|Bilal The Abysinian
Bilal was an Abyssinian slave and one of the first 10 converts to Islam.
Abyssinia is now Ethiopia and was a major military power during that
For many centuries, the Arabs worshiped stone idols as gods and were
extremely devoted to them. In 612 A.D., Prophet Muhammad -- may
the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him -- began preaching the
message that God is one and to reject the worship of stones and
Upon hearing that message, Bilal immediately converted to this new
The owner of Bilal rejected the message of Muhammad and tortured
Bilal to make him recant his belief. He beat Bilal repeatedly, demanding
he return to their idol worship. Bilal refused. With each refusal, his
tormentor became angrier. After lashing him with a whip, opening
wounds upon Bilal's back, he forced Bilal to lie on the burning desert at
midday, again exhorting him to renounce his belief.
Through the pain of the gashes on his back and the burning sand
searing his flesh, Bilal remained resolute in his belief. Heavy boulders
where then placed on Bilal's chest. Delirious from the heat, thirst and
pain, Bilal managed to raise one finger and say "Ahad," which means
Abu Bakr, also an early convert to Islam, walked by and saw Bilal being
tortured for his beliefs. He purchased Bilal and immediately gave Bilal
Bilal became one of the prophet's dearest companions. The prophet
personally chose Bilal to recite the call to prayer because his voice was
so powerful and melodic.
When the prophet conquered Mecca and went to the House of Allah to
destroy the stone statues, Bilal was one of only three people who
accompanied Muhammad inside the Kaba, an honor normally reserved
for the very elite of the ruling clan in Mecca.
Prophet Muhammad once asked Bilal what he did that was so special,
because he heard Bilal's footsteps before his in paradise. Bilal responded
that he did nothing special except when he made ablution -- a religious
washing of the body; day or night, he prayed what was ordained for
him to pray.
After the prophet passed away, Bilal moved to Damascus because he
missed the presence of the prophet.
One night he had a dream, and the prophet asked him, "O Bilal, why
have you not visited me?" After waking, Bilal left immediately for
Medina, where the prophet was buried. When he arrived, the prophet's
grandsons asked him to make the call to prayer, and he agreed. When
Bilal began to recite the call to prayer, the entire mosque and those
within earshot began to weep uncontrollably because Bilal's voice was
so closely associated with the prophet.
Bilal ibn Rabah was devoted to the belief in one God, resolute in the
face of adversity, pure of heart, noble in spirit, a trusted companion
and admired throughout the Islamic world.
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|Ethio Quest News
Together We Can Make It!
|A LEAP OF FAITH
|A Glimpse of
"..Like everyone else, I needed
to thread both myth and
history, in my effort to
understand the present."
|Clashes of What?
"..To be honest and precise
the only big threat today is the
clashes of extremists.”
"..the mosque, which is taken
as a symbol of religious
co-existence, is becoming one
of the tourist attractions
|A leap of faith
"The question arises as to why Ethiopia? The
Prophet could have chosen a safe haven for his
followers in any of Arabia's other neighbours:
modern-day Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Iraq or Iran.
Instead he chose Ethiopia, largely, it is said, because
of the righteous reputation of Ethiopia's king, the
Negus or Al-Najashi. "Go to Ethiopia, there is a king
there that is just," Prophet Mohamed told his
followers. His counsel proved to be wise.
Iran, then known as Persia, was a pagan country
and the far-flung provinces of the Byzantine Empire
-- Egypt and Syria -- were teetering on the verge of
rebellion. The Copts of Egypt asked the Prophet to
intervene on their behalf and overthrow Byzantine
Ethiopia, in sharp contrast, was a free and pietistic
land ruled by a magnanimous monarch.