Pen Pal Column
The Great Chase
Phew! Never were we more stressed than we are now. Although we are technologically and materially more stronger than the previous generations, everything we endeavour stresses us out.
Our work life, our children, our relationships, our studies, our social interactions, and even our responsibilities become stressful when we don’t take a break from them every now and then. Amazingly, there were people from the past who spent their entire life in pursuit of truth, they lived fulfilling their only passion, day in and day out, and that neither bored them, nor tire them, and nor did it stress them out.
As kids, you must have read adventures of Fathom, Spider man or Superman, where the hero chases the convict, and with all his mythical power, tries to overpower the evil. Unlike these dramatic heroes, our super hero in this context, is Salman from Persia. Although he did not possess any extraordinary power, his chase behind the truth was a grant triumph.
Salman belonged to a Zoroastrian family in Persia, his father was a landlord in a village of Ispahan. He loved his son dearly, so much so that he kept him shut in the house, for the fear of any harm coming to him.
Once when Salman’s father could not attend to his farm due to some reason, Salman was sent reluctantly to take care of the affairs, by his father. As he was passing through the Christian monastery or a church, he heard men praying, he knew nothing about this religion before. Out of curiosity he entered inside the church, the Christian prayers impressed him. He decided to stay behind in the church for the rest of the day.
When he returned back home, he was reproached by his father for disobeying the instructions. When Salman expressed his inclination towards the new religion, his father was so concerned, that he bound young Salman in fetters and imprisoned him in his own house. Nevertheless, Salman’s passion to learn about Christianity grew, he made arrangements to keep track of Christian caravan coming from Syria. He firmly decided to join them in their journey back.
Upon his arrival in Syria, a strange place for a pampered youth,before being drifted away from his purpose, he began to enquire for a learned Christian scholar. The young lad had already set his mind to endure hardships and slavery, after having abandoned his luxurious and comfortable life in his home town. He was directed to a bishop who seldom practised what he preached, for a person who is upright by nature, and willing to change from riches to rags,this developed into a violent hatred towards the cunning man, within his heart.
His teacher’s unexpected behaviour did not discourage him from what he intended, his obstinate chase for the truth continued. A ray of hope merged when a new bishop was appointed, to replace the first, after his death. Salman found him more virtuous and ascetic,he was a devoted worshiper, who was more concerned about the life after death. Salman loved his teacher more than anyone else in life, he continued to serve him whole-heartedly.
Like bad days, good days also get to an end. When the good old teacher neared his end, he transferred Salman to another teacher who lived in Mousil, and followed the same faith as his. Salman moved to Mousil and continued to serve him until the teacher’s death, the dying teacher recommended him to another man in Nasibin (Iraq).
From one teacher to another, Salman moved from one city to another, yet his thirst to seek the truth never quenched.In similar circumstances Salman was forced to move from Nasibin to Ammuriyah, a town in Turkey. While in Ammuriyah, Salman began to work and earn, along with seeking knowledge from his teacher. Yet again, when it was time for this teacher to pass away from the world, he informed Salman about the ultimate truth, which he was seeking throughout his life: the coming of the final Prophet in the Arabian region.
As enthusiastic as he ever was, Salman anxiously waited for an opportunity, to get to Arabia. In exchange for a guided route to Arabia, he gave away all he had possessed from his earnings, which included some cows and small flock of sheep. The final destination was not very welcoming for Salman, who now, wasan old man.
The caravan which took him to Arabia deceived him, and sold him as slave, to a Jew of Banu Qurayza. In the town of Madinah, he lived as a slave until the final Prophet arrived. His emancipation from the hands of Jew was yet another challenge. In order to release himself from slavery, Salman agreed to plant three hundred date-palm trees, and pay 40 ounces of gold. Three hundred holes were dug with the help of other Sahaba.
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, planted the shoots with his own hands, by the will of Allah ta’aala, not one died. Very soon, our Prophet made arrangements to pay of the 40 ounces of gold as well. Thus,the great chase of Salman, was successfully accomplished with his acceptance of Islam. Salman (ra) had all the reasons to quit from the goals he had set himself, yet he never gave up.
It is true that the road to Jannah is not easy, but when you move with determination and passion in your heart, you will find Allah ta’aala on your side, lifting you up at all the obstacles and making the road seem smooth to tread.