Skip to main content

Abdallah Ibn Salām

ABDALLAH IBN SALĀM

ABDALLAH IBN SALĀM (seventh century c.e.), one of Muhammad's Jewish followers. The name of his father, Salām, was used only among Jews in the Arabia of that time. Abdallah's family is usually regarded as belonging to the Banū *Qaynuqāʿ, one of the Jewish clans of Yathrib (Medina), although some associated it with the typically Arabic clan of the Zayd al-Lāt, which implies that they were under the protection of the latter. Abdallah is said to have been converted by Muhammad soon after the latter's arrival in Medina. When his former coreligionists told Muhammad "He [Abdallah] is our master and the son of our master" Muhammad invited them to follow Abdallah's example. The Jews refused, and only his immediate family, notably his aunt Khālida, embraced Islam. According to other versions, Abdallah's conversion occurred because of the strength of Muhammad's answers to his questions. Another account, which places Abdallah's conversion at a much later date, has more intrinsic plausibility. After Muhammad's death Abdallah was in the entourage of Caliph ʿUthmān and made a vain attempt to prevent his assassination. A year later he warned ʿAli against leaving Medina. If all the obviously legendary and biased accounts about Abdallah are eliminated, not much concrete information remains. His relationship to Ahmad ibn Abdallah ibn Salām, a translator of biblical writings, is unclear. Originally the Jewish scholars of Medina were presented as the questioners of Muhammad, and only later did Abdallah figure. The three questions ascribed to him form the core of the volume entitled Questions of Abdallah ibn Salām, first mentioned in 963, which is known in a number of adaptations as A Thousand Questions. Outside the context of this work Abdallah is repeatedly mentioned as the source for tales from biblical times. Genizah fragments have recently yielded a Jewish version of the Abdallah legend in which he appears as *Absalom.

bibliography:

Ibn Hishām (ʿAbd al-Malik), The Life of Muhammad, tr. by A. Guillaume (1955), 240, 262, 267; Wāqidī, Kitāb al Maghāzī, ed. by J. Wellhausen (Ger., 1882), 164, 215; Ibn Saʿd (Muhammad), Biographien Muhammeds, 2, pt. 2 (1912), 111; (al-) Ṭabarī (Muhammad ibn Jarīr), Annales, 1 (Ar., 1879), index; Balādhurī (Aḥmad ibn Yaḥya), Ansāb al-Ashrāf, 5 (Ar., 1936), 74–76, 90; Goitein, in: Zion, 1 (1936), 77–78; Steinschneider, Arab Lit, 8–9; Chapira, in: rej, 69 (1919), 91; Mann, in: jqr, 12 (1921/22), 127–8; Brockelmann, Arab Lit, 1 (1943), 209; eis2, 1 (1960), 52.

[Josef Horovitz]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Abdallah Ibn Salām." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Abdallah Ibn Salām." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 17, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/abdallah-ibn-salam

"Abdallah Ibn Salām." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved December 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/abdallah-ibn-salam

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.