Now the next example is a long one. It is the story of Salman Al-Farsi (ra). Ibn Abbas (ra), he went to Salman Farsi when he was old, in his old age, and he requested Salman to tell him his story. So, Salman is now narrating his story to Ibn Abbas (ra). He says, “I was a Persian man from Isfahan. Isfahan is in current day, Iran, from a village called Jih. And my father was the headman of the town, or the village, and I was striving and taking pain in the religion of Al-Majadusia. Majadusia, I think is translated as Magian. It’s a religion that they believed in good and evil. And they worshiped fire. So, they believed that there are two forces that are fighting, good and evil. It’s a form of Shirk. Consider it to be what any, it’s not part of Al-a- Kitab. So, Salman Farsi says, I took pains to be a good Magian, and he grew in the religion until he became the keeper of the fire.” Note 4 & 5
Isfahan, Iran - Then & Now
He was the one who would light the fire and then never let it go off. So, they had this fire in every village, they would have in the temple a fire. And the fire needs to be kept by a certain person to ensure that it is always burning. And that was supposed to be a high position in the religion, to be the keeper of the fire. The one who’s entrusted with the fire.
He said, “My father owns a large farm. One day he was busy constructing a building of his, and he wanted me to go out and take care of business in the farm. But Salman Farsi says that my father loved me so much, he closeted me in his house, and would never let me leave.” So, Salman Farsi says that on that particular day, my father was busy with this building of his. And he wanted me to go and take care of some business on his farm. But then he told me, ‘Oh my son, you know how dear you are to me, if you are late, then I would be so concerned about you. And you are more important to me than the farm or my building, so please come early.’ Salman Farsi literally said, “I was kept in his house like a slave girl.” He would not allow me to go anywhere. So, Salman Farsi left on that day to go and do this business with his father. He said, “I passed by a church for Christians, it was a Christian church, and I heard them praying. So, I wanted to go in and investigate. And Salman Farsi said, “I didn’t know much about people because I never left home.” He said, “So, this was something new to me and I came to realize that there’s another religion and some people are praying in a different fashion. So, I decided to go in and investigate.” “He said, “I went into the church, and I was quite impressed by their method of prayer. I ended up staying with them until sunset, and I neglected my father’s work.”
He said, “My father was so worried, he started sending out people to find me. I came back late and my father said, ‘Oh my son, didn’t I tell you not to be late? What happened?’” Salman Farsi said, “I passed next to a church of Christians and I went in to see their prayer, and I forgot to do the job you asked me to.” His father told him, “Oh my son, their religion is no good, and your religion, and the religion of your fore-fathers is better.” Salman Farsi responded to his father and said, “No, their religion is better than ours.” So now the father of Salman Farsi was extremely worried. He ended up chaining his son and imprisoning him at home. He put chains on his legs. He was so terrified and afraid that my son might change his religion that he ended up locking him up at home.
Salman Farsi, when he was at the Church, he asked the church members, “Where is the center of your religion?” Where does this religion originate from? So, they said, “From the Holy land, (Palestine), Al Sham.”
Now when his father put him in shackles, he managed to send out a message to the church telling them that, “If you ever receive or know of a caravan that is in town from Ash-Sham, let me know.” So, a caravan did come in, and they sent him word. Salman Farsi was able to release himself and run away, and he went with this caravan all the way to the Holy Land, in search of the truth. He arrived in Syria, and he asked about the most learned man, who’s the most learned man that you have in this religion? I mean, he wants to go and study under the greatest. He was told go to a bishop in this particular church.
Audio (15 min. & 40 sec.)
He went to the bishop and he told him, “This is my situation, I want to study from you.”. The bishop told him, “Your welcome, you can stay with me. So, he ended up staying with the bishop in the church, living there. Salman Farsi said, “This man used to ask the people to donate, to give alms, charity, and then he would end up keeping it for himself. Rather than distributing it to the poor, he would keep it to himself. Salman Farsi said, “He was such an evil man and I hated him so much.” Nevertheless, I remained with him, and then, when he died, the Christians of that Church, they wanted to have a burial for him. And Salman Farsi went and told them that this was an evil man. They said, “How dare you say that?” He said, “I’ll show you the proof.” Salman Farsi took them to the place where this man used to hide all the money and he pulled out seven containers filled with gold and silver. This man was ripping off the people and keeping the money for himself. Salman Farsi said, “The people were so angered, they ended up crucifying his dead body, and stoning him.”
And then, they appointed someone in his place. Now Salman Farsi says about this particular man, “Then they brought another man to take his place, and I never saw a man who did not attend the five prayers, who was better than he, nor more ascetic, nor more enthusiastic about the afterlife, nor more devoted both day and night. I loved him as I had never loved before.” So, now a truly pious person took his place.
Salman Farsi ended up spending time with this man, learning from him, studying the religion, worshipping, in the church. But then, death was approaching this man. He was already at old age. Salman Farsi said, “I went to him when he was on his deathbed, and I told him, ‘You know my story, and how I came all the way to study this religion, and now since the decree of Allah is befalling you, who do you entrust me to, who would you recommend for me to continue my studies?’” He told him, “My son, I don’t know anyone who has done as I have, people have either died, or changed, or abandoned most of their prior practices. Except for one man in Mossul, he practices as I did, so join him.” Note 6
So, now Salman Farsi is going to travel all the way from Ash-Sham, Palestine, or Syria to Iraq, Al Mossul, in search of knowledge. The bishop died, and Salman embarked on that journey. And he went to this bishop of Al-Mossul, and he told him, his story. And he told him that, “You were recommended to me, by the bishop in Ash-Sham.” “Would you accept me to be with you?” He said, “Yes of course, you can be my student.” So Salman Farsi spent time with him. But this person was also an old man and he was approaching death. So, after a short while he was dying. So, Salman Farsi told him, “I came to this person and he recommended you to me, and now you are passing away, who do you recommend?” He told him, “I don’t know of anyone who’s following the same path of ours, except the bishop of Nisibis.” And now, Salman Farsi is traveling all the way from Mossul to Nisibis (Nusaybin).
Audio (19 min. & 44 sec.)
And he went to the Christian man in Nisibis, and he told him the story. I went from this person, to this person, and now I ended up coming to you. And he spent time with the bishop of Nisibis, but then this man was approaching death too. You see, this is a dying breed; they are dying one after another, and they’re leaving no one behind them to carry on the torch. He went to the scholar in Nisibis, he spent time with him. And he was dying. And he said, “I don’t know”, when he was dying, “I don’t know of anyone who is following our way except a man in Amuria, in (Byzantine) Turkey. Salman Farsi is traveling all the way to Turkey.
Over in Amuria, Salman Farsi, in addition to his studies and participation in the worship services, he started a business; and he accumulated enough wealth to purchase some sheep and cows. When death was approaching his teacher in Amuria, Salman Farsi told him, “Who do you recommend me to study with. He responded and said, “My son, I don’t know anyone, who is as we were to whom to send you to. But the time is near for a Prophet, being sent with Ibrahim’s religion, who will come forth in the land of the Arabs. He will move to refuge to somewhere with date palms growing between two scorched rocky plains. He has signs that are unmistakable. He eats things given to him as gifts, but not alms, and between his shoulders there is the seal of the Prophethood. If you can go there, do so.”
So, now the scholar of Amuria, is saying that there is no one living today who’s following this same path. The ones who believe in the true message of Jesus, they have all passed away. Therefore, it is time for a new message to come, because now, the world is void of guidance. So, now it is time to fill that void. So, a prophet will come, and he’s a portent, his time is near. And he has unmistakable signs. And these are his signs. will travel to a place which grows palm trees and is between two rocky tracks.
Number 1; He will take refuge in a place that grows palm trees, and it is between two rocky tracks, volcanic rock.
Number 2: He doesn’t eat sadaqah, charity, but he accepts gifts. And there is the seal of the Prophethood, a sign, between his shoulders, on his back.
Salman Farsi said, “I was trying to find a way to reach to the land of the Arabs.” It’s far away. He said, “Until I met some merchants from the tribe of Kalb, I asked them to carry me with them, and I will pay them all of the money that I have, my cows and my sheep are yours. Just take me to the land of the Arabs.” Allahu Akbar, because the sacrifice of Salman. I mean, he worked very hard to make, to build up a small business, and accumulate this wealth. And now he’s willing to give it up. Just to be taken, to be transported to the land of the Nabi. Note 7
The story of Salman Farsi is an amazing story of someone who is searching for truth. They agreed, and they carried Salman Farsi with them. When they reached to Arabia, to a place called Wadi-Ul-Qura, these merchants ended up betraying Salman Farsi. And they sold him as a slave to a Jewish man. Now If you get stuck into slavery, that’s it, you’re stuck in there. And nobody will believe you when you say that you are a free man. So, they claimed that he was a slave, and they ended up selling him. So, now Salman Farsi was stuck in bondage. They sold him to this Jewish man. This Jewish man took him to Wadi ul-Qura. Salman said, “When I saw Wadi ul-Qura I thought this might be the place that was described to me. Because Wadi ul-Qura has some palm trees. So, he was fine to stay there. He said, “Then a cousin of my owner, from Banu Quraiyza, a Jew from Banu Quraiyza, visited my master, and he purchased me.” So, now Salman was sold from this man in Wadi ul-Qura, and he was sold to a Jew from Banu Quraiyza. Where do Banu Quraidha live? In Medina. Salman Farsi says I was carried from Wadi ul-Qura to Medina.” And he says, “In the Name of Allah, as soon as I saw Medina, I knew this was the place. This is it. Because Medina is very rich with palm growth, it has a lot of Palm trees. And it is located between two rocky tracks; Al- Harra Al- Shaqiya and Al-Harra Al- Gharbeya. These are two rocky tracks of volcanic rocks, scorched, very dark. And by the way, this was the natural protection of Medina. In Battle of the Trench, did Rusool Allah make a trench all over Medina? No, he dug the trench on one side only. Because on two sides, Medina was protected by these rocky tracks. These are not mountains. They are very sharp rocks, that are filling the plain. And this is volcanic rock, and it’s very difficult for an army to move through it. So, these are two natural barriers. And then from the south, Medina is protected by trees, palm trees. That’s where all of the palm groves are. So, Medina can be attacked from the north. That’s the direction where the attack could be made from. And that is where Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) has dug the trench. Note 8
Salman Farsi said, “I knew this was it.” Salman Farsi said, “Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was sent, and he spent years in Mecca, and I had no idea about it because I was busy in the toils of slavery.” You know a slave is busy with work and does not have an idea of what is going on around him in the world. So, Salman Farsi said, “I had no idea that Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was already preaching the message. Salman Farsi said, “One day, I was working on top of a palm tree and my master was sitting under the palm tree.” He said, “One of his cousins came to him and he was angry, you could see anger on his face, and he said, “May God damn the children of Qayla! Children of Qayla is a name that was given to Aus Al-Kharaj. The Jews used to call Asol Al-Kharaj, Banu Qayla. He said, “May God damn them” They have assembled in Quba in support of a man who came from Mecca, who claims to be a Prophet.” Salman Farsi said, “When I heard that, a chill went down my spine and I started to tremble, and I was almost going to fall down from the palm tree and land on my master.”
Now, Subannallah, Salman Farsi has been waiting for this moment for years; he has given up his life, he has left his family, left his homeland, and came into foreign lands, different language, different culture, different people. I mean, there’s, it wasn’t easy in to travel, and go among people who are foreign. It’s not like today, you can have interpreters, and translators, and access to people who will speak your language. Those days, it was very difficult. Salman Farsi had to leave Persia, and then, he went to Ash-Shaam. And then, he went to Turkey, then Iraq, and now he’s in the land of the Arabs, which is a very secluded area. I mean, the land of the Arabs is surrounded by deserts. It doesn’t have contact with the outside world. The Persians were away from them, the Romans were away from them. It was a very secluded land, very difficult, very harsh. And then Salman Farsi is living alone as a slave! You may imagine the feelings of homesickness that such a person would have. Sold as a slave, living in a foreign land.
Audio (28 min. & 33 sec.)
And now he has heard the news he has been waiting for years. He said, “I came running down the tree, and I went to the man and I was questioning him.” I was asking him questions. He said, “My master grabbed me and punched me in my face, and told me, ‘It’s none of your business, go back to work.’” Salman Farsi said, “Later on, that evening, I prepared some food, and I traveled to Quba.” Because Quba is outside Medina. Medina is on the outskirts of Medina, and that’s where Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) first arrived. And he built the masjid Al-Quba. But folks consider it to be, now it’s pretty much in the district of Medina, but in those day, is was considered an independent village. Salman Farsi said, “I took some food with me, and I went to visit Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) at night.” He said, “I came in and I told Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), ‘I heard that you are a very good man, and that you have companions who are strangers and needy, so I have brought you this food as charity and I think that you are the one who deserves it most.’ And I handed it to him.” Note 9
He said, “Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) received the food from me and then he told his companions to go ahead and eat, but he didn’t join in with them.” Sign number one, he does not eat charity. He does not eat from alms. He does not eat from charity. He said, “I went back.” And I was, I said, “Now test one is done.” I went back. He said, “Later on, I prepared some food and I went to Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and he was already on his way to Medina.” I said, “I went up to him, I greeted him. And then, I told him, “Last time, I presented you with food and I told you that this is charity, and you refused to eat from it, so I want to honor you with this gift.” And he says, “I handed the food to Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).” He says, “Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), invited the companions to come in and eat and he (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) joined with them.” Sign number two.
Audio (30 min. & 57 sec.)
He said, “And then, I went to him and visited him when he was in “Baqi” Cemetery of Medina. He was following a Janaaza.” He said, “I went up to Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), I greeted him. And then, I went around him to see the sign on his back.” Salman Farsi said, Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) sensed that I was trying to look for something that was described for me. So Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) uncovered his back, he threw off the cloak that was covering his shoulders.” Salman Farsi says, “And right there, in front of my eyes, was the seal of Prophethood.” Sign number three. Note 10
Salman Farsi said, “When I saw the seal of Prophethood on his back, I fell down and I prostrated myself to Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). I made sujood to him. And I started kissing his feet and I was crying. I mean, that was the moment that Salman Farsi has been waiting all his life for. So, he made suhood to Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), and was kissing his feet, and weeping, crying. He said, “Immediately Rusool Allah told me to stand up.” Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) did not accept sujood for him. So, he told Salman to stand up. And then, he told me, “Tell me your story.” So, I narrated my story to him. “Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) told me, ‘I want you to narrate this same story to my companions.’” I want you to tell them this story. The story of a man who was searching for truth all of his life. Salman Farsi said, “And I narrated my story to them just like I am narrating it to you Ibn Abbas.” I was mentioning to them the same thing. Salman Farsi said, “Because I was a slave, I ended up missing the Battle of Badr, and the Battle of Uhud. And then Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) told me one day, ‘Oh Salman, free yourself from slavery’”, Kaatuba. Mukaatuba was a deal that was made by the slave and the master, that the slave would work for a certain time and generate a certain income and ransom themselves. So, Salman Farsi went to his owner and said, “I want to be free.” So, his owner told him, “You have to plant for me 300 palm trees and they all have to survive. So, at the end I have to have 300 living palm trees. And you pay me 40 ounces of gold.” Note 11
So, he came to Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and said this is the huge amount of money that I have to pay to ransom myself. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Don’t worry.” And then, Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) gathered the Sahabah and told them, “Help your brother.” So, Salman Farsi said, “Some of them would bring 30 seedlings of palm trees, some of them bring 20, some 15, everyone would bring as much as they can, until I had 300 seedlings.” Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) told him, “When you collect the 300 seedlings, go and dig the holes for them, but do not plant them, come and tell me first.” So, Salman Farsi gathered the 300 seedlings. He went and he dug the holes for them. And then he went to Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), and said, “They’re all ready.” Salman Farsi said, “Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), by himself, would go and carry the seedlings and plant them one by one with his own blessed hands.” Salman Farsi said, “None of those 300 palm trees died.” They all grew. They all survived. Now the ratio of palm trees that end up growing, is usually, you have a small ratio, many of them die at that young age because of their fertility and the heat of the desert, and the difficult weather. But Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) wanted to do it himself, so that they would survive. So, he planted them one by one and they all lived.
Audio (35 min. & 14 sec.)
So, now Salman Farsi had to pay forty ounces of gold, and he had no clue where he was going to get that amount of money from. Later on, one day, a small amount of gold was given to Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). So, the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Where is the Persian man? Where is your Persian brother?” Salman Al-Farsi. So, they went and called Salman Farsi. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) told him, “Take this gold and free yourself with it.” Salman Farsi said, “Oh Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) what would this do?” When Salman saw the amount of gold, it appeared to be very small. I mean, it wouldn’t be sufficient. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) told him, “Take it, and it will be enough.” Salman Farsi said, “I took it and it was weighed, and it came out 40 ounces exactly.” He said, “And then, I was free and I never missed anything with Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) after that.”
The first battle in which he participated was Al-Khandaq. And we all know his participation in it. He was the one who came up with the idea of the trench.
So, that is the story of Salman Al-Farsi (ra).
A few notes on his story.
Who is the first man Salman Farsi ended up studying with? He was the Bishop in Syria. What did Salman Al-Farsi say about him? He said, “So I joined him, but he was an evil man, demanding alms from his people and whatever they collected he would store away for himself and not give to the poor. Eventually, he had gathered seven jars of gold and silver. I hated him mightily, for what I saw him doing. So, here you have somebody who’s in search for the truth, and he ends up meeting a person who has all the qualifications of turning him away, of making him give up. But the zeal of Salman Farsi was stronger than that. Nowadays, we say that sometimes our actions as Muslims is what causes the people turn away from Islam. Well, that is true to a certain extent, but if somebody is sincere in their search, of finding the truth, they should realize and understand that the truth in something and what the people are doing is something else.
Salman Farsi did not reject Christianity because the man he met was such a corrupt person. He stuck with him and he remained. And then, Allah (swt) rewarded him for that later on. He ended up being with the best man that he has ever seen. And in the description of that man, what did he say? He said, “Then they brought another man to take his place, and I never saw a man who did not attend the five prayers, who was better than he…” What Salman Farsi means by a man who did not attend the five daily prayers is that, this is the best man I’ve ever seen before meeting the Muslims. Before the followers of Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), because they’re the ones who pray 5 times a day. So, he said, “The best person I met, the most righteous and pious person I met, before I met the Sahaba of Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), was this man. Allah rewarded him for his sabr and patience.
And we learn two things from this,
Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) says in Surah Muhammed (47:17)
And those who are guided - He increases them in guidance and gives them their righteousness.
The ones who search for guidance, Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) will give it to them. But you have to look for it. You have to put in some effort. And when you do, the reward that you get is more than what you put in. If you walk towards Allah, Allah will run towards you, if you take one step towards Allah, Allah will take many steps towards you. But you have to take that first step. You have to take it. Salman Farsi was searching for it, and he got it. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), ended up guiding him, even though, even though belonged to a land that was hundreds of miles away. But he ended up, receiving the truth because of his sincerity.
Audio (39 min. & 32 sec.)
We shouldn’t be turned off, or let down when we see somebody, who’s not doing the right thing. That is something that has nothing to do with the message itself. Salman Farsi, he realized that, and he remained with the man until he died. And then, he ends up being with a better person.
The second note is that, there were remnants of true believers before the time of Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), but they were dying, and they were not leaving anyone behind them. And that is why, the world was thirsty for the message of Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).
The third lesson to learn is that the Muslim community must be supportive of its new members. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) helped Salman Farsi free himself from slavery. And he requested the Sahabah (ra) to pitch in and participate. As Muslims living in the west, it would become a duty among us to take care of the needs of the new comers to the religion. And many times, these needs would be financial. And they need to be helped. And this is part of da’wah, because da’wah is not that you throw out words which are free to give, it doesn’t cost you anything. Dawah is also that you have to be responsible for the people who will join in your ranks. And notice that many of the early Muslims were people who were in need. Bilal (ra) was freed by Abu Bakr (ra). Many of the early Muslims were slaves, that were in need of a lot of financial help because they were thrown away by their masters. Or you would have someone like Musa ibn Umair, who came from a very wealthy family, but his mother refused to give him anything after he became Muslim. So, these members are in need of support in their initial stages and the risk is that if they don’t get help in those critical stages, they could apostate. And there is a study that was done in America, that found quite a significant number of reverts, end up leaving Islam. Quite a large number, I don’t remember the exact figure. But a lot of them end up leaving Islam because of the difficulties that they face. First of all, they’re stripped, many of them are stripped from their social belonging, their social life. Their family neglects them. Their friends leave them. So, they are in need of a social belonging. They have to have a new association. Number two, some of them come with dire financial needs. And if they don’t get them, you know, a human being is a human being. If the belly is growing empty, like, I mentioned in the hadith.
Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said: Do the good deeds before severe things happen, and one of them is ‘poverty that will make you forget.’ If your stomach is empty, you’ll forget everything. A person, who is going around hungry, cannot think about spirituality and learning, and ilm, and knowledge. A person in that stage would want to feed their stomach. So, these are things that are part of the program of da’wah. We have to have institutions that will satisfy and fulfill the needs of the new Muslim. And that is part of our duty as Muslims living in non-Muslim societies, where there are people who are embracing Islam.