The Story of Salman Al-Farsi: A Dramatic Interpretation

 

By Amina Inloes

 

Originally written for Imamia Education Center (www.imamia.org)

 

Characters:

Qurayshi

Tamimi

Salman al-Farsi

Salmanís Mother

Salmanís Father

Monk

Caravan Leader

Jewish Man

Slave Master

Friend

Voice of Prophet

Companion of the Prophet

Narrator

 

Suggested scenery:

Scene 1:Mock-up of Masjid al-Nabawi

Scene 2:Persian fire temple consisting of two colums and an ornamental basin filled with fake fire atop a pedestal

Scene 3:Desert with palm trees and a mock-up of Masjid al-Nabawi for the latter part of the scene

 

Suggested props:

Scorpion

Whip

Sword

2 baskets of dates

Gold coins

Shovel


PROLOGUE:

 

Narrator:Welcome to The Story of Salman al-Farsi.This play gives an idea of what might have happened to the famous Companion of the Prophet (s), Salman al-Farsi, as he traveled from his birthplace in Persia to find faith.Although it is based on a true story, it is meant to be an idea of what might have happened and is not to be taken has historical fact.We begin in the Holy City of Madinah in the Mosque of the ProphetÖ

 

Click here for an introductory nasheed in Urdu

 

SCENE 1 Ė MADINAH, MASJID AL-NABIWI

 

(Qurayshi and Tamimi are sitting and pointing at Salman and whispering.Salman is praying and reading duía by himself)

 

Qurayshi:(stage whisper)Whereís HE from?

 

Tamimi:(pointing)Salman?

 

Qurayshi:Yeah, I always see him around the Prophet.Or else here, at the mosque.

 

Tamimi:The Prophet said that Salman is like one of his own family.

 

Qurayshi:Impossible!Look at him. Heís Persian.Our Prophet is an Arab.I wonder why the Prophet likes him so much.I wonder how he got to Madinah in the first place.

 

Tamimi:Weíll find out. (Gets up)(Still whispering)Ask me where Iím from.

 

Qurayshi:But I already know where youíre from.

 

Tamimi:Just ASK me.

 

Qurayshi:Ok, so, umÖ anywayÖ (loudly)Brother, where are you from?

Tamimi:I am from the great tribe of Tamim.

 

Qurayshi:Um, yes, excellent, Tamim!

 

Tamimi:Where are YOU from?

 

Qurayshi:I come from the great tribe of Quraysh.

 

Tamimi:Mashallah, excellent, the tribe of the Prophet.


(They look at Salman pointedly)

Tamimi:Brother Salman, where are YOU from?

Qurayshi:Whatís your tribe?

Tamimi:Do you have a tribe?

Qurayshi:Itís OK if you donít have a tribe.

 

Tamimi:Not everyone has a tribe.

 

Qurayshi:Yes they do.

 

Tamimi:No they donít.

 

Qurayshi:Yes they do.

 

Tamimi.No they DONíT.

 

Qurayshi:Yes they DO.

 

Tamimi:No they-

 

Salman:You were correct when you said I was from Persia.

 

Tamimi:(whispering to Qurayshi)You talk too loud!

 

Salman:My name was not always Salman.The Prophet gave me that name.I am the son of Islam.I was lost, and Allah guided me through Muhammad.I was poor, and Allah enriched me through Muhammad.I was a slave, and Allah freed me through Muhammad.Brothers, Islam is my tribe, and I am grateful and honored to be a part of it.

 

Qurayshi:Thatís amazing.


Tamimi:How did that happen?

Salman:I will tell you my storyÖ


SCENE 2 Ė PERSIA

 

Salmanís Mother:Wake up!Itís your first day to watch over the temple!


(Salman comes on rubbing his eyes)

Mother:Youíre so grown up now.I remember when you used to be a little boy.Now, itís time for you to walk in your fatherís footsteps.You will make all of Persia proud!

 

Father:Itís time to go to the temple, son.(They walk over to the fire temple)You have a sacred responsibility, the same responsibility that your ancestors had.You must guard the divine fire at all times and prevent it from going out, for it is this fire that we worship.

 

Salman:Father, why do we worship the fire?

Father:The fire is pure and purifies all things, just like God.This is why it must never be allowed to be extinguished.

 

Salman:I see. (Even though he doesnít)

 

Father:Your task is very important.Do not fail in your duty.


Salman:I will not, Father.I will watch over it very carefully.

 

(Father leaves)


Click here for a fire temple sound effect (Zoroastrian chanting in Persian and fire sounds)

 

Salman:I respect my father greatly.He is a wise and knowledgeable man.Everyone in our village comes to our house and asks him questions.I donít think he could ever be wrong about anything.But I donít see how this fire can be God.This fire will die without me, but God is eternal.This fire needs me to feed it, but God needs nothing from me.

 

(Monk enters)

Salman:Peace, friend!Who are you, and where are you going?

 

Monk:I am a servant of our Lord Jesus Christ.I am leaving Persia to return to our church.

 

Salman:Whatís a ďchurchĒ?

 

Monk:The church is where we worship our Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnation of God.

 

Salman:You mean you donít worship the fire like us?

Monk:No.Our Lord Jesus has saved us from the worship of idols.


Salman: I want to learn more about your Lord.Let me come with you.

 

Monk:You are most welcome.It is my duty to spread the message of Jesus.

 

Salman:Wait one second.(Goes over to parents)Father, Mother, I am very grateful for you for everything you have done for me.But, inside my heart, I still doubt the God of the Fire.I need to go away so I can seek the truth and become certain of my faith.

 

Father:Serving the temple was the honor of your ancestors, son.I raised you to carry on their tradition.You have disappointed me.

 

Salman:I am sorry, father.But I cannot serve the temple when I do not believe.

 

Father:Leave us now.

 

Mother:Come back soon.

 

(Monk and Salman walk off)

 


SCENE 3:SYRIA, INSIDE MONKíS HOUSE

 

Click here for a monastery sound effect

 

(Salman and Monk are sitting in house and praying Christian-style)

 

Monk:You have learned well.I have nothing left to teach you.

 

Salman:I can never repay your kindness in letting me stay here with you and learn from you.But stillÖ my heart tells me that something is missing.

 

Monk:It is possible.(coughs)My dear boy, my time has come.I am about to leave this world.Let me leave you with one last secret.

 

Salman:What?

 

Monk: In our Book, it is said that another Prophet will arise.


Salman:Another Prophet!

 

Monk:A final Prophet.He will revive the religion of Abraham, and he will come the land where date palms grow.


Salman:Date palmsÖ trees full of dates.How will I know it is him?

Monk:He will bear two signs.First, he will refuse charity but accept gifts.

 

Salman:And second?

Monk: He will bear the mark of prophecy between his shoulders.


Salman:Tell me where these date palms are so I can find him!


Monk:To be honest, I do not know exactly where they are.But fear not.God will guide you.You have pure faith.(coughs)Let me rest now.Go, and seek what you are looking for.


(Salman rises and goes off.Caravan Leader comes onstage)

 

Click here for the caravan leader sound effect

 

Salman: Greetings, brother.

 

Caravan Leader:Greetings.

 

Salman:You have so many camels!Are they all part of your caravan?

 

Caravan:Yes Ė camels, goods, spices, cloth Ė you name it, we have it.


Salman:Where are you heading?

Caravan:Arabia.

 

Salman:Is that where date palms grow?

 

Caravan:I take it youíve never been there.

 

Salman:Iím trying to get there.Can I take passage with you?

Caravan:Of courseÖ however, nothing comes free in the desert.

 

(Salman hands over some money)

 

Caravan:The desert is a very harsh land.

 

(Salman hands over some more money)

 

Caravan:You can go for days without finding any water in the desert.

 

Salman:Thatís all I have.

 

Caravan:All right.Letís go.We have a long way to travel.

 

(Caravan leader walks in front, and Salman follows behind.They walkÖ and walkÖ and walk)


Salman:(wiping forehead)Itís so hot here.I feel like the sand is burning all of my insides.Iím so glad I didnít try to cross through here alone.(jumps aside)A scorpion!(keeps walking)

 

Caravan:Stay alert, the desert is a dangerous place for unwary travelers.

 

(They keep walking.Caravan leader moves behind Salman and, suddenly, grabs his hands and ties them)

 

Salman:Hey!

 

Caravan:You fool!Did you think we would take care of you in the middle of the desert where no one can see what we can do?

Salman:But I paid you.This isnít right.

Caravan:†† Weíll make much more off of you than that paltry sum you gave us when we sell you as a SLAVE!

 

Salman:Donít you fear God?

Caravan:God?Where is God in this gigantic desert?(Laughs some more and drags Salman to the slave market)

 

Jewish man:How much is he?

Salman:Iím not a slave!

 

Caravan:(kicks Salman) Quiet!Heís very valuable.Heís strong, healthy, a fine worker.

 

Jewish man:(to Salman)Open your mouth.

 

(Leader kicks Salman again, and Salman opens his mouth.Jewish man examines his teeth)

 

Jewish man:His teeth look good.Heís been well fed.(Picks up Salmanís hands)He doesnít bear the signs of hard work.


Caravan:Heís still young.I donít have all day here.We have a lot of people down south who would pay good money for a strong worker like him.

 

Jewish man:All right.Name your price.(They whisper, and the Jewish man takes Salman)

 

Jewish man:Youíll be working on my farm.


Salman:(eagerly)Do you farm dates?

 

Jewish man:Dates?No.

 

Salman:Thatís too bad.(They walk)Can I ask you a question?

 

Jewish man:You speak when you are spoken to.(They walk some more)All right,what is it?

 

Salman:What is your faith?

Jewish man:We believe in God.

 

Salman:You mean the God of the Fire?

Jewish man:No.Our ancestors shunned that belief.

 

Salman:Then you worship the Lord Jesus Christ.


Jewish man:No, we do not believe in him either.We believe in God alone.We follow the teachings of Moses.

 

Salman:(hopefully)Do you have a Prophet alive today?

Jewish man:(wistfully)No, all of our Prophets died long ago.

 

Salman:Perhaps a new one will come.

 

Jewish man:It is said it will happen.But I really donít think it will. Itís ok.We are content with our ancient teachings and rituals.We have the great temple in Jerusalem.We believe that God chose us as His chosen people. What honor could be higher than that?

 

Salman:What if you are not one of His chosen people?Can you still believe?

 

Jewish man:Donít ask hard questions.

 

(They arrive, and Jewish man hands Salman a shovel)

 

Jewish man:Prepare the ground.Youíll have to sow it soon.

 

(Salman begins working.)

 

Jewish man:Not like that, like that!You act like youíve never worked on a farm before! (demonstrates)

 

Salman:(to himself)My hands are killing me.(Pauses a second)

Jewish man:Keep working!What did I buy, a temple scribe?

 

(Salman resumes working.New Slave Master enters)

 

Master:(to Jewish man)I need a good, strong, hardy man to work my date plantations.Is he for sale?

Salman:(to himself)Dates!

 

Jewish man:Iíd hate to part with him. Heís not only strong but honest and reliable.One of a kind.

 

Master:Iím willing to payÖ (holds out some money)

 

Jewish man:Thatís not nearly enough for someone like him.

 

Master:How about this? (holds out more money)

 

Jewish man:Itís a loss, butÖ all right.(To Salman)Put away your shovel.Youíll be going with him.

 

Salman:Thank you.

 

Master:Move it!(pushes Salman)From now on, you call me Master.

 

Salman:Yes, Master.MasterÖ can I ask you a question?

Master:Absolutely not.You are here to work, not to talk.

 

Salman:Sorry.MasterÖ where are we going?

 

Master:I told you to be quiet!(Hits Salman)Weíre going to Yathrib.

 

Salman:YathribÖ Yathrib has date palms?

 

Master:I guarantee you, after working for me for two weeks, you wonít want to see another date palm in your life.

 

(They arrive.Lights off, and palm trees brought onto stage)

 

Click here for an Arabic nasheed for the arrival in Yathrib (Madinah)

 

Master:Here are your date palms that you wanted to see.Now get started.

 

Salman:(looking up, and up)Subhanallah.Iíve never seen anything like them.I canít believe they grow in this wasteland.

 

Master: You will water them and till them and climb them to collect the dates.Itís hard work, and we donít have much help.Youíll need to work from dawn to sunset.If you lose any part of the harvest, you will suffer.Get to work.


(Salman begins working)

 

Salman:God, help me find what I am looking for.

 

Master:Work, you lazy man!(Snaps whip at Salman)

(Salman works faster)

 

(Friend of Master comes onstage)

 

Friend:(to Master)Did you hear?The new Prophet has come to Yathrib!

 

Master:(in disbelief) Sure, heís a Prophet.(yells at Salman)You donít have anything better to do than eavesdrop, you good for nothing slave!Work!


Friend:†† Itís not going to kill us to go hear what he has to say and find out.Everyone else is gathering around him.

 

Master:(to Salman)You better be done by the time we come back!

 

(They leave)

Salman:The Prophet!I must see him!But how will I know it is truly him?(thinks)Iíll take these dates.(picks up a basket of dates)(rubs side)Iíll have to make sure the Master doesnít see me.

 

(goes to Masjid al-Nabawi and talks to Prophet who is behind the masjid and cannot be seen)

 

Voice of the Prophet:Peace be upon you.

 

Salman:Peace be upon you.I regret to say that I am only a slave.I was taken captive in the desert, and I have been put to work harvesting dates.


Voice of the Prophet:There is no shame in that.All people are equal before God.

 

Salman:I left my work briefly and without permission because I wanted to see you.I see you have many people here with you.You must be very hungry after your long trip.Please take these dates I have collected as charity.


Voice of the Prophet:You are too kind.

 

Salman:You wonít eat any?

Voice of the Prophet:My companions will eat them.We thank you for your generosity.(Reaches over and takes dates)

 

(Salman comes onstage)

Salman:The first signÖ (picks up another basket of dates) (starts walking)(Master comes onstage)The Master!(changes direction abruptly.Master walks offstage)

 

Master:Where is that useless slave?I wish I never bought him!(Goes offstage)

 

Salman:I have brought you some more dates, but these are not meant as charity.Please, take them as a humble gift.

 

Voice of the Prophet:We thank you again.We will share them all together.(Reaches over and takes dates)


Salman:(to himself)Itís really himÖ (to the Prophet)My entire life, I have sought the true religion.I was born in Persia as a servant of the Fire Temple.I traveled all the way to Syria to learn about the Lord Jesus Christ.I was sold to a man who believes in God, but he said that only some of Godís servants have been chosen for the true belief.So, still, I am not content.Teach me your message.

 

Voice of the Prophet:There is no God but the One God, and I am His Prophet.

 

Salman:My heart tells me that this is the truth.I bear witness that there is no God but He, the Most High, and you are His Prophet.

 

(Companion comes onstage)

 

Companion:You have found what you were searching for.You shall render a great service to Islam.In the future, the Prophet will name you ďSalmanĒ, and you will be like his own family to him.Welcome, Salman.


(Qurayshi and Tamimi come back onstage, with teary eyes)

Qurayshi:That was beautiful.

 

Tamimi:Incredible.I had no idea you went through all that, Salman.


Qurayshi:What an amazing journey for faith.

 

Tamimi:Sorry for giving you a hard time.

 

Salman:It is all right.It is all worth it for the sake of God.

 

Click here for an ending nasheed in Urdu

 

THE END