Bilal Ibn Rabah
(part 2 0f 2)
Beloved companions Series by Amr Khaled
Clearly, the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) final moments in this world revealed Bilals finest characteristics as he was so emotional and seemed to be the person who suffered the most.
The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) died on a Monday, Madinah has never witnessed such tears and unhappiness as that day. He died on Aisha chest; see the tenderness of his wife? She left her home, not knowing what to say to the people. She opened the doors to the mosque and said, “Allah messenger has died, Allah messenger has died.”
The people in the mosque burst out in tears. Anas Ibn Malak said, “The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) first came to Madinah on a Monday, and everything on that day was filled with light. Now he died in Madinah on a Monday, and everything on this day was filed with darkness.”
One of the Companions that were away from Madinah said, “When I returned I found all the doors closed, and heard weeping from inside the houses.”
The first prayer after his death came, and Bilal ascended to call for the prayer saying, “Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest”, “there is no God but Allah, there is no God but Allah“. When he reached to, “I witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah“, the people in the mosque burst into tears and Bilal’s voice broke down, tears overcoming him. He couldnt continue the call for prayer and descended the pulpit. When the next prayer came, Bilal ascended to call for the prayer and the same thing happened again.
Bilal stayed in this state for three days, wanting to call for the prayer but could not bring himself to do so. He went to Abu Bakr and said, “Abu Bakr, discharge me from being the caller for prayer.” He requested this after ten years of calling for prayers. Abu Bakr wondered, “Why?” Bilal replied, “I can’t call anyone for the prayer after Allah’s messenger. Every time I tried I failed”. Abu Bakr again wondered, “Why?” Bilal said, “I can’t stay in Madinah after the Prophet’s death.”
Abu Bakr said, “No I want you to stay with me”. Bilal said, “If you released me from slavery under Umaya for yourself then lock me up, and if you released me for Allah, then leave me to whom you released me for.”
Abu Bakr said, “I swear I didnt buy you except for Allah’s sake, or spent my wealth except for Allah, or released you except for Allah, go Bilal, do what you wish.”
Life After the Prophet (P.B.U.H.)
Bilal went to Palestine, where he joined the army which struggled to take back Palestine and Al Quds. Omar Ibn Al-Khattab sent out the armies, and they defeated the enemies and won. Bilal prayed with the Companions in Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Muslims sent for Omar Ibn Al-Khattab to receive Palestine keys. He didn’t go in person to receive Egypt’s keys, or Iraq’s keys but he went to Palestine; see the significance of the country!
Omar met the armies and told them to gather in a wide open space, so they met on Golan Heights. Omar asked, “Where’s Bilal?” It had been years since they had last met, and the happiness of meeting each other was immense. “Bilal, call for the prayer” Bilal said, “Ruler of the Believers, I don’t call anyone for the prayers after the Prophet (P.B.U.H.).” Omar said, “Bilal, this is a victorious day, this is a day of dignity, a day which would make the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) pleased.” So Bilal ascended Golan Heights and called: “Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest”, “there is no God but Allah, there is no God but Allah” until “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” was stated and the whole army burst into tears. They even heard Omar weeping voice!
The rest of Bilal story can be narrated in few lines. Bilal settled in Damascus in Syria. A few months before he died, he saw a vision; he saw the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) telling him, “O Bilal! What’s this unfriendliness, didn’t you miss visiting me Bilal?” As soon as he woke up, he hurried to Madinah. He stood in front of the Prophet’s grave (P.B.U.H.) and greeted him: “Peace be upon you Allah’s messenger, peace be upon you Allah’s beloved.”
No one salutes the Prophet (P.B.U.H.), without an Angel going to the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and informing him of this greeting, and so the Prophet would reply to the greeting! The Prophet (P.B.U.H,) said, “Allah has angels walking on earth, if they find someone who is praying and greeting me, they carry the greeting to me, so I reply to your greeting.”
Hassan and Hussain, the Prophet’s (P.B.U.H.) grand-children, came to Bilal and he hugged them and cried. They said, “We have missed your call for the prayer, Bilal” so he ascended to call for the prayer. Seven years had passed since he last did this. The whole of Madinah was captivated as they remembered this precious sound as they listened to the call for prayer.
People came out of their homes when they heard the call to prayer, moving towards the voice. Madinah cried like it hadnt since the death of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.).
Bilal died in Damascus in Syria, where his grave lies. He died at the age of sixty. While dying, his wife felt sad and cried out, “O disaster, O disaster”. Bilal replied, “Don’t say O! Disaster, say O! Joy, O! Joy, for tomorrow I meet the beloved Muhammad and his Companions.”
Let’s remember the details of Bilal life:
He is the first caller of the prayers for the Prophet (P.B.U.H.).
He embraced Islam at the age of 30.
He was among the first Muslims.
Abu Bakr released him from slavery.
He remained calling the prayers for the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) for ten years.
He was the only one who prayed in the Ka‘bah with the Prophet (P.B.U.H.).
He died in Damascus 17 A.H *. at the age of 60.
He said the well known quote on his death bed, “O! Joy, tomorrow I meet the beloved Muhammad and his Companions.”
* Radeeya Allah ‘Anho’, R.A. is the abbreviation, literally means ‘May Allah be pleased with him’.
* P.B.U.H. is the abbreviation of ‘Peace be upon him’, referring to the Prophet.
* A.H. is the abbreviation of ‘After Hijrah’.