Is the story of Bilal RA who dreamt of meeting the Prophet PBUH after he passed away true?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Reading on the life of the Companions is a praised and highly recommended act. This is because, they lived in the best of times as stated by the Prophet PBUH and during the times when revelation came to the Prophet PBUH. Therefore, we could follow and take lessons from their stories.
Based on the above question, here, we would like to cite some texts related to the story as mentioned in the books of the scholars:
The Text of the Story Where Bilal RA Dreamt of Meeting with the Prophet PBUH After He Passed Away:
ثم إن بلالا رأى في منامه النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو يقول له ما هذه الجفوة يا بلال أما ان لك أن تزورني يا بلال فانتبه حزينا وجلا خائفا فركب راحلته وقصد المدينة فأتى قبر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فجعل يبكي عنده ويمرغ وجهه عليه وأقبل الحسن والحسين فجعل يضمهما ويقبلهما فقالا له يا بلال نشتهي نسمع اذانك الذي كنت تؤذنه لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في السحر ففعل فعلا سطح المسجد فوقف موقفه الذي كان يقف فيه فلما أن قال (الله أكبر الله أكبر) ارتجت المدينة فلما أن قال (أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله) زاد تعاجيجها فلما أن قال (أشهد أن محمدا رسول الله) خرج العواتق من خدورهن فقالوا أبعث رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فما رئي يوم أكثر باكيا ولا باكية بعد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من ذلك اليوم"
“Then Bilal dreamt of meeting with the Prophet PBUH in his sleep. Then, he was reprimanded by the Prophet PBUH’s words: “O Bilal! How hard and dry your heart is. Have you not been missing me? It has been so long since you last visited me.” Bilal was awakened while he was in a state of sadness and fear. He quickly rode his horse to Medina and visit the Prophet PBUH’s grave. Then, he cried wiped his face at the grave. Then, al-Hasan and al-Husain came. Both hugged and kissed him while saying: “O Bilal! We miss your call of adhan as the time before where you call the adhan for the Prophet PBUH on suhoor (before Subh prayer time).” Bilal then fulfilled their request and called out the adhan from the roof of the same place he used to be when calling out the adhan (during the time of the Prophet PBUH). When hearing his voice saying “Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!”, the city of Medina is shaken by it. When he uttered the syahadah, the shake is getting stronger, that when he uttered “Asyhadu anna Muhammadar Rasulullah!”, the people of Medina went out of their houses while saying, “Is the Prophet sent again?”. Verily, there is no day of more tears from men and women in Medina after the passing away of the Prophet PBUH other than that day…” [See: Tarikh Dimashq, 7/137 and Usd al-Ghabah, 1/415]
This story is cited in a book Tarikh Dimashq by Ibn Asakir and Ibn al-Athir in Usd al-Ghabah. Here, we try to include several opinions of scholars in evaluating the status of this story, among them:
- Imam al-Hafiz ibn Abd al-Hadi (744h) views this narration or story as not sahih. Besides, this story is gharib (odd) and mungkar. In its sanad, there are majhul and broken narrators. [See: al-Sorim al-Munki, 237]
- Imam al-Hafiz al-Zahabi (748h) views this narration which tells on the narration of a day where people tear up the most among men and women in Medina after the passing of the Prophet PBUH when compared to other days (the return of Bilal to Medina) is a mungkar narration. [See: Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’, 1/358]
- Imam al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (852h) in his book states the story of the return of Bilal RA to Medina is clearly fabricated. [See: Lisan al-Mizan, 1/108]
- Imam al-Syaukani states that this story of Bilal RA is narrated by a group of the Prophet PBUH’s companions, among them is Bilal RA as mentioned by Ibn Asakir with a good sanad. [See: Nail al-Awthar, 5/114]
Referring to the above opinions of the scholars, we are inclined towards the opinion which states that the above narration or story is not sahih as the opinion held by Imam Ibn Abd al-Hadi, Imam al-Zahabi and Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani. Even though it is a non-sahih story, it does not deny the love and admiration Bilal RA has towards the Prophet PBUH. Besides, some scholars are being tasahul (do not put strict conditions) in accepting any narrations pertaining to this matter. In addition, Imam al-Zahabi cited another narration on the calling out of adhan by Bilal RA after the passing of the Prophet PBUH, which is:
- Narrated from Zaid bin Aslam, from his father, he said:
قَدِمْنَا الشَّامَ مَعَ عُمَرَ، فَأَذَّنَ بِلاَلٌ، فَذَكَرَ النَّاسُ النَّبِيَّ -صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ- فَلَمْ أَرَ يَوْماً أَكْثَرَ بَاكِياً مِنْهُ
“We came to Syam with Umar RA, then Bilal RA called out the adhan. Then, people (who were there) were reminded of the Prophet PBUH (upon hearing the adhan called out by Bilal RA). I never see other day where people tear up the most other than this.” [See: Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’, 1/357]
In conclusion, this story is not sahih as firmly stated by Imam al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani and there are scholars who view that it is sahih. Lastly, may Allah SWT shape our akhlak like the akhlak of the salaf soleh in loving the Prophet PBUH by placing Allah SWT and the Prophet PBUH above everything. Amin.