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Hajar, Abraham’s wife

Hajar, Abraham’s wife, The example of women who travel towards their Lord (al-Saa’ihat)

Hajar is the second wife of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and mother of Prophet Ismael (peace be upon them all).

At first, Hajar was a slave-girl, who worked in the house of Prophet Ibrahim and his wife, Sara.

Sara bore Ibrahim no children, and Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) decided to marry Hajar – by the suggestion of Sara – after Sara proved to be infertile.

After a while, Hajar gave birth to a blessed child, who was named Ismael.

Allah (S.W.T.) ordered Ibrahim to emigrate from Egypt to Mecca along with his second wife Hajar and their little son Ismael, and to leave them alone in that barren land.

After this event, Sara, too, became pregnant with a child, who was given the name of Isaac.

Going over the story of emigration of Ibrahim and Hajar, and seeing the endurance of Hajar during this journey, we find out a good evidence to prove that Hajar was really an outstanding example of Saa’ihat (those who travel toward their Lord).

When Ibrahim (a.s) arrived at the Holy Kaaba in Mecca, placed Hajar and Ismael there and left them alone – by the order of God – in that barren land just with a little amount of food and water, and returned to Egypt with a heart full of confidence and faith in Almighty God.

Hajar had fully trusted in her God; therefore, after return of Ibrahim she was submissive to her Lord’s will. Really it seemed too agonizing to stay at a strange, barren, hot, and desolate land, where hot winds blew and direct sunshine burned everything. Although some people came to Mecca to perform Hajj or to pray, nobody dwelled there due to the unbearable living conditions.

While leaving his wife and son in Mecca, Prophet Ibrahim prayed to Allah:

“O our Lord! Surely I have settled a part of my offspring in a valley unproductive of fruit near Your Sacred House; our Lord, in order that they may keep up prayer; therefore make the hearts of some people yearn towards them and provide them with fruits; maybe they may be grateful…” (The Holy Koran, Surah Ibrahim, Verse 37)

Hajar was obedient enough to the divine predestination. She endured the hard conditions until their food and water exhausted. Her little son was dying from thirsty in that hot desert; so Hajar started to search for water. Seeing a mirage at a distant, she ran seven times between the two mounts of Safa and Marwa with the hope of finding water to save her baby. She was so determined that did not choose to sit beside her child and wait for a divine miracle to save them; rather, her ‘decisive will’ made her to make efforts for this purpose.

In that hard moment, the heart of Hajar was focused on the divine mercy. She had no connection with the materialistic causes. She had pinned her hope in God and sought assistance from Him.

Suddenly, she noticed that a spring is bubbling under the feet of Ismael. Seeing that, she realized that Divine Grace was still with them and the Merciful Allah would never let them alone.

Tired of her running, she came near her baby and watered him.

Patience and sincere efforts of Hajar was so important that was selected by Almighty Allah as a big sign for the generations to come, and it was included in the ritual rites of all those Muslims who go to Mecca to perform Hajj throughout the history up to the end of the world. It is called Sa’ye (running) between Safa & Marwa. This is actually a meaningful and evocative act that commemorates the pure struggles of a faithful woman and the subsequent Divine Favor.

And the place, where water came to the surface, is now called Zam Zam Spring. The pilgrims of Kaaba are much eager to drink from its water and seek blessings from it.

Thus, Hajar was favored by Almighty Allah’s grace as she had pinned her hope in His mercy. She and her son were saved from a definite death, and their names were made eternal. When the Zam Zam spring appeared, the birds of that hot desert started to fly around it. Observing the flock of birds, a tribe named Jarham, who lived in the vicinity of Mecca, realized that there might be a source of water. So they traced the spring in that region, found it near Kaaba, and dwelled there. In this way, Hajar and her son were rescued from loneliness, and Ibrahim’s prayer was responded.

After a while Ibrahim (a.s.) came to visit Hajar and Ismael. Much pleased was he to observe so many people living there. Afterwards, Ibrahim came to visit them from time to time. Although Ismael was deprived of his father’s direct care in Mecca, he grew up under his mother’s training. Prophet Ibrahim was so confident of Hajar’s capabilities and merits that had entrusted the duty of training of this blessed child on her shoulders. It was predestined that the Holy Prophet of Islam (S.A.) be an offspring of Ismael.

Ibrahim knew well that Hajar was competent enough to have special care for her child’s education.

Ismael gradually prepared himself for another divine examination. He had reached the age of 13 when Almighty Allah ordered Ibrahim to sacrifice him despite of all hardships they had endured. Here, we can observe the outcome of Hajar’s lessons of patience, endurance, and faith.

The full story has been related in Surah Al-Saaffat (verses 102-111) in the Holy Koran:

“Then, when (Ismael) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he (Ibrahim) said: "O my son! I have seen in vision (in a dream) that I should sacrifice you; now see what is your view?"

“(The son) said: "O my father! Do as you are commanded; if Allah wills, you will find me of the patient ones…"

So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice), We called out to him "O Abraham! You have already fulfilled the vision!" - Thus indeed do we reward those who do right”.

“Most surely this was obviously a trial; and we ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice; and we left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times”

"Peace and salutation to Abraham!"

“Thus indeed do we reward those who do right; surely he was one of Our believing servants”

… And thus, Hajar - this devoted and obedient woman to Allah and His Holy Prophet – left behind a sainted child who later became the forefather of our Holy Prophet - Hazrat Muhammad (S.A) – who is a descendant of Prophet Ishamel.

After her demise, Hajar was buried besides the Holy Kaaba. The place - where her grave is located - is known as Hijr Ismael, i.e. ‘the breeding place and lap for Ismael, one of the divine messengers.

Hijr Ismael – where tombs of Hajar and Ismael are now located – is a piece of land that every Muslim who performs Hajj, is obliged to circumambulate around it. Circumambulating the Holy Kaaba without circumambulating Hijr Ismael would not be accepted and shall be void.

Hajar was a perfect paradigm of those who travel toward Almighty Allah.

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