Salman the Persian

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Salman al-Farisi
سَلْمَان ٱلْفَارِسِيّ
Depiction of Salman's father expelling him from Persia for renouncing Zoroastrianism, c. 1595
Bornc. 568 CE
Diedc. 652 or 653 CE[1]
MonumentsMosque of Salman al-Farsi, Iraq
Known forBeing one of Muhammad's companions
WorksPartial[2] translation of the Quran into the Persian language

Salman al-Farisi (Arabic: سَلْمَان ٱلْفَارِسِيّ) was a Persian religious scholar and one of the companions of Muhammad. As a practicing Zoroastrian, he dedicated much of his early life to studying to become a magus, though he later became preoccupied with travelling throughout Western Asia to engage in interfaith dialogue with other religious groups. His quests eventually prompted his conversion to Christianity and later his conversion to Islam, which occurred after he met and befriended Muhammad in the city of Yathrib. He was a prominent non-Arab companion and one of Muhammad's closest friends; Muhammad had once stated to a gathering of his followers that he regarded Salman as a part of his family.[3] In meetings with the other companions, he was often referred to by the kunya Abu ʿAbdullah.

Prior to the Battle of the Trench in 627, Salman suggested to Muhammad and the other early Muslims that a large trench be dug around Yathrib (a technique commonly used by the Sasanian army) in order to help defend against the Quraysh, who were marching from Mecca in order to besiege the city.[4] After Muhammad's death in 632, Salman followed Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib, and is believed to have participated in the Muslim conquest of Persia, aiding the territorial expansion of the Rashidun Caliphate outside of the Arabian Peninsula.[5]

Early life[edit]

The date and place of Salman's birth are disputed. According to the evidence, his date of birth should be between 531 and 570 AD.[6] Salman was a Persian born with the name Rouzbeh Khoshnudan in the city of Kazerun in Fars Province, or Isfahan in Isfahan Province.[3][7][8] In a hadith, Salman also traced his ancestry to Ramhormoz.[9][10][11] The first sixteen years of his life were devoted to studying to become a Zoroastrian magus or priest, after which he became the guardian of a fire temple.

Conversion to Christianity from Zoroastrianism[edit]

Three years later in 587 he met a Nestorian Christian group and was impressed by them. Against the wishes of his father, he left his family to join them.[12] His family imprisoned him afterwards to prevent him but he escaped.[12]

Conversion to Islam from Christianity[edit]

Salman traveled around the Middle East to discuss his ideas with priests, theologians and scholars in his quest for the truth, settling initially in Mosul (ancient Nineveh).[12] During his stay in Syria, he heard of Muhammad, whose coming had been predicted by Salman's last Christian teacher on his deathbed.[7] Afterwards and during his journey to the Arabian Peninsula, he was betrayed and sold to a Jew in Medina. After meeting Muhammad, he recognized the signs that the monk had described to him. He converted to Islam and secured his freedom with the help of Muhammad.[3][7] Salman is the first Iranian who converted to Islam. According to sources, Salman converted to Islam before the Battle of Badr, but because he was a slave before the Battle of Khandaq, he did not participate in the Battles of Badr and Uhud.[13]

Abu Hurairah is said to have referred to Salman as "Abu al-Kitabayn" ("the father of the two books"; that is, the Bible and the Quran), and Ali is said to have referred to him as "Luqman al-Hakeem" ("Luqman the wise," a reference to a wise man mentioned in the Quran).[14] Whenever people inquired about his ancestry, Salman is said to have replied: "I am Salman, the son of Islam from the child of Adam."[15]

Career as a Sahabah[edit]

Mosque of Salman al-Farsi at the site of the Battle of the Trench in Medina

Salman came up with the idea of digging a great trench around the Medina, to defend the city against the army of 10,000 Arabian non-Muslims. Muhammad and his companions accepted Salman's plan because it was safer, and there would be a better chance that the non-Muslim army would have a larger number of casualties.[3][7][8][12]

While some sources gather Salman with the Muhajirun,[16] other sources narrate that during the Battle of the Trench, one of Muhajirun stated "Salman is one of us, Muhajirun", but this was challenged by the Muslims of Medina (also known as the Ansar). A lively argument began between the two groups with each of them claiming Salman belonged to their group and not to the other one. Muhammad arrived on the scene and heard the argument. He was amused by the claims but soon put an end to the argument by saying: "Salman is neither Muhajir nor Ansar. He is one of us. He is one of the People of the House."[17]

Salman participated in the conquest of the Sasanian Empire, and became the first governor of Sasanid capital Ctesiphon, after its fall at the time of the second Rashidun Caliph, Umar ibn Al-Khattab.[8] However, according to some other sources,[12] after Muhammad's death, he disappeared from public life until 656, when Ali became the Caliph, and appointed Salman as the governor of Al-Mada'in at the age of 88.[12]

Notable works[edit]

The Arabic Quran translated into Farsi

Translation of the Quran[edit]

He translated the Quran into Persian, thus becoming the first person to interpret and translate the Quran into a foreign language.[2] Salman is said to have written the following poem on his enshrouding cotton:

I am heading toward the Munificent, lacking a sound heart and an appropriate provision,
While taking a provision (with you) is the most dreadful deed, if you are going to the Munificent[18][19]

Salman used to cut the hair of Muhammad at the time, inspiring plates in Turkish barber shops with the verse:

Every morning our shop opens with the basmala-,
Hazret-i Salman-i Pak is our pir and our master.[20]


Salman is considered one of the pioneers in Shiite written works. In addition, written works have also been attributed to him. Including a work called "Khobar Jathliq al-Roumi". Of course, this work is a text that Salman only narrated and was not the author of. "Khabar Jathliq Rumi" contains the theological questions of the Roman emperor to the Caliph of the Muslims after the death of the Prophet Muhammad and Ali's answer to those questions. Ibn Babawiyah quoted three parts of it and at the end of the second and third quotations he pointed out that the full text of Salman's book is at the end of the book Prophethood has been brought.[21]


This is thought to be the tomb of Salman in Salman Pak or Al-Mada'in in Iraq, 1917

One source states that he died in 32 A.H. / 652 or 653 C.E. in the Julian calendar.[22][23] while another source says he died during Uthman's era in 35 A.H. / 655 or 656 C.E.[23] Other sources state that he died during Ali's reign.[14] His tomb is located in Salman Al-Farsi Mosque in Al-Mada'in,[24] or according to some others, in Isfahan, Jerusalem or elsewhere.[3]

Salman al Yaqobi (Persian)[edit]

Salman and his religious instructor

Shia Islam[edit]

Shi'ites, Twelvers in particular, hold Salman in high esteem for a hadith attributed to him, in which all twelve Imāms were mentioned to him by name, from Muhammad.[25] Salman, along with Abu Dharr, Ammar ibn Yasir, and Miqdad ibn Aswad, is considered to be the four loftiest of the Shi'a. Ali Asgher Razwy, a 20th-century Shia Twelver Islamic scholar states:

If anyone wishes to see the real spirit of Islam, he will find it, not in the deeds of the nouveaux riches of Medina, but in the life, character and deeds of such companions of the Apostle of God as Ali ibn Abi Talib, Salman el-Farsi, Abu Dharr el-Ghiffari, Ammar ibn Yasir, Owais Qarni and Bilal. The orientalists will change their assessment of the spirit of Islam if they contemplate it in the austere, pure and sanctified lives of these latter companions.

— Ali Asgher Razwy, A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims[26]


Salman is also well known as a prominent figure in Sufism.[3] Sufi orders such as Qadiri, Bektashi, and Naqshbandi have Salman in their Isnad of their brotherhood.[8] In the Uwaisi-Shahmaghsoudi order of Kubrawi Sufism and in Naqshbandi Sufism, Salman is the third person in the chain connecting devotees with Muhammad. The members of futuwwa associations also regarded Salman as one of their founders, along with Ali.[8]


Druze maqam of Salman the Persian, Syria

Druze tradition honors several "mentors" and "prophets",[27] and Salman is honored as a prophet, and as an incarnation of the monotheistic idea.[28][29]

Bahá’í Faith[edit]

In the Kitáb-i-Íqán, Bahá'u'lláh honours Salman for having been told about the coming of Muhammad:

As to the signs of the invisible heaven, there appeared four men who successively announced unto the people the joyful tidings of the rise of that divine Luminary. Rúz-bih, later named Salmán, was honoured by being in their service. As the end of one of these approached, he would send Rúz-bih unto the other, until the fourth who, feeling his death to be nigh, addressed Rúz-bih saying: 'O Rúz-bih! when thou hast taken up my body and buried it, go to Hijáz for there the Day-star of Muhammad will arise. Happy art thou, for thou, shalt behold His face!'

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Web Admin. "Salman Farsi, the Son of Islam". Sibtayn International Foundation. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  2. ^ a b An-Nawawi, Al-Majmu' Sharh al-Muhaddhab, (Cairo, Matbacat at-'Tadamun n.d.), 380.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Jestice, Phyllis G. (2004). Holy People of the World: A Cross-cultural Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 761. ISBN 978-1-5760-7355-1. Archived from the original on 2018-01-23. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
  4. ^ "The 'Caliph' Speaks". The Atlantic. 4 November 2016.
  5. ^ Adamec, Ludwig W. (2009). Historical Dictionary of Islam. Lanham, Maryland • Toronto • Plymouth, UK: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. pp. 276–277.
  6. ^ "Salman al-Farisi". Encyclopedia of Islamic World.
  7. ^ a b c d Houtsma & Wensinck (1993). First Encyclopaedia of Islam: 1913-1936. Brill Academic Pub. p. 116. ISBN 978-9004097964.
  8. ^ a b c d e Zakeri, Mohsen (1993). Sasanid Soldiers in Early Muslim Society: The Origins of 'Ayyārān and Futuwwa. Jremany. p. 306. ISBN 9783447036528. Archived from the original on 2015-11-25. Retrieved 2015-05-14.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  9. ^ Milad Milani (2014). Sufism in the Secret History of Persia. Routledge. p. 180. ISBN 9781317544593. In one particular hadith, Salman mentions he is from Ramhormoz, though this is a reference to his ancestry as his father was transferred from Ramhormoz to Esfahan, residing in Jey (just outside the military camp), which was designed to accommodate the domestic requirements of military personnel.
  10. ^ Sameh Strauch (2006). Mukhtaṣar Sīrat Al-Rasūl. Darussalam. p. 94. ISBN 978-9-9609-8032-4.
  11. ^ Sahih Bukhari, Book 5, Volume 58, Hadith 283 (Merits of the Helpers in Madinah [Ansaar]). Archived from the original on 2017-04-25. Retrieved 2016-01-05. Narrated Salman: I am from Ram-Hurmuz (i.e. a Persian town).
  12. ^ a b c d e f Salman al-Muhammadi
  13. ^ "Salman al-Farisi". Encyclopedia of Islamic World.
  14. ^ a b "سلمان الفارسي - الصحابة - موسوعة الاسرة المسلمة" (in Arabic). Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2012-12-25.
  15. ^ Hijazi, Abu Tariq (27 Sep 2013). "Salman Al-Farsi — the son of Islam". Arab News. Archived from the original on 7 December 2021. Retrieved 7 December 2021.
  16. ^ "Seventh Session, Part 2". Archived from the original on 2012-06-09. Retrieved 2013-01-05.
  17. ^ Akramulla Syed (2010-03-20). "Salman the Persian details: Early Years in Persia (Iran)". Archived from the original on 2012-11-16. Retrieved 2013-01-05.
  18. ^ Nūrī, Nafas al-raḥmān fī faḍāʾil Salmān, p. 139.
  19. ^ "Salman al-Farsi", Wikishia, 4/12/2018, Archived 2019-02-07 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Schimmel, Annemarie (November 30, 1985). And Muhammad Is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety. North Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press. p. 267. ISBN 0807841285.
  21. ^ "Salman al-Farisi". Encyclopedia of Islamic World.
  22. ^ "موقع قصة الإسلام - إشراف د/ راغب السرجاني". Archived from the original on 2012-12-30. Retrieved 2012-12-25.
  23. ^ a b John Walker. "Calendar Converter". Archived from the original on 2011-02-17. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  24. ^ "Rockets hit Shia tomb in Iraq". Al Jazeera. 27 February 2006. Archived from the original on 7 February 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  25. ^ Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir ibn Rustom al-Tabari. Dalail al-Imamah. p.447.
  26. ^ A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims on Umar bin al-Khattab, the Second Khalifa of the Muslims Archived 2006-10-04 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ C. Brockman, Norbert (2011). Encyclopedia of Sacred Places, 2nd Edition [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 259. ISBN 978-1-5988-4655-3.
  28. ^ Dana, Léo-Paul (2010). Entrepreneurship and Religion. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 314. ISBN 9781849806329.
  29. ^ D Nisan, Mordechai (2015). Minorities in the Middle East: A History of Struggle and Self-Expression, 2d ed. McFarland. p. 94. ISBN 9780786451333.

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