There is a common misconception that Bilal ibn Rabah (RA) was the only Black Companion of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Because of this historical inaccuracy, many people are unaware of the existence of the numerous Black Companions, their contributions to the enrichment and proliferation of Islam, and their relationship with Prophet ﷺ.
Today, more than ever, it is crucial that we dispel these misconceptions using sound scholarly references. As millions globally rise against systemic oppression and discrimination, we must acknowledge the Black lives devoted to the service of God and His Messenger ﷺ and who paved the way for Muslims to this very day.
The Book Project
CelebrateMercy and the Bilal Spiritual Center recently offered a free, online course: Black Lives Around the Messengerﷺ. The 7-part series taught stories and lessons of the Prophet Muhammad’s Black Companions, drawing from Imam Al-Suyuti’s classical book entitled “Elevating the Importance of the Blacks.” 4,000 students learned about the many noble Black Companions and Islamic history from an entirely new perspective, thanks to the dynamic teaching of course instructor, Shaykh Adeyinka Mendes.
Below is a 2-minute trailer about the course that Shaykh Mendes taught. You can also view the first session of the course here on YouTube.
Although thousands attended this class, students had no book to reference since the text has never been translated from Arabic to English. For this reason, CelebrateMercy has launched a project to make Imam al-Suyuti’s book available - in various English versions - to millions of adults and children worldwide. Through books that highlight the many Black lives around the Messenger ﷺ, we can strengthen our faith and heal racial divides within our Muslim communities.
We would love for Imam Suyuti’s book to be accessible to millions of adults and children in an accurate and high-quality format for English speakers. The original Arabic text is about 100 pages long, and is at least twice as large with added footnotes / commentary.
By supporting this project, you will ensure that the beautiful stories of the Black lives around the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ are shared with millions for generations to come. Because this is a project that will provide beneficial knowledge for many decades to come, your donations would definitely count as a sadaqa jariya - a perpetual good deed that will continue to reward you until the Day of Judgment. Not only is this a sadaqa jariya, but it is a sincere effort to heal racial divides in our communities and beyond through the Islamic tradition.
Over 4,000 people registered in under a week when the Black Lives Around the Messenger ﷺ course was launched, showing an overwhelming eagerness among the global Muslim community (and many non-Muslims) to learn and produce meaningful change through the legacy of Prophet ﷺ . In light of the current socio-political climate, contributing to this project will help to do precisely that.
This project is a labor of love. We aim to release the first phase (English translation) in time for Black History Month in February 2021, with each subsequent phase to be released by February of the following years. In total, the Black Lives Around the Messenger ﷺ project is scheduled to be completed before 2023 (approx. 2.5 years).
The Book: 'Elevating the Importance of the Blacks (رفع شأن الحبشان) by Imam al-Suyuti
If Black lives mattered to God such that he revealed verses about them in the Qur’an, there should be no ambivalence among our communities about valuing Black lives. Imam al-Suyuti delivers this message clearly through his insightful text, which includes the names and unique qualities of the multiple Black Companions of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the Qur’anic verses regarding them, a commentary on the value of the land of Abyssinia itself (where many of the Black Companions originated from), and much more.
About the Author: Imam Jalaludin al-Suyuti is hailed as a leading authority in Islamic Law and is widely considered to be a reviver of Islam in the 10th Islamic century. He is one of the foremost hadith masters, encyclopaedist, historian, biographer, and a prolific writer of highly influential Islamic texts. To this day, enormous numbers of his essays, treatises, and other writings are preserved.
Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes
|Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes will help oversee this project insha-Allah; Read his detailed bio here.|
|Donors will receive one or more gifts; click here to see the full list of gifts.|