Biography of Hazrati Selman-i Farisi
Our Jemaat follows the Naksibendi Tarikat, or Way. The Naksibendi Tarikat has a Golden Chain of 40 Grandseyhs. The first Pir, or head, of the Naksibendi Tarikat, was the great Sahabi beloved to the Holy Prophet AS, Hz. Abu Bakr Siddiq RA. Before Hz. Abu Bakr RA was veiled, he passed his spiritual knowledge to another great Sahabi, also very beloved to the Holy Prophet AS, and the second of the great 40 Grandseyhs, Hz. Selman-i Farisi. Hz. Selman-i Farisi was from Persia.
Hz. Selman-i Farisi was one of the few of the early Sahabis who were not Arabs. He was originally from Persia, in an area which today is known as the country of Iran.
He was from a region called Isfahan and his village was called Jayaan. His father was the leader of the village and they were a very wealthy and important family, so Hz. Selman-i Farisi was considered to be like a prince. They owned a lot of land and crops and helped to support the village they governed. From a young age, Hz. Selman-i Farisi felt a strong connection to Allah SWT; his family belonged to a religion which believed in One Creator, but they wrongly worshiped fire. Allah SWT mentions the Magians, (known as Majoos in Arabic), in the Quran Kerim which says, “Indeed, those who have believed and those who were Jews and the Sabeans and the Christians and the Magians and those who associated with Allah – Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed Allah is, over all things, Witness”.
Hz. Selman-i Farisi’s desire to serve Allah SWT and be connected to Him led him to become dedicated to serving at the temple of the Magians (also known as Zoroastrians in today’s modern language). He (HZ) mentions this in his own autobiography: “I became devoted to the Magian religion so much so that I attained the position of custodian of the fire which we worshiped. My duty was to see that the flames of the fire remained burning and that it did not go out for a single hour, day or night.”
Still, even with his high position at the Magian temple, he did not feel satisfaction in his heart, and he was always longing for Allah SWT. `
Search for Truth
Hazrati Salman continued living his life and performing the daily work given to him by his father which included going into the fields and harvesting crops. One day as he was on his way to the fields, he passed by a Christian church and heard the singing and prayers of the people inside. He was attracted to this new religion and felt it to be more close to Haqq than the Magian fire worship that he was raised with. After the church service finished he returned home and was confronted by his father. In his own words, Hazrati Salman Al Farisi describes what happened next:
“My father met me and asked what I had done. I told him about my meeting with the Christians and how I was impressed by their religion. He was dismayed and said:
“My son, there is nothing good in that religion. Your religion and the religion of your forefathers is better.”
“No, their religion is better than ours,” I insisted.
My father became upset and afraid that I would leave our religion. So he kept me locked up in the house and put a chain on my feet. I managed however to send a message to the Christians asking them to inform me of any caravan going to Syria. Before long they got in touch with me and told me that a caravan was headed for Syria. I managed to unfetter myself and in disguise accompanied the caravan to Syria. There, I asked who was the leading person in the Christian religion and was directed to the bishop of the church. I went up to him and said:
“I want to become a Christian and would like to attach myself to your service, learn from you and pray with you.”
Salman spent the next year of his life learning from the Chrisitan Bishop about Christianity and watching his behavior. Salman found him to be a corrupt man who stole charity donations from the people and kept it for himself. After the Bishop’s death, Salman revealed his corruption to the other followers there who were shocked by the bishop’s crimes. Fortunately, the man who replaced the dead Bishop was an “ascetic” or a person who does not desire the dunya and the riches of the world but rather the hereafter, so he was truthful in how he dealt with the charity donations of the people and how he wanted to please God almighty. Salman was happy with this new teacher and continued serving him until he also died. After that, he traveled to far away lands, each time going to a new Christian teacher who would guide him in seeking the pleasure of Allah SWT and whom Salman Hazretleri would serve. The last Christian teacher he served told him a secret of a new Prophet that would be coming soon to the land of the Arabs, to a city of palm trees and who would be known as a truthful and just Prophet (this man was telling him about the coming of Holy Prophet AS). This Prophet would not accept charity for himself, and he would have a “seal of Prophethood”, like a birthmark, between his shoulder blades. Salman, who always wanted to come closer and closer to Allah SWT, decided after the death of this last teacher that he needed to seek out this new Prophet and serve and learn from him. He made an agreement with some traders to ride with them to the land of the Arabs; at first they agreed, but then they broke their contract before reaching Arabia and sold him into slavery to a Jewish man. Salman Al Farisi who had once been a prince and held a high station in his town, was now an ordinary slave, owned by cruel men, in a place far away from his homeland.
To be continued inshAllah…