Bilal the Believer (rd)

All praise is due to Allah swt, the lord of the worlds and may His peace and blessings be upon His final prophet and messenger, Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam.

One of my first stories! In a time where our Imaan is always tried and tested, it is the likes of Bilal rd we need to remember. May Allah swt let us take a lesson from what we are about to read. Ameen!

I would like you to close your eyes for a while and take yourself back to the time of the early days of nabuwwat when Muslims all over Makkah were being tortured for believing in the oneness Allah swt. Amongst these Muslims was one sahabi by the name of Bilal Ibn Rabah al Habashi rd. He was the son of a former princess of Ethiopia (formerly known as Abyssinia) who was sold into slavery. So when Bilal rd was born, he was also given up for slavery and he was sold to Umayya bin Khalaf.

Bilal rd worked for Umayya bin khalaf for sometime and then accepted Islam when Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam started spreading the message of peace. When Umayya bin Khalaf found out Bilal rd had accepted Islam, he became furious and he tortured him days on end, on hot burning sand and he would command Bilal rd to give up his faith in Allah swt. But Bilal rd stayed strong in his conviction and would only utter one word. Ahad! Ahad! One! One! No amount of torturing stopped these words coming out of his mouth. This went on for days until one day Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi  wasallam could no longer see him being tortured and so He asked the sahaba rd if there was anyone amongst them who could free Bilal rd and so Abu bakr rd, being Abu bakr rd, bought him and freed him for the sake of Allah swt.

Time passed and many of the Muslims migrated to Madinah Munawwarah. As a matter of fact ten years passed in Madinah Munawwarh and many events took place. Many battle took place, many more people accepted Islam, and Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam performed hajj and umrah. During this time Bilal rd was appointed by Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam as the first mu’azhin of Islam.

So ten years of hijrah passed and the eleventh year set in. The last ayah of the Qur’aan had been revealed and Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam’s time in this world had come to an end. It was the 12th of Rabi ul awwal, the 7th of June 633AD and Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam’s soul had been lifted from this world. Innalillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon.

The atmosphere in Madinah was one of anger, fear, sadness and emptiness. As a matter of fact so much anger and fear had filled the air that the father-in-law of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam, Umar bin khattab rd, was threatening to kill anyone who so much as even thought about saying that Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam had passed from this world. Why? Because that being who used to guide them from darkness to light, had passed away. That person who would not judge them without the command of Allah swt, had been taken away. Their source of guidance was now gone and amongst these broken hearted sahaba’s was one Bilal Ibn Rabah rd.

On the 12th of Rabi ul awwal, Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam had departed from this world and the time of zuhr set in. Bilal rd got on the Ansari woman’s roof, from which he used to give azaan and he begansto call out the azaan.

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar.
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar.
Ash hadu an la ilaha illallah.
Ash hadu an la ilaha illallah.

Then Bilal rd came to Ash hadu anna muhammadur rasulullah, and he began to cry and he cried and cried and cries until he was no longer capable of giving azaan. Bilal rd was crying and the whole of Madinah hearing the cry of Bilal rd began to cry. He somehow contains his grief, controls himself and then quickly finishes off the azaan. He got off the roof and he voweds there and then that after today I will never give azaan again.

Bilal rd then waited until after the burial of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam, he went to the new khaleef, Abu bakr rd, and he asked him for permission to go to jihad. At first Abu bakr rd refuseds and so Bilal rd said; “Oh Abu Bark! If you freed me for yourself then keep me here. But if you freed me for the sake of Allah swt, then let me go.” So Abu bakr rd gave him permission to go for jihad to Syria.

For 6 months Bilal rd did not return to Madinah Munawwarah. Approximately a 100,000 sahaba went for jihad and during these six months not one of them did ziyarah of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam in their dreams. But on this particular night, 6 months later, Bilal rd sees Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam in his dream and Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam says; “Oh Bilal! What loyalty is this, that you do not even visit my city anymore?!”

Bilal rd opened his eyes. It was the middle of the night but Bilal rd did not even think about what he was doing. He took his camel and he began to walk. He walked and walked and he only stopped for fulfilling his needs and for doing wudhu.

On the seventh day Bilal rd reached Madinah Munawwarah. All this time, Bilal rd did not even remember that Rasulullah sallallahu alyhi wasallam was no longer amongst them. He could not even differentiate between a dream and reality. For him, that dream was reality. For him, he was in Syria and his Habeeb sallallahu alayhi wasallam, still alive in his mind, was calling him to Madinah Munawwarah.

So Bilal rd entered the boundaries of Madinah Munawwarah and he called out; “Labbayk ya Rasulullah! Labbayk ya Rasulullah! I am here, Oh Rasulullah! I am here, Oh Rasulullah! Then Bilal rd goes to the room of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam and now he began to remember that, yes that was a dream and Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam was no longer amongst them and he remembered how he could not even stay in Madinah Munawwarah after the demise of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam and so he went for jihad to Syria. Bilal rd began to profusely cry and he entered the hujrah (room) of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam and he called out; “Oh Rasulullah I am here but where are you?! Oh Rasulullah I am here but where are you?!” He fell on to the grave of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam and he cried until he lost consciousness.

The time for Salaah arrived. Masjid e Nabwi sallallahu alayhi wasallam was full and everyone knows Bilal rd had returned to Madinah Munawwarah. Everyone wanted Bilal rd to give azaan but knowing the vow that he had made, no one had the courage to ask him. So the sahaba rd made use of Hasan and Hussain rd, the grandsons of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam. They tell them; “Go to Bilal rd and tell him to give azaan. He will not listen to anyone but you two, he won’t refuse.”

Hasan and Hussain rd being young, they were only about 6-7 years of age at the time, so not knowing or understanding much about vows, go to Bilal rd and they stood in front of him. They say to him; “Uncle Bilal we have a request for you!” Bilal rd talking to the grandsons of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam, says to them; “May my life be sacrificed upon you! I am yours to command!” So in their innocence, they say to him; “You know how you used to give azaan for our grandfather? Today we want you to give azaan for us like that!” Bilal rd began to weep and he says to them; “I had made a vow that I would never give azaan again but how can I refuse you, the grandsons my Habeeb  sallallahu alayhi wasallam?! I break my vow and I will give kaffarah.” Saying so he stood on the same Ansari woman’s roof and he says Allahu Akbar and chaos broke out in the streets of Madinah Munawwarah. People began to wail in the Masjid of Allah’s Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam. Men and women ran in and out of their homes tearing their hair out because it was a reminder of the time when Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam was amongst them.

After this Bilal rd tried to stay in Madinah Munawwarah but it was very hard for him because everywhere he looked, it reminded him of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam. So after some time he packed whatever little he had and he headed towards Baitul Muqaddis.

Now time passed again. Abu bakr rd had passed away. The khilafah of Umar bin khattab rd had set in and the time for the conquest of Masjid e Aqsa arrived. The patriot says he will only give the keys into the hands of Umar rd. So Umar rd journeyed from Madinah Munawwarah to Baitul Maqaddis.

Baitul Muqaddis had been conquered and the first Salaah being prayed in Masjid e Aqsa was the Friday prayer. 36, 000 Sahaba had travelled to Baitul Muqaddis and every one of them wanted Bilal rd to give the azaan . But Bilal rd refused and so the Ameerul Mu’mineen, Umar bin khattab rd says to Bilal rd; “Bilal today you give azaan!” So Bilal rd, not being able to refuse the command of Ameerul Mu’mineen, stood by the place where Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam tied the Buraq (the flying  horse sent from heaven) and he says Allahu Akbar. Every single one of the sahaba rd began to cry and fell to the ground because they remember their Rasul sallallahu alayhi wasallam.

Years had once again passed. It was the 20th year of hijrah. Bilal rd was 60 years of age and he was on his death bed. His wife says; “Oh what grief!” And Bilal rd say; “No! Say, Oh what happiness! because tomorrow I will meet Allah’s Rasul sallallahu alayhi wasallam and the sahaba rd that have departed from this world”. Saying this Bilal rd repeats the words he said so many years ago when he accepted Islam and so many times since then, Ash hadu an laa ilaha illallah wa ash hadu anna muhammadar rasulullah and he closed his eyes, his head fell to his chest and Bilal rd departed from this world. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon.

In a Hadeeth Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam says; “None of you is a true believer until I am dearer to him than his child, his father and the whole of mankind.” If we look through the life of Bilal rd, we will see that he lived and breathed in accordance to these words because never once did he ever let anything in between him and his love for Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam. It was due to this very reason that in a narration Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam says; “Everyone will gather on the plains of hashr and Bilal rd will give azaan and the whole of mankind will hear his azaan.”

May Allah swt make us dearer to Him and may he become dear to us. Ameen.

All praise is due to Allah swt at the beginning and at the end.

May you be rewarded for visiting my page and may we all benefit. Ameen.

The Katibah.

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