Salam, some information I read recently mentions that Bilal (RA) was chosen to to be the 1st Mu'athin because he used his voice at a difficult time to exalt and remember the Oneness of Allah. It's also mentioned that his mother was a former princess of Abyssinia and he had lovely hazel-brown eyes and that he was the only one allowed in the Prophet's company whenever he, the Prophet (pece be upon him) wanted to be alone. The rest of the information conveyed is more or less commonly known and I think correct and authentic. Can you please clarify the above doubts so that I can communicate it to a small group of madrasa children who will be taking a lesson on Athan and the 1st Mu'athin in the next week or so. Jazakumullahu Khairan...
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.
What we have found in the biography of Bilaal is that his mother was Abyssinian. She was a freed slave woman, previously owned by the Banu Jumah clan, and her name was Hamaamah. As for the color of his eyes, no mention was made of it in the books we have consulted. It is known, however, that he had dark skin, and he will be ahead of all the dark-skinned people in entering Paradise, as narrated in a Marfoo’ narration (a Prophetic narration). His merits and virtues, may Allah be pleased with him, are well-known. It is enough as merit that the Messenger of Allah gave him glad tidings of entering Paradise, and asked him about the act that he performed for which he was most hopeful of being granted such a great reward, so he told the Prophet that whenever he performed ablution he would perform such a number of prayers as was written for him to perform. [Al-Bukahri and Muslim]
As for the reason he was chosen to be a Mu’aththin (the person making the call to prayer) it is because he had a more beautiful or louder voice than the Companion who saw a vision about the Athaan (the call to prayer), namely, ‘Abdullaah ibn Zayd . Abu Daawood narrated that the Prophet said to ‘Abdullaah ibn Zayd, when he saw a vision about the manner of performing the Athaan: “Go to Bilaal and teach it to him, for he has a better voice than you.” As for the claim that Bilaal, may Allaah be pleased with him, was the only one who was granted permission to stay with the Prophet during his time of retreat, it is not true.
There is no doubt that Bilaal was tortured for the sake of Allah, The Exalted, and this was one of his greatest merits and virtues.
Allah knows best.
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