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Scholars who write about Prophet Muhammed (SAW) usually do not start with his birth; they go a little before that – a few thousand years. They would start with his ancestry starting with Ibrahim (A). The emphasis is usually on the Hajar and Ismail (A) side of the story rather than Sarah and Ishak (A);  because that’s where the lineage of Rasoolullah (SAW) picks up from Ibrahim (A). They would start with incident of Ibrahim (A), Hajar and Ismail (A) travelling to Hijaz – the place where the present day Mecca is.

At that time there was nothing in Hijaz. No one lived there, no cultivation, just a dead valley. But the place of Allah (SWT) was sacred since the world was created. In fact, there is a difference of opinion who actually built Kaaba. Some scholars believe that it was Adam (A) who built it first while majority of them believe it was Ibrahim (A). Regardless of who built it, whether there was a building or not, the place itself was holy and sacred from day one.

Ibrahim (A), arrived at the valley with his wife Hajar and son Ismail (A). The spot is where the Zam Zam of today is located; obviously it wasn’t there at that time. Ibrahim left his wife and son at that spot and walked away. He just turned and left.

Hajar knew that he was going to leave them there, but she didn’t expect to be left in such a place in the middle of the desert with nothing around. So she followed him and asked, “Ibrahim, are you gonna leave us in a place where there is no cultivation and no one living?” Ibrahim (A) did not reply. She asked him again the second and third time and there was still no response.

She then asked, “Did Allah told you to do so?”

He replied, “Yes”

“Then Allah will take care of us”, replied Hajar.

Her faith in Allah was so strong that she was confident that Allah (SWT) will take care of them in the middle of nowhere.

Ibrahim (A) left them and reached a place where they could no more see him. He turned around and faced the place of al-Kaaba and made dua to Allah (SWT).

He prayed, “O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka’bah at Makkah) in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat). So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks” (14:37)

A beautiful prayer which comprehends everything required to sustain life in this world. It includes everything that is in Moslow’s hierarchy of needs, but is inverted. According to Moslow, a man first needs physiological need, then safety, love and belonging, esteem and finally self-actualization.

But according to Ibrahim (A), it’s the other way round. He didn’t first ask for shelter, food and drink; it was establishing prayer (as-Salat) that he asked for first. And then he asked Allah to draw people to his family through love and belonging. Finally he asked for fruits for them so that they may be grateful to Him. Look at the connection he made with all these requests and ibadah.

True self-actualization happens when Allah (SWT) becomes everything for you – when you are eating, drinking, sleeping.

After the making the dua, Ibrahim (A) left.

Zam Zam

Hajar made use of the small amount of food left with them; but obviously after a short while they ran out of it. Hajar was breast feeding Ismail (A) and her milk was drying up. Ismail (A) started  crying due to thirst and hunger. Hajar could not afford seeing her son agonizing in pain. She set out looking for help and started climbing a hill was later known as as-Safa. She reached the top of the hill to see no one in the horizon. She would then climb down the hill to the valley. When she reaches the valley, she would tuck up her clothes and run to climb another hill which was later known as al-Marwa. She would up and down between these hills for seven times while her son is twisting and turning in pain.

The seventh time when she reached the top of the hill, she heard a sound. She started staring around to check where that sound is coming from. To her amazement, she saw the sound was coming from beneath feet of Ismail (A). Jibreel (A) descended and dug the well of Zam Zam beneath the feet of Ismail (A). It was the sound of water from Zam Zam.

Hajar rushed in happiness to the source of the water. Because it’s a dry desert and it would soak up all of the water, she started making a pool around the water to contain it. Rasoolullah (SAW), while narrating the story, smiled and said “May Allah have mercy on the mother of Ismail. If she would have left the water alone, it would have been a flowing river.”

Let’s reflect upon this moment. What must have been the feelings of Hajar while she was running up and down these hills. Her heart must have been broken; she must have been crying because of the pain and suffering of seeing her son dying in front of her eyes. She was a believing woman, a righteous woman and Allah (SWT) was testing her; He was hiding from her something of the future. Imagine Hajar is resurrected and had a chance to see what Muslims from all over the world are doing today at the time of Hajj.

Rasoolullah (SAW), while he was mentioning the story of Hajar going up and down as-Safa and al-Marwa, said “and that is why we go between Safa and Marwa”. So we are following the footsteps of Hajar. If Hajar knew that a time will come when people would come from all corners of the world to follow her footsteps in millions to do what she did, she would have gone though this, between Safa and Marwa, with a big smile of her face. This is a gift from Allah (SWT) for Hajar in duniya.

This is a lesson to us, Muslims, too. As a believer, when we go through some trials and tribulations, let’s remember Hajar went through the same and Allah provided her with something better; something Allah (SWT) was hiding from her. So let’s have patience and be successful in such trials and tribulations.
Moosa (A), when he was with his family, got lost in her desert on the way to Egypt. It was a cold windy night and they did not know which direction to go. He saw a fire in the distance and told his wide “I will go to that fire and bring you light and guidance”. He approached the fire expecting people around it. Allah (SWT) was hiding something better for him. Allah tells us the story in Qur’an.

When Moosa (A) went near the fire, he met Allah (SWT) and spoke to Him.  Rather than Moosa (A) going back with light for the dark night, he returned with light for humanity and guidance not just for Egypt but to Jannah. He went there and that was the announcement of his Prophethood. It was done right then and there. Allah told him “I am Allah, there is no God besides Me. Worship me and establish prayer in My Name”. Moosa wanted something, but he got something better.

The Sahabah (R) went through lot of difficulties, however Allah (SWT) reserver them the top levels of Jannah.
Settling in Mecca

In the desert, whenever there is a source of water, it would immediately track forms of life. So now bird were beginning to hover the Zam Zam well. The tribe called Jurhum, who were nomads, were in that particular area during that time. Jurhum was a tribe that moved out of Yemen.

Yemen is the birth place of the Arab people and the Arabic language. That’s where Arabs immigrated from. There were many mass or waves of immigration that happened from Yemen in different times. One of the waves was when the dam of Yemen was destroyed.

There is a chapter called Saba in Holy Qur’an, which is the name of that kingdom. Allah tells us the story that these were people who built the first dam in the. Even though, there wasn’t much rain in Arabia and precipitation level is low, they had year round of source of water.

They had this massive network of irrigation that went for hundreds of miles. There was a huge population living in this semi arid are because of the existence of water. Stories goes, which may be exaggerated, that a woman would go out for a walk with a basket on her head and would come back with the basket of full of fruits.

It does say in the Qur’an that because of their wealth and cultivation that they had, they didn’t feel any pain and suffering of travelling like the rest of the world because it was a continuous series of colonies. Wherever they would go, there would be villages and towns. These people, because of their arrogance and disbelieve in Allah, they said, “we want to feel the pain of travelling like everyone else” and they asked Allah to make it difficult for them. Allah granted their wish by destroying the dam and flooding the area. All the agriculture collapsed.  And so, there was a huge wave of immigration which spread the Arab people out of Yemen into Najd, Hijaz, Madina, Iraq, Syria, Oman and Sham.

Jurhum was one of the tribe that immigrated to before or after the collapse of the dam. They went into Hijaz and are familiar with the area of Mecca. They knew there was no water in that area. So when they saw the hovering birds in the area, they wondered what was going on. One or two people went to investigate and returned to report that there is a well.

Jurhum went to the place where Zam Zam is located and asked Hajar a strange question to get a stranger reply. They asked Hajar, “Can we settle in this place?” Imagine a tribe of warriors asking permission from a lonely woman with a child to settle. If they wanted, they could push her away. But they were kind enough to ask her permission to stay there.

Hajar reply was amazing. She said “Well I have a condition. The water belongs to us”. Here you have a woman who is alone with no power and no strength, no weapons and no army, to help; and she is bargaining and negotiating with Jurhum. Rasoolullah (SAW) says, “Deep in her heart, she wanted them to stay right from the beginning.”
Ismail (A) grew up with them and adopted their language which was Arabic (language of Ibrahim was Aramaic ). He married a woman from among them. This is beginning of lineage of Rasoolullah (SAW) through Ismail (A) in Mecca.

Ismail (A) grew up with them and adopted their language which was Arabic (language of Ibrahim was Aramaic ). He married a woman from among them. This is beginning of lineage of Rasoolullah (SAW) through Ismail (A) in Mecca.

4 Responses to Seerah – 1 – Ibrahim, Hajar & Ismail

  • salih says:

    As salamo alaykom. JazzakAllahu khajren jazzak. Please can you tell me what is the source of this seerah. I am asking becouse I am translating the same seerah to mine (Bosnian) language, and I translate from english lectures, which are sometimes hard to recognize (some parts) so your texts are like a miracle to me. Now I have the words (especially the names of tribes, people etc.) May Allah swt reward you with good in dunya and akhireth.
    As salamo alaykom.

  • Aboobacker Sidheek says:

    wa alaikum salam wa rahmathullahi wa barakathu. Dear brother Salih, the primary source of is “Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah” and “Tafsir Ibn Kathir” by Ismai’il bin Kathir ad-Dimashqi. We also use “Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum” by Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri. May Allah (SWT) bless your efforts in the Bosnian translation and reward you in here and in the hereafter.

  • salih says:

    Ameen, my dear brother

  • salih says:

    As salamo alaykom, again. I heard that the book Al Bidayah wan-Nihayah is translated to english. I would be very greatfull if You or somebody can tell me is there any way form me to rich that books. I mean is there some donating organisation, or if it is in the bookstores, how much it cost etc. I’m greatfull for any information and help.
    As salamo alaykom wa rahmetullah.

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