Lessons from the Life of Hadrat Salman al-Farsi (RA)

[These are the rough notes of a talk delivered by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed (db)]

[Audio is available here]


وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ حَبَّبَ إِلَيۡكُمُ ٱلۡإِيمَـٰنَ وَزَيَّنَهُ ۥ فِى قُلُوبِكُمۡ وَكَرَّهَ إِلَيۡكُمُ ٱلۡكُفۡرَ وَٱلۡفُسُوقَ وَٱلۡعِصۡيَانَ‌ۚ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلرَّٲشِدُونَ
But Allah has endeared to you the Faith, and made it beautiful in your hearts, and made detestable to you the disbelief and sins and disobedience. Such people are rightly guided. [49:7]

The Honourable Status of all Sahaba Karam (RA) 

Allah swt has created the most perfect deen in the deen of Islam. And He sent the most perfect Nabi sws as a Prophet of Islam. And He sent down the most perfect book in the book of Qur’an. And He gave us the most perfect place in the form of the Ka’abah. And all of that, He adorned with the perfect group of humanity, known as the Sahaba e Karam (ra).

Every single thing about Nabi sws was chosen by Allah swt. Makkah Mukaramah is mustafa; Madinah Munawwarah is mustafa; each and everyone of you and me – who are in this ummah – we are mustafa; chosen by Allah swt. But first and foremost, the Sahaba e Karam, each and everyone was personally selected by Allah swt from all of the urwah – the souls of the humanity – to get that sharf; that karam; that honour to be the companion of Nabi sws.

Allah swt has described these Sahaba e Karam in Qur’an that they are the master pieces. You can imagine that the Sahaba e Karam are the master-piece students of Nabi sws. Nabi sws is the teacher; the designer; the muzaki. And the Sahaba e Karam are his students; his design work; his product. If you want to see the sha’an; the Azmat; the wonder of the Prophethood of Nabi sws, all you have to do is look at any single one of his Sahaba (ra), and you will realize that what a perfect and complete prophet and messenger he sws was.

Sahaba Karam (ra) were the first students of the Prophet sws. They were the original recipients of the Qur’an al-Kareem. They were the original defenders; keepers; guardians of imaan. They were the original daa’i, after the Prophet sws, the original callers to the deen of Islam. This is why Nabi sws has a special love for his Sahaba (ra), and he used to call them the same way Allah swt called him sws; Rasooli – My Rasool sws. Similarly, Nabi sws used to call the Sahaba Karam As’haabi – my As’haab; same nisbat; same love; same ta’aluq; same connection. Their honour is based on their connection to the Prophet of Allah sws; most special and honoured people.

Allah swt says about them in Qur’an:

وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ حَبَّبَ إِلَيۡكُمُ ٱلۡإِيمَـٰنَ
But Allah has endeared to you the Faith

That Allah swt made imaan beloved to them.

وَزَيَّنَهُ ۥ فِى قُلُوبِكُمۡ
and made it beautiful in your hearts

And then Allah swt made imaan beautiful to them; that Allah swt adorned their hearts, their spiritual hearts, with the beauty of imaan.

وَكَرَّهَ إِلَيۡكُمُ ٱلۡكُفۡرَ وَٱلۡفُسُوقَ وَٱلۡعِصۡيَانَ‌ۚ
and made detestable to you the disbelief and sins and disobedience.

And Allah swt took out from their hearts; and made repugnant to their hearts, disbelief, and fisq; immorality and isyaan; sin. It means that in this ayah, Allah swt is testifying in Qur’an al-Kareem to the kamil imaan of every single Sahaba; to the kamil wilayah of every single Sahaba. That mu’min who has love for imaan in their heart; that mu’min who has the beauty of imaan in their heart; that mu’min who has no kufr, no fisq, no isyaan in their heart, that is called a wali of Allah swt.

The most perfect set of believers are the Sahaba Karam (ra). Allah swt then said about them:

أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلرَّٲشِدُونَ
Such people are rightly guided. [49:7]

That know these Sahaba (ra) are the ones who are the rightly guided ones. At different places in Qur’an, Allah swt says:

أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلصَّـٰدِقُونَ
They are the truthful. [49:15] [59:8]

أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُهۡتَدُونَ
Those are the ones who are on the right path. [2:157]

أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ ڪَتَبَ فِى قُلُوبِہِمُ ٱلۡإِيمَـٰنَ
They are such that Allah has inscribed faith on their hearts. [58:22]

وَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُفۡلِحُونَ
It is just these who are successful.
[2:5] [3:104] [7:8] [7:157] [9:88] [23:102] [24:51] [30:38] [31:5] [59:9] [64:16]

أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ حِزۡبُ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ
Those are the party of Allah. [58:22]

أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ حَقًّ۬ا‌ۚ
Those are the believers in reality. [8:4] [8:74]

All of these are parts of ayahs of Qur’an where Allah swt attested to the imaan of Sahaba karam (ra). So much so that Allah swt says in Surah al-Baqarah:

فَإِنۡ ءَامَنُواْ بِمِثۡلِ مَآ ءَامَنتُم بِهِۦ فَقَدِ ٱهۡتَدَواْ‌ۖ
So, if they believe in the same way as you believe, they will have certainly found the right path [2:137]

That is, if anyone later adopts imaan in the same way, in likeness of the way Sahaba Karam (ra) had imaan, then he will truly be the one who has followed hidayah. It means that Allah swt has said to you and me in Qur’an that we must have imaan the same way the Sahaba (ra) had imaan; an imaan that is empty of kufr, of fasooq, and isyaan. That is the level of imaan that Allah swt has set as a standard for us in Qur’an. And that is why Allah swt said about them in Qur’an that indeed they are the real believers; the true believers.

Brief Introduction of Syedna Salman al-Farsi

Of all those hundred twenty thousand beautiful gems and pearls and diamonds, tonight we are going to talk about the life of one of them – Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) – who was one of the special Sahaba Karam; one of the more notable, renowned Sahaba; one of the most beloved Sahaba to Nabi sws.

In the Sunan of Timidhi, Nabi sws said that innal jannata – that indeed the paradise, the heaven, is yearning for three people: Ali’yun wa Ammara wa Salman – that it is yearning for Syedna Ali (ra), yearning for Syedna Ammar ibn Yasir (ra), and yearning for Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra). It means that Jannah cannot wait for Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) to come into it. Just like Jahannum cannot wait for Abu Lahab, and Abu Jahl to enter it, Jannah could not wait for such a great, great Sahaba Karam to enter into it.

Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) comes from a place known as Faris. As all of you know, Faris is Persia. Now understand, at that time, this is so relevant to you and me, who are from England, or from America, that Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) grew up in the Superpower of his time. There were two Superpowers: Rum and Faris. Rum – you can call it the Byzantine or the Roman Empire. And he was born in a family of a noble lineage; wealthy lineage.

Lesson 1: Finding Purity and Sincerity of Imaan Regardless of the Environment

Imagine, he was born in the elite family of the Superpower of that time. His journey, then, is especially relevant, that how a person can find purity, and simplicity, and sincerity of imaan even from such a place.

It makes us think that we are the people who have migrated, or our fathers, or forefathers migrated from the Muslim world, and left behind societies, which have the purity, and simplicity and sincerity of imaan, to come to another place.

Then sometimes, we offer excuses, and rationalizations, and justifications, for us leaving some teaching of Islam, for being soft or cutting some corners, or compromising Islam, because of the place we are in. And Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) did not do any of such cutting-corners. He did not do any of such compromising. He did not, in any way, squander any opportunity to come to the imaan in Syedna Rasool Allah sws, and imaan in Allah swt.

Story of the Battle of the Trench 

There is a long story, which Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra)  has narrated in a hadith, which I am going to do a little bit later. First, I am going to mention one incident, that is what most of us know about Syedna Salman Farsi (ra). In the fifth year of Hijrah, the Yahud of Madinah Munawwarah, and the Mushrikin of Makkah Mukarramah, made a grand strategy and plan.

They had failed in Badr, they had failed in Uhad, so they decided to max the masses of the forces in their armies, and to leave that armies against the mu’mineen to march on Madinah Munawwarah, and their intention was first and foremost to kill and assassinate Syedna Rasool Allah sws, and then to wipe Islam off the face of the Earth once and for all.

Allah swt has mentioned this is Surah al-Ahzab in detail. He describes the scene in such a way that when they came upon you from above, and they came upon you from below; it means that from above were the mushrikeen of Makkah Mukarramah, and from below, although they proved to be unfaithful, but the plan of the Jews of Madinah Munawwarah was initially this.

Then the eyes grew wild, and the hearts reached the throats – it means that the Sahaba Karam of Madinah Munawwarah felt that now we are actually finished. Even though we succeeded in Badr, even though we succeeded in Uhad, they had kamil imaan in Allah swt; yaqeen in Allah swt; tawakkul in Allah swt, Allah swt describes their feelings in Qur’an al-Kareem that they felt that they had lost everything. They were in a state, you can say, of crisis.

What happened was that twenty-four thousand fighters from Makkah Mukarramah, under the command of this great kafir Abu Sufyan ibn Uyaynah, came towards Madinah Munawwarah; and this wasn’t just the Quraysh – these were many different tribes who were all aligned together. You can think of it as a multinational coalition force; that is what had come against the mu’mineen and muslimeen in Madinah Munawwarah.

Syedna Rasool Allah sws had a very little advance notice of this, and he sws was counselling, sitting with his Sahaba Karam (ra), that what could be done, and there was Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) also, who is described as being long-legged, tall and lanky, and he had long hair.

He came up with an idea. He looked around Madinah Munawwarah and he saw that at many places there were natural hills and mountains that could defend them, and act as a barrier between them and any attacking force, at the same time there were certain gaps between those hills and mountains. So as all of you know, he came up with this idea, which he had observed in his own native Persia, but which was foreign to the Arabs, and the idea was to dig a trench; to dig a very wide and long trench.

There was very little time, so Syedna Rasool Allah sws, and all able-bodied Sahaba e Karam (ra) began digging the trench. They kept digging, and they were tired, and they were hungry, but they kept digging. Can you imagine Syedna Rasool Allah sws doing such hard manual labour – with his own hands, digging the ground, so that deen of Islam could remain on Earth? He sws was not worried about his own life; he did it so that deen of Islam could remain on Earth; so that deen of Islam would exist fourteen hundred years from now, and still be available to you and me.

Syedna Rasool Allah sws engaged with his own hands in manual labour for me and you, and we engage our own hands in acts of sin. Can you imagine what we have done in our lives with our hands, and what Syedna Rasool Allah sws had done in his life with his hands? Just imagine on the Day of Judgement if our hands are examined – what a big difference it is between us and Rasool Allah sws.

Many of you would know that when they were digging the trench, at one point in a particular area where Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) himself was digging, they reached a big rock; a big boulder which they could not dig. They tried to pick it with the pick-axe, and break it. But they couldn’t do it. Then Syedna Rasool Allah sws came, and Allah swt put barakah.

He sws said “Bismillah” – in the name of Allah swt; Syedna Rasool Allah sws took the name of Allah swt and then he struck that rock, and that rock was shattered into pieces; once, twice and thrice, and the third time when he struck that rock, he said loudly “Allahu Akbar”, and said that I have seen in front of me Rome being conquered by the mu’mineen. Allah swt had given him a vision.

Can you imagine, right now these Sahaba Karam (ra) are worried about a stimulant army coming, and they were worried about one rock in front of them, and Allah swt showed His karam and fadhl, and rehmah, and says forget this one rock, forget this army coming; the Superpower of the time – Rome – that is going to be conquered. Can you imagine then the level of yaqeen that the Sahaba Karam (ra) must have felt at that moment; the level of comfort they would have had at that moment; the level of madad and nusrat – aid and help Allah swt would have sent to them at that moment?

Rasool Allah sws also saw the palaces, it means the bringing of Islam to Sham, and Yemen. So Rum, Sham and Yemen were the three places that Syedna Rasool Allah sws saw. So when this happened, after this was all dug up, the enemy army came, and when they saw the trench, they were stunned; they had never seen anything like this before. If they would try to go in with their horses, they wouldn’t know if they could get out. If they get stuck in there, they would become an easy target for the Sahaba Karam (ra) with their arrows.

Thus they decided to camp there. They didn’t know what to do; so they set up their camp and they stayed there for one month, and during that one month they must have eaten all the provisions that they had brought with them. At the end of the month, Allah swt sent a severe windstorm which took away all of their tents, it took away much of the remaining provisions and made some of their camels flee.

At that point, Abu Sufyan just got sick of it, and he made the announcement to retreat and go back. So all of this great defeat, in some sense it was a bloodless victory, but this was the largest army that had ever marched against Sahaba (ra). Who was the person who enabled the single-handed victory over the largest army ever to march against Islam? That is Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra).

Lesson 2: Using Knowledge and Skills for Deen

The lesson that this gives for us is to use our ilm and our knoweldge for deen; to use our expertise for deen. So many of us have so many different skills, knowledge and ability and know-how, but how many of us have used that knowledge for the service of deen; for the sake of deen?

We have one aspect of our life with our skills, and we have an unskilled approach towards deen. So we must bring all of our knowledge and skills, and use them for the sake of deen. When a person does that with ikhlas; with sincerity to Allah swt, Allah swt makes the deen ghalib (dominant) in this world. And as long as we continue to have this unskilled approach to our deen, we will not be able to become ghalib in this world.

Life and Journey of Syedna Salman al-Farsi (RA) from his own Narration

Now we are going to continue and mention an incident about him which is from his own narration. This is a hadith that Imam Hanbal (rah) has narrated in Musnad, and muhaditheen have rated the chain as hassan, which means well authenticated. Sahih means very well authenticated, and by the way I should also educate you, dhai’f means weakly authenticated. Dhai’f does not mean inauthentic, that is called mawdu. Dhai’f means weakly authenticated hadith, hassan means well-authenticated hadith, and sahih means very well authenticated hadith.

The sanad of this hadith is hassan and the ‘ijma of all muhaditheen is that a hassan hadith is hujjah and daleel in Islamic Law, let alone being used for the discourse of the biography of a Sahaba (ra). This hadith has also been narrated by another chain; two different chains, in the Musannaf of ibn abi Sheba, and one other chain in the Mu’jam al-Kabir of Imam Thabrani (rah). But because Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal’s works are one of the earliest works of hadith – the Muwatta of Imam Malik, and the Muslim of Ahmad are the two earlier major works of hadith – we are going to narrate the hadith to you which is mentioned in the collection of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (rah).

Here, Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) is sitting with a group of people, and he is mentioning to his guests his whole life story. He says that I was a man from Persia, from a place called Isfahan, and I was from a neighbourhood in that place called Jayyan. Then he says that my father was the leader of that village, he was the president of that village. And I was most beloved of all of Allah’s creation to my father. It means that I was the pride, and joy, and love of my father. This is going to be important later.

He did not ever let go of this love for me until he dedicated me to the House of Fire. Actually, this is called Zoroastrianism; these were people who used to worship fire. So the father gave his beloved son to the khidmah and service of the fire. Then Syedna Salman (ra) says I exerted myself extremely; strived myself; majusiyya means the religion of Zoroastrianism, until I reached the level that I became the khadim of the fire; I became the custodian of the fire. It means that he reached some special rank in that religion.

Then he says that what happened one day is that, when I used to go from the lands of my father back here to this House of Fire, one day I passed by a Christian church. When I passed by the Christian church, I head them praying. When I heard them praying, I became interested and I went inside that Christian church, and I saw what they were doing, and how they were praying, and it left an impression on me.

He says that I said to myself then, that this deen is better than our deen. It means that this religion of Christianity is better than our religion of Zoroastrianism. He said I did not leave that place until sunset, nor did I go to my father’s estate, neither did I return to my father until he sent a search party after me.

I was so impressed by them that I stayed in that church, even when the sun had set, I was still with them, so much so that my father got worried that where is he, and he sent a search party out looking for me, and they happened to find me in the church and they took me back to my father. While I was in there, I asked the Christians about their religion because it had impressed me. And they told me that it had originated from Syria and Palestine; from Sham which includes the area of Palestine. That is correct, that is where the Christianity originated.

So when the search party came for him, and he goes back home to his father, he tells his father that indeed this deen I saw is better. They have a religion that is better than ours. His father got extremely angry with him, and locked him up in jail. He put chains and fetters on his ankles, and he locked him at home. In this state of being imprisoned, all Syedna Salman Farsi (ra) could think about was how could I get out – how could I get to this Christianity?

This story is going to remind you of Syenda Ibrahim (as) – he also goes through a journey. First he looks at the stars, and then he thinks of the moon, and then the sun; one by one he thinks maybe this is Allah, then no this is Allah, then no this is Allah. Syedna Salman Farsi (ra) is going the same way.

First he thought the fire was god, and he was reaching the level of height of the fire-worship. Then he is going to come to Christianity, and he is going to think this is better. Then he will try to reach the heights of Christianity, and then eventually he is going to end up, Alhmadulillah, on the deen of Islam, and he reached the height of the deen of Islam.

Lesson 3: The Need to Mutually Encourage and Support One Another in Deen

So he is in this state where his father has kept him in chains, so he manages to send a message to some of the Christians, he just says that he sends a message, he doesn’t clarify how. This reminds us of Surah al-Asr; that when a person comes on to deen:

وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلصَّبۡرِ
And exhorted each other to follow truth, and exhorted each other to observe patience. [103:3]

That in order to remain steadfast on the truth, you need to mutually encourage and support one another. And when you come on the truth, you will face opposition, you need to mutually enjoin and support one another to be steadfast and to persevere in the face of the opposition. He says that I managed to get some message out to the Christians, and inform them of my difficulty. They sent a message back to me that we will arrange for some caravan that is going towards Syria, that they should take you with them.

Escape from Persia and the Consequential Meeting with Four Pious Priests

Then he says I managed to escape, literally from chains, and then he joined them in that caravan, and he was on his way to Syria. When he was in Syria, which he reached safely, this is the hidayah of Allah swt, then he went to the people and asked them a very interesting question. He said that I want you to tell me who is ‘alam – who is the most learned one of you in Christianity. This was his hikmah, he is hanif, he knew that if I want to get this deen of Christianity, I have to get it from the people who have ‘ilm. I want to get it from the one who is an ‘alim. So he was told about the leader of the Syria’s church at that time, and he went to him.

Lesson 4: Following the Formula for Excelling in Deen

He says that I went to him and narrated my story, that I have come from this elite Persian Empire, and I was a fire-worshipper, and I had reached the highest level of fire-worship. And then he says, I lived with him, I served him, and I prayed, and I learnt; four things he has mentioned:

  1. Suhbah – I lived with him
  2. Khidmah – I served
  3. Ibadah – I prayed
  4. And ilm – I learnt

Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) is giving us a formula; he is giving us a recipe, that if you want to strive and excel in your deen, you need to find an ‘alam of deen, someone who is an ‘alam – most knowing about the deen, and you must spend sometime in their suhbah and accompany and associate with them, you must do their khidmah, you must be of service to them, you must do ibadah of Allah swt, you must be a person of worship, and you must get ilm, you must get the knowledge of that deen.

But then he says that this priest was not faithful, he was not ameen, he was not trustworthy. Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) narrates that he used to see that the priest used to collect charity in the name of giving it to the poor, but then he would keep it for himself.

Two things are quite amazing over here. First thing that strikes us is that this has been going on for a long time – abuse in the name of deen. But the other thing that is amazing is that Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) stays with the priest, all the way until he dies. He knows that he is not ameen, he knows he is doing khiyanah, but nonetheless he keeps staying in his suhbah, keeps doing his khidmah, keeps doing ibadah of Allah swt, and keeps learning from him. This is a strange level of ikhlas.

Then the priest dies. When he dies, the next priest or whatever it was that was appointed in his place, Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) says about this one that I had never seen a man more pious than that priest. It was a complete change.

Lesson 5: Attributes that Make a Person Pious

How does Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) describe this person? What is the attribute, what is the siffat, of this person who is so pious?

  1. He was striving and yearning for the Hereafter.
  2. He was devoted to serving people.
  3. He was regular and punctual in worship.

This is another teaching of Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra); he is telling us what are the mastering attributes that a person should have. He should be striving and yearning for the akhirah. Like Allah swt says in the Qur’an:

مَن كَانَ يَرۡجُواْ لِقَآءَ ٱللَّهِ
Whoever hopes to meet Allah [29:5]

That person who yearns for Allah swt, yearns for the Last Day, it means the akhirah. Second, this person was devoted to serving the people. He was a khadim; khidmat e khalq; or khidmat e deen; he was loving towards serving the people. And third that he was regular and punctual in his ibadah; aqeem as-Salah.

Lesson 6: Loving Someone Because of their Deen

He says that I loved him more than I had loved any other person before. This is also something Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) had in him; loving someone for the sake of their deen; loving someone for the sake of Allah swt. This is called love for the saliheen.

Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) continues and says that when death was approaching him, I asked that to whom do you recommend me? Where should I go next, because you are about to pass away? He said that O young man, I do not know anyone who is on the path that I am on, and anyone who leads the kind of life that I live, except a certain person in Mosul, which is back in Iraq.

It means that by the word of this very person, the Christianity was coming to an end. He is saying that there is no person in all of Sham, and all of Syria, Palestine, Jordan area where you can get this na’ima; you will have to go and migrate yet to another place altogether. Obviously, because the time of the coming of Syedna Rasool Allah sws was soon, we are talking about the age of fading of the real Christianity. We are talking about 1500-1600 years ago.

Lesson 7: The Need for Suhbah

He says that when this priest died, I went to that person in Mosul. Another thing that we learn from this is that Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) is saying that you always need suhbah. He found one person, and he says that person was wonderful, he could have been done that okay he dies and I will live my own life. He says that no if this person dies, I need to still be in the guidance of someone, I cannot trust myself, I cannot rely on myself, I cannot be self-reliant, self-dependant. I must find yet another person.

Then he migrated all the way to Mosul, and then he told that person that story. Then Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) says that I stayed with that person as long as Allah swt wished for me to stay with him, and then when he was about to die, I asked him the same question, that now where should I go?

Again, Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) is not content. He has stayed with two pious people, and he has served them, and learnt from them, and worshipped Allah swt in the way he was being taught, but he was still not content. Again, that person says that there is no one anywhere in this whole area. It’s a proof of fading of Christianity – it means that he got the last wali of Christianity, that’s who he had met – the last wali of Sham in that religion, then he met the last wali in Mosul in that religion.

Then he directs himself to a person in Nasibeen, Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) says then when he died, I went over there. This is now the third pious person. He says I went over there and I told him my story, and again I stayed with him as long as Allah swt wished. When he was about to die, I asked him now where should I go? Again that person said that there was no one in that area, if you want to go to a person, you will have to go all the way to Byzantine Empire.

Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) goes over there. He says that I went to Byzantine, and I stayed with that person, and I lived with that person until death approached him. Then he asked again, that where should I go? This final person in Byzantine, these four Awliyah of Christianity who were maybe last Awliyah in each of the areas of Christianity, this fourth and final one tells him that O my son, now there is no place you can go to. There is no one who is on this path anymore such that I could tell you to go to them, but I can give you another glad tiding, that now you have reached, and you are living in the age, in which the last and final Prophet and Messenger is going to come.

This shows the end of the Awliyah of Christianity. There is no single one left. But the good news is that it was the age of the last and the final nabi i.e. Syedna Rasool Allah sws. And he told him his signs, that there will appear a prophet who will come to people in Millat e Ibrahim, in the hanif tradition of Syedna Ibrahim (as), and he is going to make a hijrah, and move from his original place, and migrate to a place of palm trees. If you can be sincere to him, then do so.

Then that person mentions that this prophet will have signs that will be manifested.

  1. He does not accept charity
  2. He does accept gifts
  3. Between his shoulders, you will find the khatm – the seal of Nabuwwah

And then the last thing he says is that when you will see him, you will know. That itself is a fourth sign, although normally people don’t list that as a sign. But in my reading of it, that itself is a sign. Then saying that, the last wali of Christianity passed away. So Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) was given a destination that he has to go to this Arabian place in Hejaz.

Travel to Hejaz

The same way he had travelled before, he tries to find a caravan. Sure enough, at some point some caravan was going that way. He asked them, and they said that we are going to Hejaz, so he said okay here are my cattle and sheep – he was a shepherd, he had some cattle and sheep that he used to graze and lived off of them – he said okay I will give you all of my cattle and sheep, and you accept that as a payment from me to take me along with you in your caravan to Hejaz. They agreed and took him.

Lesson 8: Having Kamil Tawakkul

This shows the sacrifice. Now he realizes that I have been going from one wali to another, and now I am going to the last nabi, that is my final destination. I have no need of dunya anymore; I do not need these cattle and sheep anymore. I can give all of it away, I just need to reach there. Look at this kamil yaqeen and tawakkul, he knows that all I have to do is just reach that place where that last prophet is going to come, and then everything else will take care of itself.

He made that deal. But it turned out, as in many places in the world, there are sinister people. So the people in that caravan were actually treacherous, and they took him to a place called Wadi al-Qura, and then they enslaved him, and then they sold him to a Jew.

I am not saying every Jew is like this. But what does it mean that they sold him to a Jew?Just like today, you know about the stolen goods, you know that the car is stolen at the black market. You would not want to buy it if you are pious, because you would not want to buy something that has been stolen. There is no way that Jew could have ever thought that Syedna Salman al-Faris (ra), with his nobility, his pedigree, his taqwah, his imaan, which must have been apparent on him, has been born into slavery.

He must have been able to tell that this is someone who has been kidnapped into slavery, but nonetheless he bought him anyway. Strange thing which I have never been able to understand that Syedna Salman al-Faris (ra) lets himself get sold into the custody of this Jew. Me and you would think that why didn’t he escape? He could have run away since he even managed to get out of the iron chains that his father had put him in. How could this Jew be imprisoning him? Surely there must have been some escape, some chance.

Syedna Salman al-Faris (ra) says that I stayed as a slave of this Jew, until another Jew from the Bani Qurayza, which was a tribe of Jews in Madinah Munawwarah, came to me one day and bought me from him. Then I stayed with him, and he brought me to Madinah Munawwarah. When I came to Madinah Munawwarah, gradually I realized that this is that land of date palms that that last wali of Christianity in Byzantine had told me about.

He realizes that I am in the right place. So he is happy being a slave. I have reached the destination, I remain as a slave. No problem. No attempt to run away. One thing is that a person is genuinely a slave, but a freed person who has been enslaved, they should run away. Remember what I am about to say, because it is going to be even more shocking later on.

This is before Syedna Rasool Allah sws has made hijrah. He realizes that this is the place, but there is no news anywhere of a prophet or anything, so he keeps waiting, because that was another sign that was told, that he is going to migrate from some other place to this place.

Meeting with Syedna Rasool Allah sws

He says that one day I was working in the orchards of my Master, as a slave, and I was at the top picking the dates from a date palm tree, and my Master was sitting on the ground with someone who had come to visit him, and they started talking to one another. The person had come from Quba, and he was saying to his Master that the people of Quba are saying that some man has arrived to them who says that he is the last and the final prophet and messenger.

Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) was up there on the date palm tree. He says that I almost fell down when I heard this. I quickly came down and addressed that person from Quba, that what are you saying, what is this news? So the Master looked at me and gave me a slap. It must have been out of order to come down and talk to the master’s guests. He says that my Master said to me that what is the matter with you, what is your interest in this? Get back to your work. So I obediently returned to work. Look at the level of haqooq ul ibaad.

He says, at night I gathered my belongings and I went out to the encampment of the Sahaba (ra) and Syedna Rasool Allah sws at Quba. I saw that he sws was sitting with some of his companions. So I offered him some food. So what does he say?

Lesson 9: Following the Instructions of Teachers

Now, remember when he was told that when you see him, you will know him? This must have taken place instantly. So the question arises that why does Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) then goes through these tests as he is about to do?

My understanding of this is that because he has spent, has been in the suhbah of four true Awliyah of Christianity, he knew they were true. And he knew what they were saying must necessarily be true, and up till now two or three things had already proven to be true; the area of the date palm trees; the migrating to Madinah Munawwarah; and when he saw the Prophet sws, as when he saw him he must have known, that must have also happened.

But he must be thinking that my teacher gave me a list of things. So I must follow the instructions of my teacher, if he has told me to check these three other things, I will do that. Even though my own feeling is that he had already known that Syedna Rasool Allah sws is true.

So what did he do? First was the issue of charity. So he goes up to the Prophet sws and says that you are a stranger travelling in this town, so I have some food that I was thinking of giving in charity, so I give it to you. Syedna Rasool Allah sws took it, and he sws told the Sahaba Karam to eat from it. But Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) saw that Rasool Allah sws himself did not partake from it even a morsel.

He sws took it and gave it to his companions, and he told them to eat in the name of Allah swt. This is something that must have impacted Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra). Then he went back to his Master so he would not be noticed. It means that he is able to escape; he is able to leave, but he goes back.

Next day he works, and at night time again he goes to the Prophet sws and takes some food again, and says that I saw that you sws did not eat from charity, so today I have brought just a gift which I would like to give you. Syedna Rasool Allah sws takes that food, puts it down, gathers the Sahaba (ra) and tells them to eat in the name of Allah swt. And then the Prophet sws also started eating. Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) said that another sign has been fulfilled; that he sws eats from the gifts of people who give him sws.

Again, he returned back to his Master; goes back to being a slave. And then he says that I stayed away for a while, and then I went back to the Prophet sws, and I saw that the Prophet sws was surrounded by his companions, and they had recently returned from a janaza. I was not able to figure out whose janaza it was, but it must have been some Sahaba (ra) who had become shaheed. He sws had two garments; one was a shawl that was wrapped around his shoulders, and one was a wrap that he sws had wrapped around his waist and legs.

Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) saw that this was an opportunity. He said that I greeted him sws, I said salam, and I tried to look at the upper part of his upper back. Syedna Rasool Allah sws knew what I was looking for, so he removed the garment, and he showed me the muhr of nabuwwah. Syedna Rasool Allah sws must have been inspired that who is this; this is someone who is seeking you sws. Sometimes Allah swt gives this peh’chan as well.

Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) says that when I saw I realized that that was the sign, and now all of the signs which that Christian wali of Allah swt had mentioned, all of that had been achieved, so he was now overwhelmed by emotion. He says that I stumbled and staggered towards him, and I kissed and I embraced the Prophet sws. Then he accepted and took imaan.

Now, amazing, at this point you would think that he would not go back. But after accepting Islam, he goes back to his Master. I have never, up till this day, been able to understand this. He remains the slave of his Master through the battle of Badr, through the battle of Uhad. He is not a slave. He had been falsely enslaved. Now he has imaan, everyone of you, I am sure, must also think that he should just run away to join the Prophet sws. He is clearly able to go and join, why in the world is he going back? It does not make sense. Some strange thing here.

Maybe it is haqooq ul ibaad; maybe he does not want to be a stain on the Prophet sws. Maybe he does not want his Jew Master to say that my slave has run away, he has broken away from me to join the Prophet sws. Allahu aalam, but he goes back and continues living the life of a slave for years. And he keeps meeting the Prophet sws secretly.

He cannot fight in Badr, because he is busy being a slave, he could not fight in Uhad – for that me and you would say, how could he not do that; to go for jihad fi sabil lillah? We would say, leave the Master and go to Badr. He did not. He continues being a slave of his Master.

Finally, then, Syedna Rasool Allah sws told him that you should make a deal with you Master, there is this concept that you can buy your freedom from your Master. So a price was set. Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) was able to earn some of it, and some other Sahaba Karam (ra) also donated for this cause, and together they were able buy his freedom, then after that the very first ghazwah; the very first jang, the very first battle was the Battle of the Trench. Strange life. Then Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) joined Prophet sws and the Sahaba Karam (ra) on the Trench, and he lived a life after the Prophet sws.

Life of Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) after Prophet sws Passes Away

Now we want to tell you about the life of Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) after Prophet sws, because many interesting things happen after Rasool Allah sws passes away. Why am I saying after? Because about the time with Nabi sws, very little detail has been mentioned. One can assume that he must have been spending all of his life with Prophet sws; making up for lost time – all that time which he had spent with his Master.

After Syedna Rasool Allah sws passes away, as all of you know, Syedna Abu Bakr as-Siddiq becomes the Amir ul mu’mineen; khalifatul Rasool. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (rah) has another collection of hadith known as the Kitab az-Zuhd. I need to explain this to you a little bit. What is happening here? This is the time of Tabi’ Tabi’in; this is the time when the saliheen of Tabi’ Tabi’in are seeing that in the ummah, already the people are becoming materialistic; people are being corrupted by the wealth and riches that have entered into the ummah due to the vast conquest of land in the Islamic Empire.

What did Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (rah) do, and Imam Abdullah bin Mubarak (rah) do, and ibn Abi Shaybah (rah) do? They starting gathering particular hadith, and those were the hadith about that you should not love the world; you should not be of the world; you should love Allah swt; you should live simply in this world. They compiled all of these types of hadith together, and they titled that compilation Kitabu az-Zuhd – The Book of Zuhd.

Zuhd means how to live in the world without loving the world. In Imam Ahmad bin Handbal’s Kitab az-Zuhd, he quotes an incident where Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) goes to Syedna Abu Bakr Siddiq (ra), when he is a khalifa, and asks him for some naseeha, some counsel and advice. Syedna Abu Bakr Siddiq (ra) gives him some advice and counsel and naseeha, and that type of advice, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (rah) feels, that that was an advice of zuhd.

What do we learn from this narration? That Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra), after being the student of Syedna Rasool Allah sws, next he became a student in zuhd of Syedna Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra). This is the way the teachings of tazkiyah proceeded in earlier generations; that a person would learn zuhd from someone, learn tazkiyah from someone, learn how to love Allah swt from someone, and we have already seen that this is the way of Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra); one teacher after another, after another, after another. This is going to continue up till Syedna Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra), but then it stops after that. This is now his last teacher.

Imam Ahmad (rah) writes in his compilation of Kitab az-Zuhd, and ibn Sa’d has mentioned it in his Tabaqat, Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) asks for some advice. Syedna Abu Bakr (ra) says that fear Allah, O Salman. You should know that there will be many conquests in this ummah. Your share from those conquests should only be that food which you need for your stomach, and that clothing which you need to cover yourself.

It means that do not take any other wealth or riches from any of the wealth that enters the Islamic Empire. Second thing Syedna Abu Bakr (ra) says is that you should also know that whoever performs his five salah is in the protection of Allah swt in the morning and in the evening. Third, you should never kill anyone who is in the protection of Allah swt because then you will be breaching the trust of Allah swt, and then Allah swt will throw you, Salman, into Jahannum. 

Look at the naseeha that Syedna Abu Bakr (ra) is giving to Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra). Because of the first teaching, Imam Ahmad put it in the Kitab az-Zuhd; that do not partake of this world any more than what you need; do not have extraneous, superfluous wealth in this world.

Second important teaching is salah and ibadah – this also tells you, obviously all of us would know that Syedna Abu Bakr (ra) and Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) were always praying salah. There is no question of them ever missing salah. Nonetheless, they kept counselling and advising one another about the ahmiyah; the importance of salah. That is because they knew the haqiqah of salah; they knew the masterful reality of salah, and they would keep enjoining one another even after the life Syedna Rasool Allah sws.

These were the parting words that Syedna Abu Bakr (ra) spoke to Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra). After Syedna Abu Bakr (ra) passes away, then Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) migrates to another place. No longer does he have any teacher, but, as you are going to see, he is going to become a great teacher of many of the early Tabi’in.

Next is Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) and Syedna Umar (ra). This riwayah, narration, is to show the friendly nature. This is narrated by Imam Hakim in his Mustadrak, and this is a hadith. There are many incidents, and you would be able to join these incidents, all of these happened. I am going to explain this to you first.

What happened was that Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) was sitting with Syedna Rasool Allah sws, and Syedna Rasool Allah sws tossed him a cushion, a pillow, and told Syedna Salman (ra) that when a Muslim goes to visit his fellow Muslim, and their host tosses him a cushion to lean on, or to recline on, as a gesture of hospitality, then Allah swt forgives the sins of the host. And Syedna Rasool Allah sws actually did this to Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra); tossed him a cushion. That is the original incident, and that is narrated in a hadith transmitted by Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra).

What happened one day when Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) went to visit Syedna Umar (ra), Syedna Umar (ra) tossed him a cushion, remembering that day. This is what the Sahaba (ra) would do with one another; they would remember some incident from the time when Syedna Rasool Allah sws was alive. They would remind themselves of some event that had happened in front of the two of them. So Syedna Umar (ra) tossed the cushion to Salman (ra), and repeated the whole thing again.

Then it happens once that Syedna Umar (ra) visits Syedna Salman (ra), and again Syedna Salman (ra) tossed the cushion to Syedna Umar (ra) and repeated the whole incident again. On the surface, it looks like three contradictory narrations, but actually when we understand the love Sahaba Karam had for each other and for Syedna Rasool Allah sws, we see that this is actually what is going on – this is their pleasant nature of exchange with one another.

From this riwayah we can see that Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) does not view Syedna Umar (ra) as a teacher. He is being as a colleague with Syedna Umar (ra). His last teacher was Syedna Abu Bakr (ra).

Lesson 10: Having Zuhd Pertaining to Food

Then there are in many narrations, mostly by Abu Nu’aym (rah) in his Hilyah, but also by Haithami and Tabarani in their works; Majma’ al-Zawa’id and the Mu’jam of Tabarani, some incidents of the Zuhd of Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra). Syedna Ati ibn Amar (ra) [?] says that once he was with Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra), and the host was trying to force him to eat more and more. Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) said that this is enough for me because I have heard Syedna Rasool Allah sws say that those who are the most full in this world, will be the most hungry in the akhirah.

This is also a hadith of the Prophet sws, and there are very few – some muhaditheen have only mentioned seven hadith – narrated by Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra). He was very muhtat; very cautious in narrating hadith. But this was one hadith that he narrates that those who are the most full in this world, will be the most hungry in akhirah. Then he addressed himself, that O Salman, this world is just a prison for the believer, and it is a Jannah for the kafir. He was trying not to eat more and more. This is called Zuhd; this is the aspect of his zuhd.

When he migrated out of Madinah Munawwarah, he was appointed a governor for sometime, in the time of Syedna Uthman al-Ghani (ra), of a place called Mada’in. This is eventually going to be the place where he passes away, and he passes away in the khilafat of Syedna Uthman (ra).

Lesson 11: Using One’s Skills to Earn Livelihood

When he was appointed as a governor, he would receive 5,000 dirhams as an allowance, and there were about 20,000 – 30,000 Muslims under his dominion. He would spend his entire 5,000 dirhams on others, and he used to weave baskets with his own hands and sell those baskets. That money he would use for himself, and if there was any left for that money, he would give that away also.

Can you imagine any governor like that in the world today, who gives away his entire salary, who wants to work with his own hands? This is also a lesson for those of us who are on deen, that if Allah swt has blessed us with a skill and ability that we can earn our own living by our own hands, it is better that we do that. If Allah swt has given us that ability to do so.

Lesson 12: Having Zuhd Pertaining to Wealth

Then, when he was the governor, Syedna Amash (ra) has narrated that Syedna Huzaifa (ra) once went to Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) in Mada’in and he said that you just sit in open air underneath the sun, and you are dealing with people like that, so let me build a room for you. Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) first said no, and Syedna Huzaifa (ra) knew his temperament.

He said O Salman, I will build a room for you such that when you stand up your head touches the ceiling, and if you lie down, your foot will touch the wall. It means the most minimal room. Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) said okay you can build a room like that for me. This was the governor’s mansion; so tall is the ceiling that it would just touch his head, so wide was it that were he to lay down, his feet would be touching the wall. This is the Zuhd of Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra).

Lesson 13: Having Zuhd Pertaining to Relationships and Social Class Boundaries

The grandson of Syedna Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra), Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr, one of the fuqaha e Saba’ of Madinah Munawwarah, when he was a young boy he used to go to Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) and learn the teachings of zuhd that Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) had learnt from his grandfather, and which Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) had learnt from Syedna Rasool Allah sws.

There are many stories of Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra). Some give a message of humility. Once Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) reached this stage of his life, now people used to go to meet him. Syedna Sallama (ra) says that one of my cousins, whose name was Qudamah, he came to me with the request that I want to meet Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra). We left and we journeyed to Mada’in, and we saw him in command of an army of 20,000 men.

When we reached him individually, he was sitting and he was weaving the baskets out of palm leaves, and we greeted him. I said to him that Ya aba Abdillah, this is the kunyah, that O abu Abdullah, this is my cousin who wanted to travel to meet you. He wishes to greet you. So the cousin said As-salamu Alaykum. Syedna Salman (ra) responded, wa’alaikum As-salam wa Rehmatullah.

Then he said that my cousin loves you. Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) said, ahabbah Ullah – may Allah swt love him. Look at this maqam that people would come to visit him, he does not want anything from them in this world. He is not interested in their praise, he just wants that Allah swt should love them. This is the way of the people of zuhd; that anyone who comes to them, what do they want for them? They want that that person, even if they come as their lover, they want that person to become the beloved of Allah swt. This is the teaching of zuhd.

Now is the story of his marriage. There was a person, abu Qurrah kindi, and he offered his daughter to Syedna Salman (ra). But Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) thought that he has a daughter, but he also has a slave, former slave whom he had freed, called Buqairah. He thought to himself that instead of marrying this man’s daughter, I will marry the slave that he freed. Outwardly this would appear to be an insult, but this was Syedna Salman al-Farsi’s zuhd. He wanted to marry the humbler one. So he married Buqairah; a freed slave woman, like he himself was, in some sense, a freed slave man.

Then one day Abu Qurrah, it is a bit of a long story, but he came to meet Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra). So Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) says to him that you can sit down on the bed which your former slave now uses; it means the notion of equality, the notion of levelling the social and class boundaries, this was also in his aspect of zuhd. So when we come to the gathering of the people of zuhd, you will find every person from every class over there. Everyone is equally welcome over there. This is the legacy of Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra).

Advices and Sayings of Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra)

Some of the advices of Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) have been recorded in the books. He said that three people make me laugh, and three things make me cry. I laugh at the person who entertains lengthy hopes, this is called tul e amal in Arabic, they have long plans and lengthy hopes about what they are going to do for the rest of their life in this world, yet death is constantly searching for him.

Then he says that the other person at whom I laugh is that person who is negligent of death, yet death is never negligent of him. And the third one at whom I laugh, is that person who laughs all the time and he doesn’t even know whether his Rabb is angry or pleased with him. How could we laugh if we didn’t know for sure that Allah swt is not angry with us? And if we don’t know for sure that Allah swt is not angry with us, and has forgiven us, what could be there in this world to laugh about? This is the teaching of zuhd. These are Syedna Salman al-Farsi’s real teachings.

Then the three things that make me cry, first was my separation from Syedna Rasool Allah sws; the passing away of Syedna Rasool Allah sws, and my separation from his Sahaba (ra), meaning the departure from Madinah Munawwarah. This is perhaps the greatest sorrow that ever existed in the history of humanity; the sorrow in the hearts of the Sahaba (ra) when their beloved Rasool Allah sws passed away from this world. This is something that we cannot even begin to fathom.

Second thing that makes me cry is the anticipation of sakrat al-Maut, when the pangs of death will overtake me. It makes me cry when I think when I will be in the death throes and the pangs of death will overcome me. And third thing is standing before Allah swt:

مَنۡ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ
the one who is fearful of having to stand before his Lord [55:46][79:40]

Standing in front of Allah swt scares me, because I don’t know whether I am going to go to Jahannum or Jannah. This is what we see in the lives of great people; right all the way up till their end they had fear of Allah swt. They had fear that what if I am not accepted by Allah swt? What if I am not pleasing to Allah swt? What if I am not desired by Allah swt?

Another thing that Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) says is that when Allah swt intends to destroy a person, Allah swt will take away that person’s haya. When Allah swt takes away their haya, then you will find that he becomes a person who hates other people, and other people will hate him. Then when this occurs, Allah swt will take away and lift up all of his mercy and rehmah from him such that now this person’s heart will become hardened, and he will lose his trustworthiness; then he will be treacherous to others, and others will be treacherous to him. Ultimately then he will lose the deen of Islam, and he will be cursed by Allah swt and all of the creation.

How did all of this begin? It began by losing the haya. Destruction of insan e mu’min is when they lose their haya that is their very imaan. Nabi sws has said that al haya’u imaan (haya is imaan). Another hadith al haya’u shu’bati minal imaan (haya is a part of imaan). Haya itself is imaan, and imaan itself is haya. It means if we lose our haya, we are in danger of losing our imaan. These were some of the sayings of Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra).

End of the Life of Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra)

Now we move to the end of the life of Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra). Different ulama have differed about his age. Some have even gone so far as to say that he lived till the age of 250 years. Allahu ‘Aalam. But he is known, in any way, to have lived a very long age. It means that he had been alive for a long time before he met Syedna Rasool Allah sws.

He passes away anywhere from 32 to 35 A.H., which is in the period of the khilafah of Syedna Uthman (ra). Syedna ‘Aamir bin Abdullah narrates, when Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) was on his deathbed, people noticed that he was uneasy. So they went up to him and said O abu Abdullah, what makes you so restless and uneasy since you were amongst the earliest believers, and you were a companion of the Prophet sws?

Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) replied that what makes me uneasy and what has caused me concern is that once Syedna Rasool Allah sws was parting from us, my beloved friend Syedna Rasool Allah sws exclusively instructed me that the mere provisions of a traveller would suffice us. Kun fid-dunya ka’annaka gharib, au ‘abir as-sabil (be in this world like a stranger, or a traveller of the path). Syedna Salman (ra) took this to heart. He took the words from the heart of the Prophet sws into his heart. This is the teaching of zuhd. He said I am supposed to live just like a traveller; only have the provisions that the traveller has.

Syedna ‘Aamir says that I looked around his room, and I saw that he hardly had a possession there. How is this person being so worried that he has more than the provisions and possessions of a traveller? And then different ulama, ibn Hibban, ibn ‘Asakir, have narrated how much he had left behind. Some say that he left behind only twenty dirhams. Some say only fourteen dirhams; dirhams are even less than a dinar.

Finally, in another narration that mentions the end of the coming of his time on this earth, mushtad al-mardhi bi Salmana yauma ba’da al-yaum – and the illness increased on Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra) day by day; wa as’habuhu yazurunahu sabbaham massa’an – that in his as’hab, it means he had companions as we learn from this riwayah. He himself was a student and companion of Syedna Abu Bakr (ra), and now, towards the end of his life, his as’hab; his companions were visiting him morning and evening.

Faqad kanu yuhibbunahu ghayat al-hubb – and his companions loved him to the end of love; to the limit of love. This is how he left this world – the beloved of the Tabi’in; the Shaykh of the Tabi’in. He had sahaba, as’hab, companions from the Tabi’in. Wa yas’alunAllaha lahu shifa’ – and they used to beg Allah swt to grant him shifa’. Wa lakin Salman – however, Salman (ra); ahassa annahu asbaha qarib al-min al-dar al-akhirah – he realized that it is just a matter of time, that I am very close to the eternal abode.

He called his wife and he told his wife that there is one thing that I have entrusted you with, I want you to bring that to me. That was some special ‘itr he had gotten from a particular place. He told her to mix it with water, which she did. Then he said, sprinkle it on me. She sprinkled it on him. Then he told her that soon some creation is about to come that is neither from insan nor jinn. So they cannot eat, so I cannot host them in that way. But they like fragrant smell, so I want you to make me fragrant so that when they come, I have done my duty of hosting them.

Who thinks like that when they pass away, that they are going to be the host of malik al-maut – that they have to do the mehman nawazi of malik al-maut? So then his wife did all of that. Then ahassu Salmanu bil malaikata tufu bihi – he felt that the angels had now come around him and he felt that he was not going to live but for a few more moments, so he started making du’a to Allah swt, he started making dhikr of his Rabb.

wa yunajihi – making munajat, and supplicating to his Rabb; wa yataghara elaih – and submitting himself in humility to his Rabb; anyarza anhu – so that his Rabb could become pleased with him. And that his Rabb could raise him – fi zumanati as-Sadiqeen wa ash-Shuhada wa as-Saliheen – this is the du’a he made that Allah swt raise me among the siddiqeen, and shuhada and saliheen; wa hassanau ‘ulaa’ika rafiqa – these are words from Qur’an, and wonderful and such noble and beautiful are such companions and friends to have, and while he was saying this statement, he passed away from this world.

Lesson 14: Making a Journey away from Materialistic Love

This person who is from Persia, who is from the elites, who had everything in the world, he left everything to search for Allah swt, then the second he found out about Syedna Rasool Allah sws, he left everything to search for him sws. And then when he found Syedna Rasool Allah sws, he spent his life serving him. Then when his Prophet sws passed away, he spent his time in khidmah and learning from Syedna Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra). Then when he also passed away, then he spent his life in serving and teaching, and doing khidmah of Tabi’in, and all of the wealth that came his way, he donated all of that for charity, and he lived a simple, humble life all the way till the end.

Now you tell me, that if we are living in these countries in the West, can we also not make a journey, while living here, but a journey of the heart to be more simple; a journey of the heart to follow zuhd; a journey of the heart to take out the hubb e dunya – the love of the materialistic world, a love that is ra’as al-kulli khata’ya ; that is the source of all error and sin that we make, can we not journey and pattern our life after the life of journey of Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra)?

These are the Sahaba Karam; these are the models of humanity; these are the medals of humanity; these are the wonders of humanity. The greatest creation after the Anbiya is the Sahaba (ra). It is our hope and our du’a that may Allah swt enable each and every one of us to follow this path of zuhd, and this teaching of zuhd, and to be like Syedna Salman al-Farsi (ra), and to be like all of the Sahaba Karam, and to be like our Syedna Rasool Allah sws, and to be the way Allah swt wants us to be.


وَآَخِرُ دَعْوَانَا أَنِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ


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One thought on “Lessons from the Life of Hadrat Salman al-Farsi (RA)

  1. Asslamu alikum wa rahmruallhe wabrrkaatuhu

    MashaAllah. Very inspiring biography. Lots of lesson to learn most important one is “zuhd”.

    Sad part was to read about prophet Muhammad s a w ‘a depart from his beloved Sahaba and time after that. It makes me cry evey time I think it read about it.

    JazakAllahu khairan katheeran

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