Bilal bin Ribah - A Proud Muslim
Muslim Knights - Volume 1

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Kaan Ya Makaan, Fee Qadeem Al-Zamaan…
There was a Place, in Times of Old…

Where a slave, Bilal bin Ribah, boldly declared himself to be a Muslim. Why was such an action bold? Because in that dark day and age, becoming a Muslim was considered a heinous crime. Bilal knew that no sooner did the words leave his mouth, than he would be tortured and probably killed. Yet, so strong was his belief, and so beloved was his faith, that he simply couldn’t resist declaring that he had become a Muslim. So in a loud steady voice, he publicly declared: "Ash'hadu an'na la elaha ila Allah wa Ash'hadu an'na Muhammadan Rassul Allah (I witness that there is no god except The God, and I witness that Muhammad is his Messenger)".

As soon as Bilal’s master heard those words, he furiously ordered his slave to recant. Bilal, in his lovely resonant voice, defiantly repeated the words: "Ash'hadu an'na la elaha ila Allah wa Ash'hadu an'na Muhammadan Rassul Allah (I witness that there is no god except The God, and I witness that Muhammad is his Messenger)". Positively chocking on his own rage, his master and some of his master's cronies attacked Bilal, dragged him out of Mecca, forced him down onto the burning desert sands and placed large boulders on him to slowly crush him.

As the back of his body was burned by the flaming sands and the front of his body was seared by the crushing sun-heated boulders, Bilal's master demanded of him again and again: "Recant! Al-Lat and Al-Uza are your gods! You do not have one God!”

Bilal, starting to grow delirious and with the boulders making it next to impossible for him to draw breath, found himself wavering on the edge of consciousness, yet the faith in his heart never wavered nor weakened. He repeated again and again in a voice filled with torment and pain, "Ahad (one)...Ahad (one)..." then, with more strength, "One! One!"

A few days later, word of this ongoing cruelty reached Abu Bakur Al-Siddiq, a fellow Muslim. Horrified by the news, he went to see if he could somehow help Bilal and put an end to his suffering. When Abu Bakur arrived and saw what was going on with his own eyes, he rushed forward angrily to confront the cruel, laughing men, "Why are you killing him?! What use is this to anyone?! You know by now that he will never obey you!!"

Well aware that Abu Bakur was not only a wealthy and successful merchant but also the possessor of a famously soft heart, Bilal's master replied with a sly smile, "Why don't you purchase your brother in Islam?"

Abu Bakur breathed out a great sigh of relief when he heard that. If the men's greed was greater than their hatred and cruelty, then perhaps he could save Bilal's life. Cautiously, he asked, "How much?"

"Forty measures of gold," said Bilal's master with the light of avarice glowing in his cruel eyes. The price was laughably high for a slave, and he knew it. Bilal's master felt confident he would be the winner in this bargain, regardless of what Abu Bakur chose to do. If Abu Bakur agreed to the price, then Bilal's master would be a rich man. If Abu Bakur refused, then Bilal's master would continue torturing him and would happily tell everyone he knew that Muslims loved their money more than their brothers.

"Done," Abu Bakur agreed without a moment's hesitation, "Everyone here witnesses our agreement. Now take those boulders off MY slave!"

Shocked and piqued by Abu Bakur's ready answer, Bilal's former master couldn’t let matters rest as they were. He smiled disdainfully and announced, "If you had bargained with me, I would have sold him for a single measure of gold."

Abu Bakur, now anxiously tending the delirious man, looked up and replied in a flat, unaffected voice, "If you had bargained with me, I would have paid a hundred measures for him."

Bilal’s former master and his accomplices watched with sour faces as Abu Bakur bore away their now-unconscious prey.

The next time Bilal awoke, he found himself safe in Abu Bakur's home. The servant attending to him explained how he had been bought and rescued by Abu Bakur. Later, when Abu Bakur entered the room in which Bilal lay recuperating, Bilal thanked him profusely for his rescue. Abu Bakur, ever a humble man, told him abashedly that no thanks were necessary and he added that as of that day, Bilal was a free man. Bilal, ill and suffering from the abuse he had received, could not help but rejoice. He was not just a free man. He was a free Muslim man and so he would defiantly tell EVERYONE!

Many years later, after most of the Muslims had moved from Mecca to Al-Madinah in search of safety and peace, Bilal would become the first man in history to say the athan (call for prayer). On that day, for the very first time, he climbed up to the highest point of Al-Masjid Al-Nabawi (the Prophet's Mosque in Al-Madinah), stood there looking out at all of Al-Madinah, and in his wonderfully melodious voice, sang out for all to hear, "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Ash'hadu an'na la elaha ila Allah, Ash'hadu an'na la elaha ila Allah, Ash'hadu an'na Muhammadan Rassul Allah, Ash'hadu an'na Muhammadan Rassul Allah, Hay'yah ala Al-Sa'lah, Hay'yah ala Al-Sa'lah , Hay'yah ala Al-Falaah, Hay'yah ala Al-Falaah, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La elaha ila Allah (God is Greater, God is Greater, God is Greater, God is Greater, I witness that there is no god but The God, I witness that there is no god but The God, I witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God, I witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God, Come to the prayer, Come to the prayer, Come for success, Come for success, God is Greater, God is Greater, There is no god but The God)".

*Written by © 2011. Care to read or leave Comments?

Notes:
  1. Names, Translations and Aliases:
    • Bilal bin Ribah: بِلال بن رباح.
    • Abu Bakur Al-Siddiq: أبو بكر الصديق عبد الله بن أبي قحافة

Sources:
  1. Al-Dhahabi, A. (2004 AD). سير أعلام النبلاء [Biographies of Notable Nobles]. Beirut: International Ideas Home. Volume 1. Page 1242-1244.
  2. Al-Dimishqi, A. (2009 AD, 1430 H). البداية و النهاية [The Beginning and the End]. Beirut: Al-Maktaba Al-Assrya Publishing and Distributing. Volume 1. Book 2. Page 320-322.
  3. Al-Kandhalawi, M. (2004 AD). حياة الصحابة [Life of the Companions]. Beirut: International Ideas Home. Page 151-152.

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