‘And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.’
[Surat Al-`Ankabūt, 29:69]
“By Allah, I was at the top of a palm tree belonging to my master, doing some work on it, and my master was sitting there. Then a cousin of his came and stood beside him, and said: ‘May Allaah kill Banu Qaylah! By Allah, right now they are gathering in Quba’ to welcome a man who has come from Makkah today, and they say that he is a Prophet.’
When I heard that, I began to shiver so much that I thought I would fall on top of my master.
I came down from the tree and started saying to that cousin of his: ‘What are you saying, what are you saying?’
My master got angry and he struck me with his fist and said: ‘What has it got to do with you? Go back to your work!’
I said: ‘Nothing; I just wanted to make sure of what he was saying.’ “
Certain circumstances in your life may make you give up searching for the Truth, whether you are a Muslim or a non-Muslim. You may give up the path of Haqq. You may feel that you’re the only one on this road with no one beside you as a companion, as a supporter. You may have exhausted all your means to achieve a goal. You may be so very tired. You may have no where to go to and nobody to ask for guidance.
But know that there was a man, a Sahabi (may Allah SWT be pleased with him), of the name of Salman Al-Farisi who did not give up even though all circumstances were against him. Strong intentions can change your world for it definitely changed his.
You may be in a humiliated position, lost, un-cared for, forgotten.
Nothing may be working out in your eyes. However, accept that the whole Creations of Allah SWT have been silently ordered by Him to take you to where your presence will complete the whole jigsaw puzzle and… perhaps complete you as a person.
Salman al-Farisi RA did not know anything about the world besides fire-worshipping but Allah SWT willed for him to teach the most knowledgeable of the Sahaba in Tafseer,i.e. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas RA.
He RA was shackled by his father, he gave up his family, his security, comfort, land, nationality,was unjustly sold as a slave in the process but he ended up finally meeting the Prophet salalahu ‘alayhi wasalam in the most phenomenal of Allah SWT’s Ways. When Allah SWT Wills, things do happen for believe it or not, he RA even became a ruler of Persia! A slave who had no knowledge became a knowledgeable ruler! SubhanAllah! If that doesn’t give one goosebumps, what will?
This reminds me of a very beautiful ayah in the Quraan. Allah SWT has said:
وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُوا ۖ وَكَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ
‘And We made from among them leaders guiding by Our command when they were patient and [when] they were certain of Our signs.’
[Surat As-Sajdah, 32:24]
We have individuals who give up studying Islam just because their parents do not approve of their going to a certain halaqah, while others who are over-zealous and are burnt-out in a few months. Both groups lack the determination, the consistency and the patience that is required to deal with the adhaa’ (the hurt) that comes with seeking knowledge. There are also those who gain a little bit of knowledge (studied from a few Shaykhs) and think that they have the right to comment on individuals left and right and therefore point out other people’s mistakes in a manner not befitting a knowledgeable Muslim, just in pursuit of feeding their ego. Knowledge sought for the right reason always makes an individual more humble. What you will find in Salmaan al Farisi RA’s story is extreme humility, height of patience and this insatiable desire to seek the Truth.
Why have I been dying to share something about him?
Because he RA is beautiful in his love for knowledge. When I hear about Salman Al-Farisi RA, my eyes tear up, my heart beat goes high and the love of Rasulalah SAW increases in my heart as I begin to imagine how the scene was like when Salman al Farisi RA met Rasulalah SAW for the first time.
What is amazing about him RA is that he didn’t pity himself and give up in his challenging circumstances. With patience he excelled and this the Sunnah of Allah SWT that those whom He SWT chooses because of their purity, before He SWT gives them knowledge, He SWT purifies their intention furthermore by putting them through trials. Those who accept the tests and persevere gain His Pleasure and His Numerous Gifts whereas those who despair and continue to despair, fail the test.
So please allow me narrate to you a story of a Sahabi whom I love deeply for the Sake of Allah SWT and wish to interview in Jannah inshaa’Allah. It’s a story you must read about before you die and pass it on to others to leave a legacy of patience in the Path of Allah SWT:
It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas said: Salmaan al-Faarisi told me his story from his own lips. He said:
“I was a Persian man, one of the people of Isbahaan, from a village there-of called Jayy. My father was the chieftain of his village, and I was the dearest of Allaah’s creation to him. He loved me so much that he kept me in his house near the fire, as girls are kept in. I strove hard in the Magian religion until I became the keeper of the fire, which I tended and did not let go out for a moment.
My father had a huge garden, and he was busy one day with some construction work, so he said: “O my son, I am too busy with this building today, go and check my garden,” and he told me some of the things he wanted done.
I went out, heading towards his garden, and I passed by one of the Christian churches, where I could hear their voices as they were praying. I did not know anything about the people because my father had kept me in his house. When I passed by and heard their voices, I entered upon them to see what they were doing. When I saw them, I was impressed with their prayer and I was attracted to their way.
I said: By Allaah, this is better than the religion that we follow.
By Allaah, I did not leave them until the sun set, and I forgot about my father’s garden and did not go there. I said to them: ‘Where did this religion originate?’
They said: ‘In Syria.’
~~~Trial # 1: Caged due to Honesty~~~
Then I went back to my father, who had sent people out to look for me, and I had distracted him from all his work. When I came to him, he said: ‘O my son, where were you? Did I not ask you to do what I asked?’
I said: ‘O my father, I passed by some people who were praying in a church of theirs, and I was impressed with what I saw of their religion. By Allaah, I stayed with them until the sun set.’
He said: ‘O my son, there is nothing good in that religion. Your religion and the religion of your forefathers is better than that.’
I said: ‘No, by Allaah, it is better than our religion.’
He was afraid for me, and he put fetters on my legs and kept me in his house. I sent word to the Christians saying: If any Christian merchants come to you from Syria, tell me about them. He said: Some Christian merchants came to them from Syria, and they told me about them. I said to them: ‘When they have completed their business and want to go back to their own country, tell me about that.’
~~~The Escape to Syria & Trial # 2: Corrupt Scholar~~~
So when they wanted to go back to their own country, they told me about that, and I threw off the irons from my legs and went out with them, until I came to Syria.When I reached Syria, I said: Who is the best person in this religion? They said: ‘The bishop in the church.’ So I went to him and said: ‘I like this religion, and I would like to stay with you and serve you in your church and learn from you and pray with you.’ He said: ‘Come in.’ So I went in with him, but he was a bad man. He would command them and exhort them to give charity, but he kept a great deal of it for himself and did not give it to the poor; he had amassed seven chests of gold and silver. I hated him deeply when I saw what he was doing, then he died and the Christians gathered to bury him.
I said to them: ‘This was a bad man; he commanded you and exhorted you to give charity, but when you brought it to him he kept it for himself and did not give any of it to the poor.’
They said: ‘How do you know that? Show us where his treasure is.’
So I showed them where it was and they brought out seven chests filled with gold and silver. When they saw that they said: ‘By Allaah, we will never bury him’; then they crucified him and pelted him with stones.
~~~Trial # 3: Deaths of Scholars~~~
Then they brought another man and appointed him in his place. Salmaan said: I have never seen a man who does not offer the five daily prayers who was better than him; he shunned this world and sought the Hereafter and no one strive harder than him night and day. I loved him as I had never loved anyone before, and I stayed with him for a while. Then when he was about to die, I said: ‘O So and so, I was with you and I loved you as I had never loved anyone before, and now the decree of Allaah has come to you as you see; to whom do you advise me to go? What do you command me to do?’
He said: ‘O my son, by Allaah, I do not know of anyone today who follows what I followed. The people are doomed; they have changed and abandoned most of what they used to follow, except for a man in Mosul. He is So and so, and he follows what I used to follow, so go and join him.’
Destination # 2: Mosul
When he died and was buried, I went to the man in Mosul. I said to him: ‘O So and so, So and so advised me when he died to come to you, and he told me that you follow the same as he followed.’ He said to me: ‘Stay with me.’ So I stayed with him, and I found him to be a good man who followed the same as his companion had followed. But soon he died.
When he was dying I said to him: ‘O So and so, So and so advised me to come to you and told me to join you, but now there has come to you from Allaah what you see. To whom do you advise me to go? What do you command me to do?’ He said: ‘O my son, by Allaah I do not know of anyone who follows what we used to follow except a man in Nasayyibeen. He is So and so; go to him.’ When he died and was buried, I went to the man in Nasayyibeen.
Destination # 3: Nasayyibeen
I came to him and told him my story and what my companion had told me to do. He said: ‘Stay with me. So I stayed with him and I found him to be a follower of the same way as his two companions, and I stayed with a good man.’ By Allaah, soon death came upon him, and when he was dying I said to him: ‘O So and so, So and so advised me to go to So and so; then So and so advised me to come to you. To whom do you advise me to go and what do you command me to do?’ He said: ‘O my son, by Allaah we do not know of anyone left who follows our way and to whom I can tell you to go, except a man in ‘Ammooriyyah. He follows something like what we follow. If you wish, go to him, for he follows our way.’
Destination # 4: ‘Ammooriyyah
When he died and was buried, I went to the man in ‘Ammooriyyah and told him my story. He said: ‘Stay with me.’ So I stayed with a man who was following the same way as his companions. I earned wealth until I had cows and sheep, then the decree of Allaah came to him. When he was dying I said to him: ‘O So and so, I was with So and so, and So and so told me to go to So and so; then So and so told me to go to So and so; then So and so told me to come to you. To whom do you advise me to go and what do you command me to do?’
He said: ‘O my son, by Allaah, I do not know of anyone who follows our way to whom I can advise you to go. But there has come the time of a Prophet, who will be sent with the religion of Ibraaheem. He will appear in the land of the Arabs and will migrate to a land between two harrahs (lave fields; land with black rocks), between which there are palm trees. He will have characteristics that will not be hidden. He will eat of what is given as a gift but he will not eat of what is given as charity. Between his shoulder blades is the Seal of Prophethood. If you can go to that land then do so.’ Then he died and was buried, and I stayed in ‘Ammooriyyah as long as Allaah willed I should stay.
Then some merchants of Kalb passed by me and I said to them: ‘Will you take me to the land of the Arabs and I will give you these cows and sheep of mine?’ They said: ‘Yes.’
~~~Trial # 4: People Take Advantage of Him RA~~~
Destination # 5: The Land of Arabs (palm trees)
So I gave them the cows and sheep, and they took me there, but when they brought me to Waadi al-Qura they wronged me and sold me as a slave to a Jewish man. When I was with him I saw the palm trees, and I hoped that this was the land that my companion had described to me, but I was not sure. Whilst I was with him, a cousin of his from Banu Qurayzah came to him from Madeenah, and he sold me to him, and he took me to Madeenah. By Allaah, as soon as I saw it, I recognized it from the description given to me by my companion. I stayed there, and Allaah sent His Messenger, who stayed in Makkah as long as he stayed, and I did not hear anything about him because I was so busy with the work of a slave.
Then he migrated to Madeenah, and by Allaah, I was at the top of a palm tree belonging to my master, doing some work on it, and my master was sitting there. Then a cousin of his came and stood beside him, and said: ‘May Allaah kill Banu Qaylah! By Allaah, right now they are gathering in Quba’ to welcome a man who has come from Makkah today, and they say that he is a Prophet.‘
When I heard that, I began to shiver so much that I thought I would fall on top of my master. I came down from the tree and started saying to that cousin of his: What are you saying, what are you saying? My master got angry and he struck me with his fist and said: ‘What has it got to do with you? Go back to your work!’
I said: ‘Nothing; I just wanted to make sure of what he was saying.’
~~~Verification of Prophethood~~~
I had something that I had collected, and when evening came, I went to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he was in Quba’, and I entered upon him and said to him: ‘I have heard that you are a righteous man and that you have companions who are strangers and are in need. This is something that I have to give in charity, and I see that you are more in need of it than anyone else.’
I brought it near to him and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to his companions: “Eat,” but he refrained from eating.
I said to myself: This is one.
Then I went away and collected some more.
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) moved to Madeenah, then I came to him and said: ‘I see that you do not eat (food given in) charity; this is a gift with which I wish to honour you.’
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ate some of it and told his companions to eat too.
I said to myself: This is two.
Then I came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he was in Baqee’ al-Gharqad, where he had attended the funeral of one of his companions and he was wearing two shawls and was sitting among his companions.
I greeted him with salaam then I moved behind him, trying to look at his back to see the Seal that my companion had described to me.
When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw me going behind him, he realized that I was trying to find confirmation of something that had been described to me, so he let his rida’ drop from his back, and I saw the Seal and recognized it.
~~~Excitement, Tears and Immense Happiness of Salman Al Farisi~~~
Then I embraced him, kissing (the Seal) and weeping, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me: “Turn around.” So I turned around and I told him my story as I have told it to you, O Ibn ‘Abbaas. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wanted his companions to hear that.
~~~Trial # 5: Missing out on Important Events due to Slavery~~~
Then Salmaan was kept busy with the work of a slave, until he had missed attending Badr and Uhud with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He said: Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me: “Draw up a contract of manumission, O Salmaan.”
~~~Trial # 6: The Mean Master’s Demand~~~
So I draw up a contract of manumission with my master in return for three hundred palm trees which I would plant for him, and forty uqiyahs. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to his companions: “Help your brother.” So they helped me with the palm trees, one man gave thirty small trees and another gave twenty, and another gave fifteen, and another gave ten, i.e., each man gave according to what he had, until they had collected three hundred small trees for me.
~~~Trial # 7: Importance of Survival of ALL 300 Palm Trees~~~
Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me: “Go, O Salmaan, and dig the holes where they are to be planted. When you have finished, come to me and I will plant them with my own hand.” So I dug the holes for them, and my companions helped me, then when I had finished, I came to him and told him. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came out with me and we started to bring the trees close and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) planted them with his own hand. By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Salmaan, not one single tree among them died. So I had paid off the trees but there still remained the money.
~~~Trial # 8: Obedience without Argumentation~~~
A piece of gold the size of an egg was brought to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) from one of his campaigns. He said: “What happened to the Persian who had a contract of manumission?” I was summoned to him and he said: “Take this and pay off what you owe, O Salmaan.”
I said: ‘How could this pay off everything I owe, O Messenger of Allaah?’
He said: “Take it, and Allaah will help you to pay off what you owe.”
So I took it and weighed it for them, and by the One in Whose hand is the soul of Salmaan, it was forty uqiyahs, so I paid them their dues and I was set free.
I was present with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) at al-Khandaq, and after that I did not miss any major event with him.“
[Narrated by Ahmad in al-Musnad (5/441). The scholars of hadeeth said: Its isnaad is hasan.]
“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget this errand.” [Woodrow Wilson]
Some people say that how wonderful it would have been if they were a Sahabi themselves. It is worth noting that the Sahaba RA were people of character. They deserved to be developed as the core group who would pass on the message to the entire world. They weren’t those who gave up memorizing the Quraan just because it wasn’t their native language. They were true men and women who had ‘it’ in them the right traits of excellence. They were determined and focussed. As a result they persevered.
We may not be remotely linked to a Sahabi through lineage and we may not live to see the time when victory is given to us. However, that does not mean we are worthless and that we must just waste our lives ‘liking’ youtube videos and facebook statuses. No! We can be like those construction workers who place the bricks together to build a pavement so that our next generations can easily walk on them.
To be able to build a path, one must envision the path. We must broaden our minds, get rid of the clutter, fine tune our focus and gather all our resources, unite and build this path together. We must look for solutions and our only solution lies in educating ourselves and building an alliance of educated individuals who know the value of memorizing even a single ayah from the Book of Allah SWT. Or if we can’t build the path, at least we can remove obstacles such as ignorance from our own lives so that we do not become burden on the society.
No Shaykh is going to knock on your door and beg you to learn. You have to demand for opportunities to learn within your community. If you don’t have anyone decent in your community, you must exhaust all opportunities online and not waste your time. And like I always say, make a very strong and pure intention and just see how Allah SWT, Al Fattah, opens up doors for you to learn, teach and be part of the solution and how He SWT will aid you with people who will be your support in this Dunia and will be your companions in Jannah inshaa’Allah.
All we need is a bit of self-discipline because we know what is good for us. The only problem is that we forget too quickly and let our narrow minds with limited goals stop us from being what the Sahaba were. We have thousands of Muslims today but hardly any of them are worth 10 people, let alone a 1000.
Allah SWT has said in Surat’l Baqarah, part of ayah 249:
ۚ قَالَ الَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَاقُو اللَّهِ كَم مِّن فِئَةٍ قَلِيلَةٍ غَلَبَتْ فِئَةً كَثِيرَةً بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ
But those who were certain that they would meet Allah said, “How many a small company has overcome a large company by permission of Allah . And Allah is with the patient.”
Some inspirational quotes to empower you and I to take on the responsibility to change ourselves by educating ourselves about Islam and being an active part of educating others:
- Allah SWT loves good deeds done with consistency. And consistency demands discipline: “Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable, procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.” [George Washington]
- The only way to judge between the truth and falsehood is by studying the Furqan, Criterion, i.e. the Quraan: “Educate yourself so that you’re not a slave to your own lusts and doubts: Education make a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive: easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.” [Peter Brougham]
- Beneficial Knowledge and leadership walk hand-in-hand for knowledge of Allah SWT gives rise to Taqwa. And taqwa gives rise to patience. And patience gives rise to Allah SWT’s Aid against the enemies: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and will never be.”[Thomas Jefferson]
- It was in the year of sorrow, after the death of Khadija RA and Abu Talib and his visit to Ta’if that Rasulalah salalahu ‘alayhi wasalam was severely tested but he triumphed by the Help of Allah SWT: “The leaders I met, whatever walk of life they were from, whatever institutions they were presiding over, always referred back to the same failure – something that happened to them that was personally difficult, even traumatic, something that made them feel that desperate sense of hitting bottom–as something they thought was almost a necessity. It’s as if at that moment the iron entered their soul; that moment created the resilience that leaders need.” [Warren Bennis]
- “Education should be exercise; it has become massage.” [Martin H. Fischer]
- It is Shaytan who causes you to doubt your plans to execute great projects to help your community. Don’t trust yourself, trust Allah SWT: “We can either watch life from the sidelines, or actively participate.Either we let self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy prevent us from realizing our potential, or embrace the fact that when we turn our attention away from ourselves, our potential is limitless.” [Christopher Reeve]
- Abu Bakr RA used to leave early in the morning to do good deeds such as sweeping the house of an old blind woman. The grandson of Rasulalah salalahu ‘alayhi wasalam used to carry heavy sacks of food in the darkness of night to places where people needed food without them knowing. If you want to do good deeds and want to help, you don’t comment. You become a means of help actively bi-ithnillah: “People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters; they will not allow life’s circumstances to push them down and hold them under.” [Charles Swindoll]
- What’s stopping you from memorizing the Quraan in those 5 minutes you have while you wait at the doctor’s office, or for your bus/ride, children to come back from school, next lecture/meeting to start? You have a brain, you have all senses in tact alhamdolilah. Then what’s the problem? “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” [George Eliot]
- If you see something that is not should be like it’s supposed to be then change it with your hands. If you cannot with your hands, then advise wisely with your tongue. If you can’t do that either, then hate it enough in your heart and that is the weakest of faith.“If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.” [Marian Wright Edelman]
It is reported that Abû Al-Dardâ` – Allâh be pleased with him – used to say,
“Learn knowledge before it is taken way, and it is taken away by its people (scholars) being taken away. The scholar and the student are partners in good and there is no good in any other people. The richest of men is the knowledgeable man whose knowledge is needed: he benefits those who need him and if done without, he benefits himself with the knowledge Allâh azza wa jall has placed with him. So how is it I see your scholars dying yet the ignorant amongst you not learning? I fear that the predecessor will depart and the successor will not learn.
If the scholar studies, he only increases in knowledge, and he does not take anything away from knowledge. And if the ignorant studies, he will find knowledge firm and established. So how is it that I see you full up with food, yet starved of knowledge? ”
[Ibn ‘Abd Al-Barr, Jâmi’ Bayân al-‘Ilm wa Fadlihi Vol. 2 pp.233.]
And Allah SWT knows best.
رَبِّ هَبْ لِي حُكْمًا وَأَلْحِقْنِي بِالصَّالِحِينَ
وَاجْعَل لِّي لِسَانَ صِدْقٍ فِي الْآخِرِينَ
وَاجْعَلْنِي مِن وَرَثَةِ جَنَّةِ النَّعِيمِ
وَلَا تُخْزِنِي يَوْمَ يُبْعَثُونَ
[And he said], “My Lord, grant me authority and join me with the righteous.
And grant me a reputation of honor among later generations.
And place me among the inheritors of the Garden of Pleasure.
And do not disgrace me on the Day they are [all] resurrected.