Men of Excellence: Friday Sermon September 18, 2020

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 that he would continue highlighting incidents from the life of Hazrat Bilal bin Rabah(ra).

It is related that whilst returning from the Battle of Khaibar, the Holy Prophet(sa) stopped at night to rest. Before going to sleep, he said to Hazrat Bilal(ra) that he would be the one to safeguard their prayer (meaning that he should ensure everyone awoke for the pre-dawn prayer). However despite his attempts to stay awake in order to ensure that he could awaken the Holy Prophet(sa) and his Companions, Hazrat Bilal(ra) fell asleep and did not wake up in time. In fact, everyone, including the Holy Prophet(sa) remained sleeping until the sun had risen. When they awoke, the Holy Prophet(sa) led them in prayer and said that if one was unable to awaken for the pre-dawn prayer, then they should offer it as soon as they wake up.

The Conquest of Makkah

His Holiness(aba) related a narration that on the day of the Conquest of Makkah, the Holy Prophet(sa) instructed Hazrat Bilal(ra) to climb up the Ka`bah and call the Adhan (call to prayer). His Holiness(aba) then cited the Second Caliph(ra) while presenting an incident from the Conquest of Makkah, involving Hazrat Bilal(ra). The Holy Prophet(sa) had said to Abu Sufyan(ra), that whoever entered his home, entered the Ka`bah, laid down their arms, and those who closed their doors would be protected. Abu Sufyan(ra) said that there were still people who would not be saved.

The Banner of Hazrat Bilal(ra)

Thus, the Holy Prophet(sa) commanded for a banner to be made on that day, and said that this was the banner of Bilal(ra). He said that the banner should be raised in the streets, and whoever gathers under this banner of Bilal(ra), shall be granted protection.

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This was an esteemed honour, for there were also other great companions, such as Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra), Hazrat Umar(ra), Hazrat Uthman(ra), Hazrat Ali(ra) and others of high stature, yet the Holy Prophet(sa) did not make a banner for them, he only had one made for Hazrat Bilal(ra). This was because he endured such hardships which no other companion, not even the Holy Prophet(sa) had to endure. He had no family, nor any protector to stand up for him. Since he had endured such hardship, and had no affiliation with anyone in Makkah, the Holy Prophet(sa) was aware of the fact that pardoning the very Makkans who had tortured him may be a difficult sight for him to bear. Thus, he honoured Hazrat Bilal(ra) in this way, and this was retribution for all the torture he was made to endure. Hazrat Bilal(ra) said that all those who used to stomp on his chest with their shoes, were now made to seek protection by standing under his banner.

Hazrat Bilal’s(ra) Desire to Defend Islam

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His Holiness(aba) related another narration that usually on the day of Eid, whilst the Holy Prophet(sa) was walking towards the mosque, Hazrat Bilal(ra) would walk in front of him with a spear which had been gifted to the Holy Prophet(sa) by Negus, the King of Abyssinia.

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After the demise of the Holy Prophet(sa), Hazrat Bilal went to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) and said, that he had heard the Holy Prophet(sa) saying that the best thing one could do was to go out and fight in the defense of Islam. However, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) asked Hazrat Bilal(ra) to remain by his side. Then Hazrat Bilal(ra) requested the same from Hazrat Umar(ra), who only after Hazrat Bilal’s(ra) persistence, sent him for Jihad.

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His Holiness(aba) related that when Hazrat Bilal(ra) called the Adhan for the first time after the demise of the Holy Prophet(sa), everyone in the mosque became extremely emotional, especially when he recited ‘I bear witness that Muhammad(sa) is the Messenger of Allah.’ According to narrations, Hazrat Bilal(ra) continued calling the Adhan during the caliphate of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) and then ceased to call it during the Caliphate of Hazrat Umar(ra), at which point he moved to Syria.

A Dream of Hazrat Bilal(ra)

His Holiness(aba) stated while he was in Syria during the latter part of his life, Hazrat Bilal(ra) saw the Holy Prophet(sa) in a dream, who asked him if he had forgotten about him, and would he not go to visit his grave? Thus, Hazrat Bilal(ra) travelled to Madinah and went to the grave of the Holy Prophet(sa). He began crying so profusely, that it became known in Madinah, that Hazrat Bilal(ra) had returned. Then Hazrat Hassan(ra) and Hazrat Hussain(ra) (grandsons of the Holy Prophet(sa)) came to him and requested that they wished to hear him call the Adhan just as he used to during the time of the Holy Prophet(sa). And so he called the Adhan – upon hearing it, the people of Madinah became extremely emotional, to the extent that it is stated in one narration that never before had so many men and women been seen crying.

His Holiness(aba) presented an incident that once, while considering a marriage proposal, a family came to the Holy Prophet(sa) and enquired about possible marriage matches. The Holy Prophet(sa) asked about their opinion regarding Hazrat Bilal(ra), for he was among the heavenly people.

His Holiness(aba) said that he would continue highlighting incidents from the life of Hazrat Bilal(ra) in the following sermon.

Summary prepared by The Review of Religions.


 

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