Men of Excellence : Hazrat Bilal (ra)

Friday Sermon delivered at Masjid Mubarak, Islamabad, Tilford, UK

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After reciting Tashahhud, Ta`awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) said he would continue highlighting the life of Hazrat Bilal bin Rabah(ra).

His Holiness(aba) presented a narration in which the Holy Prophet(sa) asked Hazrat Bilal(ra) the best deed he had carried out in the way of Islam, for he heard his footsteps before him in heaven. Hazrat Bilal(ra) replied that he considered offering nafl [supererogatory] prayer to be obligatory for himself, and offered them whenever he was able to after performing the ablution. His Holiness(aba) clarified that this did not mean that Hazrat Bilal(ra) had a higher rank than the Holy Prophet(sa), rather, it meant that on account of his prayers in seclusion, he would remain alongside the Holy Prophet(sa) in heaven just as he did in this world.


Feeding the poor and needy is an act that draws us closer to Allah. We earn His forgiveness, mercies and blessings through this act of charity.

“Anyone who looks after and works for a widow and a poor person is like a warrior fighting for Allah?s cause, or like a person who fasts during the day and prays all night. (Bukhari)

Virtues of Hazrat Bilal(ra)

His Holiness(aba) referenced the Second Caliph(ra), who cited the example of Hazrat Bilal(ra) and said that the only thing that remains in this world are those sincere actions carried out for the sake of Allah. The Second Caliph(ra) said that we do not know where the houses, properties or progeny of Hazrat Bilal(ra) are, however to this day, we still recount the virtues and sacrifices of Hazrat Bilal(ra), for he used to call the Adhan [call to prayer] and he remained in the company of the Holy Prophet(sa).

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His Holiness(aba) presented a narration, narrated by Hazrat Bilal(ra), in which the Holy Prophet(sa) said that heaven was ardently waiting to welcome three people; Hazrat Ali(ra), Hazrat Ammar(ra), and Hazrat Bilal(ra).

His Holiness(aba) presented another narration in which the Holy Prophet(sa) said that every Prophet has been granted seven Naqeeb, however he was granted fourteen; Hazrat Bilal(ra) being one of them.

Hazrat Bilal’s(ra) Status in Heaven

His Holiness(aba) presented another narration in which Hazrat Bilal(ra) was lauded as the foremost of the Shuhada [martyrs] and Mu’addhinin [callers to prayer] and he would be the most honoured on the Day of Judgment. In another narration, the Holy Prophet(sa) said that Hazrat Bilal(ra) would be given one of the camels of heaven.

His Holiness(aba) presented another narration, in which the Holy Prophet(sa) said to the wife of Hazrat Bilal(ra), that whatever she heard about him from Bilal(ra) was true. He further said that Hazrat Bilal(ra) was like a honey-bee, who went around and sucked nectar from flowers and turned it into honey.

His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Bilal(ra) passed away during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umar(ra) in Damascus, where he was also buried.

The Holy Prophet’s (sa) Bond with His Companions

His Holiness(aba) presented a quote of the Second Caliph(ra) in which he mentioned the virtues of Hazrat Bilal(ra). He wrote that though Hazrat Bilal(ra) was an Abyssinian slave, this did not matter to the Holy Prophet(sa), for it did not matter to him where or what nation one was from. Rather, he treated them all equally. He did not consider himself to be superior simply on the basis of being an Arab or being from an esteemed tribe, instead he treated all as equals. This resulted in an unbreakable bond with his companions.

The Second Caliph(ra) presented the example of when Jesus(as) was captured and his disciple Peter was following close behind. When the police saw him, they asked him if he was one of Jesus’(as) disciples. However out of fear, Peter immediately denounced and rebuked Jesus(as).

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On the other hand, if we wish to compare and see how the Holy Prophet(sa) loved his companions and in turn, how they loved and dedicated themselves to the Holy Prophet(sa), then the best example is that of Hazrat Bilal(ra). When the Holy Prophet(sa) saw that people would laugh at Hazrat Bilal(ra) because he would say as-hadu instead of ash-hadu whilst calling the Adhan, the Holy Prophet(sa) turned to these people and said that Bilal’s(ra) as-hadu was dearer to God than these people’s ash-hadu. The Holy Prophet(sa) did not say this merely for encouragement, rather this was the deep rooted love he had for him.

Final Call of the Holy Prophet’s (sa) Mu‘adhin

In turn, the love which Hazrat Bilal(ra) had for the Holy Prophet(sa) is demonstrated from an incident after the demise of the Holy Prophet(sa). Once, people approached Hazrat Bilal(ra) requesting him to call the Adhan as he used to during the time of the Holy Prophet(sa). Hazrat Bilal(ra) replied saying that he had vowed to himself that he would not call the Adhan after the demise of the Holy Prophet(sa), for it would bring back memories of his beloved, which he would not be able to bear. However, the people were persistent, and Hazrat Umar(ra) relayed this ardent desire of the people to Hazrat Bilal(ra), who wished to remember the time of the Holy Prophet(sa). Hazrat Bilal(ra) said that he would only agree to do so if he was commanded by his Khalifa, but reiterated the fact that it would be extremely difficult for him. Thus, according to the desire of Hazrat Umar(ra), Hazrat Bilal(ra) called the Adhan just as he used to during the time of the Holy Prophet(sa). Hearing this, the people listening could not contain their emotions, and loud sobbing and cries could be heard as they were so vividly reminded of the time of the Holy Prophet(sa).

However these were Arabs, who also had a natural connection with the Holy Prophet(sa) along with their connection to him as their prophet. However, what must be considered is the impact of this, and the love of the Holy Prophet(sa) amongst the non-Arabs. After calling the Adhan, Hazrat Bilal(ra) was so overcome by emotions, that he became unconscious, and the impact upon him was so great, that he later passed away.

This was the example of Hazrat Bilal(ra), who not only accepted the unity of God and love of the Holy Prophet(sa), but displayed them through such examples, the likes of which could never be replicated. His example is one which can establish unity and brotherhood in the world and break the chains of bondage. Our salvation to this day, lies in establishing such examples of belief in the unity of God and love for the Holy Prophet(sa).

His Holiness(aba) prayed that we all may be able to adopt this esteemed example. With that, His Holiness(aba) completed mention of Hazrat Bilal bin Rabah(ra).

Funeral Prayers

His Holiness(aba) said that he would lead the funeral prayers in absentia of the following deceased members of the Community.

Maulana Talib Yaqub Sahib who passed away on 8th September. He was serving as a missionary in Trinidad and Tobago. He was inclined to religion from a very early age. He dedicated his life for the sake of Islam and travelled to Rabwah, Pakistan to attend Jamia Ahmadiyya Rabwah. He served as a missionary in various places in Africa, Guyana and Trinidad. He served with great sincerity and spread the message of Islam. He maintained a personal relationship with all members of the Community. Despite being ill for the past few years and having to frequently go to the hospital, he never let this be a hindrance in attending Community programs. He was regular in his prayers and also regularly offered supererogatory prayers. He was wholly obedient to Khilafat, and was an exemplary missionary. He was very loving and met everyone with a smile. His Holiness(aba) commented that he also found him to always be smiling, and found him to be extremely devoted to Khilafat. He left behind his wife, a son and two daughters. His Holiness(aba) prayed for his forgiveness and high rank in heaven, and that his family may be granted patience during this time and enable his progeny to keep his virtues alive.

Iftikhar Ali Qureshi Sahib who passed away on 3rd June at the age of 99. He was a Civil Engineer by profession. He accepted Ahmadiyyat after studying the books of the Promised Messiah(as) and various literature of the Community. While he was studying these books, he prayed a great deal, and would even write letters to the Second Caliph(ra) with his questions to which he would also receive replies. In this way, after a great deal of studying and prayers, he accepted Ahmadiyyat. He progressed from Junior Engineer to Senior Engineer under the Government of Punjab. He was also appointed as the first chairman of the International Association of Ahmadi Architects and Engineers by the Third Caliph(rh). After his retirement, he dedicated his life for the service of Islam and served in many different capacities. His Holiness(aba) commented that he worked with great integrity and honour. He was honoured to witness the era of four Caliphs. He left behind two sons and four daughters. His Holiness prayed for the forgiveness of the deceased and that his progeny may be able to keep his virtues alive.

Raziya Sultana Sahiba who was the daughter of Sheikh Allah Bakhsh(ra), a companion of the Promised Messiah(as). Her husband was wrongfully imprisoned for almost two and a half years on account of being Ahmadi, a time which he endured with great patience and forbearance. She has left behind one daughter. His Holiness(aba) prayed for the forgiveness of the deceased.

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Muhammad Tahir Ahmad Sahib who passed away on 28th May due to liver cancer. He graduated from Jamia Ahmadiyya Qadian and served as a missionary in various financial departments. He was a very kind and loving person. He left behind his parents, his wife and two sons. His Holiness(aba) prayed for the forgiveness of the deceased and that his family may be granted patience during this time.

Aqeel Ahmad son of Mirza Khaleel Ahmad Baig sahib, professor at the International Jamia in Ghana, who passed away at the age of 13. He was very kind, loving, caring and obedient. He was also able to memorise six parts of the Holy Qur’an. He wanted to be a missionary when he grew up. His Holiness(aba) prayed for the deceased and that his family may be granted patience.

His Holiness(aba) commented that since funerals cannot take place due to the current circumstances, he receives many requests to lead funeral prayers in absentia. However there are so many requests that even if just their names were read it out would take a very long time. His Holiness(aba) said that he is only able to mention a few people by name during his Friday Sermons, however all the requests he receives are also included in these prayers. His Holiness(aba) prayed for the forgiveness of all the deceased and for their families to be granted patience.

Summary prepared by The Review of Religions.


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