Salman's Meeting with Muhammed Mustafa (S.A.W) and his Induction into Islam
According to the investigations and researches of the Arab historians, Salman was born in or around the year 568 A.D., in a small town in Persia called Jiyye. The modern city of Isfahan stands on the site of Jiyye. Incidentally, Salman was not the name given to him at his birth. His Persian name was Rozeba. Many years later when he became a Muslim, his master, Muhammed Mustafa, the Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him and his Ahlul-Bayt), changed his name to Salman. During the years when he was at the court of his master, Muhammed Mustafa, his friends sometimes, also addressed him, as Abu Abdullah (the father of Abdullah).
Salman's father was a rich landlord and a powerful political figure in Jiyye and the surrounding areas. He had much prosperity in the city, and vast estates in the country, and he had numerous slaves and many herds of horse. Since Salman was his only son he lavished all his love upon him.
One evening Uthman bin Ashhel was away from the oasis on some business, and Salman availed of the opportunity to realize his wish, He put the ripe and fresh dates which he had earned that day as his wages, in a bag, and went into the city to find Muhammed (may Allah bless him and his family), and to have audience with him.
Muhammed Mustafa (S.A.W) was living, at this time, in the house of Hadhret Abu Ayub Ansari (may Allah be pleased with him), as his guest, each step that Salman took toward his destination heightened his anticipation. And then the great moment came. Salman the Persian was escorted into the presence of Muhammed Mustafa (S.A.W), the beloved of God, and his (Salman's) own unseen beloved. His heart was bounding inside his ribs like a bird fluttering in a cage but he was making a supreme effort to steady himself. Suddenly, he was arrested in mid-motion by the vision framed in the arch.
Muhammed Mustafa (may Allah bless him and his family) was seated in the reception room of the house. A few companions sat in front of him. Salman's first glance fell upon his face, and all at once he felt himself dazzled by a thousand sparkling lights. He heard himself saying quietly: "By God, this cannot be the face of a man who has ever told a lie. If there is any face that can be the face of a messenger of God, that is the face of this man."
After the exchange of preliminary greeting, Salman stated the purpose of his visit. Muhammed Mustafa (S.A.W) told Salman that the message that he had brought, was called Islam, and he explained its meaning to him as total surrender of a man, without reservation, to the Will and pleasure of Allah. Salman could not wait long enough and begged Muhammed Mustafa (S.A.W) to admit him to the company of those slaves of Allah who surrender themselves to His Will and His pleasure.
Muahmmed Mustafa, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and his family), thereupon, inducted Salman the Persian into Islam. The first requirement for Salman in this induction was to believe that God was One and had no partners or associates, and that Muhammed was His Messenger. The doctrine of the Oneness of God is called Tauheed, and it is the axis of Islam. The mission of Muhammed as God's last messenger to mankind is called Risalet. The second requirement for Salman was to declare his faith in Tauheed and in Risalet.
Salman had been enlisted into the service of Allah by His Own Messenger - Muhammed Mustafa(S.A.W) - an honor and a distinction he was to remain proud of all his life, At the same time, he was also admitted into the ranks of his (Muhammed's) friends.
Induction into Islam was an appropriate occasion for change of Salman's name. His Persian name was Rozeba. Muhammed Mustafa, the Messenger of Allah, changed it to Salman. Salman loved his new name; he forgot his Persian name, and he is known to history only by his Islamic name.
Then Muhammed Mustafa (may Allah bless him and his family) read, for Salman's edification, some passages from Quran Majid - the book revealed to him by Heaven - and he was carried away by its magisterial cadences. Those words, which he heard, were "incandescent". And he sensed that they could not have been put together anywhere but in Heaven itself.
After this momentous event, Salman came to see the Messenger of Allah as often as he could, and each time, he brought, either a present for him or sadaqa (charity) for his companions. He brought only what he had earned as his wages.
It was inevitable that Salman would arouse the curiosity of the Muslims who had seen him; just as earlier, he had, that of the Jews. Eventually, Muhammed Mustafa (may Allah bless him and his Ahlul-Bayt) himself asked him to tell the story of his life. Salman then recounted the saga of his life.
Seemingly the long journey for Salman had ended. He had discovered the fountainhead of Eternal Truths and Everlasting Bliss in Islam, and he has become a personal friend of Muhammed Mustafa, the Messenger of Allah. However, his status as a slave hung like a dark cloud over his life.
Muhammed Mustafa (may Allah bless him and his Ahlul-Bayt) who was a mercy for all Creation, was aware of Salman's distress, and suggested to him one day to ransom his freedom. Salman broached the subject to his master hoping that he would agree to set him free for a ransom. But the latter who knew Salman had become Muslim, refused to ransom him because he believed he would become a soldier in Muhammed's army and fight against the Jews.
Eventually, however, after the expulsion of two of the three Jewish tribes of Medina, after their betrayals at the Battle of Badr and the Battle of Uhud, Uthman bin Ashhel become a little less unreasonable. Therefore, when Salman broached the subject of paying ransom for his freedom once again, he (Uthman) was willing to listen, and he was willing to negotiate the terms of his emancipation with him.
Uthman specified to Salman the price of his freedom. Salman would have to plant in Uthman's gardens, three hundred young date palms, and he would pay him 40 oz. of gold.
Salman presented these terms to Muhammed Mustafa (S.A.W). The latter, thereupon, turned to his companions, and said to them: "Assist your brother."
All the companions rose to assist their brother. One of them brought thirty saplings; another brought twenty; a third brought fifteen; a fourth ten, and so on, until they had collected all three hundred as required by the Jew. The Prophet then ordered the companions to dig the earth in which the saplings were to be planted. When the ground was ready for planting, he himself came, and planted the first tree with his own hands. Then the companions took charge of the project, and planted the other trees. Every tree struck roots, and not one out of the three hundred was lost.
Three hundred date palms were planted in the garden of Uthman bin Ashhel but Salman still had to pay 40 oz. of gold to him. He was not free yet.
A few more weeks passed, and then one day Muhammed Mustafa (may Allah bless him and his Ahlul-Bayt) sent for Salman. When the latter came into the Mosque, he noticed that he was seated on the floor, and his companions sat around him. In front of him there was a tray and in the tray there were some nuggets of gold.
The Messenger of Allah gave the gold to Salman and told him to take it and give it to his master as the balance of his ransom.
Suddenly everything changed for Salman. The gulf between slavery and freedom had appeared to him to be unfathomable and unbridgeable. But he had called Allah and His Messenger for aid. They had responded, and with their aid, he had cleared the "gulf."
Islam and Freedom had extricated Salman from the vast wilderness of time which his past had been until then, and from that moment, he became "future-oriented," as five years earlier, he had become "Islam-oriented."
After his emancipation from the slavery of a Jew, Salman the Persian became a slave once again - voluntarily. This time he chose his own master, and they were Allah and His Messenger, Muhammed Mustafa (S.A.W). This new "slavery" became his greatest pride and his greatest pleasure.
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