It is absolutely correct and evident that after the event of Saqifah, some of the great companions of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) did not accept the Caliphate of those who usurped it from Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibne abi Talib (a.s.). Leave aside accepting the unlawful government which was forcefully acquired and whose foundation was in contrast to the teachings and pillars of Islam, these companions considered Imam Ali (a.s.) as the legitimate trustee of the Caliphate in light of the sayings of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
Among these great companions is Janab Salman al-Farsi (a.r), who during the lifetime of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would obediently follow his (s.a.w.a.) instructions and considered himself as a slave of Ameerul Momineen (a.s). Even after the death of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), he was an obedient and loyal companion of Ameerul Momeneen Ali (a.s.). Such was the wholehearted manner in which he showed respect and sincerity that Janab Salman never preferred his own desires to the obedience of his Master (a.s.).
The selflessness and bravery of Janab Salman (a.r) can be judged during the incident when people attacked the house of Hazrat Sidiqa Tahera Fatema Zahra (s.a) and arrested Imam Ali (a.s) demanding his allegiance. Janab Salman stood by his Master Ali (a.s) at every moment and expressed his perseverance in it by staying patient and silent on the order of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.).
Keeping these sacrifices of Janab Salman (a.r) in mind and also his extreme Love for Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his Ahle Bayt (a.s) and his severe antagonism towards the enemies of Ahle Bayt (a.s) the questions that come to our mind are as follows:
- Why did he, during the time of Caliphate of Umar Ibn Khattab, accept the governership of the city of Madaaen, despite his belief that the Caliphate was usurped?
- Why did he proceed for the correction of the affairs of the people?
- Should this step of Janab Salman be considered as a help for the usurped government?
- Does this not prove that Janab Salman had love for other companions of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and was satisfied with them?
From among the numerous replies to these questions is that there is no doubt that Janab Salman (r.a.), till his last age was the adversary of the enemies of Ahle Bayt (a.s) and in no form did any favours to them. But to elaborate, we will consider the following points:
1. The faith of Hazrat Salman (r.a.) and his love for Imam Ali (a.s):
Analysing the life of Janab Salman (a.r.), we can conclude that he never disobeyed any order of his Master (a.s.) and never moved a step ahead against the wish of his Master (a.s.). How is it possible that such and loving obedient follower would not have accepted the instructions of his Master (a.s.) in this affair? Definitely, he accepted the governorship from the government upon the instructions of Ameerul Momineen (a.s). It is unacceptable that Janab Salman (a.r.) would surpass his Master (a.s.) in this important matter. It is absolutely clear that in the same way as he accepted Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s) as his master in each and every matter of his life, he considered Imam Ali (a.s) as his master even in the matter of governorship of Madaaen and accepted it upon the instructions of Imam Ali (a.s) only. He has not given preference to his personal wish or the satisfaction of any one in this matter. Also, the lofty position of Janab Salman (a.r.) in the eyes of Imam Ali (a.s) and the various occasions of help from him (a.s) for Janab Salman after accepting the governorship of Madaaen (for example, the burial rituals at the hands of Imam Ali (a.s)) by themselves are strong evidences to prove this point.
(Behar al-Anwaar vol. 22, p. 368)
2 Accepting a governmental position is not a proof for the truth of the government:
It is a fact that just accepting a position in the government does not certify the truthfulness of the government. The best example and witness upon this is the Prophet Yusuf (a.s) in light of the Holy Quran.
In this incident Hazrat Yusuf (a.s) requested the king of Egypt to grant him the position of chief treasury of his kingdom.
قَالَ اجْعَلْنِيْ عَلٰي خَزَائِنِ الْاَرْضِ
“Appoint me as the keepers of the treasure.”
Surah Yusuf: Verse 55
Hazrat Yusuf (a.s) is a Prophet of Allah and under no circumstances he would certify the disbelieving government of Egypt. Apparently, he was just requesting for a position and ministry in the government.
Thus, Hazrat Yusuf (a.s) became a chief in government of a polytheist king. Since he was a Prophet of Allah, it goes without saying that he was accepting the position on Allah’s command.
If we think that accepting a position in the government would certify its truthfulness, we are forced to conclude that even Allah has certified a polytheistic government (God forbid!) and has committed oppression while Allah the Almighty does not commit an iota of injustice, a fact endorsed by numerous verses of the Holy Quran. Therefore, it is necessary that we confirm that Allah has not certified the false government despite the fact that He made Hazrat Yusuf (a.s) a chief in that very government. Thus, we conclude that
“Accepting a governmental position is not a proof for the truth of the government”.
We would like to quote another very famous incident form history. During the time of Imam Musa Kazim (a.s) the minister of Haroon Rashid was Ali Ibn Yaqteen, who was among the most faithful companions of Imam (a.s). He held a very high office in the Abbaside kingdom but was counted among the sincere and faithful Shias of Imam (a.s), who under no circumstances would disobey the commands of Imam (a.s). He would do whatever Imam (a.s) commanded him and would always be a helper and aide for the Shias. Until such a time that he decided to resign from the position of minister of the King, he wrote a letter to Imam (a.s) as follows:
“O my master! My enthusiasm has been shattered by the affairs of the King. May Allah hold me your ransom! If you permit I would separate from the King.”
Imam (a.s) replied back thus:
“I do not permit you to resign. Refrain and fear Allah”
(Qorb al-Asnaad, p.126)
3. Relieving believers from problems:
Relieving believers from problems and helping them is such an act which Allah has made obligatory upon the believers and that they make every possible effort to help their believing brother. Imam Sadiq (a.s) has narrated that Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:
“One who helps a believer, Allah keeps 73 problems away from him out of which one is in this world and remaining 72 problems on the Day of Judgement when he will be surrounded by problems.” Then he (s.a.w.a.) continued, “There people will be busy among themselves.”
(Usool-e-Kafi, vol. 3, p. 302)
Thus, it is necessary upon the believers that they help each other attain the satisfaction of Allah, one of the means of relieving a believer’s difficulty and helping them among the oppressing kingdom is by establishing presence and power in the kingdom, which can be used to help the believers. In the incident of Hazrat Yusuf (a.s), we saw that establishing power and position in the government was very helpful and fruitful for Allah and the believers as he (a.s.) distributed the money from the treasury equally among all the people. The Holy Quran in the words of Hazrat Yusuf (a.s) says that:
…اِنِّىْ حَفِيْظٌ عَلِيْمٌ-
“I, the knower of all the languages, will protect the treasury.”
(Surah Yusuf: Verse 55)
In the kingdom of Haroon Rashid, the position of Ali Ibn Yaqteen was also similar as he was always engaged in the protection of wealth and lives of the Shias. Therefore, when he decided to resign from his position Imam Kazim (a.s) wrote to him:
“I do not consider it lawful for you that you resign from the government as among the courts of the oppressors there are some people from the side of Allah as well due to them the calamities are repelled from His loved ones and His friends. And these people are freed from the fire of Hell due to the mercy of Allah; thus abstain from the wrath of Allah and oblige your brothers”
(Qorb al-Asnaad, p. 126)
The above point carries more importance when in the history there were severe differences among the Arabs and Non-Arabs, where the latter were considered inferior. Such differences were highly prevalent during the time of Umar Ibn Khattab. The governorship of Janab Salman (a.r.) during such circumstances was very helpful in repelling such differences and has definitely helped in bringing the Persians and non-Arabs closer to Islam.
Another point worth noting is that Iran and Syria were captured during the same era but there are two distinct forms in which Islam is presented from them. The main cause behind this is that the Islam that went to Syria was in the form of Muawiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan and the Islam that went towards Iran was in the form of two close companions of Ameer al-Momeneen Ali (a.s) viz. Huzaifah and Salman (peace be on them both). If we glance at the behaviour of the people of these two nations towards Ahle Bayt (a.s), the accuracy and the depth of the thinking of Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s) will become evident for us.