Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) bought Hazrat Bilal (ra) and freed him for the sake of Allah. With regard to the purchase, as has previously been mentioned, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) paid 280 dirhams. According to some narrations, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) bought him for five auqiyah, i.e., 200 dirhams. According to some other narrations, he bought him for seven auqiyah, i.e., 280 dirhams and according to yet other narrations, for nine auqiyah, i.e., 360 dirhams.

(Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 1, Bilal bin Rabah [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2016] 415)

In one narration it is mentioned that when Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) bought Hazrat Bilal (ra), he was lying under a pile of rocks and Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) purchased him in exchange for five auqiyah of gold. Upon this, people said to Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) that they would have sold him even if he were willing to give only one auqiyah, i.e., 40 dirhams. In response to this, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) said, “Even if you would have been willing to sell him for a hundred auqiyah, i.e., 4,000 dirhams, I would have bought him for that price.”

(Shamsuddin adh-Dhahabi, Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala, Vol. 1, Bilal bin Rabah [Beirut, Lebanon: Mu’assisat al-Risalah, 2014] 353)

Hazrat Aisha (ra) relates that Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) freed seven such slaves, who were being oppressed. Hazrat Bilal (ra) and Hazrat Aamir bin Fuhaira (ra) were among them.

(Hakim al-Nishapuri, al-Mustadrak ala al-Sahihain, Vol. 3, Dhikr Bilal bin Rabah, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al- Ilmiyyah] 321)

Hazrat Jabir bin Abdullah (ra) relates that Hazrat Umar (ra) used to say, “Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) is our leader and he has freed our chief, i.e., Bilal.”

(Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada‘il Ashab al-Nabi (sa), Bab Manaqib Bilal bin Rabah Maula Abi Bakr, Hadith 3754)

Mentioning the punishment inflicted upon Hazrat Bilal (ra) and the incident of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) freeing him, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (ra) states:

“The slaves who accepted the Holy Prophet (sa) belonged to various nations. There were Abyssinians such as Bilal (ra) and Romans such as Suhaib (ra). There were Christians such as Jubair (ra) and Suhaib (ra) and idolaters such as Bilal (ra) and Ammar (ra).

“Bilal’s (ra) master would make him lie on burning sand and either place rocks on him, or have boys jump on his chest. Bilal (ra), who was of Abyssinian descent, was the slave of Umayyah bin Khalf, a Meccan chief. Umayyah would take him outside of Mecca at noon under the hot sun, make him lie down naked on the burning sand, place heavy rocks on his chest and say that ‘Accept the divinity of Lat and Uzza and renounce Muhammad (sa)!’ In reply, Bilal (ra) would say, ‘Ahad, Ahad’ that is, ‘God is One, God is One.’ Repeatedly hearing this response enraged Umayyah even further. He would tie a rope around Bilal’s (ra) neck, hand him over to deviant individuals and tell them to drag him across the stones in the streets of Mecca. As a result of this, his body would be covered in blood, but he carried on saying, ‘Ahad, Ahad’ that is, ‘God is One, God is One.’ After a while, when God the Exalted granted the Muslims peace in Medina and they were able to worship freely, the Holy Prophet (sa) appointed Bilal (ra) to call the Azan [call for prayer]. When this Abyssinian slave would say as-hadu an la ilaha illallahu instead of ash-hadu an la ilaha illallahu [I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah] during the Azan, the people of Medina, who were not aware of his circumstances, would start laughing.

“Once, when the Holy Prophet (sa) saw the people of Medina laughing at Hazrat Bilal’s (ra) Azan, he turned to them and said, ‘You laugh while Bilal (ra) calls the Azan but God hears his Azan in the heavens and is pleased.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) was indicating towards the fact that all they saw was that Bilal (ra) was unable to pronounce the [Arabic letter] sheen, but what value is there in a mere sheen or [Arabic letter] seen. God Almighty knows that when he was made to lay on burning sand with his bare back, and those treacherous people would stomp on his chest with their shoes and would ask whether or not he had learned his lesson, he would respond in his broken [Arabic] language and announce his continued belief in the Unity of God Almighty by saying ‘Ahad! Ahad!’ [God is One, God is one], thus proving his dedication, his belief in the Unity of God and his resoluteness of heart. Thus, his ‘as-hadu’ was of much greater value than the ‘ash-hadu’ of many people.

“When Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) saw how cruelly Hazrat Bilal (ra) was being treated, he paid his master and freed him. Similarly, there were many slaves whom Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) freed through his wealth.”

(Dibacha Tafsir-ul-Quran, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 20, pp. 193-194)

When the disbelievers of Mecca imposed a boycott on the Muslims and they were besieged in the Valley of Abu Talib. Hazrat Sa‘d bin Abi Waqas (ra) was among the Muslims that suffered these hardships. Mentioning this incident in Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra) writes:

“To read about the difficulties and hardships that these detainees were compelled to bear makes the body tremble. Companions of the Holy Prophet (sa) narrate that sometimes, like animals, they survived by eating the leaves of wild trees. Sa‘d bin Abi Waqas (ra) states that once, during the night, his foot fell upon something that seemed to be moist and soft (perhaps it was the piece of a date). At that time, he was in such a state of hunger that he immediately picked it up and swallowed it. He states, ‘Until this day, I do not know what that thing was.’ On another occasion, due to extreme hunger, when he found a dry piece of skin on the ground, he took it, softened it and cleaned it with water, cooked it and ate it. He spent three days in this state of divine hospitality.”

(Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra), pp. 166-167)

Hazrat Sa‘d (ra) bin Abi Waqas narrates, “I saw Hazrat Mus‘ab (ra) bin Umair in the time when he was affluent as well as after becoming a Muslim. He endured so many hardships for the sake of Islam that I saw that his skin would deteriorate and come off just as a snake would shed its skin.”

*(al-Sirat al-Nabawiyyah li Ibn Ishaq, p. 230, Man udhiba fillah min al-mu’mineen, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2004) *

They established such standards of sacrifice that one is left astounded.

Once, Hazrat Mus‘ab (ra) bin Umair came to the Holy Prophet (sa) while he was sitting amongst some of his Companions (ra). On that occasion, the clothes of Hazrat Mus‘ab (ra) were patched with pieces of leather. There was a time when he used to wear clothes of the highest quality, but then after becoming a Muslim, the state of his clothes was such that they would be patched together using pieces of leather.

Witnessing the change in Hazrat Mus‘ab’s (ra) condition, the companions lowered their heads as they were unable to help him. Hazrat Mus‘ab (ra) stepped forward and offered his Salam [Islamic greeting of peace]. The Holy Prophet (sa) replied to him and praised him in a most excellent manner. Following this, the Holy Prophet (sa) said:

“All praise belongs to Allah! May worldly people be granted from this world. I have seen Mus‘ab at a time when there was no one more affluent and wealthy in the city of Mecca than him. He was the dearest child of his parents. However, the love of God and His Messenger (sa) has brought him to this state today and he left all of that behind for the sake of God and His pleasure.”

(al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Sa‘d, Vol. 3, p. 86, Mus‘ab (ra) bin Umair, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1990)

Hazrat Sa‘d (ra) bin Abi Waqas relates that the Holy Prophet (sa) looked at Hazrat Mus‘ab (ra) bin Umair and remembering his previous state of affluence, began to cry. The Holy Prophet (sa) remembered his previous condition and the sacrifices he was now making.

Hazrat Ali (ra) relates:

“We were sitting in the mosque in the company of the Holy Prophet (sa) when Hazrat Mus‘ab (ra) bin Umair arrived. He was wearing a cloak patched with pieces of leather. When the Holy Prophet (sa) saw him, he remembered his previous state of affluence and saw the state that he was in now and began to cry. Following this, the Holy Prophet (sa) said, ‘What will your condition be when one of you will wake up in the morning in one set of clothes and wear another set of clothes at night?’”

That is, they would become so affluent that they would be able to change the clothes they would wear in the morning to a different set of clothes at night. “Following this, the Holy Prophet (sa) said, ‘One plate of food will be placed before you and another will be taken away’”, that is, there would be various courses of meals and various dishes will be served, similar to the custom today. “‘You will cover your homes in clothes similar to how the Ka‘bah is covered,’” i.e. very expensive clothes will be used. This is precisely what is witnessed today and this affluence was granted to the Muslims later on. “The companions (ra) said, ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah! Will we be much better off at that time in comparison to today and subsequently have more time for worship?’”

The companions (ra) asked that in such affluent circumstances, would they have more time to worship as they would be spared from arduous and laborious work. “Upon this, the Holy Prophet (sa) replied, ‘This is not the case, rather you are better off today as compared to that time.’”

(Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Abwab Sffatul Qiyamah, Hadith 2476)

In other words, their condition, level of worship and standards would be much loftier than those who would come after them owing to their wealth and affluence.

When Hazrat Zubair (ra) accepted Islam, his paternal uncle would wrap him in a mat and fill it with smoke so that he would renounce Islam and return to disbelief. However, he used to say that he would never return to disbelief.

(Al-Isabah Fi Tamyeez al-Sahabah, Vol. 2, p. 457, Zubair bin al-Awwam (ra), Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1995)

Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) has narrated this incident in relation to Hazrat Zubair (ra) in the following manner:

“Zubair bin al-Awwam (ra) , was a very brave youth, who proved to be a great Muslim general during the Islamic conquests. His paternal uncle also tortured him greatly. He would wrap him up in a mat and fill it with smoke from underneath in order to suffocate him. He would then say, ‘Will you now leave Islam or not?’ However, he would tolerate this torture and reply, ‘After having found the truth, I cannot deny it.’”

(Dibacha Tafsir-ul-Quran, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 20, pp. 196-197)

In his book Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin [The Life & Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa)] Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra) writes about the difficulties endured by Hazrat Bilal (ra) in the following manner:

“Bilal bin Rabah (ra) was the Abyssinian slave of Umayyah bin Khalf. In the scorching heat of the afternoon, when the rocky ground of Mecca burned like a furnace, Umayyah would take him out and strip him of his clothes. He would lie him down then place very large burning rocks on his chest and say, ‘Worship Lat and Uzza, and abandon Muhammad, or I shall punish you to death.’ Bilal (ra) knew little Arabic. He would only respond saying: ‘Ahad, Ahad’, meaning, ‘Allah is one, Allah is one.’ This response would further infuriate Umayyah and he would tie a rope around his neck and hand him over to the miscreants of Mecca who would drag him throughout the stony streets of Mecca until his body would become drenched in blood. But no word except ‘Ahad, Ahad’ would come to his tongue. When Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) saw the persecution of this slave, he purchased him for a hefty price and set him free.”

(Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra), p. 140)

In one of his books, Chashma-e-Ma‘rifat, the Promised Messiah (as) has quoted some extracts from the biography of the Holy Prophet (sa), written by a Hindu, Parkash Devji. The Promised Messiah (as) advised his Jamaat to buy this book and read it as it was written by a non-Muslim.

(Chashma-e-Ma‘rifat, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 23, p. 255)

Following this, the Promised Messiah (as) said that he was going to include some of the passages of the Brahamu Sahib to give an overview of the book. The Promised Messiah (as) wrote [quoting from the book of Parkash Devji], “The Holy Prophet (sa) endured the cruelties that were inflicted upon him however he could, but it was unbearable for him to see his companions suffering.”

The Holy Prophet (sa) was able to endure the cruelties that were inflicted upon him. However, the sufferings of his companions caused him great pain and “…he would become restless. Severe cruelties were inflicted upon these poor believers. They would capture these poor people, take them into the jungle, take off their clothes, lay them down on the burning sand and place rocks on their chests. Their tongues would hang from out of their mouths as a result of the suffering in the burning heat and being subdued by the weight. Many lost their lives due to this torture. One person among these victims was Ammar, who demonstrated great courage and patience in the face of these cruelties. In fact, one should say Hazrat Ammar.”

The Promised Messiah (as) further states, “He was tied, laid down on the rugged floor, rocks were placed on his chest and he was instructed to insult the Holy Prophet (sa). They treated his elderly father in the same manner and his poor wife, whose name was Sumaiyyah, was unable to bear this torture. She uttered a humble prayer as a result of which the clothes of this innocent and faithful lady, whose husband and son were tortured before her eyes, were removed and she was tortured in an utmost shameless manner, that even to describe it one feels ashamed. In the end, this faithful lady suffered severely as a result of this torture and passed away.”

(Swanih Umri Hazrat Muhammad, quoted in Chashma-e-Ma‘rifat, Ruhani Khazai, Vol.23, p. 258).

This is the passage quoted by the Promised Messiah (as) from the book of this Hindu as an overview of the book he penned about the life of the Holy Prophet (sa) and his Companions.

Whilst speaking about Hazrat Ali (ra), on one occasion Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) writes:

“The Promised Messiah (as) has stated, ‘I saw another dream on 7 December 1892 that I had become Hazrat Ali, may Allah bestow him with honour; meaning that in my dream, I felt as if I was Hazrat Ali (ra). It is one of the wonders of a dream that sometimes a person feels that he is someone else and in that way, I felt at the time that I was Ali Murtaza and the situation was that a group of Khawarij was opposing my Khilafat, that is to say, they wished to obstruct my becoming Khalifa and were creating mischief for that purpose. Then I saw the Holy Prophet, on whom be the peace and blessings of Allah, close to me and he said with kindness and affection:

يَا‭ ‬عَلِيُّ‭! ‬دَعْهُمْ‭ ‬وَ‭ ‬اَنْصَارَهُمْ‭ ‬وَزِرَاعَتَهُمْ ‬‬‬‬‬ “That is, ‘O Ali! Stay away from them, their helpers, and their harvest. Leave them and turn away from them.’

“I found that the Holy Prophet (sa) advised me to be steadfast in the midst of that trial and to refrain from getting involved with those people. He told me that I was in the right, but that it would be better not to address them.’”

(Barakat-e-Khilafat, Anwar al-‘Ulum, Vol. 2, p. 176)

Whilst mentioning about the Companions (ra), Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) stated, “God Almighty enabled some members of the most noble of the households of Mecca to serve [Islam]. Likewise, many from among the poor also rendered extraordinary services for Islam. Hence, you can see that Hazrat Ali (ra), Hazrat Hamza (ra), Hazrat Umar (ra) and Hazrat Usman (ra) were from among the most noble of households. On the other hand, Hazrat Zaid (ra), Bilal (ra), Samrah (ra), Khubab (ra), Sohaib (ra), Aamir (ra), Ammar (ra) and Abu Fukaihah (ra) were considered to be from more humble backgrounds. In other words, people from noble households as well as less renowned households were chosen to become the servants of the Holy Quran.”

(Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 8, p. 176)

At another occasion, he stated, “Hazrat Sumaiyyah (ra) was a bondwoman. Abu Jahl used to persecute her severely so that she may abandon her faith. However, when her firm faith in Islam remained unshaken and he was unable to deter her from her faith, Abu Jahl one day became enraged and pierced her in her groin region as a result of which she was martyred. Hazart Ammar (ra), son of Sumaiyyah (ra), also used to be placed on hot sand and persecuted severely.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 6, p. 443)

Urwah bin Zubair narrates and it is recorded in history, “Hazrat Ammar bin Yasir (ra) was among those weak people of Mecca, who used to be persecuted so that they may revert from their faith.”

Muhammad bin Umar states that those weak and helpless individuals who have been mentioned in the Holy Quran were those who had no other family in Mecca and neither anyone to protect them and they did not possess any power. The Quraish would severely persecute them in the intense scorching heat in the middle of the day, so that they may abandon their faith.

(At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 187, Ammar bin Yasir, Dar-ul-Ihya At-turath Al-Arabi, 1990, Beirut)

Similarly, Umar bin Al-Hakam says, “Such cruelties were inflicted upon Hazrat Ammar bin Yasir (ra), Hazrat Sohaib (ra) and Hazrat Abu Fuqaiha (ra) that they were coerced to utter such words, which they did not believe to be true.” However, the enemies tortured them and compelled them to utter such words.

(At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 188, Ammar bin Yasir, Dar-ul-Ihya At-turath Al-Arabi, 1990, Beirut)

Similarly, in the narrations we find that Muhammad bin Ka‘b Qurazi relates, “A person told me that he saw Hazrat Ammar bin Yasir (ra) wearing a single garment, similar to the form of trousers. He said that he saw bruises and scars on Ammar’s back. He asked him what those were. Upon this, Hazrat Ammar (ra) said, ‘These are the signs of the torture of the Quraish of Mecca, which they would inflict upon me under the scorching sun at the middle of the day.’”

Amr bin Maimoon narrates that the idolaters burnt Hazrat Ammar (ra) with fire. When the Holy Prophet (sa) passed by Hazrat Ammar (ra), he put his hand on his head and said:

يٰنَارُ كُوْنِيْ بَرْدًا وَّ سَلٰمًا عَليٰٓ عَمَّار كَمَا كُنْتِ عَليٰٓ اِبْرَاهِيْم

That is, “O fire! Be cold and become a means of safety for Ammar as you were for Abraham!”

(At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 188, Ammar bin Yasir, Dar-ul-Ihya At-turath Al-Arabi, 1990, Beirut)

Then, we find in a narration that Hazrat Usman (ra) bin Affan relates, “The Holy Prophet (sa) and I were passing through the valley of Mecca. The Holy Prophet (sa) was holding my hand. We reached Abu Ammar (ra), Ammar (ra) and his mother while they were being tortured. Hazrat Yasir (ra) enquired, ‘Will we always be treated in this manner?’ The Holy Prophet (sa) said to Hazrat Yasir (ra), ‘Be patient!’ He also offered the prayer, ‘O Allah! Forgive Yasir and his family. And indeed You have done so.’”

(At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 188, Ammar bin Yasir, Dar-ul-Ihya At-turath Al-Arabi, 1990, Beirut)

In other words, God Almighty had informed the Holy Prophet (sa) that they had been forgiven as a result of the difficult and severe circumstances they were enduring.

In another narration we find that the Holy Prophet (sa) passed by the family of Ammar (ra) while they were being persecuted. The Holy Prophet (sa) said, “O family of Ammar! Rejoice, as you have most certainly been promised paradise.”

(At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 188, Ammar bin Yasir, Dar-ul-Ihya At-turath Al-Arabi, 1990, Beirut)

In another narration the same incident is mentioned but it states that the Holy Prophet (sa) passed by the family of Yasir.

(Al-Isti‘ab, Vol. 4, p. 1589, Yasir bin Ammar, Darul Jaleel, Beirut)

Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud (ra) relates, “In the very beginning, there were seven people who professed their belief in Islam; the Holy Prophet (sa), Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), Hazrat Ammar (ra) and his mother Hazrat Sumaiyyah (ra), Hazrat Sohaib (ra), Hazrat Bilal (ra) and Hazrat Miqdad (ra). God Almighty had made provisions for the protection of the Holy Prophet (sa) through his paternal uncle, Abu Talib, and Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) was afforded protection through his tribe.”

It is possible that the numbers mentioned in the traditions are incorrect as it has previously been mentioned that thirty people had already entered the fold of Islam at the time Hazrat Ammar (ra) became a Muslim. Nevertheless, he relates that these were the [seven] people who were at the forefront, and thus were inflicted with many cruelties.

He further relates, “Hazrat Abu Bakr was protected through his tribe. Whilst the others were captured by the idolaters. They would shackle them in steel chains and leave them burning under the sun. They were coerced into following the demands of the idolaters with the exception of Bilal. Bilal had devoted himself for the sake of God. He used to be tortured due to his background. The people of Quraish would hand him over to the children, who would then drag him through the streets of Mecca. However, he would continuously utter the words Ahad, Ahad [Allah is One, Allah is One].”

(Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 2, p. 76, Abdullah bin Masud, Hadith 3832, Aalam-ul-Kutub, Beirut, 1998)

The idolaters would torture Hazrat Ammar (ra) by sinking his head into water. They would immerse his head into water and beat him as well as inflicting other forms of torture. This is a similar kind of torture that is inflicted even today to one’s enemy or by certain governments to those who are under accusation of committing a crime. However, Hazrat Ammar (ra) was tortured far greater. In another narration we find that the Holy Prophet (sa) met Hazrat Ammar (ra), who was crying at the time.

The Holy Prophet (sa) wiped away the tears from the eyes of Hazrat Ammar (ra) and said, “The disbelievers captured you and used to sink your head in water, as a result of which you uttered such and such words to them. If they ask you again, you should utter the same words to them.”

(At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 188, Ammar bin Yasir, Dar Ihya At-turath Al-Arabi, 1990, Beirut)

The details of this can be found in Seerat Khatam-un-Nabiyeen [The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets]. In accordance with the narrations, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra) states, “Ammar (ra), his father Yasir (ra) and mother Sumaiyyah (ra), were severely tortured by Bani Makhzum, to whom Sumaiyyah was once enslaved. The accounts of this torture are truly harrowing. On one occasion, when these devotees of Islam were being victimised by physical torment, the Holy Prophet (sa) happened to also walk by. The Holy Prophet (sa) looked towards them and compassionately said:

صَبْرًا اٰلَ يَاسِر فَاِنَّ مَوْعِدَ كُمُ الْجَنَّة

‘Be steadfast, O family of Yasir! For Allah has prepared paradise for you in recompense for these very hardships.’