Our name “Bilal” is originated from the historic perspective of Bilal Ibnu Rabah (Ra). Bilal was a black slave, almost certainly the son of slaves, and is believed to have been from Abyssinia (now know as Ethiopia). Being born into servitude, he probably never expected life to offer him more than hard work, pain and drudgery. However, Bilal walked the earth at a very momentous time. He was a slave in the city of Mecca when an unlettered man began to call the people to worship one God. This man was Muhammad, the Messenger of God, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, and his message was for all of humanity.
At the time of Prophet Muhammed slavery was a worldwide, entrenched institution. The law of Islam sought to emancipate slaves; God mentions in the Quran the expiation for many sins is to free a slave, and it is regarded as an act of piety.
Bilal Ibnu Rabah’s acceptance of Islam is a powerful story, involving slavery, conversion, torture, and rescue. It touches on aspects of racism, is a lesson in pluralism, and teaches us that piety is the only way to measure of a person’s worth. Bilal’s story is also the story of the adhaan, or call to prayer. In the history of Islam, Bilal was first “muaddhin” or the caller to prayers.
Since Bilal (RA) reveals our roots in Islamic history and his good deeds reflect our mission, we are very proud to name our center as “Bilal Community Center” after this noble man’s name.
Bilal community has a diverse Ethiopian and East African community representatives. Diversity is something highly valued in Islam, which means peaceful willing submission to God and it is driven from the word salaam (peace). God mentions “ O ‘mankind’ we created you from a single name and female and made you into nations and tribes that you may get to know one another” (Qura’n chapter 49, verse 13). And also, the prophet Muhammed said “ All man kind is from Adam and Eve an Arab has no superiority over non-Arab, also a White has no superiority over Black, nor a Black has any superiority over white….” Therefore, we are open and would like to invite everyone who is interested to learn about Islam.
Bilal Community Center is a non-profit, non-political, non-sectarian, and religious and membership based organization, which is incorporated with the accordance of the Internal Revenue Code of 501(c)(3). The organization is managed by elected Board of Directors. Its main purpose is to foster harmony, strengthen relationships between religious and cultures among Ethiopians, Ethiopian-American Communities, and also to enrich other communities as a whole through various outreach programs.