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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: DrSajid
Full Name: Dr Sajid Khakwani
User since: 22/May/2010
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Hazrat Bilal bin Rabah

(20, Muharram, Death anniversary)

Dr Sajid Khakwani

drsajidkhakwani@gmail.com

 

 Bilal al-Habashi (AD 580-640) was an African of Ethiopian heritage companion of Islamic Last Prophet(Peace be upon him), born in Mecca , His father's name was Rabah and his mother's name Hamamah. He was among the emancipated slaves freed by Abu Bakr  and was known for his voice with which he called people to their prayers. His name can also be known as, "Bilal ibn Rabah" and he is sometimes known as "Bilal al-Habashi" or "Bilal the one from Habesha today's Ethiopia".  He remained constantly in the company of Last Prophet(Peace be upon him) and was in charge of his (Peace be upon him) needs He is also regarded as one of the Ashaabus-suffah. Last Prophet (Peace be upon him), approving the method for calling to prayers, and asked Bilal, who had a marvelous voice, to call the Muslims to prayer (the Adhan). So Islam's first muezzin was Bilal. Last Prophet(Peace be upon him) mentions that he is Sayyidul Muazzineed (leader of the Muazzins).

 

One of the slaves of Umayyah ibn Khalaf, a terrible foe of Islam and Last Prophet (Peace be upon him), was named Bilal. Bilal learned about Last Prophet(Peace be upon him) and his teachings and became Muslim, but kept his belief in secret. However, his master Umayyah came to know that he had opted to be a Muslim. So he started punishing him. He ordered his slaves to make him lay on the hot sand and put heavy stones on his body so that he could not move.  Hadhrat Bilaal 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 Bilal. Hadhrat Bilal  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 After such punishments, news of this slave reached some of Last Prophet(Peace be upon him)'s companions who told Last Prophet(Peace be upon him) of the slave. Last Prophet(Peace be upon him) then sent Abu Baker. He asked Umayyah bin Khalaf, 'Do you not fear 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." Hadhrat Abu Bakr  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. Hadhrat Abu Bakr  exchanged the slaves and thus bought Hadhrat Bilaal  and freed him .

 

Last Prophet(Peace be upon him) later, in Medina, learned of Bilal's unique way of praying and unique voice with which he spoke from the soul and as a result of this Bilal became the first muezzin. Hadhrat Bilal  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. Whenever Last Prophet(Peace be upon him) went to Musjid-e-Qubaa, then Bilaal  would give the Adhaan and when hearing him, the people living around the area knew that Last Prophet(Peace be upon him) was in the area. Hadhrat Bilal  was the Muazzin of Last Prophet(Peace be upon him) and his treasurer. If anyone came to Last Prophet(Peace be upon him) with any necessity then he used to ask Hadhrat Bilal to carry out this task who would then make sure to get the necessary item and fulfill the need on behalf of Last Prophet(Peace be upon him).

 

 

Later on, some people suggested that this honor should be given to someone else, because Bilal could not pronounce the Arabic letter 'sheen' properly and instead used the letter 'seen'. It is reported that Last Prophet(Peace be upon him) said, "The 'seen' of Bilal is 'sheen' in the hearing of God," meaning that God does not see the physical manifestation; He appreciates the purity of heart. Bilal felt deep love for Last Prophet(Peace be upon him), and he is quoted as reciting some lines of poetry in his own language, in praise of Last Prophet(Peace be upon him). One day at the time of Fajr, Last Prophet(Peace be upon him) asked Hadhrat Bilaal, '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 Jannat'. Hadhrat Bilaal  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 Salaats, and from amongst the Salaats I read, I verily read Tahiyyatul Wudhu (Salaat after Wudhu)" when Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) heard this, he said that it was because of this action that he had attained such status.

 

 In 622, the year of the Hijra, Bilal migrated to Medina and over the next decade accompanied Last Prophet(Peace be upon him) on all his military expeditions. Bilal also carried Last Prophet(Peace be upon him)'s spear, which was used from 624 onward to point the direction of prayer. He fought in the Battle of Badr, in the aftermath of which he killed his former master, Umayyah ibn Khalaf, in spite of the protestation of Umayyah's capturer and long-time friend Abdur Rahman bin Awf. Bilal was also present in all of the major events and battles, including the battles of U Last Prophet(Peace be upon him) Uhud and Battle of the Trench. Bilal's finest hour came in January 630, on an occasion regarded as one of the most hallowed moments in Islamic history. After the Muslim forces had captured Mecca, Last Prophet(Peace be upon him)'s muezzin ascended to the top of the Kaaba to call the believers to prayer, - the first time the call to prayer was heard within Islam's holiest city, however this was never proven and many dispute the fact that it would be against the faith to actually have climbed the Kaaba, no matter how big the conquest.

 After the death of Holy Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), Usama ibn Zayd continued a military expedition to Syria, as commanded by Last Prophet(Peace be upon him) Bilal accompanied the army . After Last Prophet(Peace be upon him)'s death, Bilal never called Adhan. But when Caliph Umar visited Jerusalem, other Sahaba requested Umar to ask Bilal for one more last Adhan, and when Bilal did it, It was a very emotional moment for all of the Sahaba. One day as he was sleeping at his home in Damascus he saw Holy Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) in a dream. Holy Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) asked, "Why is it that you don't come to visit me." As soon as Hadhrat Bilaal  woke he set out for the city of Medinah. Upon his arrival in Medinah the grandsons of Holy Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), Imam Hassan  and Imam Hussain  came to visit him. Hadhrat Bilal  had deep love and affection for them and was overjoyed when he met them. Upon the request of the grandsons of Holy Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), he recited the Azaan for the last time. The People of Medina were surprised to hear his voice. They were reminded of Holy Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), when in those days Hadhrat Bilal  used to recite the Azaan five times a day. Upon hearing his voice all the people both men and women came out of their houses in tears and the sound of their grief reverberated across the city of Medinah.

 HADHRAT Bilal  passed away in the 20th year after Hijrat in Damascus and there he is buried near 'Babus sagheer' by 20 Muharram, his blessed age was 63 years. When Holy Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) proclaimed prophet hood, he was 30 years old. He spent the remaining 33 years of his life in the assistance of Islam, 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 Muazzin, but was granted the status of being the leader of the Muazzins. May Allah Ta'aala be pleased with him forever, Aameen. Bilal's grave is now in the outskirts of Amman, Jordan, in a village called Bader. There is also another tomb in Damascus believed to be his. After the day of judgment he will enter in Jannat-Ul Firdos along with Last prophet(peace be upon him). 

 Though there are some disagreements concerning the hard facts of Bilal's life and death, his importance on a number of levels is incontestable. Muezzin guilds, especially those in Turkey and Africa, have traditionally venerated the original practitioner of their noble profession, and African Muslims as a whole feel a special closeness and kinship to him; he was an Ethiopian, after all, who had been exceptionally close to Last Prophet(Peace be upon him), and is a model of steadfastness and devotion to the faith. The story of Bilal, in fact, remains the classic and most frequently cited demonstration that in Last Prophet(Peace be upon him)'s eyes, the measure of a man was neither nationality nor social status nor race, but piety.

 

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