After reciting Tashahhud, Ta`awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) said that he would be mentioning the Companion Hazrat Bilal(ra) bin Rabah.
Hazrat Bilal(ra) was the son of Rabah who was from Arabia and Hamamah who was from Habshah [Abyssinia]. He was the slave of Umayyah bin Khalaf. According to some narrations, Hazrat Bilal(ra) was born in Makkah and was known as muwallideen (those who were not of pure Arab descent). One of his wives was the sister of Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Auf(ra). He had one brother named Khalid and a sister named Ghufairah.
His Holiness(aba) said that the Holy Prophet(sa) said that Hazrat Bilal(ra) was the first from Abyssinia to accept Islam. According to narrations, Hazrat Bilal(ra) was thought by some to be weak, thus the opponents of Islam would target him in their efforts to make Muslims revert from their religion. However, Hazrat Bilal(ra) remained steadfast, and when he would be tortured, he would be told that the only way to make it stop was to accept the idols of the Makkans, however Hazrat Bilal(ra) would proclaim Ahad! Ahad! His slave-master would lay him on the burning ground and have rocks placed on his chest or would have children beat his chest. When he would see him continuing to say Ahad (God is One), he would order for a rope to be tied to his feet and have him dragged in the streets across pebbles and stones. Once, while such torture was taking place, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) came and bought Hazrat Bilal at the price of 280 Dirhams, and thereupon, he freed him from slavery. According to a narration by Hazrat Aishah(ra), Hazrat Bilal(ra) was one of seven slaves who would be tortured but were then freed by Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra).
His Holines(aba) related a narration, that the Holy Prophet(sa) ordered Hazrat Bilal(ra) to give the Adhan (call to prayer). Whilst calling it, Hazrat Bilal(ra) would say As-hadu (I bear witness…) instead of Ash-hadu as he was not able to pronounce the ‘sh’ sound. Hearing this, some of the Arabs would laugh. One day, the Holy Prophet(sa) called them and said that you laugh at him when he calls the Adhan, but when his voice reaches the heavens it pleases Allah. He said God knows that when he was being tortured, he would remain steadfast and proclaim Ahad! So what is the matter if he is unable to pronounce a simple letter.
His Holiness(aba) presented a narration stating that Hazrat Bilal(ra) was among the first seven people to accept Islam, which also included the Holy Prophet(sa) and Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra). His Holiness(aba) commented that all of them had to endure hardships, even though the Holy Prophet’s (sa) uncle would speak up in defense of his nephew, and the people of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) would vouch for him, but this did not mean that they too were not made to endure great hardships.
His Holiness(aba) presented a narration that upon migrating to Madinah, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) and Hazrat Bilal(ra) fell ill. They would both express their worry through various couplets they would recite. Upon hearing this, the Holy Prophet(sa) prayed for the illness spreading in Madinah to be removed, and for Madinah to become as dear to them as Makkah was.
His Holiness(aba) said that during the migration of Ahmadis from Qadian to Rabwah, members of the Community would be encouraged not to worry about the migration, citing this example of Hazrat Bilal(ra). The Second Caliph(ra) would tell his Community that when Hazrat Bilal(ra) fell ill in Madinah and began lamenting about it, the Holy Prophet(sa) asked him if this is why he had migrated? Thus, the Second Caliph(ra) advised his Community not to worry about what they had lost, but remember for Whose sake they had lost it. His Holiness(aba) said that this was the mindset of Ahmadis at the time, that this migration was for the sake of Allah. Despite the fact that Ahmadis presented the most sacrifices at the time of the partition between India and Pakistan, and sacrificed the most for the establishment of Pakistan, Ahmadis are not able to enjoy the most basic rights in their own country. His Holiness(aba) commented that the Community does not need any certificate of approval from Pakistan, however, those who act in this manner are rendering a great disservice to the country. His Holiness(aba) prayed for Pakistan to remain safe from such people.
Continuing to present narrations regarding the life of Hazrat Bilal(ra), His Holiness(aba) related that Hazrat Bilal(ra) participated in all battles alongside the Holy Prophet(sa). During the Battle of Badr, Hazrat Bilal(ra) killed Umayyah bin Khalaf, who used to torture him on account of being a Muslim.
His Holiness(aba) presented a narration in which the Holy Prophet(sa) said, that he was made to suffer a great deal in the cause of Islam, and times, three nights would pass by where he and Hazrat Bilal(ra) had nothing to eat except that which Bilal(ra) could hide under his arm.
His Holiness(aba) presented narrations regarding the formalisation of the Adhan. When the Holy Prophet(sa) asked his companions for suggestions as to how people could be called for prayer, the companions suggested various things such as ringing a bell or sounding a bugle. Hazrat Umar(ra) suggested that the human voice be used, and the Holy Prophet(sa) liked this idea. Thus, he instructed Hazrat Bilal(ra) to call for people to gather for the prayer. Thus, in his own words, Hazrat Bilal(ra) would call people to gather for the prayer.
One night, Hazrat Abdullah bin Zaid(ra) saw the words of the Adhan in a dream. When he relayed this dream to the Holy Prophet(sa), he instructed him to teach these words to Hazrat Bilal(ra) so that he may call the Adhan. Upon hearing these words, Hazrat Umar(ra) bin Khattab said that he had also seen these words in a dream. Thus, Hazrat Bilal(ra) became the first mu‘adhin (caller to prayer).
His Holiness(aba) said that he would continue mention of Hazrat Bilal(ra) in the following sermon.
His Holiness(aba) said that he would offer the funeral prayers in absentia of the following deceased members of the Community.
Rauf Bin Maqsood Jr. who passed away on 4th September. He was a student of Jamia Ahmadiyya UK. He was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor which eventually proved to be the cause of his demise, however he endured this time of illness with great patience and steadfastness. He is survived by his parents, three sisters and two brothers. The Amir Sahib of Belgium wrote to His Holiness(aba) that he found Rauf bin Maqsood to be a very pious person who loved Khilafat a great deal. Though doctors had said from the very outset that this illness could prove fatal, he never expressed any worry and never gave up hope. The doctors also noticed that he exhibited exemplary patience. During his illness, he was asked to conduct local Atfal classes, however due to his illness sometimes he would lose consciousness while conducting the classes. But upon regaining consciousness, he would simply continue to conduct the class. Though he would be encouraged to take some rest, he would reply by saying that he will continue regardless of his condition. He had a picture that was taken with His Holiness(aba) placed by his bed in the hospital, and this became a source of Tabligh (propagating the message) as nurses and doctors would ask him about this picture and the community he belonged to. He was always very passionate about spreading the message of Islam and Ahmadiyyat. His Holiness(aba) said that even before graduating from Jamia, he had become an exemplary missionary. His Holiness(aba) prayed for the forgiveness of the deceased and also that the family may be able to endure this trying time with patience.
Zafar Iqbal Qureshi who passed away on 3rd September. He served the Community in various capacities in Islamabad, Pakistan. In particular, he served as the Vice-President of the Islamabad Jama`at. His Holiness(aba) mentioned that while he was Nazir-e-A’la, he noticed that great passion and care that he worked with. He instilled the love of Khilafat in his children and would often encourage them to write letters to His Holiness(aba). His Holiness(aba) prayed for the forgiveness of the deceased and that the family may endure this time with patience.
Hon. Kabine Kabaja Kate of Senegal who passed away on 24th August. He was a brave, sincere person who possessed a great deal of love for Khilafat. He was very hospitable and would ensure to take care of any guest in his region. Before the Community had become registered, the Jama‘at properties were under his name. He presented 3 acres of land for a school and 3 acres of land for a mission house which he handed over to the Community before his demise. He had also been elected to a political office. He was very passionate about spreading the message of Islam and Ahmadiyyat. His Holiness(aba) prayed for the forgiveness and elevated station of the deceased and that his progeny may be able to continue serving with the same passion as their father.
Mubashar Latif who passed away on 5th May. He had a great deal of love for Allah, the Holy Prophet(sa), the Promised Messiah(as) and his Caliphs. His grandfather, Sheikh Mehr Ali Sahib(ra) was a good friend of the Promised Messiah(as). In fact it was in his home in Hoshiarpur that the Promised Messiah(as) performed a retreat of solitude for 40 days, during which he received the prophecy regarding the Promised Son. Mubashar Latif was a lawyer by profession and was well-respected. He fought many cases on behalf of Ahmadis who were being unfairly tried. He was also present in one of the mosques in Lahore which were attacked; though he survived the attack, his brother was martyred. His Holiness(aba) prayed for the forgiveness and elevated station of the deceased and prayed that his progeny may be able to carry on his virtuous qualities and remain patient.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions