A massive rock was placed on his chest in the hot desert, with his hands and feet tied together tightly. This rock was so heavy that it took four men to place it on him.
“Ahad … Ahad... Absolute Oneness was the only words he uttered.”
I am excited to reveal to you a beautiful story about the life of an Abyssinian slave, a devoted believer, a courageous Hero in Islam.
He was Bilal ibn Rabah (R.A.), the first Muadhin in Islam, born to an African slave girl who belonged to the Bani Jumah tribe. To his misfortune he was owned by a ruthless disbeliever by the name of Umayyah ibn Khalaf. Even though Bilal (R.A.) was a loyal slave, he often heard hatred comments about Islam which intrigued him to find out more about these teachings. Once he came to know about this religion and about Muhammed (S.A.W) he was convinced that this was the way of honesty and the life he wanted to lead. His conversion to Islam came at a price and his already cruel owner decided to try all kinds of torture in hope to make him revert to polytheism.
Severe Torture- the strength of his Imaan
In the harsh climate of the desert, a massive rock was placed on the chest of Bilal (R.A.) with his hands and feet tied together tightly. This rock was so heavy that it took four men to lift and place it on top of him.
The people would hear his screams of agony and some said to him” Oh Bilal, just show respect to the idols as we have and they will set you free” ‘Ahad.. Ahad.. was the only words he uttered in response to them.
When his master would here these words his anger increased and he ordered a rope to be tied around Bilal’s neck and be dragged through the city on the burning sand.
Ummayah ibn Khalaf was so cruel that he finally decided to place Bilal into a container of boiling hot water which was severely painful, but not even this could lessen his imaan in any way.
This imaan he harbored was to me, astonishing. It was so strong that despite all this abuse being thrust upon him he did not for one second allow weakness to enter into his heart and mind. So solid was his belief in Allah, that he knew it was just a test and that a believer does not allow weakness to creep into their mind. One thing after the other, as his body went through severe torture, his devotion and love for Islam increased. He was finally beaten and was so hungry and couldn’t help but cry due to his wounds, but somehow through his tears, his soul remained illuminated with the love for Allah (S.W.T.).
A freed Slave, the chosen one
Bilal (R.A.) was finally bought by Abu Bakr (R.A.) and was chosen by Allah to be the Muad-dhin-ur-Rasool – The prayer caller of the Messenger of Allah (S.W.T.). He had such a pure heart and the most beautiful voice, so melodious that when he recited the adhan, it resonated from his soul.
His love for Rasulallah (S.A.W.)
The love he had for our beloved Rasool (S.A.W.) was so heart wrenching that at the time of our Nabi’s (S.A.W.) death, Bilal (R.A.) had to recite the adhan. When he came to the part where he had to recite Muhammed’s (S.A.W.) name, tears began to fill his eyes and his heart became flooded with so much grief that he broke down in tears. Everyone around him started crying uncontrollably and it was so hard for Bilal (R.A.). With great difficulty he had to continue the call to prayer. After this, Bilal (R.A.) could no longer recite the adhan because the grief was just too painful to bear.
The Passing on of a Hero
Bilal (R.A.) passed on in Damascus, although the exact date of his departure is not clearly known.
Sa’eed bin Abdul Aziz reported:” When Bilal approached death, he said:” Tomorrow we shall meet the beloved Muhammed (S.A.W.) and his party”. His wife then said “Sadness befalls me!” “Bilal then responded “ but joy befalls me..”
After writing this piece, I realized that every time the Sahaba heard the adhan, it was a mixed feeling of joy and sorrow felt deep within them, remembering the name of Muhammed (S.A.W.) and his magnificent persona but when we hear the adhan, we take it for granted, and carry on engaging in other things, when instead we should actually be silent and remember the hardships endured by these amazing people in order to raise the flag of Islam.
Just like Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W.) said : “ Bilal is the foremost (amongst the people of) Abyssinia”
In our lives, I hope for all of us to attain the love and strong imaan he possessed, the unfading courage and the words he painfully uttered “ Ahad.. Ahad.. Absolute Oneness of Allah.”