Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Philadelphia
Bilal Abdus Salam
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ
Inalilahay wa ina alaihay rajyoon
Yesterday, in the afternoon of September 13th, a gem of Ahmadiyyat passed away. A Mufti Muhammad Sadiq Awardee, a beloved elder, and an icon of Ahamadiyyat were just some of the many known attributes of Bilal Abdus Salam of the Philadelphia Jamaat. At the age of 83, Salam Sahib lived a long and fruitful life, by the grace of God.
Born as Earnest Moorhead in 1934 in the state of Florida, Salam Sahib's parents both passed when he was six years old. He was raised by his oldest sister, to who he owed his religious training. When he was eight years old, he was sent to a boarding school where he had to learn books of the Bible.
At 14, Salam Sahib ran away from home, working odd jobs from New Jersey to New England. He soon began learning about horses and worked at a racetrack until 1950, where he then joined the US Army. After 14 long months of fighting in the Korean War, Salam Sahib ended his service allowing him to return home from Japan in 1953.
Soon after, Salam Sahib began studying religion and became a minister of the Gospel in 1957. As he gained more insight into the Bible, he became more confused, as he did not agree with Jesus being the son of God.
Searching for the truth, Salam Sahib discovered Islam in 1960 after meeting a Sunni army friend. Impressed with the fundamentals of Islam, Salam Sahib noticed that his army friend's Quran was published by the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. His friend told him they were not Muslims, but they made good books. Salam Sahib found the Ahmadi bookstore and quickly accepted Ahmadiyyat. He said, "I felt as though a heavy burden was lifted from me. My soul felt very light and my heart was full of joy. I have found the truth."
Salam Sahib visited Rabwah in 1974, where he met the 3rd Khalifa. Salam Sahib said that this was his most spiritual experience. Here he also met Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (rh). In 1975 Salam Sahib visited Qadian and slept in the room where the Promised Messiah (as) was born.
In 1997 Salam Sahib dedicated his life to the Jamaat. He served as the Vice President of the Philadelphia Jamaat from 1983 to 1998, after which he served as the missionary for Baltimore.
"Surely, to Allah we belong and to him we shall return."