Bilal, Waliyy-Allah

Selections of the hadith below are from Muwatta’ of Imam Malik, translated by Prof. Muhammad Rahimuddin, those in the brackets and notes are by author, numbers at end of the hadith are those in the original.

[1] Abu Qatadah reported: The Messenger of Allah said that if any amongst you should enter a mosque, he should say two Rak’ahs before sitting down.  [381]



The above hadith brings forth to account an interesting incident of an Abyssinian slave named Bilal, a negro, who ended up being the first Muezzin, one of the highest office in Islam, to call for prayer from atop the Ka’bah!

One morning the Prophet asked Bilal: ‘What’s your special virtue Bilal, that when I entered Paradise last night, I heard your footsteps ahead of me?’

In reply, Bilal did not mention the persecutions he had gone through, the fearful nights and the apprehensive days he had left behind, the thirst and hunger he had borne, the exemplary courage and patience he had demonstrated, et al, although if he had said those things he would have been speaking the truth. But he didn’t talk of them. Rather, ‘Nothing special,’ said Bilal in his characteristic childlike style, ‘except that whenever it is nullified I make a fresh ablution, and whenever I make a fresh ablution, I offer as many bows (raka’at) to God as I can, as also after every adhan.’

[2] ‘Ubaid Allah b. ‘Adi b. al-Khiyar reported: The Prophet was sitting amongst men when a man came and whispered something in his ear. We did not know what he was saying until the Messenger of Allah cried out loudly and then we knew that he was asking permission of the Prophet to slay a man of the hypocrites. The Apostle of Allah asked him: Does not the man witness there is none but one God and Muhammad is His messenger? The man said: Yes, why not, but his attestations are not worthy of reliance. The Prophet asked: Does he not pray? He answered: Yes, why not, but his prayer is not to be trusted. The Messenger of Allah then said: Allah has prohibited me from slaying such persons.  [408]


Those who call themselves as Muslims should be recognized and accepted as Muslims by face value, what’s in their heart is between them and Allah.

Once upon a time, during a battle, a man killed his opponent despite his uttering witness – i.e., the opponent pronounced the Shahadah, and the Prophet asked him why did you kill him?  The man replied that he uttered it just to save his life, then the Messenger of Allah retorted, “Did you cut open his heart to find out whether he testified out of fear or allegiance”.

[3] ‘Ata’ b. Yasar reported: The Apostle of Allah pleaded, O Lord, do not make my tomb an idol that people should worship it.  Great is the wrath of Allah on those who have turned the tombs of their prophets into places of worship.  [409]


When such is the wrath of Allah, if we turn the tombs of the prophets – most loyal servants of Allah – into a place of worship. Then, imagine the wrath that arises out, by us making the tombs of so-called ‘Waliyy-Allah‘ a place of worship. Is not all good Muslims ‘Friends of Allah.’

If a great prophet, and a father of great prophets like Isma’el, Is-haq, ‘Isa ibn Maryam and Muhammad, worked and suffered so hard to earn the honour of ‘Khaleel-Allah‘ – ‘Friend of Allah’ – how much hard must we Muslims should strive?

Learning Arabic language is one of the ways of that striving.

[4] ‘Urwah b. Zubayr reported: ‘Abd Allah b. Arqam used to conduct prayers amongst the companions.  One day, when everything was ready for prayer, he went out to answer the call of nature and returned and said: I heard the Prophet say: If any of you feels the need to answer the call of nature, first do it and then say your prayer. [373]


The above hadith is quoted here although it might be a familiar one, since people go to answer the call of nature after praying and thus making their ablution void (due to the fear of losing a ra’kah or two).

Being in a state of ablution, i.e., purity, is also a means of earning reward from Allah, hence praying after easing is a best option.

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