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Salmaan Al-Faarisi Ė The Seeker of Truth

Thursday 08/04/2010

Salmaan Al-Faarisi, may Allah be pleased with him, who had the alias Abu ‘Abdullaah, is said to be either from a town called Jay or Raam-Hormoz. He embarked on a spiritual quest with some people, but they betrayed him and sold him to a Jewish man. He embraced Islam after the arrival of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), in Madeenah. Slavery prevented him from witnessing the Battles of Badr and Uhud. The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), helped him fulfill his obligations laid out in his manumission contract with his master. He first fought alongside the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), in the Battle of Al-Khandaq (The Trench), and witnessed successive wars thereafter. Later, Caliph ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him, assigned him as ruler of Al-Madaa’in.

 
On a more detailed note, let us let Salmaan Al-Faarisi, himself, narrate [his story], as reported by ‘Abdullaah ibn Al-‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with them:
“I was a Persian, from the people of Isfahan, [specifically] a village therein called Jay. My father was the elder of his village and I was the dearest person to him. He loved me so much that he kept me in his house, like girls are [sheltered]. I strove hard in [my observance of] Zoroastrianism until I became the custodian of the fire, which I kindled without ever letting it extinguish however briefly. My father had an enormous piece of lucrative land; he was busy one day with construction work, so he said [to me], “O my son, I am occupied with [work on] this building today, so go and check out my property”. He also charged me with some errands he wanted me to run. I headed out towards his land and passed by one of the Christian churches, where I could hear them chanting. I did not know anything about those people because my father had isolated me in his house. So, when I passed them and heard their voices, I went inside to observe what they were doing. When I saw them, I was impressed with their prayer and became drawn to their path. I said, ‘By Allah, this is better than our religion.’ I swear by Allah, I did not leave them until the sun set and I had forgotten about my father’s land, which I did not go to. I asked them, ‘Where are the origins of this religion?’ They replied, ‘In Ash-Shaam (the Levant).’
I then returned to my father, who, by then, had dispatched people to look for me and I [found that I] had distracted him from all his work. When I approached him, he inquired, ‘O son of mine! Where were you? Did I not ask you to do what I mentioned in my request?’ I said, ‘O my father, [on my way] I came upon people who were praying in a church of theirs and I was impressed with what I saw of their religion. By Allah, I stayed with them until sundown.’ He responded, ‘O my son, there is no good in that faith. Your religion and that of your forefathers is far better.’ I maintained, ‘No, by Allah, it is better than our creed.’ He became afraid for me [and my faith], so he placed fetters on my legs and confined me in his house. I then sent a note to the Christians saying: ‘If any Christian merchants come to you from Ash-Shaam, tell me about them.’ They complied and informed me when some Christian traders came to them from there. So, I said to them, ‘When they have concluded their business and want to go back to their country, let me know.’ So, when they intended to return home, the Christians notified me and I cast the chains from my legs and went away with them.
When I arrived in Ash-Shaam, I inquired, ‘Who is the greatest religious figure?’ The people replied, ‘The bishop in the church.’ So, I went to him and said, ‘I like this religion and would very much like to stay with you, serve you in your church, learn from you and pray with you.’ He welcomed me, so I went in [and stayed there] with him. However, he was a bad man. He would command [people] and exhort them to give in charity, but withheld a great deal of it from the poor, for himself, so much so that he had amassed seven chests of gold and silver. I greatly abhorred him when I witnessed this act; he then died and the Christians gathered to bury him. So, I told them, ‘This man was evil; he ordered and urged you to donate, but when you brought charity to him, he kept it for himself and hardly gave any of it to the needy.’ They asked, ‘How do you know that? Show us where his treasure is.’ So I revealed its location to them and they extracted seven chests filled with gold and silver. When they discovered that, they declared, ‘By Allah, we will never bury him.’ Instead, they crucified him and pelted him with stones. 
Subsequently, they brought another man and appointed him in his place. I have never seen a man offering the five daily prayers who was better than him; he shunned this world, seeking [only] the Hereafter, and no one strove harder than him, day and night. I loved him to a degree I have never loved anyone before, and I stayed in his company for a while. Then, when he was about to pass away, I said [to him], ‘O so-and-so, I was with you and cared about you in a way that I have never done about anyone else. You are on the verge of death, so who do you advise me to go to now? What do you command me to do?’ He said, ‘O my son, by Allah, I do not know of anyone today who follows what I did. The people are doomed; they have all distorted and abandoned most of what they used to observe, except for one individual in Mosul. He is so-and-so, and he and I were on the same path, so go and join him.’
When he died and was buried, I traveled to that man in Mosul. I said to him, ‘O so-and-so, [that man in Ash-Shaam] advised me to come to you and told me that you follow what he used to.’ He said to me, ‘Stay with me.’ So, I did and found him to be a good man on the same course as his companion, but, he too, was soon in the throes of death. Then, I said to him, ‘O so-and-so, [the man in Ash-Shaam] suggested to me that I go to you and join you, but now, you are facing from [the fate of] Allah what you [best] know of. So, who do you advise me to go to? What do you order me to do?’ He said, ‘O my son, by Allah I do not know of anyone who follows what we used to, except a man in Nusaybin. He is known as so-and-so; go to him.’
So, when he passed away and was laid to rest, I visited the man in Nusaybin. I told him my story and what my companion had told me to do. He said, ‘Live with me here.’ I did and discovered him to be on the same path as his two companions [that I was with], and myself to be in the company of a good man. By Allah, death soon came to him [as well], and when he was in his last moments, I said to him, ‘O so-and-so, so-and-so advised me to go to someone, who then suggested I come to you. Now, who do you direct me to go to and what do you instruct me to do?’ He said, ‘O my son, by Allah we do not know anyone left who follows our path and to whom I can tell you to go, except a man in Amouria. He abides by [a creed] similar to ours so, if you wish, go to him, for he follows our way.’
Thus, when he became deceased and was put in the ground, I went to the man in Amouria and narrated my story to him. He told me to stay with [him], so I remained with this individual who was following the same way as his companions [who I was with]. I [also worked] and earned money until I came to possess cows and sheep. The Decree of Allah [i.e., the end of his life] soon drew near, so when he was on his deathbed, I said to him, ‘O so-and-so! I was with someone, who told me to go to so-and-so, then [that person] pointed me toward so-and-so, who, in turn guided me to you. Now, who do you advise me to go see and what do you command me to do?’ He said, ‘O my son, by Allah, I am not acquainted with anyone who follows our path who I can recommend you to go to. However, the time has come of the [advent of] a prophet, who will be sent with the religion of Ibraaheem (Abraham). He will appear in the land of the Arabs and will then emigrate to a land between two black rocks, flanked by palm trees. He will have very distinct characteristics: he will eat of what is conferred as a gift, but not from charity. Also, between his shoulder blades will be a mark, which is the Seal of Prophethood. If you can go to that land [where he is], then do so.’ The man died and was then buried.
I stayed put in Amouria as long as Allah willed that for me. Then, some merchants of the Kalb tribe passed by, so I requested them, ‘Will you take me to the land of the Arabs in exchange for these cows and sheep of mine?’ They agreed, so I gave them [the herd] and they escorted me there, but when they brought me to Waadi Al-Qura, they wronged me and sold me as a slave to a Jewish man. It was when I was with him that I saw the palm trees [around Madeenah]; I only hoped, and was not certain, that it was the land my companion had described to me. Whilst I was in his custody, a cousin of his from Banu Quraythah came to him from Madeenah and he sold me to him, who then took me [to his city]. By Allah, the moment I saw it, I recognized it from the description given to me by my companion [earlier]. I then settled there; meanwhile Allah sent [Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) as] His Messenger, who stayed in Makkah as long as he did and I did not hear of him because I was so tied down with the toil of a slave.
He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) then migrated to Madeenah. By Allah, [that day], I was working on top of a palm tree belonging to my master, who was sitting close by. His cousin then came and stood beside him, saying, ‘May Allah destroy the Banu Qaylah! [I swear] by Allah, right now they are gathering in Qubaa’ to welcome a man who has come from Makkah today; they say he is a prophet.’ When I heard that, I began to shiver so much that I thought I would fall on top of my master. I descended from the tree and addressed that cousin of his, asking, ‘What are you saying; what do you mean?’ My master became enraged and struck me with his fist, yelling, ‘What has it got to do with you? Go back to your work!’ I answered, ‘Nothing; I just wanted to make sure of what he was saying.’
I had collected some [food], and when evening came, I headed to the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) when he was in Qubaa’. I entered where he was and said to him, ‘I have heard that you are a righteous man and that you have companions who are strangers [to this city] and are destitute. This is something that I had to give in charity and I see that you are more in need of it than anyone else.’ I brought it close to him; then, the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said to his Companions, ‘[Go ahead and] eat,’ but refrained himself. So, I said to myself, ‘This is one [sign of the prophet that my companion had mentioned].’ So, I left and [eventually] gathered more food. By this time, the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) had moved to Madeenah, so I approached him and said, ‘I see that you do not eat from charitable offerings; this [food I am presenting now] is a gift with which I wish to honor you.’ The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) then ate some of it and told his Companions to dine with him, as well. I mentally remarked, ‘These are two [signs in him].’
Later, I approached the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) in Baqee‘ Al-Gharqad, where he had attended the funeral of one of his Companions; he had donned two shawls and was sitting among people. I greeted him with the salutations of peace and then moved behind him, trying to look at his back to spot the Seal that my companion had described to me. When the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) saw me doing that, he realized that I was seeking confirmation of something I had been told, so he let his upper garment fall off his back, and I saw the Seal and recognized it. Then, I embraced him, kissed [that mark] and wept. The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said to me, ‘Turn around.’ So, I did and related my story to him as I have narrated it to you, Ibn ‘Abbaas. The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) wished that his Companions would know of it, too.”
Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, then returned to his work and was kept busy with slave labor, so much so that he failed to attend [the battles of] Badr and Uhud. He says,
“Then the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said to me, ‘Draft a contract of manumission, O Salmaan.’ So I drew one up that stipulated my freedom from my master in return for three hundred palm trees, which I would plant for him, and forty Uqiyyah [(a measure of weight equivalent to 119 grams). The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) then said to his Companions, ‘Help your brother out.’ So, they assisted me with the palm trees: one man donated thirty small trees, another, twenty, someone else, fifteen and yet another individual gave ten, i.e., every person gave according to his ability, until they collected three hundred trees for me. Then the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) told me, ‘Go, Salmaan, and dig the holes where they are to be planted. When you finish, come to me and I will plant them with my own hand.’ So, I excavated the land and my companions assisted me; and when I had finished, I went to let the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) know. He came out with me and we started to carry the trees to him and he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) would plant them with his own hand. I swear by the One in Whose Hand the soul of Salmaan is, not a single tree of them withered.
Thus did I settle [the deal for] the trees, yet the issue of money still remained. A piece of gold the size of a chicken’s egg was brought to the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) from a mineral field. He then asked [after me], ‘What happened to the Persian who had a contract of manumission?’ Therefore, I was summoned by him and he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, ‘Take this and pay off what you owe, O Salmaan.’ I said, ‘How could this compensate for everything that is outstanding, O Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘Take it, and Allah will help you repay what is due on you.’ So, I took it and weighed it for them, and I swear by the One in Whose Hand [my] soul is, it was exactly forty Uqiyyah, so I settled my debt with it and was set free. Thereafter, I was [able to be] present with the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) at [the Battle of] Al-Khandaq (The Trench), and I did not miss any other major event with him.” [Ahmad]
 
An overview of his merits
Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), said: “The forerunners [to Islam] are four: among the Arabs, it is I; Suhayb is the forerunner of the Romans, Salmaan of the Persians and among the Abyssinians, that would be Bilaal.”
Furthermore, Kuthayr ibn ‘Abdullaah Al-Muzani, narrated from his father, who relates from his own father, that the Messenger of Allah,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), demarcated the trench [they were digging in preparation for war] and allotted forty cubits for each group of ten persons to work on. Since Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, was a burly man, both the Muhaajiroon (emigrants from Makkah) and the Ansaar (supporters in Madeenah) competed to have him in their excavation team. However, the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), settled that, by saying: “Salmaan is from us, the Ahlul-Bayt (household of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )).”
Another notable incident is reported by Abu Haatim on the authority of Al-‘Utbi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them who says: “Some garments were sent to ‘Umar for distribution, so he gave one to each man. Later, he ascended the pulpit clad in two garments and addressed the gathering, ‘O people, would you listen [to what I have to say]?’ Thereupon, Salmaan responded, ‘We shall not.’ So, ‘Umar asked, ‘Why is that, Abu ‘Abdullaah?’ He, may Allah be pleased with him, answered, ‘You gave each one of us one garment and now [we see] you are wearing two.’ ‘Umar then said, ‘Do not hasten in judging me, Abu ‘Abdullaah’, and called out, ‘O ‘Abdullaah’, but no one answered him. So, he said, ‘O ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar,’ to which [his son] replied, ‘I am here at your service, Commander of the Believers.’ ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, then said, ‘I adjure you by Allah, [to tell us] whether the other garment that I wear is yours [or not].’ So, ‘Abdullaah stated, ‘Yes, by Allah, [it is]’; hence, Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with them all, said, ‘Now, we can listen.’”
 
His extensive knowledge
Abu Juhayfah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrates: “The Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) established the bond of brotherhood between Salmaan and Abu Ad-Dardaa’. When the former paid a visit to the latter, he found [his wife] Umm Ad-Dardaa’ dressed in shabby clothes, so he inquired as to why she was in that state. She replied, ‘Your brother, Abu Ad-Dardaa’ is not interested in the pleasures of this world.’ Later, when Abu Ad-Dardaa’ came and served [Salmaan] food, and said to him, ‘[Please] eat, for I am [voluntarily] fasting’, Salmaan was emphatic: ‘I shall not eat unless you do, too,’ so he ate as well. Then, when it was night time, Abu Ad-Dardaa’ got up [for the night prayer], but Salmaan said [to him], ‘Sleep,’ and he did. Then, when he awoke [for prayer again], he was told, ‘[Go back to] sleep.’ When it was the last portion of the night, Salmaan said to him, ‘Get up now [for worship]’, so, both of them offered their prayers. Salmaan then advised Abu Ad-Dardaa’, ‘Definitely, your body has a right over you and your Lord has a right over you, and so do your guest and your family. Thus, fulfill the right that each is entitled to.’ Later, when both of them visited the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and mentioned this to him, he remarked,‘Salmaan has spoken the truth.’ [Al-Bukhari]
In another incident with his brother [in faith], according to Muhammad ibn Seereen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him “Salmaan visited Abu Ad-Dardaa’ on a Friday and was informed that he was asleep. When he asked after him, he was told that whenever it was a Friday, Abu Dardaa’ would pray the entire night preceding it and fast the day. So, Salmaan requested the wife of Abu Ad-Dardaa’, may Allah be pleased with them all, to prepare food on a Friday; then, he visited them. Abu Ad-Dardaa’ asked him to start eating [by himself], as he was fasting and could not join him. However, Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, urged him [to eat], until he relented. They went to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and related this to him, whereupon, he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said to Abu Ad-Dardaa’ while patting his thigh, ‘‘Uwaymir, Salmaan is more knowledgeable than you”; he repeated this thrice and then said, “Do not single out Fridays [for worship] even for prayer [or] fasting.’
Thaabit Al-Bunaani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him recounts [a very self-sacrificing act by] Salmaan, who was accompanied by Abu Ad-Dardaa’, may Allah be pleased with them, when the former wanted to propose to a young woman from Banu Layth. When the latter entered, he began to cite to the woman’s family the [many] merits of Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with them, his eminence and [conviction in] Islam. He then mentioned that he came to ask for the hand of a certain daughter of theirs in marriage to Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him. However, they informed him that they would wed their daughter, not to Salmaan, but him. Hence, Abu Ad-Dardaa’, may Allah be pleased with him, agreed to marry her. After they left, he said to his companion that something happened [inside] that he was ashamed to tell him about. Salmaan questioned what it was, whereupon Abu Ad-Dardaa’, may Allah be pleased with them, related the entire story. Consequently, Salmaan [simply] responded that he was the one that deserved more embarrassment for proposing to a woman whom Allah The Almighty had destined to be the wife of Abu Ad-Dardaa’, may Allah be pleased with them both.
 
An overview of his asceticism
Al-Hasan  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him was reported to have said that Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, used to receive a stipend of five thousand [in their local currency] for his job as the leader of almost thirty thousand Muslims. Nevertheless, the attire he would don for sermons was such that he used a part of it to sit on; and, immediately after collecting his salary, he would give it away entirely in charity and live off the wages he would earn from actual labor.
It is also said, as narrated by Maalik ibn Anas  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him that Salmaan Al-Faarisi, may Allah be pleased with him, would seek shelter in shade, moving wherever it did. Since he did not own a house, a man suggested building him one to protect him from the heat and the cold. Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, agreed, but as the man was leaving, he called him back to ask, “How would you build it?” [Knowing his personality], the man replied, “I will build a house that if you stand in it, your head will graze the ceiling; and if you lie inside, your feet will [nearly] knock the walls down.” Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, approved of that. In fact, ‘Ubaadah ibn Sulaym relates that Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, had a tent made of garments at the time that he was a ruler.
Abu ‘Abdur-Rahmaan As-Sulami  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him relates another incident of the marriage of Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, to a woman from the region of Kindah. On his wedding night, his companions escorted him to the house where his new wife was. When they arrived there, he did not let them in but asked them to return and supplicated to Allah The Almighty to reward them [for their kindness]. When he looked at the house that was draped in tapestries, [it is said] he wondered whether it was suffering from a feverish cold or the Ka‘bah had moved to Kindah [since the Ka’bah was similarly decorated]. He did not enter the house until all the curtains, except for the one on the door, were removed.
Then, when Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, crossed the threshold, he came upon a lot of things, which he found, after inquiring, to belong to him and his wife. Thereupon, he remarked, “My dear companion, the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) did not advise me to have so much stuff. Instead, he recommended that I possess the provisions of a traveler.” He also found maidservants, and when he asked who they were for, he was informed that they were his and his spouse’s. So, he said, “My beloved companion did not suggest that I have that; in fact, he advised me against [living with] women other than whom I either marry or marry off. If I keep these servants and they ever committed [a crime like] adultery, I, too, would incur the [punishment of the] like of their sins without their wrongdoing being diminished.”
After that, Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, requested the women inside the house to leave him and his wife alone, so they did; he closed the door and drew the curtain. Then, he moved toward his wife, sat with her, rubbed her forehead and supplicated to Allah The Almighty to bless her. He asked her if she would obey him in what he would ask of her and she replied that her stance was of one who would. Then, Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “My dear companion [i.e., the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )] advised me to perform an act of worship along with my wife, before we get intimate.” So, both of them moved to the prayer area, where they offered prayers for a while. Then, they went back [to their bedroom] and spent the night as husband and wife.
In the morning, the friends of Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, came to visit and asked how his wife was with him. He did not answer them, so they asked him again but he still did not reply. Then, when they repeated their question, he did not immediately respond; a while later, he said, “Indeed, Allah The Almighty decreed that screens, curtains and doors be used as covering for what goes on behind them. It should suffice each of you to ask about matters that are evident to him and not to be inquisitive about things that are hidden from him. Verily, I heard the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) saying that those who speak publicly about [spousal intimate relations] are like donkeys having intercourse in the street.”
Another incident showcasing the asceticism of Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, is related by Abu Qilaabah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him. He mentions that a man entered upon him while he was kneading, so he got astonished at that. Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, told him that he let the servant go out for a personal errand and disliked to combine two tasks for him to do. [What happened was that] the servant was to convey somebody’s greeting to someone, but had not done so. Therefore, acknowledging the significance of fulfilling people’s trust, Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, let his servant go do that first, even if it meant that he had to knead the dough himself. [Ahmad]
 
Toiling to earn a living
An-Nu‘maan ibn Humayd  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him narrates, “My uncle and I encountered Salmaan Al-Faarisi when he was in Al-Madaa’in working on the leaves of a palm tree; I heard him saying, ‘I would buy palm fronds for one dirham, work on it and then sell it for three dirhams [rather than not work]. I would retain one dirham of it as capital, spend one dirham on my family and give one dirham in charity. Even if [the Caliph] ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab prevented me from that, I would not stop.’” Al-Hasan  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him attested to that attribute of his, saying, “Salmaan would [only] live off his own hard work.”
 
An overview of his piety and modesty
Abu Layla Al-Kindi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him narrated that a young slave that belonged to Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, asked him for a manumission contract. So, when he, may Allah be pleased with him, inquired whether the boy even had any money to fulfill his end of the agreement, he replied in the negative and mentioned that he would beg for it. Hence, [since begging is frowned upon in Islam], Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, wondered, “Do you want to feed me on the filth of people?”
Thaabit  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him relates another incident: “A man from Ash-Shaam came with a load of chaff during the time Salmaan was ruler of Al-Madaa’in. Since his clothing appeared to be shabby, not knowing his true identity, the individual asked Salmaan to come and lift the pile, which he did for him. [Soon] people saw him and recognized him to be the ruler. The man exclaimed, ‘I did not know who you were!” Salmaan responded, ‘Well, I intended to carry this load for you, so I will not relieve myself of it until I reach your home.’”
His generosity, may Allah be pleased with him, was well known, as is evident from the comment of ‘Abdullaah ibn Buraydah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him: “If Salmaan had some money, he would buy some meat and invite [even] the lepers to eat with him.”
‘Umar ibn Abu Qurrah Al-Kindi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him had a more personal account: “My father offered his sister in marriage to Salmaan, but he declined and instead wed a bondwoman called Buqayrah. When Abu Qurrah [i.e., my father] came to visit him, he was informed that Salmaan was in a field of grains that belonged to him. He approached him and saw that he was shouldering a basket of legume by his stick that he put through the basket handles.”
Furthermore, Maymoon ibn Mahraan narrates on the authority of a man from [the clan of] ‘Abd Al-Qays who said, “I saw Salmaan in an expedition, and though he was the commander, he was wearing trousers, which showed from beneath his clothes [contrary to the style of the elite, indicating humbleness and modesty], and was riding a donkey with his feet nearly touching the ground [due to the animal’s short stature]. The soldiers then announced that the leader had come; Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, said, ‘Verily, good and evil [does not manifest in appearance or worldly glamour, rather, it] will be after today [i.e., the Hereafter].’”
Abu Al-Ahwas also relates another incident: “The men of Quraysh had a habit of outdoing each other in bragging in the presence of Salmaan. However, he would [humbly] state, ‘As for me, I was created from a dirty drop of discharge [i.e., semen] and will eventually degenerate into a stinky corpse. I will then be taken to the Balance [that weighs out every individual’s actions in life]; if [my good deeds’ scale] is heavy, then only will I be noble; and if it is found to be light, then I am despicable.’”
Moreover, Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, recounted how once “Salmaan was away [on business] and when he returned, ‘Umar received him and said, ‘To me, you are a satisfactory slave of Allah.’ So, Salmaan said, ‘Then marry [your daughter to] me,’ but ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with them, did not respond to him. Thereupon, he added, ‘Are you pleased with me as a servant of Allah but not as a husband for your daughter?’ In the morning, some people accosted Salmaan and asked him not to discuss such an engagement anymore. In turn, he said, ‘By Allah, I was not attracted to [that proposition] by either his position of authority or dominance. Rather, I merely thought that he was a righteous man and hoped that [if I marry his daughter], Allah would bring from me and his [family], righteous offspring.’”
When Abu Al-Aswad Ad-Du’ali  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him along with some people, asked ‘Ali to speak to them about Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with them, he praised him, saying: ‘Who [else] could bring you the like of Luqmaan the Wise? He is a man who is from us, the household of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). He possessed knowledge of the most ancient and last [of religions], and read the previous and final Books. He was like a sea whose water cannot be drained.’ Also, Mu‘aath ibn Jabal advised a man to seek knowledge from four persons, one of them being Salmaan.”
 
A look at his sayings and words of advice
Hafs ibn ‘Amr As-Sa‘di, narrated on the authority of his uncle that Salmaan said to Huthayfah, may Allah be pleased with them, “O fellow of Banu ‘Abs, knowledge is abundant and life is short. So, learn whatever you need to maintain your religion and disregard everything else.”
Abu Sa‘eed Al-Wahbi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him quoted Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, as saying, “A believer in the world is like an ill man accompanied by his physician, who is aware of his ailment and medicine. If he craves something that is harmful to him, the doctor will advise him against taking it and keep preventing the patient from doing so until he fully recovers. Likewise, a believer desires many things that Allah has conferred upon other people. However, Allah does not bestow [all of] them to the believer until He takes his soul and admits him to Paradise.”
Jareer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him records a conversation he had with Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him: “[He said:] O Jareer, be humble to Allah because he who does so in this world, Allah elevates him on the Day of Resurrection. O Jareer, do you know what the darkness will represent on the Day of Resurrection?’ I replied, ‘No.’ So, he said, ‘It will symbolize the injustice that people inflict on each other in the world.’ Then, he picked up a very small chip of wood that I could not make out between his fingers, and said, ‘O Jareer, if you endeavor to find the like of this splinter in Paradise, you will not find it.’ So, I asked, ‘Abu ‘Abdullaah, what about the palms and trees then?’ He said, ‘Its trunks are made of pearls and gold, and on top are the fruits.’”
Moreover, Abu Al-Bakhtari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him quoted Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, as saying, “The heart and the body are like two persons, one of them blind and the other disabled. The latter says, ‘I see some dried dates, but I cannot stand up [and go] get them, so take me to them.’ Then, the blind individual carries him and thus the disabled person gets to eat and gives the former some as well.”
Another of his axioms is reported by Qataadah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him: “If you commit a sin in secret, then do a good deed privately; and if your misdeed is public, then do a good deed openly, so that this would compensate for that.”
Yahya ibn Sa‘eed reported an interesting exchange between Abu Ad-Dardaa’ and Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with them, in which the former invited the latter to the “Holy Land”. This was the response: “The land sanctifies no one; it is one’s work that does that. I was told that you have been appointed a judge; so if you can bring about change, then you have been assigned a fitting post; but, if you are not a real professional, then beware lest you should kill a person and thus enter Hell.” Hence, Yahya ibn Sa’eed says that whenever Abu Ad-Dardaa’, may Allah be pleased with him, issued a verdict in a case between two persons and they would start to leave, his gaze would linger upon them and he would mutter, “By Allah, I am not a real professional”; he would then request them to return and relate their side of the story again.
Abu ‘Uthmaan An-Nahdi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him cites Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, as saying, “Three things intrigued me until they made me laugh [incredulously]: a person who hopes to have a long life though death seeks him [or her] out; a person who is neglectful of Allah The Almighty which He is not oblivious to him [or her], and someone who laughs out loud while simultaneously unaware if the Lord of the Worlds is pleased with him [or her] or not. Also, three things saddened me until they made my cry: [the possibility of] leaving Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and his group [of followers]; the horrors of the Day of Resurrection; and my standing in front of my Lord, Exalted is He, while I do not know if I will be admitted into Paradise or Hell.”
He  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him also attributes the following saying to Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him: “Any Muslim who is [alone] somewhere on earth and makes ablution [with water or, if unavailable, dust], performs the call to prayer and then offers it, will definitely lead soldiers from the angels [in prayer, in rows that are] never ending.”
There is another interesting incident in which Maymoon ibn Mahraan  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him went to Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, seeking his advice. The latter said, “Do not speak”; so, Maymoon  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him pointed out, “Anyone who lives among people cannot stay without uttering a word.” The response? “If you should speak, then only say what is true. Otherwise, keep silent.” Maymoon  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him pressed for more words of guidance, so, Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Do not be angry.” The former stated, “Sometimes, I am overwhelmed by unforeseen circumstances”; thereupon, the latter said, “If you should be inflamed, then [at least] restrain your hand and tongue.” Maymoon  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him sought more advice, so, Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, suggested: “Desist from interacting [much] with people.” He countered, “Whoever lives among people cannot help but intermingle.” So, the Companion, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “If you should mix with them, then speak the truth and fulfill the trusts.”
Furthermore, Abu ‘Uthmaan  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him narrates that Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “If a slave supplicates to Allah in good times and then, is afflicted with hardship, the angels say, ‘This is a known voice of a weak human,’ and thus intercede on his [or her] behalf. However, if a slave does not invoke Allah in prosperity and is hit by a calamity, the angels say, ‘This is an unknown voice of a weakling,’ and do not intercede for him [or her].”
He  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him also reports: “When the Muslims conquered Jawkha, they entered the city where food was in heaps like [mini] mountains. A man who was walking beside Salmaan said, ‘Abu ‘Abdullaah, do you not see what Allah has granted us [here]?’ He retorted, ‘Why should you like [all] this when people will be reckoned [in the Hereafter] for every grain that you see?’” [Ahmad]
Saalim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him recounts, “I was with my master, Zayd ibn Soohaan, in the market where Salmaan passed us having bought a Wasq (approximately 129 kilograms) of food. Hence, Zayd said to him, ‘Abu ‘Abdullaah, you do [so much shopping] although you are a companion of the Messenger of Allah?’ He replied, ‘Definitely; if the self gets what sustains it, it becomes satiated and, consequently, devoted to worship without the [distraction of an] obsessive urge [to eat].’”
Sa‘eed ibn Wahb  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him also tells a story: “Salmaan and I visited a friend of his from Kindah; he was ill, so Salmaan consoled him: ‘Verily, Allah The Almighty afflicts His believing slave with a disease and then cures him; and thus, the ailment expiates for his previous sins and he repents throughout the rest of his life. Also, Allah The Almighty harms the dissolute slave with a disease and then cures him; thus, he becomes like a camel whose owner has hobbled it and then set it free, yet it does not know why [that happened].’”
Moreover, ‘Atiyyah Al-Asadi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him relates, “Salmaan visited a sick man who was in the throes of death, and said, ‘O angel, treat him kindly.’ Then, he mentioned that the angel said that he is gentle with every believer.”
 
The death of Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him
Habeeb ibn Al-Hasan and Humayd ibn Muwarriq Al-‘Ijli  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them narrate that when Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, was on the verge of death, he wept. When asked why he was shedding tears, he said, “The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) advised us that our sustenance be like that of a traveler; [and my situation does not reflect that].” However, when he died, they looked in his house and all they found was a saddle, a rug and personal effects whose value was estimated at only twenty dirhams, roughly.
Abu Sufyaan  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him similarly reported on the authority of his predecessors: “Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqaas came to Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with them, to visit him [as he was on his deathbed], when he [suddenly] started crying. Sa‘d asked, ‘What makes you cry, Abu ‘Abdullaah? The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) died while he was pleased with you, and you will surely approach him at the Basin [in Paradise].’ Salmaan responded, ‘I actually do not cry because I am alarmed by death or out of a keen desire for this world. However, the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) enjoined us to have the provisions of a traveler. Look at [all] these possessions around me.’ [But], there was barely anything around him, save a tub for washing. Sa‘d then said, ‘Give us advice that we shall observe after you [are gone].’ [Salmaan] said, ‘O Sa‘d, remember Allah in moments that you think of something, make a judgment in and when you distribute donations [on behalf of yourself or as part of a job].’”
Furthermore, Ash-Sha‘bi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him recounts, “Salmaan received a packet of musk on the day the Muslims conquered Jaloolaa’, so he kept it with his wife. When his [time of] death drew near, he requested her to bring it, mix it in water and then sprinkle it around him, [saying] he would be approached by [esteemed] visitors who were neither humans nor Jinn. His wife complied, and after a short while, he passed away.”

Biographers state that Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, lived a long life and died in Al-Madaa’in, during the caliphate of ‘Uthmaan, may Allah be pleased with him. It was said that it was in the year 32 A.H.

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