He is, generally, known as “Bilal Habashi” (raa), and it is believed that he was not a pure Abyssinian as his features were not identical with those of the Habashi or Zangi. His complexion was not black but dark brown. His hair was not curly, it was thick and he had a sparse beard. His body was tall and slender with a prominent chest. His cheeks were thin and his nose was not snub. His father Rabah, was an Arab and his mother Hamama, was an Abyssinian slave girl believed to be from Mecca but the majority opinion is that she was from a town between Yemen and Abyssinia called Sarat where a mixed race was known to be. Sarat is believed to be the birth place of Bilal (raa) although some historians claim that he was born in Mecca.
In Mecca, Bilal (raa) along with other Muazzins (the one who announces the adhan, pronounced athan, or the call to prayer) of the Prophet (saws), Abu Mahzura (raa) and Amr bin Umm Kulsum (raa) were raised in a well known Quraishi clan called Abu Jamah. That they all were chosen as Muazzins by mere chance or if it was due to melody and harmony of voice is difficult to say.
It is not known with authenticity as to who amongst the tribe of Banu Jamah was the master of Bilal and his mother. Some have written that he was the slave of a noble woman of that tribe, while others claim that it was a widow related to and mistress of Amr ibn Hisham (Abu Jahl, the Father of Ignorance). The most common view that some others have written is that he was the slave of Umaiya bin Khalaf.
During al-jahiliyyah (Days of Ignorance), the members of Abu Jamah were thought to be experts in palmistry (fortune telling through the study of the palm) as well as drawing out lots with the help of arrows. Bilal (raa) had a natural hatred against these customs and practices. He saw that the people in those days were devoid of good morals, kindness and had little values for human life. Deceit had become their second nature and it was shown through their constant dispute with the Quraishi clan of Banu Abd Manaf.
Unable to do anything but live out his bleak days as a possesion with no hope for tomorrow, Bilal (raa) showed the greatest valour and courage as he tended the sheep. camels and other livestock of his masters.
Bilal ibn Rabah or Bilal al-Habashi (raa) was from the Habash (Abyssinia) area, now known as Ethiopia. He was also known as “Bilal ibn Riyah”, “ibn Rabah” and sometimes he was called “Bilal al-Habashi (Bilal the one from Abyssinia).
Born in the late 6th century, the preferred view is that Bilal (raa) was 43 years old (579 AD) at the time of Hijra (622 AD) but it has been suggested by some that he could have been as old as 53 (569 AD).
One of the many emancipated slaves of Abu Bakr (raa), Bilal (raa) was known for his beautiful voice and was given the honour by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws) of being the first Muazzin of Islam.
Bilal ibn Rabah al-Habashi (raa) was believed to have died sometime between 629 AD to 639 AD at the age of 60 and was known as one of the most trusted and loyal sahaba (companions) of the Prophet Muhammad as well as Ali ibn Abi Talib (raa) cousin and son in-law of the Prophet (saws).
His respected stature during the birth of Islam is a perfect example of the importance of pluralism and racial equality in the foundations of Islam.
Al-hamdulillah, our first Promo video for Sahaba.net posted on our YouTube Dawah Channel Sirataal-Mustaqeem (the Straight Path).
Nasheed: The Best of Generations by Mishary Al-Arada
Âl ‘Imrân: Surah 3. The Family Of ‘Imran
[3:110] “You are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors.”
At Taubah: Surah 9. Repentance
[9:100] “The vanguard (of Islam) – the first of those who forsook (their homes) and of those who gave them aid, and (also) those who follow them in (all) good deeds, well pleased is Allah with them, as are they with Him: for them He has prepared gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein for ever: that is the supreme felicity.”
5 Years ago, our brother in Islam wanted to learn how to build websites, and was at that time inspired by a book “Men Around The Messenger” by Khaalid Muhammad Khaalid.
His inspiration drove him to embark upon the task of creating his first web presence combining two of his passions, Islam, particularly his love for the Companions (raa) of the Prophet (saws) and his newly emerging skills as a web developer. Thus Sahaba.net was born. Other sites followed, like Fajr Caller, Holy Names Of Allah, and his highly impressive Quran Flash.
May Allah reward him for his deeds, Ameen
Al-hamdulillah about 1 year after accepting Islam, I had the privilege of meeting my brother in Islam and it was at this time he introduced me to his work.
Fast forward two years, I was seeking a project and the brother and I crossed paths online and I mentioned my desire to help him with Sahaba.net, but to my surprise he was looking for someone to take ownership, as his schedule didn’t allow him to maintain the site.
So it is my honor to embark on the endeavor of Sahaba.net Version 2.
Jazak Allahu khair Akhi,
Your brother in deen.