Many prophets have lived among human beings especially in ancient times. One of them is Ismail whose father was Ibrahim and his mother was Hajar. One day, Ibrahim was ordered by Allah to take his baby son and wife to the place where Ka’ba is currently located. After taking them to the site, he gave them some dates and water on a goat’s skin and abandoned them.
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As he walked away, his wife followed him and demanded to know why they were being left in the dry and vacated valley. She asked persistently but Ibrahim could not answer. The prolonged silence made Hajar wonder if Allah had commanded him and Ibrahim responded that it was actually so. Upon receiving the response, she could not challenge Allah’s will and went back to the desolate place where they had been left.
Once Ibrahim was no longer visible to them, he turned and said a prayer invoking Allah’s protection for his family and also that He may provide for his family which he had abandoned in the wilderness. He used the following words:
“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in the valley without cultivation, by The Sacred House; In order, O our Lord, that they may establish regular prayer; So fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with fruits; So that they may give thanks.” (Al-Qur’an 14:37).
The water in the goat skin and the date enabled Ismail and his mother to live comfortably for some time. However, the water started to give out making Hajar to produce no more milk to nurse her little baby. The thirst and hunger made the baby disturbed and was almost dying.
Since the mother could not wait to see her son die of hunger and thirst, she ran to the top of the nearby Mt. Safa to find out if there was any kind of help. Unfortunately, she could not see anyone and she descended the mountain and went straight across the valley over to the nearby Mt. Marwa. She ran seven times from one mountain to another with no success. Fortunately, after the seventh round, she heard a voice and she immediately called out for assistance.
She was surprised when she saw an angel excavating the earth and eventually water streamed forth. The location was known as Zam-Zam. Ismail’s mother carefully made a hole around where the water was flowing, and within no time, she had filled her water-bag using her hands. Ismail’s mother was able to drink the water and thus breast fed her son comfortably. The angel assured her of protection during their stay in the wilderness.
Both were able to live peacefully at Ka’ba on their own for some time. It was on a very dry season and the Jurhum people were on their way looking for water.
They passed the deserted place where Hajar and her baby lived. They had no intention of stopping by since they knew that there had never been water in that particular valley. However, they were concerned when they saw a bird which had been known to frequent wet places. On following the bird, they were led to the Zam-Zam spring. On arriving, they found Hajar seated beside the water.
Due to Hajar’s sociable character, she allowed the Jurhum people to stop there for some time since they had requested. This, however, was on condition that they did not claim that they possessed the spring of water. After a while, some of the Jurhum people opted to remain there permanently and had to send for their families to come over.
Zam-Zam area became a livable place and Ismail grew among the new people. He mastered Arabic from them and could speak fluently. On attaining the maturity age, Ismail was urged by the Jurhum tribe to marry one of their daughters. They lived a happy life thereafter.
Ahmed under Prophets, Qur’an (2010). ‘Prophet Ismail and his mother,’ Retrieved from: <http://haqislam.org/prophet-ismail/>.