One of the beloved companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was Bilal Ibn Rabah. His story of acceptance of Islam is very heart-touching, involving conversion, rescue, torture, and slavery. It teaches us that holiness is the only way to measure a person’s worth. He was the first Muadan of Islam.
Biography of Bilal ibn Rabah
Bilal ibn Rabah was an Ethiopian companion of Prophet Muhammad and one of the earliest converts to Islam. He was born in 580 CE in Mecca, where Umayyah ibn Khalaf, a prominent member of the Quraysh tribe, enslaved him.
Bilal was known for his beautiful voice, and it is said that he was the first person to give the call to prayer (Adhan) in Islam. He converted to Islam in the early days of the religion, when the new faith faced fierce opposition from the pagan Quraysh leaders.
Bilal’s conversion enraged Umayyah, who subjected him to severe torture to force him to renounce Islam. Despite the brutal treatment, Bilal remained steadfast in his faith and continued to profess his belief in the oneness of Allah.
Bilal was eventually freed from slavery after Abu Bakr, another companion of the Prophet, purchased his freedom. After his release, Bilal became one of the most trusted and loyal companions of the Prophet Muhammad. He accompanied the Prophet on many journeys and was known for his bravery in battle.
After the death of the Prophet, Bilal continued to serve as a leader in the early Muslim community. He was appointed by the first caliph, Abu Bakr, to lead the call to prayer in Medina, a role he continued to fulfill during the reign of the second caliph, Umar.
Bilal ibn Rabah died in 640 CE in Damascus, where he had moved after the Muslim conquest of the city. He is remembered for his unwavering faith and dedication to Islam and his essential role in the early history of the religion. Today, he is considered a revered figure and is often cited as an example of courage and resilience in facing adversity.
Adhan of Bilal Ibn Rabah:
Around the world, the most prominent symbol of Islam is called prayer. Its beautiful sound rings across meadows, cities, infertile and barren fields, and beaches. Many people accepted Islam after hearing the sound of Adthaan. Allah mentioned the word Adthaan in Quran only one time. Without any doubt, it plays an integral role in Muslim life.
Newly born babies in Islam heard the first voice of Adhaan in their ears. After the baby’s birth, the father or any other person whispers Adthaan in the baby’s ear. The voice of Adthaan is announced five times daily. Because of his beautiful voice, Bilal was honored first to call Adthaan.
“O believers, when the proclamation is made for prayer on the Day of Congregation, hasten to God’s remembrance and leave business aside; that is better for you if you did but know.” (Quran 62:9)
When Muslims and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) migrated to Madinah, Bilal Ibn Rabah was integral in helping the Prophet (PBUH). Every event in Muhammad’s (PBUH) life was in Bilal’s life. It is also said that he had honored the duty of waking the Prophet in the morning.
The decade after the migration, Bilal Ibn Rabah attended Prophet Muhammad on all his military expeditions. He had the honor of carrying the Prophet’s spear. He played a vital role in the battle of Badr, and in the aftermath, he killed his former master Umayya ibn Khalaf. He also played his role in the battle of the trench and the battle of Uhud.
Acceptance of Islam of Bilal Ibn Rabah:
After he accepted Islam, his life changed. His most blessed and memorable event was when he ascended to the top of the Kabah to call the believers to prayer.
After the Prophet’s death, Bilal Ibn Rabah never felt the same again (PBUH). After the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Bilal went to make adhan, but during this, he broke down, and tears began to roll from his cheeks. In a low voice, he managed to complete the adhan but never called adhan again in Madinah.
Living in Madinah with all those memories became too hard for him, so he went to another place. Once, he visited Madinah, and the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asked him to call them. Old memories that lay deep in his heart were revived, and those who had experienced the golden days with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) could not hold back their tears.
He died in Syria between 638 and 642 BCE. Imam al-Suyuti, in his book ‘Tarikh al-Khulafa,’ said, “He died in Damascus when he was just over sixty years old.