Did Bilal (ra), who called the first adhan, die as a Muslim?

The Details of the Question

- It may be stupid to ask but I read a comment written by someone (maybe a Christian) in the YouTube comment section that when the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) died, Bilal left Madinah and went somewhere. Then he left Islam, accepted Christianity and died as a Christian.
- It may be a lie and nonsense, but I want to be sure. I do not know what happened to him after that. Did he die of natural death as a Muslim?
- Is there any indication that he left Islam and became a Christian, or is it a sheer lie?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Bilal (ra) died as a Muslim and was buried in a Muslim cemetery.

A grain of truth burns and destroys thousands of lies and slander. Here is just one of those truths:

Once, the Prophet (pbuh) said to him, “Tonight I heard your shoes clacking in front of me in heaven”, giving him the glad tidings that he was in heaven and asked for what deed he might have attained that degree. Bilal (ra) mentioned his custom of performing supererogatory (nafilah) prayers “as much as Allah preordained” after every wudu. (1)

In that case, Bilal al-Habashi (ra) is one of the Companions who were declared to be in heaven while he was still in the world.

In addition, many Tabi’un scholars also narrated hadiths from him. (2)

Bilal was a Companion who never left the Prophet (pbuh) from the moment he became a Muslim until his death, who had a modest life that, who fulfilled many duties during the period of the Prophet and who was mentioned a lot during the period of Abu Bakr (ra) and Umar (ra).

He asked permission from Abu Bakr to go to Syria by telling him that the Prophet (pbuh) said to him, “O Bilal! There is no deed more virtuous than jihad in the way of Allah” but remained in Madinah upon the insistence of the caliph. When Umar (ra) became the caliph, he left Madinah and participated in the conquest of many cities and regions in Syria.

When Bilal al-Habashi (ra) was in Damascus, he saw in his dream that the Prophet (pbuh) asked him, “Are you not going to visit me, Bilal?” Being affected by the words of the Prophet (pbuh), Bilal (ra) came to Medina, visited the Prophet (pbuh), showed respect to Rawda al-Mutahhara and wept thinking of the memory of those happy days. Umar greeted him by saying “O my sheikh! O my sheikh!” Upon Hasan and Husayn’s request to call the morning adhan, he recited adhan in Masjid an-Nabawi one day. (3)

After visiting the grave of the Prophet (pbuh) in Madinah, Bilal returned to Damascus.

Days passed and Bilal caught a severe illness. He could not leave home. He started to breathe hard. His wife did not leave him; she served him. When his wife saw that Bilal had difficulty in breathing, she said, “Bilal, how is your health today? Do you have a problem?” Bilal (ra) said, “Separation is near.”

Bilal understood that his death was near and he was happy that he would meet the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) because of his love for him. Bilal showed his joy that his death was approaching by saying “Watarabah” (Oh how sweet) and, “Tomorrow, I will meet my beloved ones, Muhammad (pbuh) and his friends.” (4)

Bilal al-Habashi (ra), died in Damascus or Dariya region during the caliphate of Umar (ra) in 20 H (AD 641). He was 63 years old when he died. He was buried in Bab as-Saghir in Damascus cemetery. (5)

References:

1) Bukhari, Tahajjud, 17; Muslim, Fadailus-Sahaba, 108.
2) Ibn Abdil-Barr, al-Istiab, I/180; adh-Dhahabi, Siyaru A’lamin-Nubala, I/347; Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib, I/502; Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba, I/182; Kattani, Hz. Peygamber’in Yönetiminde Sosyal Hayat ve Kurumlar, III/135.
3) Ibn Qutayba, Abu Muhammad Abdullah b. Muslim, Uyunul-Akhbar, Sharh: Mufid Muhammad, Beirut, nd., III/72; Ibnul-Athir, Usdul-Ghaba, I/245; Kattani, Hz. Peygamberin Yönetiminde Sosyal Hayat ve Kurumlar, I/157.
4) Ahmad Khalil Jum’a, Rijalun Mubashsharuna bil-Jannah, p.313; Nadwi-Ansari, Asr as-Saadah, II/132.
5) Ibn Sad, at-Tabaqat, VII/386, III/238; at-Tabari, Tarikhut-Tabari, IV/112; Ibn Asakir, Tarikhu Dimashq, III/304; adh-Dhahabi, Duwalul-Islam, Beirut, nd., p.8; adh-Dhahabi, al-Ibar fi Khabari Man Ghabar, Beirut, nd. I/18; adh-Dhahabi, al-Isharat Ila Wafayatil-A’yan (al-Muntaqa min Tarikhil-Islam), Thq: Ibrahim Salih, Beirut, 1991, p.18.

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