Chapter 9: Report of Salman Farsi regarding the advent of Prophet Muhammad
1 - Narrated to us my father (r.a.): Narrated to us Muhammad bin Yahya al-Attar; and Ahmad bin Idrees, all of them from Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Isa from Muhammad bin Ali bin Mahziyar from his father who asked from Musa bin Ja’far (a.s.):
“O son of Allah’s Messenger, will you not tell us what was the reason Salman Farsi accepted Islam?
He replied: my father (a.s.) informed me that one day Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.), Salman Farsi, Abu Zar and a group of people from Quraish had congregated at the tomb of the Holy Prophet (S) when Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said to Salman Farsi: O Aba Abdillah will you not tell us the beginning of your story? Salman said: By Allah O Amirul Momineen, if anyone other than you had asked I would not have told anything. I was a resident of Shiraz and the son of a farmer and my father loved me very much.
One day I was going with my father to attend a festival of the people of that town when by chance we passed by a monastery in which a man was screaming: I testify that there is no god except Allah and that Isa is the spirit of Allah and Muhammad is the beloved of Allah. Thus the description and praise of Muhammad permeated my flesh and blood and after that I was interested in neither eating nor drinking. My mother asked: What is wrong with you son, that today you did not prostrate at the time of the rising of the sun? When I opposed her she fell silent. When I went to my room I saw a letter hanging from the roof. I asked my mother what that letter was.
She said: O Ruzbah when we returned home after celebrating our festival, we found it hanging from the roof. So you don’t go near it. If you do so your father will kill you. Salman said that he continued to argue with his mother. When night fell and my parents went to sleep, I arose and took up the letter. I saw written therein: In the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful. It is a covenant from Allah with Adam that He will create a prophet from his loins who will be named Muhammad.
He will teach the best of morals and restrain the people from idol-worship. O Ruzbah, go to the legatee of Isa, accept the Faith and leave the Majoosi11 religion. He (Salman) says that after this he screamed and fell down unconscious and his trouble increased. He says: Thus my father became aware of this and he cast me into a deep pit. He said: Come back to your religion or I would kill you. I told him: You do whatever you like with me. The love of Muhammad will not leave my heart. Salman says: Before reading that letter I didn’t know Arabic and Allah, the Mighty and Sublime taught me this language from this day. He says: I remained in that pit and they used to throw small pieces of bread to me.
When my matter became prolonged I raised up my hands to the heavens and prayed: O my Lord, You have put the love of Muhammad and his legatee in my heart. So I beg you in their name that You hasten my deliverance and take me out from the condition I am in. At that moment a person came to me dressed in white. He said: Ruzbah, get up. After that he held my hand and took me to the monastery.
I began to recite: I testify that there is no god except Allah and Isa is the spirit of Allah and that Muhammad is the beloved of Allah. The person who resided in the monastery came to me and asked: Are you Ruzbah? “Yes,” said I. He said: Go up. I went up and continued to serve him for two complete years. When it was the time of his death he said: I am going to die. I asked him: On whom are you leaving me? He said: I don’t know anyone who follows my beliefs except a monk who lives in Antioch. Thus if you meet him, convey my salutations to him and give him this tablet. Saying this he gave me a tablet.
When he died I gave him the funeral bath, shrouded and buried him and taking the tablet set out for Antioch. When I reached the monastery in Antioch I began to recite: I testify that there is no god except Allah and Isa is the spirit of Allah and that Muhammad is the beloved of Allah. The resident of the monastery came to me and said: Are you Ruzbah? “Yes,” said I. He said: Go up. I went up and continued to serve him for two complete years. When it was the time of his death he said: I am going to die. I asked him: On whom are you leaving me? He said: I don’t know anyone who follows my beliefs except a monk who lives in Alexandria.
Thus when you meet him, convey my salutations to him and give him this tablet. Saying this he gave me a tablet. When he died I gave him the funeral bath, shrouded and buried him and taking the tablet reached the monastery he had indicated. Upon reaching there I began to chant: I testify that there is no god except Allah and Isa is the spirit of Allah and that Muhammad is the beloved of Allah. Thus that monk came to me and asked: Are you Ruzbah? “Yes,” said I. He said: Go up.
I went up and continued to serve him for two complete years. When it was the time of his death he said: I am going to die. I asked him: On whom are you leaving me? He said: I don’t know anyone in the world who follows my beliefs and indeed the birth of Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Abdul Muttalib is near. So if you meet him, convey my salutations to him and give this tablet to him. When he died I gave him the funeral bath, shrouded and buried him and set out taking the tablet with me. I met a group of people and I offered to serve them if they gave me food and water and they agreed.
When their mealtime arrived, they tied up a sheep and beat it to death. After that they prepared Kebab with some of the meat and some they roasted red on the fire. When I declined to partake it, they said: Eat it! I told them: I am a monk and a young man that spent his life in a monastery and monks do not eat meat. They began to beat me and were about to take my life when some of them said: Wait till the wine arrives. And know that he would not take wine also. When they brought the wine I said: I am a monk and young man who lived in a monastery and the people of monastery do not imbibe wine.
They tied me up and decided to eliminate me. I said: O people, do not beat me or put me to death as I have confessed to be a slave of yours. And I agreed that I was a bondman of one of them. That person saved me from those people and sold me to a Jew for three hundred dirhams. Salman says that the Jew asked me about my story and I told him about it and said that I had no fault except that I loved Muhammad and his legatee. The Jew said: Then know that I hate you and Muhammad. He took me outside his house where there was a huge quantity of sand. He said: O Ruzbah, if you are not able to shift all the sand till the morning next I will surely kill you. Salman says: I spent the whole night shifting that sand from one place to another.
When I was absolutely exhausted, I raised my hands to the sky and prayed: O my Lord, You have filled up my heart with the love for Muhammad and his legatee. So I ask you in their names, please hasten my deliverance and save me from this terrible situation. So Allah, the Mighty and Sublime sent a windstorm that transferred all the sand to the spot that Jew had specified. In the morning the Jew was surprised that I had shifted all the sand.
Then he said: O Ruzbah, since you have proved to be a sorcerer, I shall throw you out of this town so that you may not destroy the locals. Thus he externed me from there and sold me to a kind-hearted lady. She was very kind to me. She had an orchard which she put at my disposal and said: It is for you, you can take whatever you want from it or give to anyone or spend in charity.
Salman says that: I lived in that orchard for a very long time. One day I was sitting there when a group of seven persons shaded by a cloud came towards me. I said to myself: By Allah all of them cannot be prophets but one of them is definitely a prophet. They moved forward and entered the orchard and the piece of cloud was also moving with them. The group that entered the orchard comprised of the Messenger of Allah (S), Amirul Momineen (a.s.), Abu Zar, Miqdad, Aquil bin Abi Talib, Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib and Zaid bin Haritha.
They entered the orchard and began to eat the date fruits that had fallen from the trees. The Messenger of Allah (S) was saying: Eat the fallen date fruits and do not spoil anything that belongs to these people. So I went to my owner and said: Please give me a tray of fresh dates. She said: You can have six. Salman says that he took up a tray of fresh dates and said to himself: If one of them is a prophet he would not eat Sadaqah and he would not mind eating a present. So I kept the tray before them and said: This is Sadaqah. The Messenger of Allah (S) said: Eat it.
But he himself abstained from eating as did Amirul Momineen (a.s.), Aquil bin Abi Talib and Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib. Zaid was told to go ahead and eat. I said to myself that this was the first sign of prophethood. Then I went to my mistress and said: Give me another tray. She said: You can have six. Salman says that I picked up a tray and came to them and placed the fresh dates before them and I said: This is a present. The Messenger of Allah (S) stretched out his hand and uttered: In the Name of Allah…eat.
All of them began to eat the dates. So I said to myself: This is the second sign. After that when I moved towards his back the Holy Prophet (S) became attentive to me and said: Ruzbah, are you looking for the mark of prophethood? “Yes,” I said. He displayed his shoulders and I saw the mark of prophethood on him and above it were some hair. Salman says that he fell down at the feet of the Messenger of Allah (S) and began to kiss them. He (the Prophet) said: Ruzbah, go to that lady and say that Muhammad bin Abdullah is asking if she would sell this slave to him.
So I went to her and said: Muhammad bin Abdullah is asking if you would sell this slave to him? She replied: I will not sell the slave except in exchange of four hundred date trees two hundred of which should be yellow and two hundred golden. Salman says that when he conveyed this to the Holy Prophet (S) he said: How easy is that which she has asked. Then he said: Arise, O Ali and gather all the date seeds. Ali gathered all the seeds and sowed them in the ground. The Prophet told him to pour water on them which Ali did. He had hardly finished watering that the trees grew up so much that they began to strike one another.
Then the Prophet told me to go to the lady and tell her: Muhammad bin Abdullah is saying: Take your thing and give me mine. Salman went and told the lady. She came out, saw the trees and said: By Allah, I will not sell him unless all the trees become yellow. Salman says: Jibraeel descended and touched his wings to those trees. All of them became yellow. Then the Messenger told me: Go and tell her: Muhammad is saying:
Take your thing and give me mine. Salman says that when I conveyed this to her she said: By Allah, one of those trees is more precious to me than your Muhammad and you. I said: By Allah, a day in the company of Muhammad is more precious to me than you and everything including you. After that the Messenger of Allah (S) emancipated me and named me Salman.”
The author says: The name of Salman was Ruzbah Ibne Khasboodan and he had never prostrated to the sun. He always prostrated to Allah, the Mighty and Sublime. Since the Qibla direction towards which he had been commanded to pray was in the east, his parents thought that he was also prostrating to the sun like them.
Salman was the legatee of the legatee of Isa (a.s.) and he was entrusted with the burden that terminates at the successorship of the Imams. The name of Isa’s legatee was Aabi and some people say that it was His Eminence, Abu Talib. This group has erred at this point because when Amirul Momineen (a.s.) was asked about the last successor of Isa (a.s.) he said: ‘Aabi’. But people mistook it for ‘Abi’ which in Arabic means: My father. And Burdah has also mentioned this.
- 1. Fire worship