Salman Al-Farsi

Foregone destiny ruled in favour of a group of people with the ayah, “Indeed those for whom the best [reward] has preceded from Us – they are from it far removed.” (Anbiya 21:101) And ruled against another group of people with “Our Lord, our wretchedness overcame us, and we were a people astray” (al-Mu’minun 23:106)

How woeful it is! There is no escape! The Divine providence expressed in the first ayah enlightened the hearts of the Jinn therefore they said, “Indeed, we have heard an amazing Qur’an” (al-Jinn 72:1) while the summation of disgrace pronounced in the second ayah, “our wretchedness overcame us” (al-Mu’minun 23:106) blinded the hearts of the Quraysh causing them to say [about the Qur’an], “This is not but legends of the former peoples.” (al-Anfal 8:31)

On the Day of Judgement, those who shall receive their books in the left hand will be expelled to the distant darkness, veiled from Allah, while those who shall receive their records in their right hand will bask in the gusts of nearness to their Lord. Indeed, neither did the worship of Shaytan and Balam [one of the most knowledgeable people of Bani Israel] bring forth any benefit, not the stubbornness of sorcerers bring forth any harm. A Christian priest accepted the Oneness of Allah although he never saw the Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, while on the other hand, Ibn Ubayy disbelieved despite the fact that he prayed behind the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The example of the former is like the lizard who lives on waterless dry earth but still finds sufficient water to drink and survive, whereas the example of the latter is like the fish that lives in water but does not drink. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, visited the house of a Jew who was ill, and said to him, embrace Islam and you shall be saved. The sick child looked at his father seeking instruction, so the father said to his son, obey Abu al-Qasim. Thereupon the Jewish child embraced Islam, and thus he became in his house a stranger as was Salman al-Farsi, may Allah be pleased with him, when he was in his house prior to Islam. Nevertheless the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, eased the state of such forgiveness with “Salman is from us.” [Recorded in Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah by Ibn Kathir]

The tongues of the opponents [i.e. the Jews] yet could not be withheld so they shouted, objecting, why does Muhammad not leave us alone? The wordless reply embodied in the Prophet’s state said, [in regards to the Jewish child who embraced Islam], ‘How can I leave you alone when you have a sick person belonging to us still at your place? I still have work to do’. Indeed the circumstances and events may harmonise hearts. Musa, peace be upon him, could not stand the bitterness of being a stranger at the house of Pharaoh, even though the wife of Pharaoh, Asiya, who was a Muslim, was a source of comfort to him during his stay, because the rights of his biological mother had precedence so his mouth was commanded not to accept milk from any nurse. “And we have prevented from him [all] wet-nurses before” (al-Qasas 28:12) Until his real mother nursed him under the song of reunion. The knowledge of Allah predestined the belief of Asiya and the prophethood of Musa, peace be upon him. Therefore the casket in which he – a child separated from his mother – was steered to the doorstep of a lonely wife who was (as if) without a husband.

As Salman’s predestination secured him his guidance, the breezes of youthfulness carried him towards religion; his father was upon the belief of the Magians but the providential evidences guided salman to the monastery of the Christians. he debated his father whose only response to his son’s arguments was to put him in chains; a lowly response practiced from ages  – and since the day of “I give life and cause death” (al-Baqarah 2:258) which had been the response of Ibrahim’s adversary, peace be upon him, and “Then they reversed themselves saying ‘You have already known that these do not speak” (al-Anbiyah 21:65) The day at which the people of Ibrahim, peace be upon him, admitted the wrongs of their belief, but despite all that they responded with “Burn him and support you Gods – if you are to act” (al-Anbiya 21:68)

At the commencement of his journey Salman, may Allah be pleased with him, became a guest to “We shall surely test you” (al-Baqarah 2:155) because without enduring the trial patiently he would have not reached the rank of “A man who has journeyed far is dishevelled and dusty if he swears Allah will fullfill it for him.” (Recorded by Ibn Rajab) When he heard of someone preparing to travel he stealthily left his father’s wary guard and without hesitation joined the travellers hoping to reach the destination he sought. He dived into the ocean of resurrection find the core of existence: his innate self-raised objection to this plan saying, where are you going? And he replied: “I will go to [where I am ordered by] my Lord, he will guide me.” (al-Saffat 37:99)

With a humble demeanour he devoted himself to serving the guides of his journey. Eventually the time came when the Christian hermits realised that their era was drawing to an end, so they encouraged him to search for signs that would led him to our Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the most noble of those held in esteem; so they said to him: His time has come so beware of going astray during your search for him, for he will appear in the land of Arabs, then he will immigrate from his home town to another place located between two hills. So go in search for him when you hear of his migration: if they could but see him as he crossed the open country, his yearning will be acting as his guide, his longing to his home will be a source of perturbation to him and his anxiousness will keep him alert. thereafter Salman travelled with a company that took advantage of him so, “They sold him for a reduced price” (Yusuf 12:20) to a Jew living in Medina. But his state of dejection due to his enslavement was eventually to be restored by the soothing effects of the words of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, when he said, “Salman is from us.”

His excitement revived when he finally found himself at the place located between two hills. Even as Medina remained unaware of the burning emotion of its new inhabitant. He endured the life of slavery and waiting until the news barer came with glad tidings of the arrival of the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, to Medina, whilst he was on top of the palm-tree; the joyous rush of anxious feelings he experienced upon hearing this news overwhelmed him and almost made him fall off the tree, were it not for his steadfast will that kept him holding on, just like it happened on the day when the mother of Musa, peace be upon him, “She was about to disclose [the matter concerning] him, Had we not bound fast her heart that she would be of the believers.” (al-Qasas 28:10)

He went down the tree in great haste to meet the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, but his overwhelming excitement made him lose control of himself, just has had happened to Jacob, peace be upon him, when he said, “Indeed I find the smell of Yusuf”  (Yusuf 12:94)

His master shouted at him, ‘This is not of your concern, go back to work’. But how could he turn away now, when he still had unfinished business to attend to?! His refusal to turn away made his master start hitting him while he was indulging in the sensation of longing and his heart singing with joy, but how the deaf can hear!

Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam Ibn Jawzi Pages 40-46