Salman Al-Farsi — the son of Islam

Updated 07 October 2013

Salman Al-Farsi — the son of Islam

Salman Al-Farsi, originally named Ruzbeh, was born into an affluent family in Jayyan near Isfahan in Persia.
His father, the town chief and a Zoroastrian priest, loved his only son so much that he confined him to the house. Salman was a follower of the Magian religion and became custodian of the “holy fire,” which they worshipped. But Salman was not satisfied with this religion.
One day, his father sent him out to oversee the affairs of his estate. On his way, Salman passed a Christian church and heard the sound of melodious prayer. He entered the church and was impressed that a man was their guide and went home to tell his father about his feelings. His father, a staunch Magian, then chained him up inside the house.
The Christians had told Salman that the grand priest lived in Syria, so Salman asked to be informed of the next caravan leaving for Syria. When he got the news, he broke the shackles and escaped.
In Syria, he reached the big church where the bishop converted him to Christianity. Salman served him for a long time, but later discovered that he was corrupt and greedy.
The priest hoarded the charity of his followers. When the bishop died, Salman showed his followers the bishop’s large jars filled with gold and silver.
The people then selected a pious bishop devoted to worship. When the bishop was on his deathbed, Salman asked him whom he should serve. The dying bishop said he should go to Mosul where he would find another pious man.
Salman arrived in Mosul and found the bishop. When this man was close to death, he guided Salman to a fourth priest, who in turn, sent him to another bishop at Ammuriyah near Rome.
When this bishop was close to death, he told Salman he had heard that a prophet was expected to migrate to a “city full of palm trees” and that he would bear distinct features.
Salman then paid people from the Kalb, an Arab tribe in Ammuriyah, to take him to Arabia.
But the tribe broke the agreement and sold him as a slave to a Jew. The Jew sold Salman as a laborer to his nephew of the Banu Qurayzah who took him to Yathrib (later called Madinah), the city of palm trees as described by the priest in Ammuriyah.
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) arrived in Madinah, Salman was overjoyed and wanted to see him but his master hit him and refused to let him go.
When Salman eventually managed to see the Prophet (peace be upon him), he offered dates he said was meant for charity, but the Prophet (peace be upon him) refused to eat it. Salman visited him again with some dates and presented it to him as a gift. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) accepted it and ate them with his companions.
Then when Salman went to look at the Prophet’s back, the Messenger of Islam (peace be upon him) lowered his cloak so Salman could see the mark on his back. Realizing this was the Prophet (peace be upon him), Salman fell to his knees, kissed the Prophet’s feet and started to cry.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) then listened to Salman’s story and heard that his owner would free him in exchange for 300 planted palm trees and 1,600 silver coins. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) urged his companions to contribute generously. When Salman was freed, he remained close to the Prophet (peace be upon him). When some people inquired about his ancestry, Salman boldly replied: “I am Salman, the son of Islam from the child of Adam.”
Salman proved to be an innovator during the Battle of Khandaq when he suggested that Muslims dig a defensive trench on the front-lines against the large pagan force attacking Madinah. This helped keep the Muslims safe and Allah later granted them victory.
Salman participated in all of the major campaigns of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). He was also with Saad during the conquest of Iraq and Caliph Umar chose him to select the site where the new Muslim town named Kufa was built.
Salman Al-Farsi was a good scholar. He had knowledge of the Zoroastrian religion, Christian scripture and the Holy Qur’an. He was one of the first people to translate the Qur’an into Persian for new Muslims.
Caliph Ali said he was like Hakeem Luqman. And Kab Al-Ahbar said: “Salman is bursting with knowledge and wisdom. He is like an ocean that does not dry up.”
Salman Al-Farsi led a very ascetic life and had only one cloak, which he wore and slept on.
When he was appointed governor of Madayen Kisra (Ctesiphon) near Baghdad, he received a salary of 5,000 dirhams, which he distributed to the poor as charity. “I like to eat from the work of my own hands,” he said. He died in Ctesiphon during the Caliphate of Caliph Uthman.


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016

The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.