Abdullah Ibn Salaam (R.A)
Preface: These articles are only a summary of the lives of the great Companions and do not cover all the points of their life stories. These stories are not intended as biographies, but rather to provide a glimpse of the main incidents of each companion’s life. For ease of reading, we have not inserted “May Allah be pleased with him (R.A)” each time the name of each Companion is mentioned, but please take it that the salutations apply to all of them, may Allah be pleased with them all.
Would we be as strong as we are today if we lived before the era of our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)? Al-Husayn Ibn Salaam, who later was known as Abdullah Ibn Salaam R.A, was an admired and righteous Jewish in the city of Yathrib who set an audacious example for the many oncoming generations as well as his.
His life was full of purpose; a daily schedule was specially organized for praying, educating, and increasing his knowledge of the Torah. He specifically became engrossed in the verses of the holy text that indicated the appearance of a prophet who will consummate the message of the entire prophecy. Therefore, when the news came that a messenger has arrived in Makkah, he immediately began analyzing the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) traits and making comparisons between what he examined and what was written in the text. From his examination, he concluded that, indeed, he was the last messenger. Despite his awareness of the situation, he obscured his new found knowledge from the Jews.
One day, as Abdullah was working with his aunt, Khalidah Bint Al-Harith, on top of a palm tree, he heard a man announcing the arrival of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), in the city of Yathrib, Quba. Upon hearing the news, Abdullah shouted, “Allah Akbar!” He explained his excitement to his aunt by informing her about Prophet Muhammad’s SAW and importance. Abdullah hurriedly rushed out the door to meet the prophet for the first time. As he walked with the crowd in front of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), he heard the Prophet (Peace be upon him) preaching to the people to spread peace, share food, and pray at night in order for them to peacefully enter paradise. Abdullah became convinced that the messenger in front of him was truly that who he had studied about. As he stood by the prophet, he converted to Islam by reciting the words “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is his messenger”. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) gave recognition to Al-Husayn by deliberately turning towards him and declaring his name as Abdullah Ibn Salam.
Abdullah went home and introduced Islam to his family, including his aunt, Khalidah. They all willingly accepted their new faith and agreed to be cautious around the other Jews who might not be accepted toward the new religion. Abdullah and Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) acceded to invite the most effective leaders of the Jews to Prophet Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) household and keep Abdullah hidden in one of the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) rooms as the meeting is in progress. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) attempted to persuade them to accept Islam, but they stubbornly refused to believe in any faith besides theirs. When he realized that there is no hope in convincing them, he asked them about Abdullah’s among them. They all praised and honored him until he came out and stood in front of him, declaring his acceptance of Islam. The Jews, unfortunately, immediately accused Abdullah of being an ignorant liar.
Despite the criticism, Abdullah entered Islam with eagerness and devotion. He filled his life with the recitation of the Quran and the company of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). He also helped in teaching Islam and the Quran by arranging study circles in mosques. He became known as a man of the people of Paradise. Abdullah Ibn Salaam had totally submitted to Islam.