The Prophet Muhammad (saw)

Bilal: The Caller Dispersing the Veil of Darkness with his Voice

First voice: "You will not escape from this persecution until you worship Lat and Uzza!"

Second voice: "My Lord is Allah. He is One."

Third voice: "How much longer are you going to torture this poor man!"

The first voice belonged to Umayya ibn Halef. He was one of the rebellious actors of the Age of Ignorance. The word "One" drove him crazy. He felt himself to be responsible for protecting the veil of darkness remaining from his ancestors.

The second voice belonged to Bilal-i Habeshi. He was the slave of Umayya ibn Halef. Ever since he believed in the "One," he was turning his face to his real master. He was led through the streets with a rope around his neck. His body was pinned down between the hot sand and fiery rocks.

The third voice belonged to Abu Bakr: the friend of the heart to which the verse, "Say, Allah is One," was revealed. He introduced Bilal-i Habeshi to Islam. They are only five people who listen to the call in Mecca: Khadijah, a woman; Ali, a child; Abu Bakr, a free man; Zayd ibn Harise, a freed slave; and Bilal-i Habeshi, a slave.

A fourth voice: "Abu Bakr is our master, and he freed master Bilal."

The fourth voice belonged to Umar. Years later he summarized the lordliness of the slave with this sentence. Coming to some narrators, they never forget one instance of this historical bargaining: Giving a kilogram of gold, Abu Bakr joyfully buys Bilal ibn Rebah. The idolaters try and dampen Abu Bakr's joy by saying, "If you had only offered 200 grams, we still would have sold him to you." Proclaiming the value of faith and freedom to future ages, Abu Bakr says, "If you had wanted me to raise my offer to twenty kilograms, I still would have bought him."

Islam looks at people's hearts, not the color of their skin. With the immigration, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) makes white Abu Ruwayha and black Bilal brothers. Like many companions, Bilal falls ill at Medina; his body wants Mecca. He writes poetry in Medina like many companions; his spirit yearns for Mecca. However, there is a prophet with them who makes them forget everything and remember everything. Every place becomes Paradise with him. Ah, those times of prayer! Moments which turn the earth into a masjid... He calls out "Assalat, assalat!" as a reminder of the time. Suddenly the rows behind the Prophet fill up, but the congregation increasing grows larger. It becomes more difficult to announce the times of prayer. An easier and more effective call is needed. To those who say, "A bell is needed," the Prophet responds, "That belongs to the Christians." To those who say, "Why don't we blow a horn," he responds, "It belongs to the Jews." To those who suggest that a fire be lit in a high place, he replies, "That belongs to the Magians. The idea to hang a flag at times of prayer is rejected. Then one morning dreams save the day for Muslims. One morning Abdullah ibn Zayd from the Ansar comes to the Prophet's side and excitedly relates his dream: Muslims invite others to prayer with the adhan. "Inshallah it is a sound dream," says Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and sends Abdullah Zayd to Bilal to make the adhan: "Relate what you saw and let him do it. His voice is strong!"

And Bilal chants the adhan. The moment he says, "Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar," all the rocks on the earth fall into place. When he recites "Ashadu an la ilahe illallah," all the weak become strong. When he says, "Allah is the greatest," "I bear witness that there is no god but Allah," it falls on the souls of slaves like a lighting flash of freedom. Just as Bilal says, "I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah," Umar rushes out of his house and runs to the Prophet. Excitedly he says, "O Messenger of Allah, I swear to Allah who sent you that I saw the same adhan in my dream!" The Prophet smiles. He thanks his Lord.

What a beautiful voice Bilal has. The Prophet carries this voice, which makes one tremble with humility, with him throughout his life. Journeys and expeditions are kneaded with this voice. One morning the Prophet awakes to this voice: "Prayer is better than sleep." He tells Bilal, "What wonderful words. They should be recited each morning in the adhan!" From that morning on, sleep and prayer are in the two pans of the scale. When prayer weighs heavier, the veil of darkness disperses. And after each adhan Bilal calls out towards the Prophet's window: "O Messenger of Allah! Prayer!" Then, going to the masjid, he makes qamet; stars stand in line behind the sun.

He is both chanter and guard for the Prophet. He is responsible for his shade and water. He also does his accounting and cooking. He is an envoy who communicates the Prophet's commands to the people. At the same time he is a diplomat who hosts ambassadors. At times he gives the flag to the battalion commanders. At times he is a warrior who has not forgotten his past. He stands before his former master who roared, "You will not escape from this persecution until you worship Lat and Uzza!" This time it is Bilal's turn to roar: "The head of polytheism! I can't live if he survives!" Umayye ibn Halef does not survive, but Mecca is saved from the veil of polytheism. The day comes when, at the command of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), black Bilal chants the adhan over the black Kaaba.

Bilal always chants for the Prophet. He chants because he exists... because he is there. When the Universal Sun sets, Bilal is at a loss as to what to do. The cold well goes so deep, he can do nothing but chant the adhan. However, the adhan has such a special place that as soon as it is heard, sobs fill the Masjid Nabawi. All shores carry its waves to the eyes of the companions. When Bilal finishes the adhan, he promises himself never to chant the adhan again. He will not come to this city again. He does not want to live in a Medina without him. Had he not said: "Hey Bilal! There is no more virtuous act than struggle on Allah's path." He asks permission from Abu Bakr to go to Syria. When Abu Bakr insists on his staying at his side, he says, "O Abu Bakr, if you bought me for yourself, keep me here! But if you bought me for the approval of Allah, let me go and join the struggle on Allah's path!"

Bilal joins the victorious armies during the reigns of Abu Bakr and Umar. In the 16th year of the Hegira when he entered Jerusalem with Umar, he chanted the adhan at the caliph's insistence. Together with hundreds of companions which include prominent persons like Abu Ubayda ibn Jarrah and Muaz ibn Jabal, they tearfully remember the Master of the Universe together with the adhan. Bilal again promises himself not to recite the adhan again. But when the Prophet asks him in his dream, "Aren't you going to visit me," he goes to Medina which he has avoided for years. There he sees Hasan and Hussain, the favorites of the Ahl-i Bayt. Is it possible to offend them! Bilal chants the adhan from the Masjid Nabawi for the first time since the Prophet's death. The people of Medina who hear the witnessing excitedly dash out of their houses. Thinking that the Prophet has arisen from his blessed grave and has joined them, they fill the masjid. And that day they cry as they have never cried before. How greatly they missed him. How sweet is death for this reason! Before he dies, Bilal says to his wife, "How wonderful! Tomorrow I am going to meet with the beloveds, Muhammad and his friends!" He heard such a statement from the Prophet that for years he had been dreaming of the grave: "Last night I heard the sound of your footsteps in front of me in heaven!



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