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.