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.