Sayyid al-Mu’azzineen (Leader of the Mu’azzins), Imam al-Aashiqeen, The great devotee, faithful companion and Mu’azzin of the Beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam, Hadrat Sayyiduna Bilal al-Habashi Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu is a famous and exalted Sahabi who accepted Islam in its early days in Makkah al-Mukarramah.
His birthplace is Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and this is why he is known as Habshi (the old name for Abyssinia is Habsh). The Kaafirs of Makkah persecuted him severely when he accepted Islam. A few of the tortures that he went through include the following;
Hadrat Bilaal Radi Allahu Anhu was harassed and beaten the day long and during the night. He was tied in chains and lashed. On the next day, he was again made to lie on the hot desert sands which cause even greater injuries to the body of Bilaal Radi Allahu Anhu, who was loved by Allah Ta’ala.
In the sweltering heat under the Arabian skies, Hadrat Bilal’s love for Allah shone brighter than the sun itself. So strong was it that he could not conceal it despite the punishment and torture afflicted on him by his cruel master.
There were times when a large boulder would be placed upon his chest as he lay on the scorching sand, his ribs being crushed under the weight. Yet the words ‘Ahad! Ahad! (There is only one Allah!)’ were constantly repeated by Hadrat Bilal, so strong was his faith and love.
When Hadrat Abu Bakr Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu came to know about the pain and anguish which he underwent at the hands of the Kuffaar, he bought him and set him free. After this, Rasulallah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam, out of love and joy, embraced Hadrat Bilal and held him to his heart. Hadrat Mawlana Rumi Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu says:
“Beloved Mustafa embraced Bilal and held him against his chest. The ecstasy Bilal felt! Who can ever imagine that?