Bilal bin Rabah (May Allah Be Pleased with Him)
His Birth and Early Life: Bilal bin Rabah (may Allah be pleased with
him) was born in Mecca 43 years before the Hijrah. Bilal spent his early
life in Mecca as a slave owned by some orphans from the Banu `Abd
Al-Dar, who were under the custody of Umaiyah bin Khalaf. After the
Prophet’s Mission and the emergence of Islam, Bilal was one of the pioneering
converts to Islam. When he embraced Islam, there were very few Muslims,
such as Khadijah bint Khuwailid, Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq, `Ali bin Abi
Talib, `Ammar bin Yasir and his mother Sumaiyah, Suhaib Al-Rumi, and
Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad.
His Forbearance of Persecution: At the hands of the polytheists of the
Quraish, Bilal suffered a great deal of persecution, maltreatment,
oppression and violence, which none but a true Muslim can bear. Many of the
converts had influential relatives in the Quraish who could protect
them, except Bilal, `Ammar bin Yasir as well as his father and mother, and
Suhaib. They were the object of the Quraish’s wrath and indignation.
It was the custom of Umaiyah bin Khalaf and a group of polytheists to
take Bilal in midday to a plain, when the sands became extremely hot,
slip him of his clothes, dress him in an iron shield and let him suffer
the burning heat of the sun and the scorching sands, while they flogged
him with whips. They then ordered him to revile the Prophet (peace be
In spite of the relentless torture, Bilal uttered no words other than
“Ahadun Ahad” (He is the One and Only One, He is the One and Only One).
Whenever Umaiyah bin Khalaf lost hope of diverting Bilal from Islam
through torture, he would put a cuff around his neck and hand him over to
some boys and light-minded men to drag him throughout the valleys and
plains of Mecca.
Abu Bakr then bought Bilal from Umaiyah bin Khalaf for a high price and
set him free. Though he would sell Bilal at any price, Umaiyah demanded
a high price, but Abu Bakr was ready to pay generously in order to set
him free. Bilal was so pleased when Abu Bakr bought him and set him
free. Afterwards, he turned over a new leaf of his life, which he had
never experienced. He immigrated to Medina with the believers.
His Traits: Bilal was the Prophet’s muezzin throughout the Prophet’s
lifetime. After the Prophet’s death, once Bilal made Adhan. When he
reached “Ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasulu-llah” (I testify that Muhammad is
the Messenger of Allah), he was in tears. He asked Abu Bakr to pardon him
from the task of making Adhan, as he would not bear to do that after
the Prophet’s death.
Bilal joined the first Muslim mission after the Prophet’s death and
stayed in Daria near Damascus. When `Umar bin Al-Khattab, who loved and
respected Bilal so much, visited Damascus, he ordered him to make Adhan.
`Umar used to say: “Abu Bakr is our master, who emancipated our
master,” meaning Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him). When Bilal made Adhan,
he wept. `Umar and all other Companions who were present and who used
to hear Bilal’s voice during the lifetime of the Prophet, also wept. If
fact, the voice of Bilal moved their emotions and took their memories
to the past, which they loved most.
His death: Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) died while repeating
the phrase: “Tomorrow I shall meet the beloved company: Muhammad and his
Companions”. May Allah be pleased with him and reward him on account of
the great services he made to the cause of Islam.
Allah is Near "When my servants question you about Me, tell them that I
am near. I answer the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me.
Therefore, they should respond to Me and put their trust in Me, so that
they may be rightly guided." The Holy Quran, 2:186
Monday, December 06, 2004
Bilal bin Rabah (ra)
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