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Family of the Prophets in the Holy Quran – Part 13

Apr 20, 2022

Ibrahim AS`s son Ismael AS

We continue learning about the families of the Prophets AS.

Ibrahim AS and his wife Hajar RA had a son Ismael AS, and their story is very famous as many of the Hajj rituals are related to them.

Ibn Abbas RA narrated: “The first lady to use a girdle was the mother of Ismael. She used a girdle so that she might hide her tracks from Sarah by dragging it. Ibrahim brought her and her son Ismael, while she was suckling him, to a place near the Ka`ba under a tree on the spot of Zam-zam, at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Makkah, nor was there any water so he made them sit over there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates and a small water-skin containing some water and set out homeward. Ismael’s mother followed him saying: ‘O Ibrahim! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?’ She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her.

Then she asked him: ‘Has Allah ordered you to do so?’ He said: Yes.’ She said: ‘Then He will not neglect us,’ and returned while Ibrahim proceeded onwards. On reaching the Thaniya where they could not see him, he faced the Kaba, and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying the following prayers:

رَّبَّنَآ إِنِّىٓ أَسْكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِى بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِى زَرْعٍ عِندَ بَيْتِكَ ٱلْمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ فَٱجْعَلْ أَفْـِٔدَةً مِّنَ ٱلنَّاسِ تَهْوِىٓ إِلَيْهِمْ وَٱرْزُقْهُم مِّنَ ٱلثَّمَرَٰتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْكُرُونَ
Our Lord! I have settled some of my offspring in a barren valley, near Your Sacred House, our Lord, so that they may establish prayer. So make the hearts of ˹believing˺ people incline towards them and provide them with fruits, so perhaps they will be thankful. [Surah Ibrahim 14: 37]

Ibn Abbas RA’s narration continued: “Ismael’s mother went on suckling Ismael and drinking from the water (she had). When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (i.e. Ismael) tossing in agony. She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached the mountain of Marwa. There she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between Safa and Marwa) seven times.”

Nabi ﷺ said: ‘This is the source of the tradition of the Sa’y (one of the rituals of the hajj) the going of people between them (i.e. Safa and Marwa). When she reached Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said: ‘0, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?’ And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zam-zam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing) till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it.”

The Prophet ﷺ added: “May Allah bestow mercy on Ismael’s mother! Had she let the Zam-zam (flow without trying to control it or had she not scooped from that water to fill her water-skin), Zam-zam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth.”

The Prophet ﷺ continued: ‘Then she drank (water) and suckled her child. The angel said to her: ‘Don’t be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people.’ The House (i.e. Kaaba) at that time was on a high place resembling a hillock, and when torrents came, they flowed to its right and left.

“She lived in that way till some people from the tribe of Jurhum or a family from Jurhum passed by her and her child, as they were coming through the way of Kada’. They landed in the lower part of Makkah where they saw a bird that had the habit of flying around water and not leaving it. They said: ‘This bird must be flying around water, though we know that there is no water in this valley.’ They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water and returned to inform them of the water. So, they all came (towards the water). Ismael’s mother was sitting near the water. They asked her: ‘Do you allow us to stay with you?’ She replied: ‘Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water.’ They agreed to that. Ismael’s mother was pleased with the whole situation, as she used to love to enjoy the company of the people. So, they settled there, and later on they sent for their families, who came and settled with them so that some families became permanent residents there. The child (i.e. Ismael) grew up and learned Arabic from them and (his virtues) caused them to love and admire him as he grew up, and when he reached the age of puberty they made him marry a woman from amongst them.”

Lesson to Learn:
Today because of work and other reasons, many families are living apart. The family of Ibrahim AS was also split up, but this was not for any worldly benefit, rather it was the command of Allah that they be split up and thus they had the direct help of Allah with them.

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