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(part 1 of 2): From Zoroastrianism to Christianity

The blessed companion of Prophet Muhammad, God’s blessings and peace be upon him, Salman al-Farisi [1] reported his journey to Islam as follows:

“I was a Persian man from the people of Isfahaan [2] from a town known as Jayi. My father was the city administrator. For him I was the most beloved creature of God. His love for me reached the point that he entrusted me to monitor the fire [3] he was lighting. He never let it die.

My father owned a large piece of fertile land. One day when he was busy with his construction, he told me to go to his country and do some of the tasks he wanted. On my way to his country I passed a Christian church. I heard the sounds of people praying inside. I didn’t know how people lived outside because my father kept me in the house. So when I passed these people [in the church] and heard their voices, I went in to see what they were doing. ”

When I saw her, I liked her prayers and became interested in her religion. I said [to myself]: „By God, this religion is better than ours.“ By God, I didn’t leave her until sunset. I have not returned to my father’s country.

I asked [ie the people in the church]: “Where does this religion come from?”

“They said: ‚From Al-Sham.‘ [4]

I came back to my father who was worried and sent [someone] after me. When I arrived he said: ‚O son! Where have you been? Didn’t I send you off with a task? ”

I said, “My father, I passed people praying in their church and I liked their religion. By God I stayed with them until sunset. ”

My father said: “My son! There is nothing good in their religion; your religion and that of your forefathers is better. ‚

„No, by God, it’s better than our religion.“

He threatened me, tied my feet and kept me in the house. I sent a message to the Christians to let me know if there is any Christian trade caravan coming from Al-Shaam. A caravan of merchants arrived and they told me; then I told them [the Christians] to let me know when the caravan people had done their business and were leaving to return to their country. I was [actually] notified when the Al-Shaam people were done and ready to go to their country, so I released the bonds from my feet and accompanied [the caravan] until we were Al-Shaam reached.

When I arrived I asked, „Who is the best in the people in this religion?“

They said: “The bishop. [He is] in the church. ”

I went to him and said, „I like this religion, and I would like to stay with you and serve you in your church so that I can learn from you and pray with you.“

He said: „You can come in and stay with me“, so I joined him. After a while, Salman discovered something from the bishop. He was a bad man who ordered and motivated people to pay alms just to keep them to themselves. He didn’t give them to the poor. He had piled up seven vessels of gold and silver! Salman continued:
I despised him for his actions.

He [the bishop] died. The Christians gathered to bury him. I informed her that he had been a bad man who had given alms and motivated people to keep them to himself and that he had given none of them to the poor. They said, „How do you know that?“

I replied, „I can show you his treasure.“

They said, „Show him to us!“

I showed them the place [where he kept it] and they brought out seven vessels filled with gold and silver. When they saw this, they said,

By God, we will never bury him.“ Then they crucified and stone him. [5]

They replaced their bishop. I have never seen one [of them] praying better than he [the new bishop]; or a man who had become more detached from this worldly life and hung on the hereafter, or a person who was more committed to working day and night. I loved him more than anyone before.

I stayed with him until some time before he died. When his death approached, I said to him:

“Oh [so and so], I stayed with you and loved you more than anything before. Now God’s order [ie death] has come, so what do you command me to do? ”

The bishop said: “By God! People are completely lost; they changed [the religion] they lived by. I don’t know anyone who still adheres to the religion I lived in except a man in al-Musil,

[6] so join him [and he gave me his name]. ”

When the man died, Salman moved to al-Musil and met the person he recommended …
I said to him, „[He and He] advised me to join you when his death came.“ He told me that you have the same [religion] as him. ” I stayed with him and found him the best man to hold onto his companion’s [religion] affair.

Soon he died too. When death was near, Salman asked him (as he had previously done with the first companion) to recommend another person belonging to the same religion.
The man said: “By God! I don’t know anyone who represents the same thing [religion] as ours except for a man in Naseebeen [7] and his name is [so and so], so go to him and join him. ”
After his death I went to see the man from Naseebeen. ” Salman found the man and stayed with him for a while. The same events were repeated. Death was approaching and before he died, Salman came to the man and asked for his advice to whom and where to go. The man recommended Salman to join another man in Amuria [8] who followed the same religion.

Salman moved to Amuria after his companion passed away. He found his new recommendation and joined him in his religion. Salman worked [at the time] and „earned a couple of cows and a sheep.“

Death approached the Amuria man. Salman repeated his request, but [this time] the answer was different.

The man said: “O son! I don’t know anyone who follows the same [religion] as we do. But a prophet will appear in your lifetime, and this prophet is of the same religion as Abraham. ”
The man described this prophet by saying: “He is sent with the same religion as Abraham. He will come from the land of Arabia and he will emigrate to a place that lies between two countries full of black stones [as if they were burned by fire]. There are palm trees in the middle of these two countries. It can be recognized by certain characters. He [will accept] and eat [the] food that is given to him as a gift, but he will not eat alms. The seal of prophecy will be between his shoulders. If you can move to this country, do it. ”

Footnotes:

Al-Haithami collected this report in Majma ‚Al-Zawa’id.
[2] Isfahaan: A region in northwest Iran.
[3] His father was a magician who served fire.
[4] Al-Shaam: It includes areas known today as Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Jordan.
[5] An important point here is that because of a person’s actions, Salman has not turned away from what he thought was the truth. He didn’t say, „Look at these Christians! The best of them is so bad! ” He had understood that he had to measure religion by its belief conditions and not by its followers.
Al-Musil: A capital in northwestern Iraq.
[7] Naseebeen: A city on the way between Al-Musil and Al-Shaam.
[8] Amuria: A city that has been part of the eastern region of the Roman Empire.

 

(part 2 of 2): From Christianity to Islam

The man died and Salman stayed in Amuria. One day some traders from the calf tribe [1] passed me: ”Salman said:“ I told them: ‚Take me to Arabia and I will give you my cows and my only sheep that I have.‘ ” They said, „Yes.“ Salman gave them what he had offered and they took him away. When they reached Waadi al-Quraa [near Medina], they sold him to a Jewish man as a slave. Salman stayed with the Jew and he saw the palm trees [described by his former companion].

„I hoped this would be the same place my companion described.“

One day a man who was a first cousin of Salman’s lord from the Bani Quraidha Jewish tribe came to visit Medina. He bought it from his Jewish master.
“He took me to Medina. With God! When I saw it, I knew it was the place my companion had described, and then God [2] sent His Messenger [ie, Muhammad, God’s blessings and peace be upon him]. He stayed in Mecca as long as he stayed. [3] I hadn’t heard from him because I was busy slavery and then he emigrated to Medina.

[One day] I was in the crown of a palm tree to do some work on the date bundles for my master. A first degree cousin of his had come and stood in front of him [his master was sitting] and said: “Woe to Bani Qeelah [people of the Qeelah tribe], they are all gathered in Qibaa [4] around a man who has come from Mecca today , and claims to be a prophet! ”

I trembled so much when I heard him that I was afraid of falling on my master. I got down and said, ‚What are you saying? What are you saying !? ‚

My lord got angry, hit me hard and said, „What do you have to do with this? Go and take care of your work. ”
I did not say anything! I just wanted to be sure of what he was saying. ”

That evening I went to see the Messenger of God while he was in Qibaa. I took something that I had kept with me. I went in and said, “I was told that you are a righteous man and that your company, which is a stranger here, is in need. I want to offer you something that I saved as alms. I think you need it more than anyone else. ”

I offered it to him, he said to his companions: „Eat,“ but he himself held his hand back [ie, he didn’t eat]. I said to myself, „This is one [ie, one of the signs of prophecy].“
At this meeting with the Prophet, God’s blessings and peace be upon him, Salman went to prepare another trial! This time he brought a gift to the Prophet in Medina.

„I saw that you didn’t eat the alms, so here’s a gift I want to honor you with.“ The Prophet ate of it and ordered his companions to do what they did. I said to myself, „Now there are two [ie, two signs of prophecy].“

At the third meeting, Salman came to Baqi-ul-Gharqad [a cemetery in Medina], where the Prophet, God’s blessings and peace were on him. attended the funeral of one of his companions. Salman said:

“I greeted him [with Islam’s greeting: ‚Peace be with you‘], and then I moved behind his back and tried to see the seal [of prophecy] that my companion had described. When he saw what I was doing, he knew I was trying to confirm something that had been described to me. He took the garment off his back and I saw the seal. I recognized it. I fell down, kissed it and cried. The Messenger of God, God’s blessings and peace be upon him, told me to turn [ie to speak to him]. I told him my story as I tell you, Ibn ‚Abbaas [to remember, Salman tells his story to Ibn‘ Abbaas]. He [the Prophet] liked her so much that he wanted me to tell her to his companions.

He was still a slave that belonged to his master. The Prophet said to him, „Make a contract [with your Lord] for your freedom, O Salman.“ Salman obeyed and made a contract [with his master] for his freedom. He made an agreement with his master that he would pay him forty ounces of gold, and he would successfully plant and raise three hundred new date palms. The Prophet said to his companions, „Help your brother.“

They helped him with the trees and collected the amount for him. The Prophet instructed Salman to dig the right holes to plant the seedlings, and he planted each one with his own hands. Salman said,

„In whose hands my soul is [ie, God], not a single tree died.“

Salman gave the trees to his master. The Prophet gave Salman a gold piece the size of a hen’s egg and said, „Take this, O Salman, and pay [your lord] what you owe.“
Salman said, “How much is this in relation to what I owe!” The Prophet said, “Take it! God will do what you owe. ”[5] I took it and weighed part of it and it was forty ounces. Salman gave the gold to his master. He fulfilled the agreement and was released, and from then on Salman became one of the Prophet’s closest companions.

The search for the truth

One of the Prophet’s greatest companions, Abu Hurairah, reported:
“We were in the company of the Messenger of God when the Sura al Jumuah (Sura 62) was revealed. He recited these words:
“And [God also sent Muhammad to] other of them who have not caught up with them (but who are yet to come) …” (Quran 62: 3)
One of them asked, ‚O Messenger of God ! Who are the ones who haven’t caught up with us yet? ‚
The Messenger of God didn’t answer. Salman the Persian was among us. The Messenger of God put his hand on Salman and said, ‚With the one in whose hands is my soul, even if faith were near the Pleiades (the seven stars), men of these [ie Salman’s people] would surely have him to reach.“ (At-Tirmidhi)
Many in this world are like Salman, looking for the truth about the One and Only True God. This story of Salman is like the stories of people in our own time. The search of some people led them from one church to another, from the church to Buddhism or passivity, from Judaism to ´neutrality´, from religion to meditation to mental abuse. There are those who have switched from one performance to the next, but have not even thought of wanting to learn about Islam! When they met a few Muslims, their minds opened up. The story of Salman is that of a long search. You could shorten your search for the truth by taking advantage of it.

 

Footnotes:

[1] An Arab tribe.
[2] Salman came to Medina before Muhammad, God’s blessing and peace be upon him, was called to be a prophet.
[3] Thirteen years later, he received the revelation from God.
[4] The outskirts of Medina.
[5] A miracle from God.

 


Source: https://www.islamland.com/deu/articles/salman-der-perser-zoroastrier-persien