It is an established fact that Bilal Habashi (raa) had not embraced Islam with any worldly motive or to secure relief from the torments of slave life. On the contrary by accepting Islam as a slave, he had invited upon himself torment of double even treble intensity. He endured all kinds of atrocities with remarkable patience and fortitude and remained true to Islam his entire life.
Al-Mu’minun (the believers) who accepted Islam in the beginning were, except a few, generally weak and helpless. They had no supporters or sympathizers. Bilal (raa), like many of the early believers were subject to endless inhuman acts of torture by the unbelievers. Some Muslims had ropes tied to the legs and were dragged on the stony ground of the desert. Others where stripped and thrown on the burning sand and often on red embers, and some, like Bilal (raa) were tied to the ground in the blazing sun and had heavy stones placed on their bodies.
There was no threat or cruel torture which the unbelievers did not execute on Bilal (raa) in an attempt to divert him from the True Faith and to coerce a statement which suited their purpose. Bilal (raa) displayed unflinching self-control, patience and perseverance. He held firm to his faith and uttered in reply to the torment, “There is none to be worshiped but Allah”.
According to historical records, Bilals (raa) greatest tormentor, Umaiya Bin Khalaf often tied him down and flung a stone and cow hide over him. Umaiya would say “Your gods are Lat and Uzza so testify your faith in them.” Uttering, Ahad, Ahad (Allah is One, Allah is One), the tormentors demanded Bilal (raa) to respect what they said, but he would reply, “No, my tongue is not supposed to utter what you say.”
Continuing to say “Ahad, Ahad” the unbelievers tied a rope round his neck and allowed the street urchins to drag him between the two hills of Mecca. Even, under this severe torment, Bilal (raa) held firm to his faith and repeated “Ahad, Ahad.” Thereupon, the unbelievers gave him a severe beating and again stretching him on the burning sand they placed the heavy stone over his body making breathing difficult for him. Occasionally a heavy person was to jump on the stone, but all the while Bilal (raa) persevered and uttered “Ahad, Ahad.”
This defiance against his slave master, who may have owned his body, proved ultimately that nobody could own ones mind or ones thought.