Posted by: Seeker of the Sacred Knowledge | December 15, 2011

20th MuHarram | Hadrat Sayyiduna wa Mawlana Bilal ibn Rabah al-Habashi Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu


Sayyid al-Mu’azzineen (Leader of the Mu’azzins), Imam al-Aashiqeen, The great devotee, faithful companion and Mu’azzin of the beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam, Hadrat Sayyiduna Bilal al-Habashi Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu is a famous and exalted Sahabi who accepted Islam in its early days in Makkah al-Mukarramah. When he accepted Islam, the non-believers placed great difficulties upon him which he bore with great forbearance in his youth. His father’s name was Rabah and his mother’s name was Hamamah.

His birth place is Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and this is why he is known as Habshi (the old name for Abyssinia is Habsh). Born in the late 6th century, the preferred view is that Bilal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu was 43 years old at the time of Hijra but it has been suggested by some that he could have been as old as 53.

He was either a slave of a woman in Makkah who had made Umayyah bin Khalaf her agent in the matters of Hadrat Bilaal or Umayya Ibn Khalaf himself when he accepted Islam. The Kaafirs of Makkah persecuted him severely. When Hadrat Abu Bakr Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu came to know about the pain and anguish which he underwent at the hands of the Kuffaar, he bought him and set him free. One of the many emancipated slaves of Abu Bakr Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu, Bilal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu was known for his beautiful voice and was given the honour by the Holy Prophet Muhammad SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam of being the first Mu’azzin of Islam. He remained constantly in the company of beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam. He was at the service of the needs of beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam. Muhaddith Hakim and Hafidh Abu Nu’aym also regarded him as one of the Ashaab of al-Suffah.

After he had accepted Islam, he participated with beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam in the battle of Badr and in all other battles. He called the Adhaan and he was the Mu’azzin of Masjid al-Nabawi as long as he remained with beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam. His greatness and excellence is mentioned in numerous books of Ahadith.

VIRTUE

One day at the time of Fajr, beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam asked Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu, ‘O Bilaal, Show me one action that you have done after accepting Islam, whose virtue is above all other actions, because I have heard your footsteps in Jannah’. Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu explains that I have not done any action whose virtue is more than the others. But it is true, that during the day or night, whenever I made Wudhu, I made it my duty to read some Nafl Salaah, and from amongst the Salaah I read, I verily read Tahiyyatul Wudhu (Salaat after Wudhu)” when beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam heard this, he said that it was because of this action that he had attained such status.

Hadrat Umar Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu used to mention

أبو بكر سيدنا وأعتق سيدنا

Hadrat Abu Bakr Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu is our leader who freed our leader Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala.

In ‘Hilyat al-Awliyaa’, beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam mentions that he is Sayyid al-Mu’azzineen (leader of the Mu’azzins).

ENDURANCE OF DIFFICULTY ON THE ACCEPTANCE OF ISLAM

Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu was harassed and beaten the day long and during the night. He was tied in chains and lashed. On the next day, he was again made to lie on the hot desert sands which cause even greater injuries to the body of Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu, who was loved by Allah Ta’ala.

Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu used to be beaten by many people. When one would get tired, another would take his place. Sometimes it was Abu Jhal’s turn and sometimes Umayyah bin Khalaf and others. Each of them would beat him until they got tired but no mercy was spared for the slave whom they so brutally injured and whose status in Jannah was to surpass that of many Arabs.

In the sweltering heat under the Arabian skies, Hadrat Bilal’s love for Allah shone brighter than the sun itself. So strong was it that he could not conceal it despite the punishment and torture afflicted on him by his cruel master.

There were times when a large boulder would be placed upon his chest as he lay on the scorching sand, his ribs being crushed under the weight. Yet the words ‘Ahad! Ahad! (There is only one Allah!)’ were constantly repeated by Hadrat Bilal, so strong was his faith and love.

His Jewish master would insult him and threaten him to denounce Islam, beat him, whip him and humiliate him on the streets of Makkah, but nothing was able to shake Hadrat Bilal’s heart.

 FREEDOM

One day, it so happened that Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddique Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu was passing that way and saw Sayyidina Hadrat Bilal crying out, “Ahad! Ahad!”, despite the immense torture he was being subjected to. As he watched, Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddique’s heart became agitated upon seeing Hadrat Bilal under such persecution, and tears filled his eyes.

He then called Hadrat Bilal towards himself and advised him to utter Allah’s name in solitude and not to utter it in the presence of his persecutor, or he would be subjected to further persecution and torture. Hadrat Bilal replied, “O Honoured One! You are the Siddique of Rasulallah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam, and therefore I accept your advice and will act accordingly.”

The following day, Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddique Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu happened to pass that way, and again he witnessed the same sight.

Hadrat Bilal was once more uttering the cry of “Ahad! Ahad!” while the Jew was torturing him to such an extent that again his body became soaked in blood. Seeing this, Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddique’s heart was filled with pain and he advised Hadrat Bilal, “Brother, why do you utter ‘Ahad’ in the presence of this persecutor? Utter it silently and secretly within yourself”.

Hadrat Mawlana Rumi Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu says:

“When Abu Bakr advised him towards silence and secrecy,

Bilal repented again,

But when love overwhelmed, he swallowed the repentance.

It is the message of the troubled heart.

Without You there can be neither peace nor comfort.”

Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddique, on numerous occasions, gave Hadrat Bilal the same advice but on every occasion when he passed that way, he saw the same scene – the Jew persecuting Bilal who was all the time crying, “Ahad! Ahad!”

Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddique Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu finally went to Rasulallah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam and related the story to him. When Rasulallah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam heard the story, he was filled with sorrow and tears flowed from his blessed eyes. He asked, “O Siddique! What is the solution to this problem? How can we save Bilal from this calamity?”

Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddique Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu replied: “Ya Rasulallah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam, I shall buy Bilal. Rasulallah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam agreed and said, “Let my share also be therein”.

SubhanAllah! How great the fortune of Sayidina Hadrat Bilal, that Rasulallah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam himself took part in purchasing him.

Hadrat Abu Bakr then approached the Jew while he was again torturing Hadrat Bilal. Hadrat Abu Bakr said to him, “Why are you beating this friend of Allah?” How long will you carry out this practice on this poor person?” Umayyah bin Khalaf retorted that, ‘since you have instigated him (by teaching Islam to him) so you free him.” Hadrat Abu Bakr Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu answered, “Yes, I will free him. I have a black slave who is even stronger than him and who is in your religion. Will you accept this slave in exchange for him?” Umayyah bin Khalaf accepted the offer. Hadrat Abu Bakr Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu exchanged the slaves and thus bought Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu and freed him before migration. It is also narrated that Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddique paid the ransom and freed Hadrat Bilal. Besides Bilal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu he bought other slaves who were being beaten and harassed for accepting Islam and freed them also.

After this, Rasulallah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam, out of love and joy, embraced Hadrat Bilal and held him to his heart.

Hadrat Mawlana Rumi Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu says:

“Beloved Mustafa embraced Bilal and held him against his chest. The ecstasy Bilal felt! Who can ever imagine that?”

 

CONQUEST OF MAKKAH

When the Muslims finally conquered the city of Makkah, its people fled to their houses in fear and bolted the doors and windows. They feared that the Muslims would avenge themselves for the wrong done to them years ago.

The Muslims advanced towards the Holy Kabah and then Hadrat Bilal assured the people that they were safe. He announced out loud, “All those who lay down arms are safe. All those in the house of Abu Sufyan are safe. All those behind closed doors are safe.”

BROTHERHOOD

After the migration Rasoolullah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam formed brotherhood between the Sahaaba Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhum Ajma’een which meant that two two brothers should be concerned about each other’s difficulty and necessity. In this way all of them became Muslim brothers and they shared in the sorrow and grief of each other. Beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam made Hadrat Bilaal and Hadrat Ubaida bin Haarith (Radi Allahu Anhuma) brothers and a few Historians mention that beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam made Hadrat Abu Rawahah Khashami Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu the brother of Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu. [Isabah]

PARTICIPATION IN THE BATTLE OF BADR AND THE KILLING OF UMAYYA BIN KHALAF

A year after beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam and his beloved Sahaaba Radi Allahu Anhum Ajma’een migrated from Makkah Mukarramah to Madinah Munawwarah, the battle of Badr took place. Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu also participated in this battle with the other Sahaaba Radi Allahu Anhum Ajma’een. The leaders of the Mushrikeen of Makkah (who were the enemies of Islam and the Muslims – who forced the Muslims out of Makkah, who also oppressed Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu) were killed in this battle. Specially, Abu Jahl and Umayyah bin Khalaf who severely punished Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu were both killed in this battle.

THE BEGINNING OF ADHAAN AND THE APPOINTMENT OF HADRAT BILAAL RADI ALLAHU TA’ALA ANHU AS MU’AZZIN

In the second year after Hijrah, the announcing of the time of Salaat began and Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu was appointed Mu’azzin and always remained the Mu’azzin of beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam both in his presence and also during travel.

Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu stayed with beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam In Madinah Munawwarah, he was the Mu’azzin and even while travelling, he went with beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam, and at the time of Salaah he used to give Adhaan. Very seldom beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam went somewhere and someone other than Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu called the Adhaan. Whenever beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam went to Masjid al-Qubaa, then Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu would give the Adhaan and when hearing him, the people living around the area knew that beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam was in the area.

Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu used to give the Fajr Adhaan from the roof of the house of a lady from the tribe of Banu Najjaar. Her home was joined to the Masjid. From the time of Sehri he used to sit on the roof waiting for the time of Fajr. When it was time to commence the Adhaan then he should stretch his limbs, and make the following Du’a after which he gave the Adhaan.

اللهم إنى أحمدك وأستعينك على قريش أن يقيموا دينك

‘Oh Allah I praise you, and I desire that You become aid to the Quraysh to establish Your Deen’

 The woman from whose roof he gave the Adhaan said that there was not a day that he did not mention this Du’a. [Sunan Abi Dawud, Vol. 2, Page 198, Hadith 519]

 TREASURER OF BELOVED PROPHET SALLALLAHO ALAIHI WA SALLAM

 Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu was the Muazzin of beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam and his treasurer. If anyone came to beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam with any necessity then he used to ask Hadrat Bilaal to carry out this task who would then make sure to get the necessary item and fulfill the need on behalf of beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam

 Hadrat Bilal mentioned it to Abdullah Al-Hawzaani that if some Muslims came who did not have anything to wear, then Rasoolullah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam should order me to take a loan and purchase a cloth to clothe the needy. [Hilyatul Awliyaa]

 Whilst doing this once Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu accumulated a heap of dates. Beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam asked Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu what is this? Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu answered I have accumulated this for you and your visitors. Beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam said, ‘Oh Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu, spend it and do not fear it becoming less’ [Hilyatul Awliyaa]

 ENDURANCE OF HUNGER

Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu was the special companion of beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam. It is for this reason he also endured difficulties. Beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam said that undoubtedly, the fear he had for Allah was greater than anyone else. On one occasion thirty nights and days passed with him and Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu having had only that amount to eat which could be concealed under the armpits (side) of Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu.

 COMPANIONSHIP WITH BELOVED PROPHET SALLALLAHO ALAIHI WA SALLAM

 Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu was always present in the company of beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam. Hadrat Jaabir Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu mentions that at the time of Eid, he was present with beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam. Beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam started the Salaah without the Adhaan and Iqaamat and thereafter gave the Khutbah. Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu stood up and stood side by side with beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam while beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam stood up resting on him and after praising Allah, beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam delivered a lecture and reminded the people about the commands of Allah and encouraged the people to be obedient to Allah Ta’aala. Thereafter, he took Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu with him and addressed the women and ordered them to fear Allah and advised them and reminded them about the commands of Allah.

 At one time Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu presented himself in the company of beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam It was morning and beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam was having meals. Beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam told Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu to join him. Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu mentioned to beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam that he was fasting. Beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam remarked, ‘We are eating our sustenance and the sustenance of Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu is preserved in Jannah.” Then he told Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu that the bones of a fasting person make Tasbeeh and the Angels request his forgiveness when something is eaten near him.” [Mishkat al-Masabih]

 HEARTBREAK & IMMENSE GRIEF

 After the passing away of Rasulallah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam, Hadrat Bilal was overcome with immense grief. This death had completely shattered his heart and in this state, he decided that he could no longer stay in Madinah Sharif. He then gathered his belongings and left for Syria. He had just left the border of Madinah Sharif, when sleep overcame him. He found a tree to sleep under and took some rest there. In his sleep, Rasulallah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam appeared in his dream and said, “Bilal, why did you leave me?” Hadrat Bilal immediately woke up and, without hesitation, made the journey back to Madinah Sharif.

 When the people of Madinah saw Hadrat Bilal returning through the city gates, they were overwhelmed with joy. Word spread through the streets that Bilal, the Holy Prophet’s Muazzin had returned. As Hadrat Bilal made his way to the Holy Prophet’s Masjid, requests for him to do the Azan were ringing in his ears. People followed him through the streets, pleading for him to deliver the call to prayer once more. The blessed city had been deprived of his beautiful Azan for too long, and the people craved to hear it one last time.

 However, since the passing away of Rasulallah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam, Hadrat Bilal’s grief had been so immense that he resolved that he would never do the Azan again, and so he refused the pleas of the people. As he advanced towards the blessed Masjid, he saw the two beloved grandsons of Rasulallah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam, Hadrat Hassan and Hussain. They too requested for him to do the Azan, and when he looked upon their blessed young faces, his love for them overwhelmed his heart. He knew he could never refuse them anything, and they were, after all, the grandsons of the one whose love had penetrated his heart through and through.

 Hadrat Bilal then stood up on the Mimbar, assumed his position as the Muazzin and started to read the Azan. His voice, beautiful as it was, rang through the streets of Madinah Sharif, his pain and heartbreak evident in the painful tune. He read to his heart’s content, and in such a manner that there was not a person in the blessed city whose eyes were not wet with tears.

 When Hadrat Bilal reached “Ash-hadu anna Muhammadur Rasulallah”, he broke down and could not continue. His pain and the pain of Madinah’s people was unbearable. Memories of the beautiful days when Rasulallah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam sat amongst them penetrated their hearts with hurt and agony. The emptiness of their lives and their souls without Rasulallah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam had devastated them and left them broken inside. Even the strongest amongst them who were usually able to suppress the pain could not hold back any longer.

 

 MIGRATION TO SYRIA

Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu then came in the presence of Hadrat Abu Bakr Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu and said, ‘Oh Khalifah of Rasoolullah, without doubt I have heard from beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam that the best action of a Mu’min is Jihaad in the path of Allah and I have intended now to spend my life in Jihaad till I die.” Hadrat Abu Bakr Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu said, ‘Oh Bilaal! I swear by Allah and my right which is deserving to honored (it is for this reason) that during my lifespan you spend it in Madinah al-Munawwara and give Adhaan. Because I have become old and my time is near (death).” Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu then remained in Madinah Munawwarah. [Asad al-Ghabbah]

After Hadrat Abu Bakr Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu, Hadrat Umar Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu became Khalifah, then Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu came to him and said the same thing again. Hadrat Umar Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu gave the same answer which Hadrat Abu Bakr Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu had given, but Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu respectfully refused to stay any longer. Hadrat Umar Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu granted permission to him. Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu became a Mujaahid forever and went to Syria. During the Khilaafat of Hadrat Umar Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu when he went to Syria, then Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu gave Adhaan in his presence. The narrator says that on this day, Hadrat Umar Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu thinking of the days of beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam cried to such an extent which we never saw before.

 MARRIAGE

 While in Syria, Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu got married but it is not known whether he had any children or not. The author of Asad al-Ghabbah states that at the time of death, Bilaal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu had no children.

 

 PASSING AWAY OF THE PROPHET’S MU’AZZIN

 The great devotee and Muazzin of Rasulallah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam, the courageous and beloved Abyssinian by the name of Hadrat Bilal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu passed away in the 20th year after Hijrah in the middle of reading Adhan in Damascus, Syria between the years 638 and 642 (AD) at the age of 60 or 63 and there he is buried near ‘Bab as-Sagheer’. When beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam proclaimed Prophethood, he was 30 years old. He spent the remaining 33 years of his life in the assistance of this Deen, persecuted severely for admitting his Islam and despite this, he continued to announce boldly, ‘Ahad, the One Allah!’. He participated in the battles and endured both hunger and pain. He was not only a Mu’azzin, but was granted the status of being the leader of the Mu’azzins.

 

 

His respected stature during the birth of Islam is a perfect example of the importance of pluralism and racial equality in the foundations of Islam. May Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta’ala be pleased with him forever… Aameen!!


Responses

  1. Subhan-Allah
    Thanks for the posting excellent information of The great devotee and Muazzin of Rasulallah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam, the courageous and beloved Abyssinian by the name of Hadrat Bilal Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu,
    Jazaak-Allah- Khair


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