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|How Salman the Magian became a Muslim|
|01/20/04 at 01:22:55|
|Salman said to Abdullah ibn Abbas:|
My father was the principal landowner in his village and I was dearer
than the whole world. His love for me to such lengths that he shut me
house as though i were a slave girl. I was such a zealous Magian that I
became keeper of the sacred fire, replenishing it and not letting it g
for a moment.
Now my father owned a large farm, and one day when he cold not attend
farm he told me to go to it and learn about it, giving me certain
instructions saying 'Do not let yourself be detained for you are more
important to me than my farm and worrying aboutyou will prevent me from
going about my business'.So I started out for the farm, and when I
a Christian church I heard the voices of men praying. I knew nothing
them because my father kept me shut in the house.
When I heard their voices I went to see what they were doing; their
pleased me and I felt drawn to their worshp and thought that it was
than our (magian) religion, and I decided that I would not leave them
sunset. So I did not go to the farm. When I asked them where their
originated from, they sadi 'Syria'.
I returned to my father who asked where I had been and had reproached
not following his instructions. I told him that I had passed by some
were praying in their church and was so pleased with what I saw of
religion that I stayed with them until sunset. He said, 'My son, there
good in that religion; the religion of your fathers is better than
No, I said, it is better than our religion. My father was afraid of
would do, so he bound me in fetters and imprisoned me in his house.
I sent a message to the Christians and asked if they would tell me when
caravan if Christian merchants would come from Syria. They told me, and
said to them, 'When they have finished their business and want to go
their own country, ask them if they will take me' They did so, so I
the fetters from my feet and I went with them to Syria.
When I arrived there I asked them to take me to the most learned person
their religion, and they directed me to the bishop. I went with him and
him that I liked his religion and should like to be with him and serve
in his church, to learn from him and to pray with him. He invited me to
in and I did so.
Now he was a bad man who used to command people to give alms (charity)
induced them to do so and when thyey brought him money he put it in his
coffers and did not give it to the poor, until he had collcted seven
gold and silver. I concieved a violent hatred for the sam when I saw
was doing. Sometime later when he died and the Christians came together
bury him I told that he was a bad man who exhorted them and persuaded
to give him alms, and when they brought money he put it in his coffers
didnt give it to the poor. They asked how I could possibly have known
so I led them to his treasure and when I showed them the place they saw
seven jars. When they saw this they said, 'By God, we will never bury
so they crucified him and then appointed another religious leader in
I have never seen any non-Muslim whom I consider more virtous and more
devoted to the next life than he (the new man). I loved him as I had
loved anyone befkre. I stayed with him a long time until he was about
and I tild him how I lovedhim and asked him wfor advice as he was about
die. He said, 'My dear son, i do not know anyone who is as I am. Men
died and have either altered or abandoned most of their true religion,
except a man in Mausil, he dollows my faith, so join yourself to him'.
When he died and was burried, I attached myself to the bishop of Mausil
telling him that so-and-so said that he followed the true path. It was
long before he was soon to die so I asked him about him about where to
He said that he knew of only one man in Nasibin who followed the same
as him, so he reccomended that I go there. I stayed with this man for
time in Nasibin and when he died he told me to go to Ammuriya. I stayed
Ammuriya and labored until I posessed some cows and a small flock of
then when he was about to die I asked him where to go.
He replied that he knew of no one who followed his path but that a
was about to rise who would be sent with the religion of Abraham; he
come forth in Arabia and would migrate to a country between two lava
between which there were palm trees. This man has unmistakable marks.
will eat what is given to him but not what is given as alms (charity).
Between his shoulder is the seal of Prophecy. He told me, 'If you are
to go to that country, do so'.
When he died, I stayed in Ammuriya for some time. Then a party of
merchants passed by and I asked them to take me to Arabia and I would
those cows and sheep of mine in exchange. They accepted the offer and
me to Wadi-Qura, when they sold me to a Jew as a slave.
I saw the palm-trees and I hoped that this would be the town which had
described to me, for I was not certain. Then a cousin of my master from
tribe of Qurayaza of Medina came and took me to Medina, and by God, as
as I saw it I recognised it from the bishops in Ammuriya's description.
I lived there and the Apostle of God was sent and lived in mecca but I
not hear him mentioned because I was fully occupied as a slave. Then he
migrated to Medina and as I was in the top of a palm-tree belonging to
master, carrying out my work while my master sat below, a cousin of his
to him and said, 'God smite the tribe of Qayla! They are gathering at
moment in Quba around a man who has come to them from Mecca today
that he is a Prophet'.
When I heard this news on top of the palm tree I began trembling so
that I thought I would fall on my master; so I climbed down from the
and said to his cousin, 'What did you say? What did you say?'. My
reacted angrily and hit me, saying 'What do you mean by this? Get back
your work'. I said, 'Never mind, I only wanted to find out the truth of
Now I had a little food which I had gathered and I took it that evening
the apostle of God who was in quba and said, 'I have heard that you are
honest man and that youe companions are strangers in want; here is
for alms, for I think tha you have more right to it that others'.So I
it to him. The Apostle said to his companions 'Eat' but he did not eat
food. I said to myself, "That is one"
I left him and went to collect some more food. I brought it to him him
said, 'I see that you do not eat food that is given in alms, here is a
present which I give freely to you'. The Apostle then ate some of it
shared the rest with his companions. I said to myseld, "That is two".
Then I went to the Apostle when he wasat the Gharqad cemetry where he
followed the funeral procession of one of his companions, I salued him
went round to look at his back so that I could see whether there was
seal which the bishop had told me about. When the Apostle saw me
his back he knew that I was trying to find out the truth of what had
described to me, so he threw off his cloak laying his back bare and I
at the seal and recognised it.
The Apostle said, 'Come here' so I came and sat before him and told him
story as I have told you. The Apostle wanted his companions to also
When the Battle of Badr and Uhad came, I could not join the Prophet as
working for my master. So the Apostle told me to write an agreement
master so I can be set free, to plant three hundred palm-trees for him,
to pay forty okes of gold. The apostle called on his companions to help
which they did. Then he gave me a piece of gold the size of a hen's
it weighed forty okes. So I paid my debt to my master and I was now a
man. Thereafter I took party with the Prophet in the battle of the dich
free man and from then on I was at every other battle.
[Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, pp 95-98 abridged]
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