Salman al-Farsi

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Salman al-Farsi
Salman al-Farsi's tomb in al-Madain, south of Baghdad, Iraq
Salman al-Farsi's tomb in al-Madain, south of Baghdad, Iraq
Personal Information
TeknonymAbu 'Abd Allah
Epithetal-Farsi, al-Muhammadi
Place of BirthRay (Isfahan ) or Ramhurmuz
Place(s) of ResidenceIsfahan, Syria, Medina, Al-Madain
Burial PlaceAl-Madain, Iraq
Religious Information
Conversion to IslamJumada I, 1/November/December, 622

Salmān al-Fārsī (Arabic: سلمان الفارسي) (b. ? - d. 36/656-7) was a companion of prophet Muhammad (s) and of Imam Ali (a). The Prophet (s) liked him and said about him, "Salman is one of us, the Ahl al-Bayt". His idea of digging a trench in the Battle of Khandaq brought victory to Muslims. He supported the successorship of Imam 'Ali (a) after the demise of the Prophet (s) and opposed the incident of Saqifa. He was assigned as the governor of al-Madain in the time of the caliphate of Umar b. al-Khattab. He gave his salary to charity and knitted baskets for a living. After a long life, Salman passed away in 36/656-7 in al-Madain, where he is buried in a shrine known as "Salman-i Pak".

Based on some reports, Salman was a Zoroastrian Iranian whose original name was Ruzbih. He converted to Christianity in his youth. After hearing the Christians foretelling the emergence of a prophet in the land of Arabs, he set off toward Hijaz. He was enslaved in the middle of the way and sold to a man from Banu Qurayza in Medina. He entered Medina when prophet Muhammad (s) had recently emigrated to the city. Salman met the Prophet (s) and after confirming the signs of prophethood converted to Islam. The Prophet (s) bought and freed him and named him "Salman".

Before Conversion to Islam

The route of Salman's journeys. (Hover the mouse pointer over the map for enlargement)
The route of Salman's journeys. (Hover the mouse pointer over the map for enlargement)
The route of Salman's journeys. (Hover the mouse pointer over the map for enlargement)

Salman's original name was Ruzbih (Farsi: روزبه) and his father's name has been mentioned as Khushfudan (Farsi: خشفودان) and, based on a report, as Budhakhshan (Farsi: بوذخشان).[1] According to traditions, after his conversion to Islam, he was given the name Salman by the Holy Prophet (s). His teknonym 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 elite landholder (Dehqan). 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 Qurayza and was taken to Medina.[5]

Conversion to Islam

Salman converted to Islam in Jumada I, 1/Nov-Dec, 622, . Salman had heard of a prophet who won't accept any charity (sadaqa) food, but he accepts gifts, and he has the seal of prophethood 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 (s) gave 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 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]


The Prophet Muhammad (s) bought Salman (who was a slave) for planting 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 l-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 Dhar.[12] In addition, some sources stated the condition that Abu Dhar 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 Dhar, and Salman."

Al-Ghadir, vol. 9, p. 117

According to most of Shi'i sources, the first day that Salman entered the mosque, people respected and praised him, while some other people disapproved 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 based on 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.

The same statement of the Prophet has also been narrated in another report. Based on this report, during the days when people of Medina were busy digging a trench to confront their enemy, the army of al-Ahzab, Salman al-Farsi who was a strong man played a prominent role in the fulfillment of the task, therefore, Migrants and Helpers each considered him a member of their respective group then the Prophet (s) said that Salman is one of us, the Ahl al-Bayt.

Other hadiths have been narrated from the Prophet (s) praising Salman including a statement to the fact that the heaven is eager to have Ali, Ammar, and Salman or a hadith based on which God has obliged the Prophet (s) to like Ali, Salman, Miqdad, and Abu Dhar.

In Shiite sources, there are hadiths narrated from Imams (a) praising Slaman. In these hadiths, he is generally considered among the first Shiites who are steadfast in faith. Among these hadiths, there is a statement by Imam Ali (a) in which Salman and some other companions such as Abu Dhar, Ammar, and Miqdad have been considered among those for whose blessings, God grants sustenance to people. Imam Ali (a) has also considered Salman as having the knowledge of the first and the last. In a hadith narrated from Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a), it is stated that once in a meeting with Imam (a), Salman al-Farsi's name was mentioned and Imam (a) said not to mention his name as al-Farsi but mention him as Salman al-Muhammadi since he is one of us, Ahl al-Bayt.

Important Activities

In Battles

Salman participated in all the battles of Muslims after the Battle of Khandaq.[14]

Before the Battle of Khandaq, Salman proposed the idea of digging a trench around the city, Medina which led to the victory of Muslims.[15]

According to some sources in the Battle of Tai'f he proposed to use catapult and the Prophet (s) ordered it to be used.[16]

Umar b. al-Khattab assigned Salman and Hudhayfa as the commanders of the Muslim army in the Conquest of Iran.[17] In the conquest of al-Madain, he was the negotiator of the Muslims with the commanders of the Iranian forces.

Disagreement with the 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, Abu Dhar, Ubada b. Samit, Abu l-Haytham b. al-Tayyihan, Hudhayfa, and Ammar b. Yasir gathered around at the night after the Event of Saqifa to decide on Caliphate in the community of Muhajirun.[18] Salman and Ubayy b. Ka'b had numerous reasons to disagree with the Event of Saqifa.[19] 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"[20] 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.[21]

Governor of al-Madain

Salman al-Farsi became the governor of al-Madain 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-Madain until he passed away.[22] Salman dedicated the money he received as the governor to charity.[23] He covered his expenses by means of knitting baskets.


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 retracted his request afterward. 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 the 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 the narration of hadith and his lineage goes back to Salman al-Farsi through nine generations. Dia' al-Din al-Farsi (d. 622/1225-6), 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. 562/1166-7 or 569/1173-4) 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. 624.1226-7), 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.[24]


Salman passed away in 36/656-7.[25] In some sources it is mentioned that he had a long life and even some have considered his lifespan 350 years.[26]

Salman had written this poem on his enshrouding cotton:[27]

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-Madain to perform ghusl on his body and enshroud it, and then he performed funeral prayer on his body, before burying him in a grave. Imam 'Ali (a) returned to Medina that night.[28]


  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. ʿĀmilī, Salmān Fārsī, p. 32.
  15. Balāthurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 1, p. 343.
  16. Ḥalabī, al-Sīra al-ḥalabīyya, vol. 3, p. 167.
  17. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 4, p. 41.
  18. See: Ibn Abī l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ nahj al-balāgha, vol. 1, p. 219-220.
  19. ʿĀmilī, Salmān Fārsī, p. 35.
  20. See: Nūrī, Nafas al-raḥmān fī faḍāʾil Salmān, p. 148.
  21. ʿAskarī, ʿAbd Allāh b. Sabaʾ, vol. 1, p. 145.
  22. Madanī, al-Darajāt al-rafīʿa fī ṭabaqāt al-Shīʿa, p. 215.
  23. Ibn Abī l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-balāgha, vol. 1, p. 219-220.
  24. About his wife and children see: Ṣādiqī Ardistānī, Salmān Farsī ustāndār-i Madāʾin, p. 377-390.
  25. Ibn ʿAsākir, Tārīkh Madīnat Dimashq, vol. 21, p. 458-459.
  26. Khaṭīb Baghdādī, Tārīkh Baghdād, vol. 1, p. 176.
  27. Nūrī, Nafas al-raḥmān fī faḍāʾil Salmān, p. 139.
  28. See: Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 22, p. 380.


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