Bilal Ibn Rabah in the Black Religious Tradition

Wikimedia Commons.

In the Islamic tradition, Bilal Ibn Rabah was a black slave whose conversion to Islam provoked bitterness in the heart of his cruel slave master. As Bilal was subjected to excruciating torture in the hot desert, he held on tight to the rope of Allah by repeating “AHAD,” affirming God’s oneness and refusing to renege on his beliefs.

The story of Bilal’s bravery—his willingness to endure severe suffering for the sake of Islam—spread throughout Mecca and eventually his freedom would be purchased by the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) close friend, Abu Bakr(RA).

Later, the Prophet’s (PBUH) conquering of Mecca was culminated in Bilal climbing on top of the Kabaa, which is the holiest structure for Muslims  where he gave the call to prayer, having been liberated from slavery. The story of Bilal deeply ties in with the descendants of black slaves in the western hemisphere. In this post, we will look at how Bilal has been deployed by black religious leaders.

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