Salman Farsi as the Governor of Madayan
Hayat Al-Qulub Vol. 1,
By: Allamah Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi
Shaykh Ahmad bin Abi Talib Tabarsi has narrated in Ihtijaj that when the second Caliph after Huzaifa’s son, appointed Salman as the governor of Madayan and Salman accepted the post by the permission of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and departed for Madayan, the Caliph wrote a letter to him raising some objections.
Salman replied: “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. This is a letter from Salman, the freed slave of the Messenger of Allah (S) to Umar bin Khattab. I received your communication in which you condemned me and written that you have appointed me as the governor of Madayan and follow the practice of the son of Huzaifa and emulate his way of governance. So how can I inform you of all the good and bad things even though the Almighty Allah has restrained me in His clear verses from all that you order me to do? And He says: “O you who believe! avoid most of suspicion, for surely suspicion in some cases is a sin, and do not spy nor let some of you backbite others. Does one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? But you abhor it; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah…” Surah Hujurat 49:12
So it can never happen that I should disobey the Almighty Allah and obey you with regard to the son of Huzaifa.
And what you have written to me that I weave baskets and consume barley; these are not any such things about which one could criticize a believer and try to change these habits. O Umar, by Allah, I prefer weaving of baskets and consuming barley bread to usurping the rights of believers and claiming that which I don’t deserve, in the view of Allah. And it is nearer to piety. Indeed I have seen the Holy Prophet (S) that when he received barley bread he used to be happy and was never sorry at it.
And what you have mentioned that all that I earn I give it away in charity, it is only that which I am sending for the day of need and poverty (in hereafter). O Umar, I swear by Allah, I don’t care that the food that reached my mouth and goes down my throat is whether it is wheat flour or brain of a goat or barley husk. And what you say is that I have made the divine rule weak and degraded my self and made myself a public servant. So much so that the people of Madayan do not consider me as their ruler and they take me for a bridge over which they pass and place their loads upon it.
So you have written that all this causes weakness of and insult to the rule of Allah. So you should know that being humiliated in obedience of Allah, in my view is better than being exalted in the disobedience of Allah. And you also know that the Holy Prophet (S) used to have sympathy for the people and used to remain close to them and people used to obtain his nearness and sit close to him in spite of his majesty and prophethood. So much so that he was one among them. Due to his closeness with them the Holy Prophet (S) used to have ordinary food and wore coarse garments.
All Quraishite and Arabs and black and white were all equal in religion in the view of the Prophet (S). And I testify that I heard the Holy Prophet (S) say: “One who rules over seven Muslims after me and does not deal with them with justice and he meets the Almighty Allah, He will be infuriated with him.” So, O Umar, I hope to be relieved from the governorship of Madayan safely. And become same as you allege: one who considers his self to be lowly and one who serves in favor of Muslims. Therefore, O Umar, what would be the condition of one who is the caretaker of the whole Ummah after the Messenger of Allah (S)? Certainly the Creator of the Universe says: “(As for) that future abode, We assign it to those who have no desire to exalt themselves in the earth nor to make mischief and the good end is for those who guard (against evil).” Surah Qasas 28:83
And you should know that I am not inclined to their punishment and I don’t apply any legal penalty for them except through the advice of a leader and possessor of intellect.
Therefore, I have adopted the middle path among them on the lines of the same leader and I behave only with his practice. And I know that if the Almighty Allah desires the well being of this Ummah, He would have intended betterment and guidance for them, and then he would have appointed over them a ruler who is better and wiser than them and if this Ummah had feared the Lord of the worlds, and had followed their Prophet and recognized the truth, it would not have addressed you as the chief of believers.
Thus you may issue any command you like, it cannot be applicable to us except in this worldly life. Therefore do not become arrogant as Allah has given you respite, and instead of that do not show off about it. Know that the Almighty Allah will catch you for your injustice and oppression in the world and the hereafter and He will ask you about the deeds that you have sent ahead. And you will see the consequences of your deeds.”
Also, Kishi has through authentic chains of narrators, narrated from Musayyab bin Najiya that when Salman Farsi arrived as the governor of Madayan, all of us came out of the city to welcome him. When we reached Kerbala with him, Salman asked what that place was called. We told him that it was Kerbala. He said: It is the place of the martyrdom of our brothers. This is the point where they will place their belongings and it is here that their camels will be tied.
This is the place where their blood will be shed. It was on this land that prior good people were killed and it is here that the best of the coming generations will be martyred here. Thus we reached upto Harura with him, which was the place of conglomeration of the Khawarij of Naharwan. Salman asked what that place was called. “Harura,” we said. He said: “This is the place from where the worst of the people will rise up in revolt.” When they reached Kufa, he asked: Is this Kufa? We replied in the positive. He said that this was the dome of Islam.
The author says: Shaykh Kishi has narrated a lengthy sermon of Salman in which he has spoken of the rights of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and the oppressors of the Ummah and the usurpers. And most incidents and oppressions that befell the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), and the uprising of Bani Umayyah and their mischief mongering and the uprising of Bani Abbas and most of the past and future events like the killing of Nafs-e-Zakiyyah and the advent of Qaim Aale Muhammad and the sinking of the army of Sufyani at Baidah etc. which are mentioned in authentic traditions and which shall be mentioned in the account of occultation, if Allah, the High allows.