Bismillahir rahmanir raheem
The story of Hajar as is another gripping story and unfortunately the last in my Women of the Qur’an and the Bible series. It’s a story of tawaakul (trust in allah swt), pain, suffering and vindication. It’s the story of a woman who’s rituals are performed by every Muslim and we don’t even stop to think about their origins. It’s easy to pick up a book and read about Hajj and it’s actions but I urge you to read the stories behind it and you’ll enlighten yourself inshaAllah.
So, let’s begin with her story in the Bible.
Hagar was the maidservant of Sarah, Ibrahim’s (as) wife. Sarah was barren (unable to have children) so she gifted Hagar to Ibrahim in the hopes that they could have a child through her. Ibrahim (as) slept with Hagar and she conceived. When Sarah found out Hagar was pregnant she said to Ibrahim (as):
You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me. Genesis 16:5
To which Ibrahim replied, “Your slave is in your hands,” … “Do with her whatever you think best.” Hagar was so upset with the way Sarah mistreated her she ran away. An angel then found Hagar at a well and told her to return to her mistress and submit to her and her descendants would be increased to such a number that they would be too numerous to count. He also informed her that she was pregnant with a son and that she should call him Ishmael.
Now, did Hagar already know she was pregnant when she ran away and somehow Sarah knew first or did she find out when the angel told her? Allahu Alim, but it seems an interesting series of events.
Animosity continued to grow between the two women, mostly coming from Sarah in the Biblical version, until she finally commands Ibrahim (as) to send Hagar and Ishmael away due to him “mocking” and a strong desire to not have him inherit from his father. At this point in the story, Ishmael has been weaned. Ibrahim (as) was distressed but God eased his pain by telling him to listen to Sarah. So early the next morning, Ibrahim (as) took some food and water, gave it to Hagar and sent her away to wander the desert.
When the water ran out, Hagar laid Ishmael under a tree as she could not watch him die of hunger. An angel then came to her again and gave her glad tidings and revealed to her a well from which she gave her son some water.
There are some similarities between what we find in the Bible and what is in the Qur’an but there are, as with the other stories, some significant differences. So let’s reflect.
A great lesson we can take from the story of Hajar (as) is that of patience and trust. Ibrahim (as) trusted Allah when he was commanded to take his son and wife into the desert and leave them there with food and water. Yes, Hajar was the wife of Ibrahim (as) and not simply a maidservant in our Noble Qur’an.
Unlike the Biblical version, Ibrahim (as) doesn’t just pack them up and send them off into the desert alone. He travelled with them. He also had enough patience to know that Allah swt would provide for them by making this dua:
O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House (Ka’bah at Makkah) in order, O our Lord that they may offer prayer perfectly. So fill some hearts among people with love towards them, and O Allah provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks. Ibrahim 14:37
Ibrahim didn’t drop his wife and child off in the desert based on the jealous winings of his first wife subhanAllah. It was a command from Allah swt that he was obligated to follow. Had Ibrahim (as) not followed the command of Allah swt who knows if there would be Zam Zam and the Hajj as we know it! Had Hajar (as) not been resourceful, there may not have been Zamzam for her, her child… or us.
In the Bible, Issac (Ishaq) was born before Ishmael but in the Qur’an Ismail was born before Ishaq. There are greater debates to go into on this point with plenty of literature out there on the subject. For our purposes, I’ll just point it out so you can do your own research concerning the subject but I’ll say one thing, as Muslims, we believe the Qur’an is the last and final testament to mankind given to us by Allah swt through the angel Jibril (as) to his most beloved and trustworthy Prophet Rasulullah (saw). So as a Muslim, there can only be one stance on this subject inshaAllah.
One of the striking differences between the 2 stories is the appearence of Safa and Marwa. They simply don’t appear in the Biblical story. Hajar (as) ran between the two mountains seven times before she heard a voice speak to her and saw an angel digging into the Earth with either his heel or his wing revealing the spring of Zam Zam.
The Muslim’s ability to get up and do something, anything, to better themselves is something we see throughout our Islamic tradition. Hajar (as) knew there was no one else around in that part of the desert but that didn’t stop her from trying. Ultimately, the results are in Allah’s hands but we are still under an obligation to TRY.
Rasulullah saw said:
May Allah bestow mercy on Ismail’s mother! Had she let the Zamzam flow without trying to control it, or had she not scooped from that water to fill her water skin, Zamzam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the Earth.
As well as the importance of patience and trust, the main message I would like us all to benefit from bi’ithnillah ta’aala is how Allah swt rewards patience. The reward of your actions have always, and will always be with Allah swt. Ibrahim (as) was patient throughout his childless days with Sarah and his command from Allah swt to leave his son and wife in the desert and he was rewarded with 2 sons. Hajar (as) was blessed with the blessed spring of Zamzam and (if only she knew it) the honour of being remembered in the greatest pilgrimage a Muslim can embark on in their lives – Hajj. Even if she had known, her tawwakul was so pure, her actions would have been the same.
JazakumAllahu kahyrun to everyone who has liked, commented and shared the Women in the Qur’an and the Bible posts. Anything correct I have said is from the grace and mercy of Allah swt and anything incorrect is from myself and Shaytaan and may Allah swt forgive me and may He swt increase us all in our knowledge and tawwakul. Ameen.