Bilal, The chief of all the Muadhins.

Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah : Umar used to say, “Abu Bakr is our chief, and he manumitted our chief.”

(Hadith No. 3754, Chapters on Virtues of the Companions of the Prophet (SallAllahu alaihi wasallam), Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 5).

Indeed the man to whom Umar (radhiyallaho anho) would give the agnomen “Our Chief” must be a great man. He is Bilal Ibn Rabaah (radhiyallaho anho), one of the miracles of faith and truthfulness.

Bilal’s (Radhiyallho anho) parents were not born slaves. His father Rabaah was an Arab and his mother, hamamah an Abyssinian princess. They were both taken as slaves later in their lives. Hence Bilal (Radhiyallaho anho) was born a slave in Mecca and he was in the hands of Ummayah Bin Khalaf, one of the staunchest enemies of Islam.

One day Bilal (Radhiyallaho anho) heard Ummaya and others talking about the Prophet SalAllaho ‘alayhi wa sallam and he gathers that the Prophet (SalAllaho ‘alayhi wa sallam) is calling to Tawheed, The Oneness of God. And even though they were slandering and abusing the Prophet (SalAllaho ‘alayhi wa sallam), he believed in him and his message just by hearing that.

His conversion to Islam was, naturally, not liked by his master Ummayah, who tortured him and pushed him to death over and over again. They used to tie him up in the house and starve and dehydrate him and put the idol in his face and say:

“Kiss the idols. Worship Lat and Uzza.”

But Bilal (Radhiyallho anho) continued to refuse saying:

“Ahad- The One (Allah). Ahad- The One (Allah).”

He was dragged in public with a collar around his neck and whipped in front of the other slaves so that no one will dare follow his example.

Ummayah would then say to him:

“Renounce Islam or swelter and die”

Even under these afflictions, Bilal (Radhiyallaho anho) would exclaim:

“Ahad- The One (Allah). Ahad- The One (Allah).”

By that time Prophet (SalAllaho ‘alayhi wa sallam) had heard about Bilal (Radhiyallaho anho) and his sufferings, so Abu Bakr (Radhiyallaho anho) rushed to purchase his freedom. He came to Ummayah and asked “How much do you want for this slave?” Ummayah said “10 Dinars” , which was a huge price for a slave at that time. But without thinking Abu Bakr paid him the prize. To this Ummaya laughed and said “Had you argued with me a little bit, I would have given him to you in 1 Dinar.” and Abu Bakr (radhiyallaho anho), knowing that this slave is a Muslim, replied “Wallahi, if you were to sell him even for 100 Dinar I would have still purchased his freedom.” SubhanAllah, how Muslims valued him!

This story shows the love and devotion Bilal (radhiayllaho anho) had for Allah, Allah was so dear to him that no amount of persecution could stop him from reciting His Holy name. And SubhanAllah how was he rewarded for his steadfastness! He was to have the honor of becoming the Prophet’s (SalAllaho ‘alayhi wa sallam) moadhin (The person who announces Adhan before every prayer). He was always to remain with him (SalAllaho ‘alayhi wa sallam) at home and abroad to call out the Adhan for his salat. Bilal (radhiyallaho anho) gained such a status in Islam that he was chosen to be the first person to stand up in Madina in the Masjid of the Prophet (SalAllaho ‘alayhi wa sallam) and say:

“Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar…”

And when the Muslims came back to Makkah, he was the first person to climb the Ka’abah and say:

“Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar…”

And he was so beloved to Prophet (SalAllaho ‘alayhi wa sallam) that when the Prophet (SalAllaho ‘alayhi wa sallam) would seclude himself from everyone, Bilal (radhiayallaho anho) was the only one who was allowed to be with him.

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