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Leaving his Family Behind – Part 4

The faith and Imaan of Ibrahim AS was always in continuous trial. The fruits of marriage are children. Allah gave several unbelievers during Prophet Ibrahim AS’s lifetime children but denied the one that was closest to Him in his entire generation, children. Allah eventually answered his prayers at old age by giving him not only children but generations among whom prophets have emerged. Allah tests His beloved by demanding patience and perseverance from them by testing their faiths with what they desire most.

So how did this test play out?
Ibrahim AS got married to Sarah – one of the very few people who accepted his message of Tawheed, hoping to have children who would help to spread the message of Allah, but as time passed, it became apparent that Sarah couldn’t get pregnant. The couple relocated to Egypt, where Sarah was given a female servant named Hajar.

Sarah was saddened to see her husband’s hair growing white. She couldn’t bear to watch him age without fathering any children, so she offered Hajar as a second wife to her husband. After praying to Allah, Ibrahim AS and Hajar were blessed with a baby boy whom they named Ismail.

Allah instructed the Prophet Ibrahim AS to prepare Hajar and baby Ismail for a long journey.

And the complete story was mentioned in a long hadith related by Ibn Abbas from the Prophet (ﷺ):
قَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ أَوَّلَ مَا اتَّخَذَ النِّسَاءُ الْمِنْطَقَ مِنْ قِبَلِ أُمِّ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، اتَّخَذَتْ مِنْطَقًا لَتُعَفِّيَ أَثَرَهَا عَلَى سَارَةَ، ثُمَّ جَاءَ بِهَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ، وَبِابْنِهَا إِسْمَاعِيلَ وَهْىَ تُرْضِعُهُ حَتَّى وَضَعَهُمَا عِنْدَ الْبَيْتِ عِنْدَ دَوْحَةٍ، فَوْقَ زَمْزَمَ فِي أَعْلَى الْمَسْجِدِ، وَلَيْسَ بِمَكَّةَ يَوْمَئِذٍ أَحَدٌ، وَلَيْسَ بِهَا مَاءٌ، فَوَضَعَهُمَا هُنَالِكَ، وَوَضَعَ عِنْدَهُمَا جِرَابًا فِيهِ تَمْرٌ وَسِقَاءً فِيهِ مَاءٌ، ثُمَّ قَفَّى إِبْرَاهِيمُ مُنْطَلِقًا فَتَبِعَتْهُ أُمُّ إِسْمَاعِيلَ فَقَالَتْ يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ أَيْنَ تَذْهَبُ وَتَتْرُكُنَا بِهَذَا الْوَادِي الَّذِي لَيْسَ فِيهِ إِنْسٌ وَلاَ شَىْءٌ فَقَالَتْ لَهُ ذَلِكَ مِرَارًا، وَجَعَلَ لاَ يَلْتَفِتُ إِلَيْهَا فَقَالَتْ لَهُ آللَّهُ الَّذِي أَمَرَكَ بِهَذَا قَالَ نَعَمْ‏.‏ قَالَتْ إِذًا لاَ يُضَيِّعُنَا‏.‏ ثُمَّ رَجَعَتْ، فَانْطَلَقَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ حَتَّى إِذَا كَانَ عِنْدَ الثَّنِيَّةِ حَيْثُ لاَ يَرَوْنَهُ اسْتَقْبَلَ بِوَجْهِهِ الْبَيْتَ، ثُمَّ دَعَا بِهَؤُلاَءِ الْكَلِمَاتِ وَرَفَعَ يَدَيْهِ، فَقَالَ ‏{‏رَبَّنَا إِنِّي أَسْكَنْتُ مِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ‏}‏ حَتَّى بَلَغَ ‏{‏يَشْكُرُونَ‏}‏‏.
Ibrahim (ﷺ) brought his wife and her son Isma’il (ﷺ), while she was nursing him, to a place near the Ka’bah under a tree on the spot of Zamzam, at the highest place in the mosque. In those days, there was no human being in Makkah, nor was there any water. So he made them sit there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward. Isma’il’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 commanded you to do so?” He said: “Yes.” She said: “Then He will not neglect us.” She returned while Ibrahim proceeded onwards. Having reached the Thaniyya, where they could not see him, he faced Ka’bah, raised his both hands and supplicated:

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 an uncultivated valley near Your sacred House, our Lord, that they may establish prayer. So make hearts among the people incline toward them and provide for them from the fruits that they might be grateful. [Ibrahim 14: 37]

Picture this situation, which most if not all of us have passed through. Imagine that you have a son or daughter who has been accepted to study in a school or university in another country and you are now preparing them to travel there. What would you do?

You would strive your utmost to avail factors ensuring his comfort, reassurance and safety. Perhaps you may even take a trip beforehand to gauge the general situation of that place and choose the best neighbourhoods in terms of living conditions, services, security, safety, transportation and health care. Next, imagine the moment when you would say goodbye to him, return to your job, and leave him there to make his way and build his future. Compare your feelings and emotions at the moment of separation with the feelings of Ibrahim AS during the same moment in spite of the great differences in the two situations. One situation is marked by convenience, comfort and abundance while the other by hardship, scarcity and drought. In one situation there is safety and security while the other is marked by fear and apprehension. In one situation there is a future and life and in the other is loss and uncertainty. So that you can feel the degree of the heart-breaking pain that Ibrahim AS felt when he left his wife and infant son in this place only seeking the pleasure of Allah and in complete submission to His command.

In the end Allah alleviated their difficulty and sent for them Zam Zam water, which millions have benefitted from.

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