DASTUR DINYAR (or "Salman-e-Fars")

By Noshir Dadrawala

ZARATHUSHTRIAN SAINTS AND MARTYRS series in the Jam-e-Jamshed Weekly

Being one of the oldest revealed religion of the world, Zarathushtrianism has influenced Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in a major way. Scholars of comparative religions believe that the concept of heaven and hell, resurrection, God and Satan etc., are all Zarathushtrian concepts borrowed subsequently by the Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Three Zarathushtrian priests (the three Majis) are said to have been present at the birth of Jesus Christ. Noted Scholar D.B. Macdonald in "Development of Muslim Theology, Jurisprudence and Constitutional Theory" (pg. 133) writes, "It was Dastur Dinyar, afterwards known as Salman (Solomon-e-Farsi, a learned Zoroastrian priest who helped Mahomed in writing, the Quran (The Quran XVI-105)"

Muhammad the Prophet of Islam was born at Mecca in 570 A.D. He took pride in the act that he was born in the reign of Noshirwan the Just Emperor of Zarathushtrian Iran. Muhammad began to preach in Mecca in 610 A.D. It is believed that the Prophet had constituted a council of advisers of whom Dastur Dinyar was an important member. It is said Prophet Muhammad had issued three 'Ahadnameh' or charters to guarantee protection of person, property, freedom of worship and exemption from the poll tax (the Jaziya) to

a) Farrukh-bin-Shakshan (the brother of Dastur Dinyar)

b) Bahram-bin -Khiradars and

c) The descendants of Adarbad Mahrespand.

Though the authenticity of these 'Firmans' is difficult to prove historically, they do bring out the liberal policy of tolerance ordained by the Prophet. In fact it is said that Muhammad and his son-in-law the Imam Ali had issued such charters to all the "Ahel-e-kitab" or "People of the Book" (i.e. those who followed the teachings of a revealed religion, a designation given to Zarathushtrians, Jews and Christians).

The three Zarathushtrian 'Ahadnameh' first came to light in 1851 more than twelve centuries after they were granted. Sorabji Jamsetji Jeejeebhoy the son of the first Baronet, Sir Jamsetji Jejeebhoy had them published-with the Arabic text and their translation in Persian and Gujarati. As said earlier, it would be difficult to establish with certainty the genuineness of these charters.

Dastur Dinyar or Salman-e-Fars was one of the most revered among the 'Ashab' (i.e. companions) of Prophet Muhammad. The prophet infact treated him as one belonging to his "inner circle". According to the 'Hadith' "Salman minna aht al-Bait" i.e. Salman is one of us". Dastur Dinyar survived the prophet and it appears he staunchly supported Ali and his family during the schism that followed Muhammad's passing away. In mystic circles it is believed that the Quran essentially deals with "tarikat" (spiritual - discipline) and "Sheriat" (law). Esoteric Islam began to blossom under Hazrat Ali under the influence of Salman-e-Fars.

The Ahadnameh granted to the brother of Salman-e-Fars is believed to have been written by Al Ibn Abu Talib under institutions from Prophet Muhammad. The Charter granted various rights and freedom as also protection to the coreligionists of Dastur Dinyar. The prophet is believed to have said, "Whosoever obeys this my command he will gain. The pleasure of God, but those who disobey will be accursed to the day of resurrection."

The Ahadnameh says, "Those who are generous to them (i.e. Zarathushtrians) is generous to me (i.e. Muhammad), and they will receive naught but good from God. And those who offends them, offends me, and I will be his enemy on the day of Judgement. His punishment is the fire of hell I withdraw my protection from him.

In the same 'Ahadnameh' the prophet says, "And it was said in the revelation received by me that paradise more impatiently desires the presence of Salman then Salman wishes to go there. Really, he is my intimate friend and adviser as well as to all Muslims. Salman is one of our family".

Unfortunately there is very little we know about Dastur Dinyar from Zarathushtrian texts except for the fact that he was also known as "Behzad" (the wellborn) and was the spiritual counsellor of Noshirwan-e-Adil. Mystics believe this Zarathushtrian Dastur was destined in Nature to influence the early development of the fifth and final major religion of the world (i.e. Islam).

It is Ironic that despite Dastur Dinyar's influence on early Islam and the charters issued by Prophet Muhammed, the Arab Muslims ultimately destroyed Zarathushtrian Iran and the coreligionists of the pious Dastur had to flee from their own motherland and seek refuge in India.

Strange are the ways of this world.

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