This is an exciting story of a black man called Bilal who lived in Makkah at the time of the prophet Muhammad saw. Bilal was a slave to a rich man. Being a slave meant you could not do anything out of your own free will. All that you do, believe, or should be following the Master’s will. In hard circumstances like these, the slave came to know about the message of one true lord being given by Muhammad saw. Even though Bilal was a slave and wasn’t supposed to go against his Master’s command, Bilal could not stop his heart from testifying to the true lord that Muhammad saw was preaching about.
When the Master learned that Bilal RA (from hereon, we will address him as Bilal Radhi allahu anhum -RA) had accepted Islam, the Master went furious and decided to punish Bilal RA. The Master thought that if he punishes him severely, Bilal RA would give up his faith in Allah. But no matter how harsh the punishment was, Bilal RA did not forgo his faith. When the atrocities of the Master went beyond a level, Abu Bakr RA requested Muhammad to allow him to free Bilal RA. Upon receiving permission from the Prophet, Abu Bakr went to buy the enslaved person – Bilal RA from his Master. The Master demanded a very high price, to which Abu Bakr RA did not hesitate and paid. Abu Bakr RA later made Bilal RA a free man. But Bilal RA chose to serve the Prophet and Islam.
The Muslims in Makkah were troubled in various ways so much so that living in Makkah became difficult for the Muslims. When the difficulties became unbearable, Prophet Muhammad and his followers, left Makkah and migrated to Madina. In Madina, they were received warmly and were treated well. Slowly the number of Muslims in Madina started to increase. When the number of Muslims was few, it wasn’t too difficult to call them to the five daily prayers, but with the increased number of Muslims it became hard to call them all.
The call to the five daily prayers became a concern and point of discussion. Some suggested light a fire that will raise smoke and be seen from far away, which will help Muslims come for prayer. But it wasn’t taken well by many others.
Some suggested using a bugle, but someone pointed out that the Jews use it, and we shall not do something that imitates them. Another suggestion was to use bells, but christians used even bells, and it would again look like imitating the Christians.
Amidst all this discussion, Abdullah Bin Zaid RA had a dream one night. He saw a man wearing two green garments in his dream, carrying a bell. Abdullah Bin Zaid RA said, ‘O slave of Allah, will you sell the bell?’ He said, ‘What will you do with it?’ Abdullah Bin Zaid RA replied, ‘I will call (the people) to prayer.’ He said, ‘Shall I not tell you of something better than that?’ Abdullah Bin Zaid RA asked, ‘What is it?’ he said, read out these words. And they were the words of what we hear today as Azan.
The following day Abdullah Bin Zaid RA went straight to prophet Muhammad and narrated his dream. The prophet said, “Go out with Bilal to the mosque and teach it to him, for he has a louder voice than you.” Abdullah Bin Zaid RA went out with Bilal to the mosque and taught him the words of Azan, which Bilal RA called out. Hearing the words of the Azan, Umar Al-Khattab came out saying, “O Messenger of Allah! By Allah, I saw the same (dream) like him.”
Thus the call to prayer was confirmed as Azan, and Bilal RA became the first muazzin. After a few years, when Muslims took back Makkah, even there, it was Bilal RA who gave out the Azan from the rooftop of Kabah.
The Azan he gave hundreds of years ago from masjid e Nabawi, the same Azan is still reverberating in every part of the world.
As humans, we never know what Allah has in plan for each of His servants. Allah swt had such a mighty plan for Bilal RA, a black man who people didn’t think much of. Allah swt raised Bilal RA from the level of a slave to muazzin of Kabah and Masjid Nabawi, such a lofty position. Allah swt not only raised him to the caller’s level to prayers, but He made Bilal RA the Sardar of muazzin. Whenever people talk about muazzin and their position in Islam, Bilal RA is always mentioned with love and respect.
May Allah swt choose us and prepare us to work for His cause and be happy and content with the life He designs for us.