The beauty and content of our hearts is what reflects us as a person. Our morals. Our knowledge. Our manners. What is colour? Colour is nothing but a shade but this shade has caused a lot of friction in humanity since the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) until the present. Broken hearts. Lack of confidence. Indirect and direct discrimination. This is the reality. No matter how you try to justify these acts. Racism does exist despite many are aware of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) last sermon where he puts an emphasis on the rights humanity has on each other and our relationship with Allah (The Most High). However, I will extract where he puts an emphasis on unity between all:
‘……All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white; [none have superiority over another] except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves…..’
[Sahih Al-Bukhari 1623, 1626, 6361]
[Sahih Muslim 98]
[Sahih Al-Tirmidhi 1628, 2046, 2085]
[Ibn Hanbal 's Musnad 19774]
One of the closest companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was Bilal (may Allah have mercy upon him). His goal in life was to please Allah and His Prophet no matter how difficult his situation was. Sacrifice. Commitment. Sincerity. No Riyaah (Pride). He was chosen amongst all of the Sahaba to conduct the Adhaan (Call to Prayer) upon Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) discovering his beautiful and heart-warming voice which summoned many to prayer. His faith and voice inspired generations upon generations even until today.
Prophet Muhammad said
“…Get Bilal and tell him what you have seen, teach him the words so that he can give the call, because he has a beautiful voice…”
[Ahmad, Al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah]
Bilal ibn Rabah (May Allah have mercy upon him) originated from Ethiopia. He was loyal and hardworking even before his conversion to Islam. I dislike to use the term ‘slave’ for a true slave is the one who is attracted to this deceptive, temporary world rather than being a servant of Allah (The Most High) who created me and you. He worked for one of the leaders of the Quraish tribe, Umayyah ibn Khalaf who worshipped idols and tortured the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and the Sahabah for spreading the message of light, hope and mercy in Makkah. Bilal was attracted to the concept of ‘Ahad’ meaning One God and it was this belief that ultimately saved his life where Abu Bakr bought him by freeing him.
Following his conversion, Bilal (may Allah have mercy upon him) remained close to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). He accompanied him in his military expeditions. Success to success. Triumph to triumph. After the death of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), he was saddened and had an effect on him which emphasises the close and pure relationship the eminent companion, Bilal ibn Rabah (may Allah have mercy upon him) had with Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). He continued to live his life with faith, loyalty, truthfulness and self-sacrifice without the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) with agony due to missing his mentor, teacher and friend. Some sources suggest he passed away in Medina whereas other sources suggest he died in Syria. May Allah have mercy upon him.
My dear brothers and sisters, we can extract a variety of lessons from the life of Bilal ibn Rabah for the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) referred him as
“The Man of Paradise”
He was not discriminated by his facial complexion. His position. His lineage. It was the purity of his character that stood and germinated respect for him. Hug your brother/sister, for a shade(s) lighter or darker does not make you any better. Do not lose hope. Do not let the words of man shake your faith.