It is mentioned in Fadail Shazan bin Jibraeel from Asbagh bin Nubatah that he said: I was with Salman when he was the governor of Madayan in the beginning period of the Caliphate of Imam Ali (a.s.). He was appointed by Umar as the governor of Madayan during his reign and he continued in that post till the first part of the Caliphate of Imam Ali (a.s.). I went to him one day to find him ill and he passed away in the same illness.
I used to visit him regularly till his illness intensified and he told me: O Asbagh, the Messenger of Allah (S) has informed me that a dead man will speak to him when the time of my death is near. So I want to know if the time of my death is near. Asbagh asked him what he wished. Salman told him to bring a wooden plank and spread a sheet over it and lift me up like a bier and take me to the graveyard.
Asbagh says: I will do the same. After that I came out in haste and returned very soon and did what Salman had told me to do. I called for some people who carried him to the graveyard. When he was placed on the ground he told the men to make him face the Qiblah. Then he said aloud: “O folks of the old and decayed field, peace be on you. O those who are veiled from the earth, peace be on you.”
The next time he said: “Peace be on you O that group for which the earth is made as a place of eating. Peace be on you O that group for which the earth is made as a blanket. Peace be on you O that group who are being recompensed for their worldly deeds. Peace be on you on those who await for Israfeel to blow the horn so that you they come out of the graves.
I adjure you in the name of the Almighty Allah, the noble Messenger, I am Salman Farsi, the freed slave of the Holy Prophet (S) and the Prophet has informed that a dead man will speak to me when my death is near. So I want to know if my death is near. When Salman completed his discourse, a dead body spoke up from its grave: “Peace be on you, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. O those who construct buildings for destruction and those are involved in the world. I can hear you, O Salman, and I am replying to you.
Ask me whatever you want, may Allah have mercy on you.” Salman said: “O one who speaks after his death, are you from the folks of Paradise or Hell?” He said: “I am from those whom the Almighty Allah has blessed with Paradise.” Salman said: “Tell me how you found the hardships of death and what did you see?”
He said: “Wait a bit, don’t make haste, because by Allah, the sawing of my body and cutting up with a scissor is easier than the hardship of death in my view. O Salman, the Almighty Allah gave me the good sense to perform good deeds in the world, fulfill the religious duties, recite the Qur’an and did good turns to the parents, abstained from unlawful acts and was terrified of oppressing others.
Day and night I strived to earn lawful livelihood because I feared the day I will have to appear for accounting before the Almighty Allah. Thus on a day when I was extremely happy with life, I fell ill and remained in that illness for some days till my life came to an end. At that moment a very ugly and horrible appearance came to me and stood suspended in air.
He gestured to my eyes and made me blind; then he gestured to my ears and I became deaf. He pointed to my tongue and I became dumb. I could neither see or hear or speak anything. My relatives began to weep and wail and my brothers and neighbors came to know about this. I asked that person: “Who are you that you are separating me from my family and property?” He replied: “I am the Angel of Death. I have to transfer you from the world to the hereafter.
Because your tenure on the earth is over and it is time for your death.” Meanwhile he was joined by two more persons; they were in a beautiful human form; one stood to my right and another to my left. They said: Peace be on you, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. We have brought your scroll of deeds; you can read it yourself.” I asked; “What type of scroll is it that I have to read?” They replied: “We are the two angels that accompanied you every moment of your life.
We used to record your good and bad deeds and this is the same record.” I began to read the book of my good deeds. And it was held by the angel named Raqib. Thus as much I saw my good deeds, I used to be happy at them and then I began to peruse my bad deeds, which was held by the other angel, who is named Ateed. When I read it, I became very sad and finally began to weep.
The angels said: “Glad tidings to you, you shall have a good end.” The Angel of Death arrived and began to pull out the soul from my body and it was the most painful thing in the world. I was in that condition when my soul reached to my chest. Then the Angel of Death attacked me with a weapon such that if he had placed it on mountains they would also have melted. At last my soul was taken away through my nose. My family members began to weep and wail aloud. I was able to hear and see them.
When they wept more intensely, the Angel of Death addressed them: “Why are you weeping and wailing like this? By Allah, I have not done any injustice to him that you may protest. Don’t cry as I and you are all the servants of same God. If God had ordered you something about us, as He has commanded me about you, indeed you would also have obeyed Him with regard to me as I am obeying Him with regard to you.
By Allah, I have not captured his soul, except that his destined sustenance had ended and his appointed tenure was over and he has gone to the court of his Kind Lord, who will do what He wants about him and He is powerful over everything. So if you are patient, you will be rewarded, and if you are impatience and weep and wail, you will be sinful and I have to visit you many times.
I will take away your sons, daughters, fathers and mothers. Thus he moved away from my body taking my soul with him. Another angel came and took my soul from him and wrapped it up in a silk cloth and conveyed it to Allah in a flick of the eye. Then my soul was presented to the Almighty Allah and I was questioned about each of my small and big deed.
And I was asked about Prayers, fasting, Hajj, recitation of Qur’an, Zakat, Sadaqah and every act that I had performed during my life. And obedience of parents and wrongful murder, usurping the property of orphans, oppressing the people, worshipping at night, when others sleep, and whatever such deeds that I had performed were also subjected to an inquiry from my soul. After that my soul was sent back to the earth by the order of Allah.
Those who wanted to give me the funeral bath approached me, removed my clothes and began to bathe me. My soul called out: O men, be lenient with this weak body as I broke each of his nerve when I came out, and I didn’t come out of his body but that I shattered it. By Allah, if that person had been able to hear this voice he would never have bathed the body.
Then water was poured on my body and I was washed three times. And I was shrouded in three pieces of shroud and Hunut (anoint) was given and this was the ration with which I set out to the abode of the hereafter. Then he removed the ring from my right hand. Thus after completing my Ghusl, they entrusted my body to my elder son and said: May Allah reward you for the calamity of losing your father and bestow you endless divine rewards; then they wrapped me up in a white cloth and recited some devotions.
My family members and my neighbors were called to bid farewell to me. They came near me and bid farewell to me. Then I was placed on a wooden plank. At that time my soul was between my mouth and shroud. My funeral prayers were recited and then I was taken to the grave.
When I was placed in the grave, I witnessed a great terror, O Salman, as if I fell down from the sky to the earth. Then I was placed in the grave and the grave was closed with bricks and filled up with soil. My soul returned to my tongue and ear. When people were asked to move away from my grave, I felt a great regret and I said: Alas, if I had also returned with them. Someone said from the corner of the grave: It is not possible. And he recited the following verse of Qur’an:
لَعَلِّي أَعْمَلُ صَالِحًا فِيمَا تَرَكْتُ ۚ كَلَّا ۚ إِنَّهَا كَلِمَةٌ هُوَ قَائِلُهَا ۖ وَمِنْ وَرَائِهِمْ بَرْزَخٌ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ
“Haply I may do good in that which I have left. By no means! it is a (mere) word that he speaks; and before them is a barrier until the day they are raised.”28
Barzakh is the distance between the world and the hereafter. I asked who are you? He replied: I am Mamba, an angel, whom the Almighty Allah has appointed on all creatures so that after their death, their deeds may be shown to them so that I will seal the proof for them. He pulled me and made me sit up. And told me to write my deeds. I said I don’t remember anything. He said: Have you not heard the statement of the Almighty Allah that He made in the Holy Qur’an?
أَحْصَاهُ اللَّهُ وَنَسُوهُ
“…Allah has recorded it…”29
Then he said, I will dictate and you write down your deeds. I asked, “Where is the paper?” He pulled out a piece from the corner of the shroud and I saw that it was a piece of paper. And he said: “This is your scroll.” I asked, “From where can I get a pen?” He told me that my index finger was my pen. I asked, “Where is the ink?” He replied: “It is your saliva.” Thus he began to tell me about whatever I had done in the world, and nothing was missed by him as the Almighty Allah has said:
وَيَقُولُونَ يَا وَيْلَتَنَا مَالِ هَٰذَا الْكِتَابِ لَا يُغَادِرُ صَغِيرَةً وَلَا كَبِيرَةً إِلَّا أَحْصَاهَا ۚ وَوَجَدُوا مَا عَمِلُوا حَاضِرًا ۗ وَلَا يَظْلِمُ رَبُّكَ أَحَدًا
“And they will say: Ah! woe to us! what a book is this! it does not omit a small one nor a great one, but numbers them (all); and what they had done they shall find present (there); and your Lord does not deal unjustly with anyone.”30
Then that angel took away the writing, placed a seal upon it and put it around my neck. I felt as if all the mountains of the world have been placed on my neck. I asked him: “O Mamba, why have you done this to me?” He replied: “Have you not heard what your Lord has said:
وَكُلَّ إِنْسَانٍ أَلْزَمْنَاهُ طَائِرَهُ فِي عُنُقِهِ ۖ وَنُخْرِجُ لَهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ كِتَابًا يَلْقَاهُ مَنْشُورًا. اقْرَأْ كِتَابَكَ كَفَىٰ بِنَفْسِكَ الْيَوْمَ عَلَيْكَ حَسِيبًا.
“And We have made every man’s actions to cling to his neck, and We will bring forth to him on the resurrection day a book which he will find wide open: Read your book; your own self is sufficient as a reckoner against you this day.”31
Mamba said: “It is a discourse with which you will be addressed and you will be presented for accounting. And the scroll of your deeds will be unfurled before your eyes and you will be your own witness for your self. Then Mamba went away from me and the angel named Munkar, arrived carrying an iron mace, which was so heavy that even if all the men and jinn try to move they cannot do so.
He told me in such a terrifying voice that if the people of the earth had heard they would have died of fright. He asked: Tell me who your Lord is? What is your religion? Who is your Prophet and who are your Imams? What were your beliefs in the world?” I was speechless due to fear and didn’t know what to reply.
Each joint of my body was shattered till the mercy of Allah came to my rescue, which supported my heart and made my tongue vocal. So I said: “O creature of Allah, why do you make me afraid: I witness that Allah is One and Muhammad Mustafa (S) is the Messenger of Allah. And I witness that the Lord of the worlds is my Lord and Muhammad Mustafa (S) is my Prophet. Islam is my religion, Qur’an is my Book, Kaaba is my Qiblah and Ali is my Imam.
I will meet my Lord on Judgment Day with the same beliefs.” The angel said: “Glad tidings for you, you have indeed got salvation.” Then he went away. After that the angel named Nakeer arrived and told me in such a terrifying voice: that like before my limbs entangled into one another. And he said: O man, narrate your deeds to me.
I was bewildered and could not say anything. Then the Almighty Allah removed the terror and inspired the answer: and He gave me the best Taufeeq and certainty. I said: O creature of Allah, be lenient with me as I am coming from the world. I witness that except for the One God, there is no other god and neither does he have a partner. And I witness that Muhammad (S) is the servant of Allah and His Messenger.
Paradise is truth, Punishment of Hell Fire is truth, Sirat is truth, Mizan (scale) is truth, accounting of creatures is truth, questioning of the grave is truth, enlivening of the dead on Judgment Day is truth, bounties of Paradise that the Almighty Allah has promised is a fact, and the chastisement that He has warned about in Hell is a fact, and there is no doubt that Qiyamat is imminent, and that the Almighty Allah will raise to life again, those who are in the graves. The angel said: “Glad tidings to you for perpetual blessings and rewards.” Then he made me lie down in the grave and said: “Sleep like a bridegroom.”
And he opened near my head a door into Paradise and door to Hell at my feet. And he said: “O slave of Allah, look at the bounties of Paradise that you will get and also look at the fire of Hell, which you have escaped.” Then he closed the door leading to Hell and left the door to Paradise open through which I regularly received fragrance of the blessings of Paradise.
He also widened my grave as far as the sight could perceive and then he went away from there. O Salman, I have not seen anything more worthy than these three things in the view of Allah: First: Praying on the cold nights; Second: Fasting on the hottest days; Third: Giving Sadaqah in such a way that the left hand should not come to know what the right hand has given.
This is all that I have experienced and I testify to the Oneness of Allah and Messengership of Muhammad (S); and I testify that death is imminent, so you must be contemplative about it and keep fearing the inquiry of your deeds by Allah. Thus concluded the discourse of that dead man. Salman said: Lay me down on the earth. When we placed his head on the ground, he said: “Give me the pillow.” We obliged him. Salman gazed at the heavens and said:
قُلْ مَنْ بِيَدِهِ مَلَكُوتُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ يُجِيرُ وَلَا يُجَارُ عَلَيْهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
“Say: Who is it in Whose hand is the kingdom of all things and Who gives succor, but against Him Succor is not given, if you do but know?”32
“O One in whose control is the power of everything and to whom all go back and He is refuge to all and none gives refuge to Him. I brought faith on You and followed Your Prophet and testified to Your Book. And I have received all that You promised. O One, Who does not go back on His word. Take my soul to Your mercies and land me in the court of Your honor as I testify that there is no god except Allah, the One Who has no partner and I witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.”
When he concluded, his soul flew away to the abode of eternity and he joined the services of the Messenger of Allah (S) and the Holy Imams (a.s.). Asbagh says: We were shocked by these events when a person appeared riding a piebald pony whose face was under a veil.
When he came close to us, he greeted us and we replied. When he began to speak, we realized that it was Amirul Momineen, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). He said: “Arrange for the funeral rites of Salman.” We began to prepare for the same and tried to procure shroud and anointments. His Eminence, said: “No need for all that, we have it with us.”
So we brought the wooden plank and water. The Imam performed the funeral bath himself and shrouded the body. Then he stood in the front and we followed behind him in the funeral prayers. After that His Eminence, placed the last remains in the grave with his own hands.
When we were returning from the funeral, I said: “O Amirul Momineen (a.s.), how did you come here and who informed you of Salman’s death?” The Imam said: “O Asbagh, I adjure you in the name of Allah that you will not reveal this secret as long as I am alive.” I asked, “O Amirul Momineen (a.s.), will I pass away before you?”
He replied: “No.” “Then you may put me under the oath. I will not disclose it to anyone, till the Almighty Allah does not issue the command about you and He is powerful over everything.” Then the Imam said: The Prophet (S) had informed me that Salman will pass away at that time. I recited the prayer at Kufa mosque and went home and went to sleep.
I dreamt that someone was saying: Salman has passed away. I woke up at once and mounted my pony taking the necessary items for the funeral, like the shroud and camphor etc. and set out from there. The Almighty Allah made Madayan very near and I reached here so soon.” Saying this His Eminence, disappeared from my sight and I could not understand whether he went to the heavens of the earth. When I reached Kufa I heard that the same day the Imam reached Kufa and prayed the Maghrib Prayer there.33