There are astounding parallels between the life of Salman and the lives of three great prophets, viz., Abraham, Joseph son of Jacob, and Muhammad Mustafa the son of Abdullah, may Allah bless them all.
Abraham defied his father who was an idolater; Salman defied his father who was a fire-worshipper; and Muhammad Mustafa defied the Quraysh of Makkah who were polytheists. The reason for this defiance by all three of them was the same, viz., their faith in the Oneness of their Creator. Their pure faith as monotheists made conflict with the polytheists inevitable.
To all three of them, the lands of their birth proved to be inhospitable because of their faith, and all three of them had to forsake them. Abraham migrated from Iraq to Canaan (Palestine) and to Makkah; Salman migrated from Persia to Syria and to Yathrib; and Muhammad Mustafa migrated from Makkah to Medina. Each of them found his destiny in the land of his adoption.
Salman arrived in Yathrib many years before the arrival of Muhammad Mustafa in that city. For all those years, he was harassed, tormented and overworked by a pitiless, wanton and sadistic master, and he did not know a day of peace.
During the ten years before his migration to Yathrib, Muhammad Mustafa was also subject to harassment and persecution in Makkah by the pagans, and he too did not know a day of peace.
Thus, in the time-frame, the period of the persecution of Muhammad Mustafa by the Quraysh coincided with the period of the persecution of Salman by a Jew. They were both being persecuted at the same time.
Both Joseph, the apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him), and Salman (may Allah be pleased with him), were sold into slavery. Slavery was an exceedingly painful experience for them; yet they knew that Allah was with them. They trusted Allah entirely for their safety, and they allowed the sequence of events to evolve, as per His Great Design. Also, they did not let their adversity and personal grief blot out their awareness of Allah's control over their destiny at any time.
The faith of Joseph and Salman triumphed over adversity. There were many dark moments in which they felt utterly forlorn but those moments passed, and they recovered cheer and hope. How could they be forlorn when Allah's mercy was their constant companion, they realized.
A time came when they found their freedom - Joseph from prison and Salman from slavery. Each of them also found some other “treasures.” Joseph found prophethood, and high rank in the government of Egypt. He used his new authority in the service of the suffering and toiling mass of humanity in Egypt. Salman found Muhammad Mustafa and Islam - the greatest of all treasures that any mortal could ever hope or wish to find.
Salman is also reminiscent of another Quranic figure - Luqman. Luqman was the great sage of antiquity. The 31st chapter of Quran is named after him. He is famous in the Muslim world for his homespun wisdom.
In his workaday life, at one time, Luqman was a slave and a craftsman. So was Salman.
Luqman overcame the temptation to become rich and powerful, even though he had the opportunity to become both. He refused worldly power and a kingdom when they were offered to him.
Salman too could have become rich and powerful but he too rose above temptation, and refused wealth and power.
Both Luqman and Salman chose for themselves lives of austerity and abstinence but they were not ascetics. They were puritanical without ever being ostentatious. The keynote of their lives was spontaneity, simplicity and freedom from affectation.
According to Luqman, human wisdom looks to Allah in true worship, seeking the light of guidance; and ennobles every act of life with true kindness to one's fellow human beings. Wisdom as expounded by him, is true service to Allah, and consists in moderation in all things.
To Luqman, as to Salman, true human wisdom was a part of Divine wisdom, and the two could not be separated. The beginning and the end of all wisdom, they believed, was conformity with the Will of Allah.
Luqman and Salman had the same outlook on life. This made them “philosophical allies” of each other even though they lived far apart from each other - hundreds of years in time and vast expanses of land in space.
May Allah be pleased with His slave, Salman who was endowed with many characteristics of the prophets and the sages but whose greatest pride was in being an 'ummatti' and a slave of Muhammad e Mustafa, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and his Ahl al Bayt).
Salman al Farsi
(Salman the Persian)
Friend of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hf)
By Sayed A. A. Razwy
Contributed by Br. Ali Abbas, email@example.com