Hazrat Ismail (as) – Part 1

After the birth of Hazrat Ismail (as), God desired to test his father by means of a difficult trial. Allah said: “Ibrahim! Take the child and his mother to the bleak and barren desert of Arabia and leave them there.” The child had been born after great longing and prayer. Abandoning him in such desolate place would surely mean his painful death. Hazrat Hajra (as) had been brought up in a palace surrounded by riches. To abandon her in the isolated wilderness would also mean to condemn her to death within days.

 

Hazrat Ibrahim (as) knew these dangers, but his devotion to God was stronger than his love for his wife and son.  With minimal water and a few dates, Hazrat Ibrahim (as) left them in this land. He put his complete trust in God and prayed:

‘Our Lord, I have settled some of my children in an uncultivable valley near Thy Sacred House — our Lord — that they may observe Prayer. So make men’s hearts incline towards them and provide them with fruits, that they may be thankful. (Surah Ibrahim verse 38)

‘Our Lord, certainly, Thou knowest what we conceal and what we make known. And nothing whatsoever is hidden from Allah, whether in the earth or in the heaven. (Surah Ibrahim verse 39)

Hazrat Hajra (as) followed with her innocent child clasped to her bosom. When this small group arrived in the desolate valley where the city of Makkah is situated today, Hazrat  Ibrahim (as) stopped. He placed the small leather bag of water upon the ground and handed over the bag of dates to his wife. When Hazrat Hajra saw him leave, she ran after him and asked him: “Are you leaving us here?”. He did not answer. Then she asked him again saying: “Are you leaving us here by the command of God?”. Hazrat Ibrahim (as) was unable to speak and just pointed towards the sky. She understood this and said: “Then God will not waste us”, and returned to the baby.

 

After the departure of her husband, Hazrat Hajra (as) began to wonder how she would survive with a little child in a place like that. There was no tree visible, nor any other form of shelter. She had no means of protecting her son from the heat of the blazing sun. She had to put Hazrat Ismail (as), on the stony ground.

 

When the water in the small leather bag ran out, the little child became agitated due to thirst. The mother’s heart was torn to pieces and she looked around in desperation for water. In her state of anxiety, she climbed the hill in front of her, hoping to perhaps find a spring of water, but it was useless. She came down and climbed another hill opposite the first one to look for water but here too, she met with failure. Then she thought to herself that maybe the child had passed away and ran down the hill to check on him. The child was still alive but had grown weaker. She thought to herself: Let me climb the hill one more time- maybe I’ll find some sign of water. She climbed the hill a second time and looked far and wide but did not find any water.  Heartbroken, she came down and ran up the second hill one more time. In this way she made seven circuits of the two hills, which are named Safa and Marwah. She would come back each time to check on her precious child and then climb the hill yet again in great anxiety.

 

Certain incidents seem ordinary at first, but they often have a magnificent impact later on. The running of Hazrat Hajra (as) for instance between the two hills became an unparalleled event in history. To this day, when Muslims gather in Makkah for the observance of Hajj, they run between the hills of Safa and Marwah in memory of this incident.

 

Later in history, our Holy Master (sa) climbed these historical mountains and made the first proclamation of prophethood.

 

When Hazrat Hajra (as) returned for the seventh time, she saw that the ground was moist at the place where the child was striking his heels.  She moved forward quickly and began to scrape the earth. Her joy knew no bounds when water began coming out. As she continued dig deeper, the flow of water increased until it began flowing freely. The disappointed mother’s heart began to burst with joy! Quickly, she lifted the child and gave him a drink by taking the water in the palm of her hand. The child was thus revived, and he opened his eyes. Hazrat Hajra (as) was overjoyed upon seeing this and immediately fell down into prostration before God who, with His divine power, had caused a spring to come out of the rocky land. The water was still flowing and increasing in its quantity. Seeing this, she quickly collected stones and formed a raised boundary around the spring to save the water.

 

The water soon reached up to the edge of the stones and a sort of reservoir basin was formed. There was always a shortage of water in Arabia. Various tribes used to wander this way and that, carrying their camps with them. They would settle down wherever they found water and when the water dried out, they would move on in search of another spring. Soon, a tribe called Jurhum passed through this area. They were surprised to see a woman and a child living alone in that desolate valley. They asked Hazrat Hajra (as): “Who are you and where have you come from?”. On hearing her story they said to her that: “If you allow us, we will settle down in the area around the spring. In this way we’ll get water and you will not have to live alone.

 

Hazrat Hajra (as)was amazed at the miraculous plan of God. She told the tribe that they could settle next to the spring. In exchange for water she asked them to take care of food supplies for herself and her child. She also asked them to accept her son as their chief when he grew up.

 

The people of the tribe accepted both these conditions and settled there. this is how the foundation of Makkah was laid, the city where The Holy Prophet (saw) was born. It is the religious centre of all Muslims today. Millions of Muslims travel to Makka every year to perform Hajj. The spring still exists in the form of a well. It is known as Zam Zam.

 

At that time there was no sign of life and no means of sustenance at that place. However God had so designed that this place should become the scene of the activities of God’s last message for mankind. Hazrat Hajra (as) and Hazrat Ismail (as) were chosen as the vehicles for the implementation of this divine plan.

 

Reference:

https://www.alislam.org/holyprophet/Our-Beloved-Master.pdf – A difficult trial

A Man and His Sons

Once there was a man who had five sons. Instead of living together peacefully and calmly, they were constantly bickering and fighting. Their father was fed up with their constant arguments, so he decided to teach them a lesson. He gathered five sticks, that were all the same size and tied them all together. Smiling smugly to himself, he called his sons. After the usual pushing and shoving, they finally stood in front of their father. “I would like you to take this bundle of sticks and break it for me.”He said The eldest brother smirked and grumbled, “I can do that easily!” He tried and he tried but he couldn’t break the sticks. The others scoffed at him and laughed. “Let me have a go.” said the second brother. Again he tried and tried, broke out into a sweat but he couldn’t break the bundle of sticks either. One by one all the brothers tried to break the sticks, but they all failed. “It’s impossible!” They cried “I’ll show you how it’s done!” said the father. He untied the sticks and gave each brother one stick each. “Now try.” He said Each of the brothers broke the sticks easily, they looked at each other in confusion. What was their father trying to tell them? Finally, he said “Let this be a lesson to you. When the sticks were tied together they were strong and unbreakable, but on their own, they were easy to break. So do you see, if you are united you are strong, on your own you are weak United we stand, divided we fall.”

The Fox and the Stork

The Fox and the Stork became very good friends. One day, the Fox decided to invite the Stork for dinner. The fox prepared a delicious soup, but, as a joke, presented the soup in a very shallow dish. When the stork arrived, the fox happily lapped and licked up the soup, but the stork could not do anything except wet the very end of her beak in the soup, without tasting one drop. She left the dinner hungry, and the fox apologised that the stork had not liked the soup. The Stork waved away the fox’s apology, and in return, offered to cook dinner for the Fox the following day. So, the next day, the Stork awaited Fox’s arrival and when he arrived, he found a table laid with two very long-necked flasks which held the meal. The stork easily dipped her beak into the food and ate hungrily, but the Fox could not fit his snout through the flask neck. The Fox left the dinner as hungry as when he arrived and had learned his lesson: One bad deed warrants another.

The Goose and the Farmer

A farmer lived with his family and had one goose, which he would collect eggs from each morning. One day, he bent over to pick up an egg, when he realised that it was hard, heavy and a glittering yellow. He almost threw it away, but instead went to show his wife. When they looked at the egg more closely, they realised that it was made of pure gold! The next day, the farmer and his wife waited feverishly for the next morning’s egg. Sure enough, the same thing occurred and the farmer soon became rich from selling his golden eggs. Every day, the farmer collected the golden egg from his goose and sold it as quickly as he could. The farmer soon became very greedy, and he was not happy with only one egg per day, so he decided to get all the eggs at once. He took the goose, killed it and opened it up to find the other eggs – however, he was dismayed to find nothing inside the goose. The greedy farmer lost his wealth, and he came to realise that his greed had over-reached itself, and he had suffered for his foolishness.

The Wind and the Sun

The wind and the sun began to argue over who was the most powerful when they saw a young traveller pass by beneath them. The sun then set the challenge that whoever caused the traveller to take off his coat would be seen as the strongest. The wind agreed and blew the most ferocious winds in the direction of the man. But no matter how hard the wind blew, the traveller kept his coat clutched around him tighter. The wind finally gave up, and so the sun came out behind the clouds and shone, basking the traveller in gentle sunlight. The man quickly grew too warm to keep his coat on, and took it off, much to the sun’s pleasure. From then on, the wind understood that kindness is more effective than severity.

The Rooster and the Pearl

An old rooster was pecking around his home for food when he spotted something shining in the grass. Excitedly, he went to go and claim it as his own. It was a single, smooth pearl, which had probably been lost on the farm long ago. He wondered how valuable the pearl would be to his farmer, and said: “You might be very precious to men, but I would rather have a single kernel of corn than a whole basket of pearls.” He discarded the pearl to continue looking for food, as ‘precious’ things are only precious to those who can prize them.

The Peacock and the Crane

Once there was a peacock who was extremely proud and vain. He boasted to everyone about his beautiful feathers, saying ‘ Look at my colourful feathers, look at how beautiful look, when I open them… I must be the most beautiful bird in the world!’

The other birds began to get very annoyed with the peacocks constant boasting. ‘He needs to be taught a lesson !’ They all crowed. ‘I have an idea’ said a crane. ‘Leave it to me…’ The next morning the crane walked past the peacock, who was busy preening and showing off her feathers. ‘Look at you.’ she squawked to the crane, ‘You are so plain and dull, you must so wish to be beautiful like me!’

The crane was ready with her reply and smiled, ‘I may be plain and dull, but I can lift myself up into the air and fly and swoop gracefully amongst the clouds. You, on the other hand, may have beautiful feathers, but they are of no use to you. They are not strong enough to lift you up into the sky like me!’

The peacock dropped her feathers and looked very embarrassed, she realised that if someone lacks one thing, they are always given another gift to compensate for what they do not have.

The Lion and the Mouse

One day, the great lion, king of the jungle was having his daily afternoon nap. No one dared disturb him, as he became extremely grumpy if he didn’t get his sleep. On this occasion, a poor, little mouse accidentally ran over his face and woke him up. The lion was enraged. He grabbed the mouse with his paw and roared, “How dare you wake me up, I will kill you for your insolence!”

“Please don’t kill me!” squeaked the mouse, trembling with fear. “ I beg you to let me go, I promise that one day I will help you in some way.” “YOU HELP ME?” The lion laughed and laughed, “How can a little mouse like you help me?”

The lion thought it was so funny that he let the mouse go. A few months later, the great lion was rambling through the forest when suddenly he stepped into a hunters net and found himself trapped. No matter how hard he struggled he couldn’t break free.

The lion roared for help but none dared approach him, except the little mouse. “I am here” cried the little mouse “I will help you.” The lion was astonished before he had a chance to reply the little mouse began chewing at the net and before long he had made a hole large enough for the lion to escape. “Thank you so much,” he said, “a little mouse like you could help a great lion like me after all!”

The Crow and the Pitcher

One hot, summer’s day, a Crow was searching for water to quench his thirst. He searched and searched, and was almost dying of his thirst when he came across a pitcher. He excitedly hopped towards the pitcher but was dismayed when he found it was almost empty. There was a small amount of water at the bottom of the pitcher, but the crow’s beak could not reach it. In vain, the crow tried and tried to drink the water, and almost gave up.

Then the crow had an idea; he collected a pebble and dropped it into the pitcher. He scooped up another pebble and put it into the pitcher. One by one, he gathered pebbles and dropped them into the pitcher. He emptied more and more pebbles into the pitcher, and slowly the water rose up towards him.

Eventually, when the pitcher was almost full of small pebbles, the water had risen far enough for him to take a long and satisfying drink. Thus, the crow had saved himself by the knowledge that his efforts, little by little, will do the trick.

The Ant and the Grasshopper

One mid-summer day, a young grasshopper was chirping happily in the grassy meadow, when he noticed a small ant dragging a heavy ear of corn towards its home. Upon seeing the ant, the grasshopper bound up to him to ask “Why are you working so hard? Why not enjoy the summer sun
with me?” The ant replied, whilst sweating from his load “I am gathering food for my family in preparation for the winter.” He suggested that the grasshopper should do the same.

The grasshopper laughed mockingly and said to the ant “Why worry about the winter? It’s summer and we have lots of food.” But the ant carried on working. When winter came, at last, the grasshopper was left cold and hungry, but he saw the ants sharing their grain and corn. So the grasshopper realised his mistake and knew that he should have been preparing for the winter instead of being idle all summer.

MEDINA

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) faced great hardship whilst propagating the message of Islam. The people of Mecca subjected him and his followers to great pain and suffering. The situation ultimately became so dire that Allah commanded the Prophet (pbuh) to leave Mecca and migrate elsewhere. This led to the migration of the Prophet and his community of followers to the blessed town of Medina, then known as Yathrib. Let us briefly chart the history of the migration and learn some interesting facts about the town of Medina.

What we know as Medina today was called Yathrib in ancient Arabia. Its name was changed to Medina in honour of the Holy Prophet, when it was re-named Medina-tulNabwi (the city of the Prophet) after the Prophet migrated there. Medina is a very old town that lies about two hundred miles north of Mecca. It is a valley dotted with hills. In the Prophet’s time, people lived there in villages. Each tribe had his own village, its own fort. The predominant religious communities in Medina were the Jews and pagans. It was customary for the Prophet to make contact with groups that travelled to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage. The Prophet would use this opportunity to spread the message of Islam.

These groups would travel back to their towns and take the teachings of Islam with them. This became a very important tool for the spread of Islam.