Hajar (RA) was a pious lady, a great mother to Prophet Ismail (RA), and a loyal wife to the Prophet Ibrahim (RA). She was Prophet Ibrahim’s second wife after Sarah (RA). Hajar (RA) was the daughter of a King who was gifted away to the father of all prophets, Prophet Ibrahim (RA). She served Sarah (RA) who soon out of generosity asked Prophet Ibrahim (RA) to marry Hajar (RA), in the hope of an heir. Ibrahim (RA) had been childless for many years until Hajar (RA) had Ismail (RA), who added a lot of joy to their lives. Hajar (RA) was an honourable, wise and brave woman and although she isn’t mentioned in the Qur’an by name, she is referenced through the story of her husband and the sacrifice they made for the sake of Allah (SWT).
Modesty Through Optimism
Soon after the birth of their son, Prophet Ibrahim (RA) was commanded by Allah (SWT) to take both Hajar (RA) and baby Ismail (RA) to a sun-blazing abandoned desert with no people around, no food and no water. As her husband turned his back on her and their baby, she calls out to him asking where he was going. Prophet Ibrahim (RA) gave no response and continued to walk because if he would look back, his heart would soften and he might have disobeyed Allah (SWT).
However, Hajar (RA) was a wise and faithful woman, she then asked her husband if his abandonment was a commandment from Allah (SWT). Here it is praiseworthy that Hajar (RA) did not accuse or yell at her husband, rather she chose to see the good in him and believed that he must be doing this for a reason. When Prophet Ibrahim (RA) said yes and continued to walk away, Hajar (RA) replied, “then he will not neglect us!” (Al Bukhari).
Through this, she displays her faith and trust in Allah (SWT). She remained optimistic about her situation regardless of her deprived condition. She did not chase after Ibrahim (RA) in anger or fear, rather she thought positive of Allah (SWT) and believed that he would take care of them. Even the worst of situations could not shake Hajar (RA)’s trust in Allah (SWT) and her optimism despite being all alone in the scorching heat, having no provisions and a baby to take care of is greatly commendable.
Modesty Through Sabr (Patience)
One theme that is consistent in Hajar (RA)’s trials, is patience. From the time she was left alone in the desert to running up and down searching for food and water, not once did Hajar (RA) give up nor challenge the will of Allah (SWT). Hajar (RA) ran up and down the hills of Safa and Marwa in the heat. She ran seven times in total before she saw an angel digging up the ground with his heels till water started to flow from that place. To preserve the water, she quickly started to build a basin-like shape around the stream with sand. This way she was able to scoop water with her hands. That stream of water, which fed both Hajar (RA) and Ismail (RA), is now called Zamzam. The well of Zamzam stands as a reminder of Allah (SWT)’s miracles. It reminds us that Allah (SWT) loves us more than we think, he does not abandon his people but all we have to do is trust in him and his plans for us.
Hajar (RA)’s story is one of hope, self-determination, patience, optimism and honour. She remained steadfast and resilient through the trials Allah (SWT) sent down on her and her family. Not for a minute did Hajar (RA) doubt that Allah (SWT)’s help was out of reach. Her strength and faith were eventually rewarded by Allah (SWT). He honoured her by incorporating her struggle into Hajj, the yearly pilgrimage performed by Muslims. He made it mandatory for all those performing Hajj to run between the hills of Safa & Marwa to re-enact the actions and struggles that Hajar (RA) took to save her dying son. Additionally, Hajar (RA) laid the foundation of a new city by allowing a tribe that was passing by to drink the water and settle there, the same place she was abandoned with her son. This city would soon become the holiest site in Islam where even the proudest of people would come to bow their heads, repent and sincerely pray. This city would be called Makkah and would house the first home of Allah (SWT), The Kaaba, which would be built by the husband and son of Hajar (RA). Hajar (RA) and her sacrifice continue to be honoured by hundreds of thousands of people.