1,001 Sayings and Deeds of the Prophet
Abdullah bin Salam
Abdullah bin Salam was a rabbi and a respected member of the Jewish community before he converted to Islam. He became a Muslim after a short meeting with the Prophet where God's Messenger answered three fatuous questions to the rabbi's satisfaction.
It was fortuitous that the angel Gabriel, whom bin Salam then considered an enemy of the Jews, had just had a conversation with the Prophet about what was on bin Salam's mind.
Abdullah bin Salam heard the news of the arrival of Allah's Apostle (at Medina) while he was on a farm collecting its fruits. So he came to the Prophet and said, "I will ask you about three things which nobody knows unless he be a prophet. Firstly, what is the first portent of the Hour? What is the first meal of the people of Paradise? And what makes a baby look like its father or mother?"
The Prophet said, "Just now Gabriel has informed me about that."
'Abdullah said, "Gabriel?"
The Prophet said, "Yes."
Abdullah said, "He, among the angels is the enemy of the Jews."
On that the Prophet recited this Holy Verse: "Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel (let him die in his fury!) for he has brought it (i.e. Qur'an) down to your heart by Allah's permission." (2:97)
Then he added, "As for the first portent of the Hour, it will be a fire that will collect the people from the East to West.
And as for the first meal of the people of Paradise, it will be the caudite (i.e. extra) lobe of the fish liver.
And if a man's discharge proceeded that of the woman, then the child resembles the father, and if the woman's discharge proceeded that of the man, then the child resembles the mother."
On hearing that, Abdullah said, "I testify that None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and that you are the Apostle of Allah, O, Allah's Apostle; the Jews are liars, and if they should come to know that I have embraced Islam, they would accuse me of being a liar."
In the meantime some Jews came (to the Prophet) and he asked them, "What is Abdullah's status amongst you?"
They replied, "He is the best amongst us, and he is our chief and the son of our chief."
The Prophet said, "What would you think if Abdullah bin Salam embraced Islam?"
They replied, "May Allah protect him from this!"
Then Abdullah came out and said, "I testify that None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah."
The Jews then said, "Abdullah is the worst of us and the son of the worst of us," and disparaged him.
On that Abdullah said, "O Allah's Apostle! This is what I was afraid of!"
It the post-Jesus era, the Jews were moving away from the more brutal punishments specified in the Torah, such as the stoning of adulterers.
The Prophet would have none of it, and with the help of bin Salem forced the Jews of Medina – over whom he had ultimate authority under the negotiated Constitution of Medina – to stick to the old ways, many of which became the news ways of the Koran.
Narrated Abdullah bin Umar:
The Jews came to Allah's Apostle and told him that a man and a woman from amongst them had committed illegal sexual intercourse.
Allah's Apostle said to them, "What do you find in the Torah (old Testament) about the legal punishment of Ar-Rajm (stoning)?"
They replied, "(But) we announce their crime and lash them."
Abdullah bin Salam said, "You are telling a lie; Torah contains the order of Rajm."
They brought and opened the Torah and one of them
Abdullah bin Salam said to him, "Lift your hand."
When he lifted his hand, the Verse of Rajm was written there.
They said, "Muhammad has told the truth; the Torah has the Verse of Rajm.
The Prophet then gave the order that both of them should be stoned to death.
(Abdullah bin Umar said, "I saw the man leaning over the woman to shelter her from the stones."