Anecdotes from the Life of the Prophet Muhammad

by Mumtaz Ahmad Faruqui

Faith and Persecution

As was foretold by Warqa, the preaching of the message of Islam to the idolaters of Mecca raised a storm of opposition, and this led to the persecution of the few followers of the Prophet Muhammad. A story is told of how Bilal, a black slave who had accepted the new faith, was laid upon hot sand at noon-time by his cruel, infidel master. That master then placed a large stone upon Bilal’s chest; in his agony Bilal only exclaimed:

“One God, one God…,”

and he would not recant. Hazrat Abu Bakr, the close Companion of the Prophet, and who had the distinction of being the first among the men to have accepted the new faith, saw the persecution of Bilal. He took pity on him and bought Bilal from his infidel master, and then set him free. Bilal, on gaining his freedom, attached himself to the Holy Prophet. Later on, due to his possession of a loud and melodious voice, he was appointed by the Holy Prophet to recite the call to prayer, five times a day. To such heights of piety and goodness did Bilal reach, that the proudest of Arabs would bow their heads before him. Some of the other Muslim converts, both men and women, were not so fortunate, and were tortured to death. Yet more and more embraced the new faith, some doing so secretly, and others openly.

Muhammad once went to Taif, a town near Mecca, in the hope that the inhabitants would listen to his message patiently. Instead, those people mercilessly showered the Holy Prophet with stones. With blood flowing from the numerous wounds inflicted upon his body, Muhammad retraced his steps, all the while praying to Allah in these words:

“Guide them in the right path for they know not what they do.”1



  1. Jesus Christ, on being persecuted, had prayed: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”