There he lay, on the burning sands of the Arabian desert with a heavy rock placed upon his chest. Unable to move a limb and unable to defend himself, he was repeatedly assaulted as the Midday sun bore witness to this shameful onslaught. The torturers would take turns in whipping him and gave him the ‘option’ of renouncing Islam or dying a slow and painful death. He was made to lay down on hot coals and was dragged through the streets of Makkatul Mukarramah. Despite the severe torment,his tongue repeatedly uttered only one word: “Ahad, Ahad.”(The One, Allah). There seemed to be no end in sight of the verbal, emotional and physical abuse that he suffered. Still he uttered nothing except the word “Ahad, Ahad.”

The illustrious person in reference is none other than Hazrat Bilal (radi Allahu anhu).

Hazrat Bilal (radi Allahu anhu)  was born to a woman of Abyssinian origin. Her name was Hamaama. She was a slave. Hazrat Bilal (radi Allahu anhu)  was also a slave to one of the greatest enemies of Islam: Umayyah bin Khalaf. Before reverting to Islam, Hazrat Bilal (radi Allahu anhu)  would tend to the livestock for Umayyah for just a few dates. He was known as the ‘Slave of Umayyah’ and was referred to as ‘The Abyssinian’. He was called by many derogatory titles regarding his complexion and lineage. Umayyah found out about Hazrat Bilal ’ (radi Allahu anhu)‘s reversion to Islam, and the cruelty only intensified. Despite all the abuse, Hazrat Bilal  (radi Allahu anhu)  remained steadfast and would repeatedly exclaim, “AHAD! AHAD!”His faith was firm and his devotion to Allah  was strong and unwavering. He understood that his steadfastness will be rewarded in the Hereafter. But to the disbelievers, this was unacceptable. He was mercilessly tortured and as were many other Sahaabah.One day Hazrat Abu Bakr  (radi Allahu anhu)  came across this mistreatment, and shouted at the torturers and his audience. He asked them,

Are you killing a man because he says that ‘Allah is my God!’? Take more than your price and set him free!”

Umayyah sold Hazrat Bilal  (radi Allahu anhu)  to Hazrat Abu Bakr, who in turn set him free. Hazrat Bilal  (radi Allahu anhu)  took his place among the free men. He was a man of great physical strength and was selected by Rasulullah Sallallāhu Alayhi Wasallam to become the first Mu’adhin (the one who calls the believers to prayers). His voice was melodious and loud. His position was elevated so much so, that Rasulullah Sallallāhu Alayhi Wasallam once remarked that he had heard Hazrat Bilal  (radi Allahu anhu) ‘s footsteps ahead of his own, in Jannah.

Perseverance, hardship, sacrifice, steadfastness, unwavering Iman, Taqwa and Tawakkul. This great Sahabi is a role model to many Muslims worldwide. Bilal (radi Allahu anhu)  passed away in Syria, just as he lived……in the Path of Allah.

By: Sister Ayesha Vadia Moola

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