Salman al-Farsi

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Sahaba
Salman al-Farsi
مقبره سلمان فارسی.jpg
Salman al-Farsi's tomb in al-Mada'in, south of Baghdad, Iraq
Personal Information
Kunya Abu 'Abd Allah
Epithet al-Farsi, al-Muhammadi
Place(s) of Residence Isfahan, Syria, Medina, Al-Mada'in
Death/Martyrdom 36/656-7
Burial Place Al-Mada'in, Iraq
Religious Information
Conversion to Islam Jumada I, 1/November, 622
Presence at Ghazwas All the Ghazwas after the Battle of Khandaq
Other Activities Defensive plan of digging a trench around Medina in the Battle of Khandaq, Opposing the Event of Saqifa, Governor of al-Mada'in in the time of the Second Caliph

Salmān al-Fārsī (Arabic: سلمان الفارسي) was a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and of Companions of Imam Ali (a). He was a well respected man among Shi'a and Sunni Muslims. He was originally from Iran and his original name was Ruzbeh.

Salman was monotheist who converted to Christianity in his childhood. When he had changed his religion, Salman was forced to leave his hometown. In order to find the truth about Christianity, he started his travels and met a number of priests and bishops in different churches. When he arrived in Syria, he settled in Syria, Mosul, and Nusaybin. Then he was captured as a slave by Banu Kalb tribe. After some time he was sold to a person from Banu Qurayza tribe and was taken to Medina. When he saw Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah (s), Salman figured out that he was the Prophet that his mentor had described. After meeting the Prophet Muhammad (s), Salman converted to Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (s) bought him and then freed him from slavery. After that Prophet (s) named him Salman. He was such a true Muslim that Prophet (s) once said: "Salman is a member of my Ahl al-Bayt."

Salman helped Muslims in the Battle of Khandaq (battle of the Trench), when he recommended the idea of digging a trench around the city, which brought victory to Muslims. After Prophet Muhammad (s) had passed away he became a supporter of Imam Ali (a) and a believer in his Imama. He disagreed with the event of Saqifa. However, he cooperated with the first Caliph, Abu Bakr, and the second Caliph, 'Umar; he was also assigned as the governor of al-Mada'in in the time of the second Caliph. Nevertheless, he knitted baskets in order to provide money to cover the costs of living.

After a long lifetime, Salman passed away in 36/656-7 in al-Mada'in, where he is buried.

Before Conversion to Islam

The route of Salman's journeys

Salman's original name was Ruzbeh and his father's name has been mentioned as Khushfudan and, based on a report, as Budhakhshan.[1] According to traditions, after his conversion to Islam, he was given the name Salman by the Holy Prophet (s). His kunya was Abu 'Abd Allah. He was born either in Jay district of Isfahan [2]or, based on some reports, in Ramhurmuz[3].

His father was an Iranian farmer. Reports about his pre-Islamic life is mixed with tale-telling. What has been emphasized in these traditions is his inquisitive mindset that inspired him to embark on a long journey in search of a better religion. According to these reports, Salman was a Zoroastrian in childhood until he became familiar with and converted to Christianity. He moved to Syria to study under leading Christian scholars. Based on reports, Salman's father loved him so much that he would confine him in the house. Therefore, his journey to Syria was deemed as a kind of escape. In Syria, he served in the churches and traveled to Mosul, Nusaybin and 'Amuriyya.[4]

From 'Amuriyya, Salman headed toward Hijaz. This trip was inspired by the news of a prophet emerging in that land about which Salman was informed by his Christian masters. He accompanied a caravan from the Banu Kalb tribe in which he was captured and sold as a slave to a Jew from Banu Qurayda and was taken to Medina.[5]

Conversion to Islam

Salman converted to Islam in the first year after Hijra/622, in Jumada I. Salman had heard of a Prophet who won't accept any charity (sadaqa) food, but he accepts gifts and he has the Seal between his shoulders. Thus, when he met Muhammad (s) in Quba, he gave some food he had collected as charity to the Prophet Muhammad (s), the Prophet gave the all of it to his companions, and he did not eat any from it. Another time, Salman gave some food to the Prophet (s) as a gift, and then he noticed the Prophet Muhammad (s) ate some of it. And at the third time, he saw the Prophet Muhammad (s) in a funeral of his friend, where he finally saw the Seal between the Prophet's shoulders. After that Salman went down on his knees in front of the Prophet (s) and praised him, and then he converted to Islam.[6]

Freedom

The Prophet Muhammad (s) bought Salman (who was slave at that time) for three hundred date trees and six hundred silver coins,[7] and then he freed him from slavery[8]. As Salman said, the Prophet Muhammad (s) had bought him and then named him Salman.[9] The document of freedom of Salman was dictated by the Prophet and it was written by Ali b. Abi Talib (a):

The Prophet Muhammad (s) has paid three hundred date trees and six hundred silver coins to Uthman b. al-Ashhal al-Yahudi; therefore, Salman's ransom is paid and he belongs to Prophet Muhammad (s) and his family, whereas no one else has authority over him.[10]

Bond of Brotherhood

According to some sources, the bond of brotherhood was made between Salman and Abu al-Darda'. While some other reports mentioned Hudhayfa b. al-Yaman, and some others mentioned Miqdad b. 'Amr.[11] However Shi'a narrations mostly have accepted the bond was made between Salman and Abu Dharr[12]. In addition, some sources stated the condition that Abu Dharr was supposed to follow Salman.[13]

In the Words of the Prophet (s) and Imams (a)

The Prophet Muhammad (s): "Allah commanded me to love four men, for He loves them, too. They are Ali (a), Miqdad, Abu Dharr, and Salman."

Al-Ghadir, vol. 9, p. 117

According to most of Shi'a sources, the first day that Salman entered the mosque, where people respected and praised him, while some other people disapprove of it; because he was an 'Ajam (non-Arab). After this event, Prophet Muhammad (s) gave a speech to people:

Men are not superior to another according due to their race (being Arab or non-Arab) or the color of their skin, but only piety differentiates them. Salman is a vast sea and an everlasting treasure. Salman is a member of my family (Ahl al-Bayt). He is gifted with knowledge and wisdom.

When Arabs were praising themselves and introducing their lineage (intentionally or unintentionally) then they asked about the ancestors of Salman, he would reply: "I am Salman b. Abd Allah, an ignorant one who was guided by Muhammad (s); a poor who was gifted by Prophet Muhammad (s); and a servant of God who was freed by Muhammad b. 'Abd-Allah. this is my lineage."[14]

Important Activities

In Battles

Salman had participated in all the battles of Muslims after the Battle of Khandaq.[15]

Before the Battle of Khandaq, Salman proposed the idea of digging a trench around the city, Medina; which lead to the victory of Muslims.[16]

According to some sources in the Battle of Tai'f he proposed using catapult, and the Prophet (s) ordered it to be used.[17]

'Umar b. al-Khattab assigned Salman and Hudhayfa as the leaders of the Muslim army in the Conquest of Iran.[18] In the conquest of al-Mada'in he was the negotiator of the Muslims with the commanders of the Iranian forces.

Disagreement with the Event of Saqifa

See also: Event of Saqifa

In the Event of Saqifa, Salman said: "If they had pledged allegiance with Ali (a), they would have been granted with bounties pouring from every direction ."

Ansab al-ashraf, Vol. 1, P. 591

Salman disagreed with the Event of Saqifa. Miqdad, Salman, Aba Dharr, 'Ubada b. Samit, Abu l-Haytham b. al-Tayhan, Hudhayfa, and Ammar b. Yasir gathered around at the night after the Event of Saqifa to decide on Caliphate in the community of Muhajirun.[19] Salman and 'Ubay b. Ka'b had numerous reasons to disagree with the Event of Saqifa.[20] The famous sentence of Salman on those sahaba of Prophet (s) who took an oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr was: "You did and you did not"[21] Which means you chose a Caliph, but refused to accept the Prophet Muhammad's order. He said in the day, you chose an elder man, but you left the family of Prophet Muhammad (s) alone; if you had chosen a member of Ahl al-Bayt, there would not be any conflict. And also you would have enjoyed its blessings.[22]

Governor of al-Mada'in

Salman al-Farsi became the governor of al-Mada'in in the time of 'Umar b. al-Khattab. Salman had asked for permission of Ali b. Abi Talib (a) and then he accepted it. He was the governor of al-Mada'in until he passed away.[23] Salman dedicated the money he received as the governor to charity.[24] Thus he covered his expenses by means of knitting baskets.

Family

Salman had two unsuccessful attempts to get married. The first one was asking the daughter of 'Umar, the sister of Hafsa (Prophet Muhammad's wife). At first 'Umar disagreed but after Prophet Muhammad (s) mentioned the status and position of Salman among Muslims, he accepted his request. However, Salman retract his request afterwards. In the second attempt, Salman sent Abu l-Darda' to ask the hand of a girl for marriage, whose family did not accept the request of Salman; however they claimed they would accept Abu l-Darda' as their son-in-law. Accordingly Abu l-Darda' married her later.

Salman eventually married Buqayra from the tribe of Banu Kinda. Abd Allah and Muhammad were the names of their sons. Abd Allah had narrated the hadith of Heavenly Gift for the Lady Fatima (s). Salman also had a daughter in Isfahan and two other daughters in Egypt.

According to Muhaddith Nuri, the descendants of Salman were living in Rey for about five hundred years. Badr al-Din al-Hasan b. Ali b. Salman was a prominent figure in narration of hadith and his lineage goes back to Salman al-Farsi through nine generations. Dia' al-Din al-Farsi (d. 622/1225), a descendant of Salman, was a grand scholar and a poet in Khujand. He was a religious leader in Bukhara. He also penned a commentary on al-Mahsul by al-Razi. Muhaddith Nuri also mentioned Shams al-Din Suzani (d. 562/1166-1167 or 569/1173-1174) as a descendant of Salman, he was titled as Taj al-Shu'ara (the Crown of Poets). The other mentioned descendants of Salman are: Abd al-Fattah, custodian of the mausoleum of Salman for some time; Abu Kathir b. Abd al-Rahman, grandchild of Salman who narrated the letter of Prophet Muhammad (s) to Abd al-Ashhal, a Jewish member of Banu Qurayza, on freedom of Salman; Ibrahim b. Shahriyar (d. 624.1227), known as Abu Ishaq Kaziruni, who was a religious figure in the fifth/eleventh century and al-Hasan b. al-Hasan whose lineage goes back to Muhammad b. Salman.[25]

Demise

Salman passed away in 36/656-7.[26] In some sources it is mentioned that he had a long life and even some have considered his lifespan 350 years.[27]

Salman had written this poem on his enshrouding cotton:[28]

I am heading toward the Munificent, lacking a sound heart and an appropriate provision
While taking a provision (with you) is the most dreadful deed, if you are going to the Munificent

After Salman had passed away, Ali b. Abi Talib (a) travelled to al-Mada'in to bathe and enshroud his body, and then he performed funeral prayer on his body, before burying him in a grave. Imam 'Ali (a) returned to Medina that night.[29]

Notes

  1. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 3, p. 171.
  2. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 4, p. 56; Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 1, p. 485.
  3. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 3, p. 171; Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 4, p. 56.
  4. Ibn Ḥishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya, vol. 1, p. 214-218; Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 4, p. 57-58.
  5. Ibn Ḥishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya, vol. 1, p. 218; Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 4, p. 58-59.
  6. Ibn Ḥishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya, vol. 1, p. 219.
  7. Ibn Ḥishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya, vol. 1, p. 189.
  8. ʿĀmilī, Salmān Fārsī, p. 40.
  9. See: Nūrī, Nafas al-raḥmān fī faḍāʾil Salmān, p. 6.
  10. Abū l-shaykh, Ṭabaqāt al-muḥaddithīn b-Iṣbahān, vol. 1, p. 226.
  11. To view the references see ʿĀmilī, Salmān Fārsī, p. 86-87.
  12. See: Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 2, p. 84.
  13. See: Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 22, p. 345.
  14. Mufīd, al-Ikhtiṣāṣ, p. 341.
  15. ʿĀmilī, Salmān Fārsī, p. 32.
  16. Balāthurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 1, p. 343.
  17. Ḥalabī, al-Sīra al-ḥalabīyya, vol. 3, p. 167.
  18. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 4, p. 41.
  19. See: Ibn Abī l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-balāgha, vol. 1, p. 219-220.
  20. ʿĀmilī, Salmān Fārsī, p. 35.
  21. See: Nūrī, Nafas al-raḥmān fī faḍāʾil Salmān, p. 148.
  22. ʿAskarī, ʿAbd Allāh b. Sabaʾ, vol. 1, p. 145.
  23. Madanī, al-Darajāt al-rafīʿa fī ṭabaqāt al-Shīʿa, p. 215.
  24. Ibn Abī l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-balāgha, vol. 1, p. 219-220.
  25. About his wife and children see: Ṣādiqī Ardistānī, Salmān Farsī ustāndār-i Madāʾin, p. 377-390.
  26. Ibn ʿAsākir, Tārīkh Madīnat Dimashq, vol. 21, p. 458-459.
  27. Khaṭīb Baghdādī, Tārīkh Baghdād, vol. 1, p. 176.
  28. Nūrī, Nafas al-raḥmān fī faḍāʾil Salmān, p. 139.
  29. See: Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 22, p. 380.

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