The Beauty of the Righteous & Ranks of the Elite
Hilyat-ul Awliya Wa Tabaqat al-Asfiya
By Imam Abu Na'im al-Asfahani (948-1038 C.E.)
Trans. by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Akili
© 1996-2016 Pearl Publishing House
30- Salmãn al-Fãrisi
435- Abu't-Tufail 'Ãmir bin Wã'ilah narrated that Salmãn al-Fãrisi, God be pleased with him, said: "I come from the Tribe of Jai, from of Isbahan, Persia, and the people of my town used to worship snow-white Caucasian horses.1 In my heart, I knew that what they worshiped lacked substance and had no truth to their claim of its divinity. I often inquired about God Almighty, and one day, I was told by a wise man: "You will find the true religion you are seeking in the West of Persia."
One day, I left my homeland, and I traveled as far West as the city of Mosul, in Northern Iraq. Thereat, I inquired about the city's most renowned gnostic, and I was directed towards a hermitage, wherein lived a monk who worshiped the Almighty Allah, the Lord of the universe. When I arrived to his cell, I introduced myself, "I am a man from the East, and I have come to seek what is good. If you agree, I wish to remain in your company, I will serve you here, and in return, I wish you to teach me some of the knowledge with which Allah has endowed you?" The monk accepted, and hence I remained in his company as long as Allah intended. My master shared with me his limited ration of grains, vinegar, and oil, and thus we lived. One day, my master fell in his last illness, and when I saw him dying, I sat near his head, and I cried. The monk said to me, "Why are you crying?" I replied, "I am now faraway from my family and roots, and before I found you, I had left my homeland in search of the truth, and indeed, Allah has blessed me to meet you and to stay in your company, this long. You treated me well, and you taught me some of what Allah, the most exalted, has taught you, and now that death has come to take you, I do not know what to do, or where to go!"
The dying monk replied: "Do not worry. I have a brother who lives in such and such place. Go to him, for he is on the right path, convey to him my best regards of peace, and tell him that I have entrusted you to his care."
Salmãn continued: "After his death, I traveled to the place he described, and there I found the monk he told me about, I said to him, "Your brother so and so sends his best regards of peace to you." He replied, "Peace and blessings be upon him as well. Tell me his news?" I replied: "He passed away." I then narrated my story, and I told him that his brother had instructed me to accompany him. The monk accepted me, and I remained in his company as long as Allah, the most exalted, intended, and he shared with me his food rations as his brother did earlier. My new master also was advanced in age, and when he fell in his last illness, I came and sat near his bed, and I cried over him. He asked me, "Why are you crying?" I replied, "I left my homeland, and Allah granted me the good company of so and so who was extremely good to me, and he taught me some of what Allah taught him. On his death bed, he entrusted me to your care, and indeed, you took good care of me, and you taught me some of what Allah taught you. Now that death has come to take you, here again, I do not know where to turn or where to go!"
The dying monk replied: "Do not worry. I have a brother who lives on the way to Rome. Go to him, for he is surely on the right path, convey to him my best regards of peace, and tell him that I have ordered you to go to him, and that I have entrusted you to his care."
Salmãn continued: "After the death of the monk, I traveled to where he told me, and when I reached the man the second master told me about, I said to him, "Your brother so and so sends his best regards of peace to you." He replied, "Peace and blessings be upon him as well. Tell me his news?" I replied: "He passed away." I then narrated my story, and I told him that his brother had instructed me to remain in his company. The man accepted to keep me in his company, he treated me well, and he taught me some of what Allah, the Lord of majesty and glory, taught him."
Salmãn continued: "The third monk was very old, and again, when he fell ill, I sat near his bed, and when he saw me crying near his bed, he asked me, "Why are you crying?" I replied: "You know my story since I left my homeland, and then Almighty Allah blessed me with your good company. Now that death has come to take you, I still do not know where to turn or where to go!"
The monk replied: "Not anywhere! In these days, my dear brother, I am not acquainted with any living person who even follows the true religion of Jesus, the son of Mary, peace be upon him. However, to the best of my knowledge, in this era, there may have appeared, or yet to come, a messenger of God Almighty, in the land of the Tribe of Tihãma, in the southwestern coast of Arabia, and who would reveal God's message. After I die, stay here at my hut, and inquire from the traveling caravans that cross this land. Ask the Arab Hijazite merchants whether a prophet had appeared among them lately. If they answer you in the affirmative, then this is the one who is foretold by Jesus, peace be upon him. Among his signs, you will see the seal of prophethood in-between his shoulders, he accepts and eats from a gift, and he does not eat from charity."
Salmãn continued: "After the man died, I stayed in his hermitage and whenever a caravan passed by, I inquired, "What country do you come from?" Finally, one day, a caravan from Mecca came by me, and when they told me that they were from Hijãz, I asked, "Has there appeared among you someone who claims to be a prophet?" They replied, "Yes, indeed!" I said: "Would someone among you accept me to be his slave for the price of carrying me on the back of his camel, and feeding me the needed chunk of bread until we reach Mecca, and when we arrive there, he can either sell me as a slave to someone to recuperate his money, or he may keep me for himself." Someone in that group said, "I will do that." Hence, I became his salve, and he carried me behind him and fed me the little morsel of food I needed per day until we reached Mecca. Therein, the man used me to work for him in a date plantation field along with other slaves he owned."
"One day, I took a walk through the streets of Mecca, and by chance, I met a woman servant who had come originally from my homeland. I chatted with her, and I was extremely happy to speak again in my mother tongue. I was also happy to learn from her that her master and her entire household had secretly accepted God's message of Islam, and that they follow His messenger h. I asked the woman to tell me where to find God's messenger h, upon whom be peace, and she told me that he usually sits with his companions near the Black Stone at the Ka'ba, and that they gather there from the time you hear the cockcrowing of the Meccan cock, and they disperse after dawn and before the sunrise."
"That evening, I cut short my stay with my co-workers, claiming to have some stomach irregularity, in fear that they may discover my intent. I stayed up all night, and at the right time before dawn, I went to the Ka'ba, and I found God's messenger h, upon whom be peace, sitting by the black stone, and his companions were sitting in a semi-circle before him. I was coming towards them from behind, and as I neared the gathering, he knew my intention, and he allowed his cloak to slip down his shoulders. I looked astonishingly, and I saw the seal of prophethood in-between his shoulder blades. I breathed a sigh of comfort, saying to myself, Allahu Akbar (surely Allah is the greatest), this is the first sign my teacher told me about."
"The following night, I did the same thing with my companions, so that they would not discover my plans or question of my intention, and in fear that they would report me to our master. I also kept some dates aside, and just at the right time I knew that God's messenger h, upon whom be peace, would be meeting with his companions, I went to the Ka'ba again, and when I reached them, I gently placed the dates before him. He asked me, "What is that?" I replied, "A charity!" God's messenger h, upon whom be peace, then said to his companions, "Eat from it." However, he did not touch them. I again breathed a sigh of comfort, saying to myself, "Allahu Akbar (surely Allah is the greatest), this is the second sign my teacher told me about."
"On the third night, again I did the same with my co-workers, and before dawn, I brought some dates to the gathering at the time when God's messenger h, upon whom be peace, gathered with his companions by the Ka'ba. This time, when I placed the dates before him, and when he asked me, "What is this?" I replied, "A gift!" He immediately reached them, he ate some, and the people did the same. I immediately exclaimed, "I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, and I bear witness that you are His messenger."
"After I sat there for a moment, God's messenger h, upon whom be peace, asked me to relate my story. When I told him what happened, he said to me, "Go and buy back your freedom."
Salmãn continued: "When I reached my companion-master, I said to him, "I have come to buy back my freedom!" He replied, "Yes indeed! I will give you back your freedom for the price of planting one hundred seedlings of date palm trees, and when I verify that they all took roots, and that they are free from disease, you also must bring me the weight of a date pit in gold, and only then you may go free."
Salmãn said: "I went back to God's messenger h, upon whom be peace, and I related to him what the man said. He replied, "Give him what he asks of you, and also bring me a bucket of water from the well you will use to irrigate the plants."
"I immediately went to the man, and I made the deal with him following the conditions he stipulated. With his permission, I then filled a bucket of water from the central well in the plantation field, and I took it back to God's messenger h, upon whom be peace, who in turn prayed over it. God's messenger h also asked the companions to collect and to give me the needed one hundred seedlings, and when they did, I went back, and I planted the seedlings."
Salmãn continued: "I swear by God Almighty that not a single seedling failed us, and as soon as the man verified that, I went back to God's messenger h and told him the same. God's messenger h then called upon the companions to bring him a piece of gold of the weight we agreed upon with the man, and again, I immediately went back to the man and placed the piece of gold before him. When the man placed his specified measure on the other scale of the balance, my piece of gold seemed to weigh more, for nothing moved, and the man accepted the barter."
"I brought back to God's messenger h the date pit that determined the conclusion of the deal, and he looked at it and commented, "I swear by Allah, that even if you had agreed with him to give him the weight of such and such measure of date pits, the piece you gave him would weigh more."
Salmãn continued: "From that day on, I went to God's messenger h, upon whom be peace, and I stayed in his company until the end."1
(YOU CAN FIND MORE ABOUT Ali bin Abi Tãlib IN THE FOLLOWING CHAPTER ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!)
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