(part 1 of 2): What’s in a name?
In 622 CE the prophet Muhammad, may God exalt him, and most of the Muslim community migrated from Mecca to Medina. At the time Medina was known as Yathrib. It was more a series of forts and fortifications in which several political factions were united by tenuous alliances than a city. Medina was ruled by two large Arab tribes, the Khazraj and Aws.
A group of influential leaders invited the prophet Muhammad and his followers to Medina. When Prophet Muhammad arrived there, several of the Jewish clans were uncomfortable, to say the least. In those early years the troubled Prophet established the first Islamic state. During that time some Jewish Medinese individuals accepted Islam, the most famous of which was Abdullah Ibn Salam, a well-respected and well-liked religious scholar and rabbi.
Husain Ibn Salam, as he was known at the time, was a religious man, dedicated to study and contemplation. He also worked in his small date orchard / plantation, but organized his time in such a way that his religious study and devotion always took precedence. He studied the Torah in detail, although historical records seem to indicate that the study of the Talmud played a small role in Judaism on the Arabian Peninsula at the time. In any case, because of his study Husain was aware of the verses in the Torah mentioning a prophet who would complete the message of all previous prophets. When he heard reports of a man in Mecca who claimed to be the prophet, the messenger of God, was immediately interested.
In the authentic traditions and in the translation of Husain / Abdullah’s own words, we find the following passage: “When I heard about the appearance of the messenger of God, I started asking questions about his name, genealogy, characteristics, his time and place and I started to compare that information with what was contained in our books. From these questions, I became convinced about the authenticity of his prophetic mission and affirmed the truth of his mission. ”
For some time, possibly years, Husain Ibn Salam continued to study his scripture and listen to the news about the prophet Muhammad. Then, in 622 CE, messengers rushed to the streets of Medina announcing that the messenger of God was in Quba, a short distance from Medina. The stories reported that Husain was in your dates of planting, the top of a palm tree. When he heard the news he shouted Allahu Akbar – God is great. His older aunt could hear the excitement in his voice and argued stating that he would no longer be excited if Moses himself was about to enter the city.
These words were correct because Husain Ibn Abdullah was of the opinion that Muhammad was the brother of Moses, since both were prophets. Without hesitation Husain joined the crowds running into the streets, hoping to meet and greet the prophet Muhammad. Husain reports that he moved through the crowd hoping to be close to the man he had been waiting for. The first words that Husain heard from the lips of the prophet Muhammad were “O people! Spread the peace … share the food … pray at night while others sleep … and you will enter paradise in peace … ”
Husain looked into the eyes of the prophet of God, searched his face and said with complete certainty: „There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah“. Upon hearing the words that came so spontaneously from the man’s lips, the prophet turned to him and asked in a gentle but strong voice: „What is your name?“ Husain said: „Husain Ibn Salam“. „From that day forward,“ said the prophet Muhammad, „he will be known as Abdullah Ibn Salam.“
 At-Tirmidi & Ibn Majah
(part 2 of 2): A man among the people of paradise
In the new city of Medina, relations between all political affiliations were strained. The composition of society was maintained by tribal and political alliances and any change threatened to plunge the area into chaos. The advent of Islam was one of those changes. Prophet Muhammad and his followers were invited to relocarem to Yathrib (now known as Medina) with the Prophet Muhammad, may God praise him, taking the lead from the surrounding area. The prophet’s diplomatic skills and loyalty were well known and admired. However, some groups, particularly some Jewish groups, did not want any change to their tenuous, yet profitable, alliances. This was the political scene in Medina and Abdullah Ibn Salam emerged from this mix.
In part 1 we learned that Husain Ibn Salam was a well-respected Jewish scholar and enjoyed the confidence of his community. Because of his studies Ibn Salam was convinced that the prophet Muhammad was the prophet foretold in the Torah. When Prophet Muhammad arrived in Medina, Ibn Salam ran to their presence and declared his belief in the teachings of Islam and the prophethood of Muhammad. Prophet Muhammad changed the name of Ibn Salam from Husain to Abdullah (the servant of God).
Abdullah Ibn Salam was excited to be in the company of the prophet Muhammad. She spent as much time as possible with him asking questions, talking about Islam and Judaism and enjoying the company of the man that the Torah had predicted so long ago. Abdullah Ibn Salam really wanted his people to accept Islam as his religion and Muhammad as his prophet. However, he feared how they would react if he informed them of his conversion. Ibn Salam was known among the Jews as a virtuous and well-educated man and discussed his problem with the prophet Muhammad. They agreed on a plan.
One day, when he was in the company of the respected Jewish elders of Medina, the prophet Muhammad asked them his opinions on the character of Ibn Salam. They replied: „He is the best among us, the son of the best among us, the one with the most knowledge and the son with the most knowledge“  and the prophet Muhammad continued to question them and ask their opinions if Ibn Salam learn and accept Islam. Jews reacted with horror. He would never do that, they cried! At that moment Ibn Salam entered and declared his conversion to Islam. Jews reacted angrily, but Ibn Salam knew the Jewish revealed books had predicted the coming of the Prophet Muhammad.
Although alliances were tenuous, all political factions in Medina, at least at first, accepted the leadership of the prophet Muhammad. They even brought matters of religious law to him. On one occasion when a group of Jews asked the prophet Muhammad to issue a sentence on an adulterous couple, he immediately asked what the rule was according to the Torah. They replied, „We disclose his mistake and the lash.“
Ibn Salam knew the correct punishment was stoning and insisted that the Torah itself was used to confirm his words. A copy of the Torah was brought and we found that an incorrect answer had been given to deliberately deceive the prophet. Abdullah Ibn Salam pointed the correct passages that were cleverly hidden under the hand of the Jewish man holding the scroll. The punishment in the Torah was stoning, Ibn Salaam read the correct passages and the prophet Muhammad ordered the rule to be maintained.
Abdullah Ibn Salam loved to be in the company of the prophet Muhammad. She spent as much time as possible with him and was happy with his conversations and company. It was devoted to the Quran and was often in the mosque praying, learning and teaching. He was known among Muslims as an efficient and dedicated teacher and his study circles were popular and well attended. Abdullah Ibn Salam was also known among Muslims in Medina as a man destined for Paradise. Among the authentic traditions of the prophet Muhammad is a story that explains exactly why Abdullah Ibn Salam was considered one of the people of Paradise.
Qays bin ‚Abbad said: „I was in the mosque when he came to pray a man whose face showed signs of humility. People said, „This is a man among the people of heaven.“ When he left, I followed him and talked to him. I said to him, „When you entered the mosque, people said you are one of the people of Paradise.“ He replied: “All praises are for Allah! Nobody should say what they don’t know. I’ll tell you why they say that. I had a dream during the time of the messenger of God and I told it to him. I saw that I was in a green garden (and described the plants and the vastness of the garden) and there was an iron pole in the middle of the garden affixed to the earth and its top reached the sky. In its tip they had a handle and told me to go up the post. I said, „I can’t“. Then a helper came and lifted my tunic and said to me, „Go up.“ I went up until I grabbed the handle and he said to me, „Hold the handle.“ I woke up from that dream with the handle in my hand. I went to the Messenger of Allah and told him about the dream and he said: „The garden is Islam, the pole, is the pillar of Islam and the strap is the most reliable support. You will remain a Muslim to death. “ 
 Saheeh Al-Bukhari
 Imam Ahmad