Bilal was promoted to high rank
Stabroek News
January 4, 2002

Dear Editor,

With knowledge usually comes understanding and the fact that Mr. Accabre Nkofi has little or no knowledge about Islam is probably one of the reasons why he constantly tries to attack it. Take for example the fact that he constantly refers to the story of Bilal(ra)as proof that Muslims were cruel to slaves.

Bilal(ra) was an Ethiopian slave owned by the pagan Arabs in the very early days of Islam.The Muslims were small in number and were savagely persecuted and as such had to practice Islam in secret.He heard of the coming of The Prophet Muhhamad (owbp) and after hearing some of his teachings and verses of the Quran decided to accept Islam.

His pagan masters heard of his conversion and decided to make an example of him in order to prevent others from joining the faith as at that time less than fifty people had accepted Islam.They took him to the desert, made him lie on the hot sand and placed a large stone on his chest and told him to renounce Islam or die.His only reply was Ahad Ahad (The One God). They then took turns beating him and as one got tired another would take a turn but still Bilal(ra) would not renounce Islam.

Abu Bakar(ra) managed to borrow a large sum of money with which he was able to purchase the freedom of Bilal(ra).Bilal was then made the treasurer and the Muazzin (caller of the prayers) and became a close companion of the Holy Prophet(owbp).So under Islam a slave was elevated to such high rank.The annals of Islam are filled with many similar examples of many other African slaves who were not only given freedom but high rank, honour and respect under the banner of Islam.

Now one has to ask how can Mr. Nkofi possibly use the story of Bilal(ra)as an example of Muslim cruelty to African slaves.The answer is simple and proves the fact that he has neither knowledge nor understanding of Islam or the history of Islam.

Yours faithfully,

Nazil Baksh