This is the maqam of Salman Farsi (may Allah be pleased with him), one of the most famous of the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and a great example of a seeker of truth. It marks a place where he once stayed and is located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
- Salman Farsi (may Allah be pleased with him) grew up in Isfahan in Persia into a very rich and respectable family. He was initially a devotee of the Magian religion (fire worshippers).One day his father sent him to a village. On the way he passed by a church from which he heard the Christians praying. He was astonished and remarked to himself, “This is better than our religion”. He asked the Christians about the origins of their faith and was told that it was in ash-Sham (Greater Syria). Upon returning he narrated his experience to his father who became upset and imprisoned him in the house.
- He managed to escape and joined a caravan to Syria where he sought out the leading bishop, became a Christian and entered into his service in the church. He however, found the bishop to be corrupt and exposed his practises after the bishop’s death. The bishop was replaced by a pious man who was greatly devoted to worship day and night. After his death, Salman attached himself to various Christian religious figures, in Mosul, Nisibis and elsewhere. The last one had told him about the appearance of a Prophet in the land of the Arabs who would have a reputation for strict honesty, one who would accept a gift but would never consume charity (sadaqah) for himself. He would also have the seal of the Prophets on his back.
- Salman paid money to join a group of Arabs back to their homeland but was betrayed by them and sold into slavery to a Jew who in turn sold him again to another Jew of the Banu Quraiza. He was taken to Yathrib (Madinah) which he recognized to be the place where the awaited Prophet would come. He was put to work there, cultivating and taking care of the palm trees.
- One day Salman was on top of a palm tree when he heard someone talking with his master below about the emigration from Makkah of a man who claimed to be a Prophet. Salman was excited by the news and asked his master to tell him more but his master violently hit him and told him to get back to work.
- That evening Salman took some dates and went to Quba, where the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was staying and offered the dates as sadaqah. The Prophet ordered his companions to eat but he himself did not eat of it. Salman gathered some more dates and when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) left Quba for Madinah he went to him and said: “I noticed that you did not eat of the sadaqah I gave. This however is a gift for you.” Of this gift of dates, both he and his companions ate.
- Salman left and returned soon after where he found the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) in al-Baqi. He greeted him and turned to see up his back. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), knowing what he wanted threw his garment over his shoulder and Salman saw the seal of the Prophets, exactly as it had been described to him. Salman kissed him and embraced Islam.
References: Men around the Messenger – Khalid Mohammed Khalid, Works of Ibn Kathir