God blesses Abraham with a son to become a prophet
Only a woman named Sarah and a man named Lot believed in
God, and followed Abraham. He realized that nobody else would listen to him, and decided to emigrate for the cause of
God, and to spread His Message elsewhere. Before leaving, he tried once again to
convince his father to believe in the One God of all the creation, but to no avail.
Abraham said to his father and his people: "We are free of you and of whatever you worship besides
God. We have rejected you and there has arisen between us and you enmity and hatred forever unless you believe in
God and Him alone."
Abraham, Lot and Sarah started their long travel. They crossed Babylon, went through Syria and Palestine calling people to
God, helping the poor and doing good deeds. By that time Abraham married Sarah. Their hope was to have children who would spread the Message of
God after their death. As for Lot, he emigrated to the land of Sodom and settled there.
Time went by and no children were born to Sarah. She realized she was sterile. She accepted her fate and submitted to the will of
God. Abraham and Sarah moved to Egypt where the king gave Sarah a woman to be her servant. The woman's name was Hajar. Sarah was seeing
Abraham' s hair getting white, and it grieved her to see his chance of having any child slipping away. She offered Hajar her servant as a wife to her husband, and prayed
God to bless Hajar and Abraham with a child. And so came Ishmael, a baby boy born to Hajar. How unselfish Sarah was! For her, the need to have an offspring who would carry the Message after
Abraham was greater than her pride. Fourteen years later God rewarded Sarah with a
son, Ishaq in spite of her old age.
Young Ishmael and his mother alone in the desert of Makkah
Abraham woke up one day and asked Hajar to prepare herself and baby
Ishmael for a long travel. Abraham and Hajar kept walking, crossed a fertile land followed by barren mountains till they arrived at the Arabian desert.
Abraham took Hajar to a high hill called al-Marwa, made her and her baby sit under a tree, placed a bag of dates and some water near her, and set out homeward. Hajar ran after him and said: "Are you going to leave us in this desert where there is no one to keep us company?" She repeated this many times but he would not look back at her. She asked: "Has
God ordered you to do so?" He said yes. "Then He will not neglect us." She said.
Abraham walked away until he got out of their sight, he raised his hands and prayed
God: "O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley with no cultivation, by Your Sacred House, in order that they may offer prayers. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks."
Hajar went on nursing Ishmael and drinking from the water until it was all used up. She became very
desperate as the child was crying of thirst. She left him on the al-Marwa hill and hurried to the nearest hill, as-Safa. She stood there and started
searching the valley keenly in the hope that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She descended from as-Safa, crossed the valley running and reached
al-Marwa hill to see if she could find someone from there. But could see no one. She kept running between as-Safa and al-Marwa seven times. When she reached
al-Marwa the last time, she was exhausted, she sat next to the baby. Then she heard a voice. She stood up and said: "O whoever you might be! Have you got something to help me?' She saw an angel, Angel Jibreel, digging the earth until water flowed ! She built a little basin around it. She scooped water with her hands, drank, filled her water-skin, and nursed her baby. The place from which water flowed was Zamzam. Muslims till this day drink from the holy water of Zamzam, and during Hajj they walk between as-Safa and al-Marwa seven times to commemorate this event.
|Entrance to Zamzam near the
Kabah. Also called the well of Ishmael. Millions of pilgrims and local
people have been drinking water from this well since Angel Gabriel
opened it for Prophet Ishmael.
Some Arabs traveling through Makkah saw birds flying around
al-Marwa. "They must be flying around water." They said. When they arrived at the water, they found Hajar and asked her: "Would you allow us to stay with you, and use the water from your well?" She agreed and was pleased by their company. The people sent for their families, settled there and became permanent residents.
Gradually the whole valley became alive.
Ishmael grew up and later married a woman from amongst the Arabs.
Meanwhile, Abraham who had not seen his son since he was a baby, came back to Makkah to visit him. Upon arriving, he heard that Hajar had died, but
Ishmael was still living there. Abraham was yearning to see his son whom he loved and missed a lot. He saw
Ishmael under a tree near Zamzam, sharpening his arrows. When he saw his father,
Ishmael rose up, hugged him and greeted him. It was the happiest moment for both father and son. But
God wanted to put them to test, and it was a tough test indeed. During one night,
Abraham had a dream. He came to Ishmael and said: "O my son ! I have seen in a dream that I am
offering you as a sacrifice to
God, so what do you think?" They both realized that this was an order from God. Ishmael
said without hesitation: "Do what you are commanded, you shall find me very patient." They had both submitted to the will of God. Abraham laid his son prostrate, put his forehead on the ground and directed a sharp knife towards his neck. At this very moment,
God called him: "O Abraham! You have fulfilled the dream! Thus do We reward the good doers !" A
ram was sent down from heaven to be slaughtered instead of
Ishmael, which Abraham did, and they both had a big celebration that day. This event is celebrated every year by all Muslims. It is
Eid al-Adha where
Muslims remember the example of submitting to the will of God that was shown by Prophet
Abraham and Ishmael kept on calling people to worship
God. At that time there was no place built for the worship of God. Abraham wished there could be such a place where people would be in peace, and concentrate solely for the worship of
God. His wish was answered when God ordered him to build the Sacred House, the Ka'bah.
Abraham said to Ishmael: "O Ishmael, God has given me an order, will you help me execute it?" "Yes I will."
Ishmael said. "God has ordered me to build a house here." He said, pointing to a hillock higher than the land surrounding it. They went towards the place and started building the foundations of the Ka'bah
Ishmael brought the stones and Abraham built the walls, and when the walls became high,
Ishmael brought a large stone and put it in front of his father who stood over it and carried on building, while
Ishmael was handing him the stones. Both of them went on building and going around the Ka'bah, saying: "O our Lord accept this service from us." When they finished the building, Angel Jibreel descended from heaven and showed
Abraham the rituals of Hajj. Then Abraham stepped on the stone and called on people: "O people obey your Lord." This large stone which
Abraham stepped on is still there to this day near the Ka'bah. It is called Makam
This is the legacy of Abraham, the father of the prophets. From him descended
all the great prophets that included Jacob, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad .
Abraham devoted all his life calling others to the worship of The One Almighty
God. Alone he stood against his people, his father, and even the mighty king of Babylon, and never
wavered in his commitment to God.
And remember that Abraham was tried by
his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled: He said: "I will make
thee a leader to the Nations." ..[Quran