darda and found Um Ad-Darda dressed in shabby clothes and asked her why she was in that state. She replied, “Your brother Abu Ad-Darda is not interested in (the luxuries of) this world.” In the meantime Abu Darda came and prepared a meal for Salman. Salman requested Abu Ad-Darda to eat (with him), but Abu Ad-Darda said, “I am fasting.” Salman said, “I am not going to eat unless you eat.” So, Abu Ad-Darda ate (with Salman). When it was night and (a part of the night passed), Abu Ad-Darda got up (to offer the night prayer), but Salman told him to sleep and Abu Ad-Darda slept. After sometime Abu Darda again got up but Salman told him to sleep. When it was the last hours of the night, Salman told him to get up then, and both of them offered the prayer. Salman told Abu Ad-Darda, “Your Lord has a right on you, your soul has a right on you, and your family has a right on you; so you should give the rights of all those who has a right on you.” Abu Ad-Darda came to Rasulullah ﷺ and narrated the whole story. Rasulullah ﷺ said, “Salman has spoken the truth.”
Found In: Sunan at-Tirmidhi (Jami-al-Tirmidhi) Chapter No: 1, Taharah (Purification)
Hadith no: 16
Narrated: Abdur Rahman ibn Yazid
said that Sayyidina Salman (RA) was told, “Indeed, your Rasulullah ﷺ teaches you everything, so much so that even how to relieve yourself. Salman (RA) said. “Yes! He forbade us to face the kiblah when passing stool or urine, or to cleanse ourselves with the right hand, or to use dung or bones to cleanse. [A 23764, 23766, Muslim 262, Abu Dawud 7, Nisai 41,42, Ibn e Majah 316]
Found In: Sunan Ibn Majah Chapter No: 2, The Chapters of Purification and its Sunnah
Hadith no: 563
Narrated: Abu Muslim
the freed slave of Zaid bin Suhan, said: “I was with Salman, and he saw a man removing his leather socks for ablution. Salman said to him: ‘Wipe over your leather socks and your head cover, and your forehead, for I saw Rasulullah ﷺ wiping over his leather socks and head cover.’” (Daif)
Found In: Sunan Ibn Majah Chapter No: 2, The Chapters of Purification and its Sunnah
Hadith no: 316
Salman said that one of the idolaters said to him, while they were making fun of him: “I see that your companion (Rasulullah ﷺ is teaching you everything, even how to relieve yourselves?” He said: “Yes indeed. He has ordered us not to face the Kiblah (prayer direction) nor to clean ourselves with our right hands, and not to be content with anything less than three stones, which are not to include any excrement or bones.” (Sahih)
Found In: Sunan Abu Dawud Chapter No: 1, Purification (Kitab Al-Taharah)
Hadith no: 7
Narrated: Salman al-Farsi
It was said to Salman: Your Rasulullah ﷺ teaches you everything, even about excrement. He replied: Yes. He has forbidden us to face the qiblah at the time of easing or urinating, and cleansing with right hand, and cleansing with less than three stones, or cleansing with dung or bone.
Found In: Imam Malik’s Muwatta Chapter No: 37, Wills and Testaments
Hadith no: 7
Malik related to me from Yahya ibn Said that Abu d-Darda wrote to Salman al-Farsi, “Come immediately to the holy land.” Salman wrote back to him, “Land does not make anyone holy. Man’s deeds make him holy. I have heard that you were put up as a doctor to treat and cure people. If you are innocent, then may you have delight! If you are a quack, then beware lest you kill a man and enter the Fire!” When Abu’d-Darda judged between two men, and they turned from him to go, he would look at them and say, “Come back to me, and tell me your story again. A quack! By Allâh!” Yahya said that he heard Malik say, “If someone makes use of a slave, without permission of its master, in anything important to him, whose like has a fee, he is liable for what befalls the slave if anything befalls him. If the slave is safe and his master asks for his wage for what he has done, that is the master’s right. This is what is done in our community.” Yahya said that he heard Malik say about a slave who is part free and part enslaved, “His property is suspended in his hand and he cannot begin anything with it. He eats from it and clothes himself in an approved fashion. If he dies, his property belongs to the one to whom he is in slavery.” Yahya said that he heard Malik say, “The way of doing things in our community is that a parent can take his child to account for what he spends on him from the day the child has property, cash or goods, if the parent wants that.”
Found In: Sunan Ibn Majah Chapter No: 1, The Book of the Sunnah
Hadith no: 149
Narrated: Ibn Buraidah
That his father said: “Rasulullah ﷺ said: ‘Allah has commanded me to love four people, and He told me that He also loves them.’ He was asked: ‘O Rasulullah ﷺ, who are they?’ He said: “Ali is one of them,’ and he said that three times, ‘and Abu Dharr, Salman and Miqdad.’” (Da’if)