Let us strive to boost our taqwa to Allah s.w.t., by obeying all His commands and abstaining from His prohibitions. May this sense of taqwa bring about everlasting happiness and prosperity
We have just welcomed the new Hijriyyah year, and are now in the year 1437 Hijriyyah. During this period, we are often reminded of the hijrah of Rasulullah s.a.w from Makkah to Madinah. We are also often reminded of the sacrifices made by the people of Muhajirin and Ansar, in order to make the hijrah a success. However, there are also hijrah or migration stories of Rasulullah’s companions, who are not among the Ansars and the Muhajirins. Their stories of hijrah are no less inspiring, and are filled with valuable lessons and examples for us to learn from.
Among these stories is the story of Salman Al-Farisi, radhiyallahu 'anhu. Born in Persia, Salman was born to a Zoroastrian family, and they worship fire. From young, he was tasked by his family to watch over the fire that they worship, ensuring that it was always lit.
One day, he saw a group of Christians worshipping in the church. Salman became attracted to their religion. His father was angry when he found out, and chained him to keep him at home. However, Salman managed to escape and migrated to Syam. There, he was in the service of a Christian priest, until the priest died. Then, he worked for another priest, again until the priest passed away.
That sparked the start of his journey; migrating from one city to another, learning from different teachers and being in service to different priests – all in the hope of finding the truth. Eventually, Salman Al-Farisi received news that there will be a Prophet sent to Arabia, who will bring the message that had been brought by Prophet Ibrahim a.s. However, on his way to Madinah, which is the place that he was informed of; Salman was betrayed by people he trusted and ended up being sold off as a slave! However, because of his sense of resolute and his determination, Salman eventually met Rasulullah s.a.w. and professed his faith in Islam.
Jemaah that is how we should be. We should not give up easily in our search for happiness and success. Persevere on even though at times things are not on our side and we may feel like we are swimming against the tide, and the world feels dark with no hope of light. During these times, hold on to our faith (iman) as our source of strength. Did Allah not say that He will not change the situation of a people unless they themselves change it?
Let us reflect of Salman r.a.’s determination and resolution. Even though it was not easy to move from one country to another, his spirit never wavered. Despite the pain of being enslaved, he did not turn around to his former religion and his place of birth because he was motivated to find the truth. What is the point of living in comfort but with empty and void souls filled with darkness? It is when our hearts have tasted the sweetness of the freedom that we get in believing in Allah, then whatever challenges that come our way, we will be able to face them with strength and bravery. Allah s.w.t. says in Surah al-Anfal verse 74:
Which means: “But those who have believed and emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah and those who gave shelter and aided - it is they who are the believers, truly. For them is forgiveness and noble provision.”
However, with the encouragement of Rasulullah s.a.w. and the support of other companions, Salman managed to free himself and became a prominent companion who contributed enormously in the path of Allah s.w.t. He played a major role during the battle of Khandaq. It was Salman’s idea – which he suggested to Rasulullah s.a.w. – to dig a trench to defend and prevent the enemy forces from entering Madinah. His suggestion worked very well, and caused the enemy to turn back, their spirits crushed and they were sorely disappointed. That was the wisdom of Salman Al-Farisi, and he was greatly respected and loved by all.
Jemaah, we should make the story of Saidina Salman Al-Farisi r.a. as an example and a source of inspiration. He was always praised by the Prophet s.a.w. and was held in high regard by the other companions. This was not because of his lineage, nor was he a wealthy man. In fact, he was a migrant who came to the city of Madinah as a slave. This goes to show that, the true nobility and standing of a person is the nobility granted by Allah s.w.t., and it is a result of the taqwa in one’s heart and the purity of one’s efforts. Rasulullah s.a.w. said:
Which means: “Whoever humbles himself for the sake of Allah by one degree, Allah will raise him by one degree, until Allah places him on the highest level in Allah’s sight. And whoever makes himself arrogant toward Allah by one degree, Allah will lower him by one degree, until he is placed in the lowest of ranks.” [Hadith reported by Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban]
Hence jemaah, Islam and Iman should be the ties that bind us together. The differences in language, culture, race, lineage and so on, should not be factors that divide us.
Sayyiduna Salman, a Persian who lived among Arabs, has never isolated himself and never was he isolated by the community. He did not hold back, nor was he hesitant to share his ideas, and he worked together hand in hand with the other Companions in their struggle to spread Islam.
This is what is needed by the Muslim ummah today - that is the passion and determination to work together to be part of a contributive society. No one can push us to the fringes, unless we place ourselves on the fringes. No one can belittle and brush off our suggestions and claim that our opinions do not matter and are not valuable. Only if we choose to isolate ourselves, from the rest of the society and not contribute to the prosperity of the country and therein, the global community, that we should not feel surprised if we were to end up in the fringes.
May Allah s.w.t. grant us the courage to walk together, and stand shoulder to shoulder, despite the many differences among us. May the fighting spirit of Salman Al-Farisi and the other Companions of Rasulullah s.a.w. continue to live in our hearts until the end of times. Ameen Ya Rabbal Alamin.