early Islam, religious conversion, Muslim identity, memory


In the otherwise expansive medieval Arabic literature, the scarcity of information concerning the conversion process of the early Islamic community piques interest in the handful of existing conversion narratives.One particular narrative that stands out is the conversion story of Salmān al-Farisi, recounting his transformation from a devout Zoroastrian to a dedicated companion of Prophet Muhammad. In the compilation of stories of Salmān al-Farisi by Louis Massignon named "Khabar Salmān," the persistence of many plot elements across different accounts of the story suggests a deliberate process of repetition and canonization. Recognizing the Salmān al-Farisi story as a site of memory, curation, and elite intentions, this paper considers the purpose of the story in forging Muslim identity, managing intergroup dynamics, and maintaining political power within the early Islamic community.