Salim (r.a.)

Once, a poignant voice resonated in the mosque in Madinah after the night (isha) prayer. Hz. Aisha, who was passing by, could not help stopping and listening. She waited for a while and listened to the Quran. Therefore, she returned home late. When the Prophet (pbuh) asked her where she was, she said she had heard a very poignant voice reading the Quran and stopped for a while to listen. However, she did not know who he was. The Prophet wondered who he was. When he put on his cardigan and went out, he met Salim. He found out that Salim had been reading the Quran. He expressed his gladness as follows:  

“O Salim! I thank Allah for having people like you reading the Quran like that in my ummah.”[1]

Hz. Salim was one of the first fortunate people who embraced Islam. When he heard about Islam, he believed without hesitation. His father was an Iranian called “Ma’qil”. Salim was enslaved in a war and was sold to a woman called Thubayta. When Salim became a Muslim, Thubayta freed him. Then, Abu Hudhayfa adopted him as his son. It was legitimate to adopt children at that time. He treated Salim as if he was his own son. He married his sister Fatima bint Walid off to him. When the verse that prohibited adopting children was sent down, Abu Hudhayfa declared that Salim was no longer his son. The Prophet declared them as brothers.

Hz. Salim was one of the first Muslims. He suffered a lot in the first years of Islam. He practiced his religion then. He also memorized the verses that were sent down to the Prophet. He was a very good student of the Prophet.

When migration to Madinah started, Salim became one of the first Muhajirs. The Muhajirs stopped in Usaba near Quba for a while before they reached Madinah. Hz. Salim led the prayer. Some notables of the Companions were among the congregation,

Hz. Salim became the imam because he recited the Quran very beautifully. The Prophet (pbuh) appointed him as the imam of the Quba Mosque afterwards. Salim was one of the best readers of the Quran among the Companions. There were four imams of qira’ah among the Companions. The Prophet mentioned them as follows:  

“Learn the Quran from four people: Abdullah bin Mas’ud, Ubayy bin Kab, Muadh bin Jabal and Salim…”[2]

We learn the distinguished rank of Salim from this statement. Hz. Salim continued teaching the Quran and serving Islam until he died. The Prophet (pbuh) sometimes asked Salim to recite the Quran and listened to him with pleasure.

Hz. Salim, who had a high rank in the knowledge of the Quran, was also a very brave and heroic person. He was a distinguished mujahid who fought together with the Prophet in all battles, especially the battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq.

During the Battle of Uhud, the polytheists approached the headquarters of the Prophet and attacked. The Prophet was wounded in the face as a result of the attack of a polytheists. A handful of Muslims around him protected the Prophet with their bodies. When Salim saw that the Prophet was wounded, he rushed and started to wipe the blood on her face. He worked like a paramedic. The Prophet felt very sad because of the attack of the polytheists. He expressed his sorrow as follows:   

“How can a tribe that treats their prophet like that be saved?”[3]

During the caliphate of Hz. Abu Bakr, some people started to exit from the religion of Islam and some fake prophets emerged. Musaylima emerged in the region of Yamama. Hz. Abu Bakr sent an army to eliminate him. Many Companions were in this army. Abu Hudhayfa and Salim were also among them.  

When the battle started, Zayd bin Khattab, who was the flagbearer of the army was martyred. Hz. Salim wanted to be the flagbearer but the Companions did not want him to bear the flag because they feared that they would lose that scholar of the Quran if he were martyred. However, Hz. Salim did not want to fight at the back. He said, “If I do not bear the flag in front of you, I will be the least fortunate one among the Muslims.” Then, he found a safe place. The fight got very intense. The enemy started to proceed by penetrating into the ranks of the Muslims. The Muslims pulled themselves together after the speech made by Abu Hudhayfa but many Muslims were martyred. Hz. Salim was holding the flag with right hand. When he lost his right hand as a result of a sword blow, he held the flag in his left hand. When he lost his left hand, he held the flag with his chin under his throat. At that time, he recited the following verse:

“Muhammad is no more than a messenger: many were the messenger that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will ye then turn back on your heels?”[4]

He tried hard not to let the flag fall down. However, his head was cut off by the enemy. Hz. Abu Hudhayfa had also been martyred. Abu Hudhayfa’s head was between his feet.[5] This incident took place in 12 H.

Hz. Salim was a philanthropist. He would look after the poor and orphans. He would meet their needs and protect the helpless people. He divided his property into three before his death. He bequeathed one-third of his wealth to jihad, one-third to free slaves and one-third to Thubayta, who had freed him. After he was martyred, Hz. Abu Bakr and Hz. Umar took one-third of his heritage to Thubayta but she did not accept it. She said, “I freed Salim for the sake of Allah.” Hz. Umar took one-third of his heritage to the Treasury.[6]

When Hz. Salim was martyred, the Muslims lost a scholar of the Quran but Hz. Salim attained the rank of martyrdom.

May Allah be pleased with them! 
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[1]Usdul-Ghaba, 2: 245-246.
[2]Tabaqat, 2: 352.
[3]ibid, 2: 45.
[4]Aal-i Imran, 144.
[5]Usdul-Ghaba, 2: 246; Tabaqat, 3: 88.
[6]Tabaqat, 3: 86.

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