Hajar - Ancient Origins
Ancient Knights


Kaan Ya Makaan, Fee Qadeem Al-Zamaan…
There was a Place, in Times of Old…

Where a man turned and quickly walked away with a heavy heart from his first born son and the child's young and lovely mother, Hajar.

God had told him to take his newborn son and the boy's youthful mother and leave them behind in this empty arid desert and Ibrahim PBUH, ever a man of unshakable faith, did just that.

But he had never anticipated just how very hard it would be to actually walk away and leave the two fragile young lives behind. He had left a bagful of dates and a skin-full of water with them, so they would survive for a while, but Ibrahim PBUH knew that the meager supplies would not last. When their supplies ran out, then both mother and son would most likely suffer slow, terrible deaths.

Ibrahim PBUH deeply loved both Hajar and Ismael PBUH, and the idea of leaving them, so alone and so unprotected in such dire circumstances, went against the grain of his gentle soul. His faith in God was absolute so he had done what God had wanted him to do. However, hearing Hajar call out to him, sounding so frightened and confused, wrung his heart and made it difficult for him to walk away.

"Ibrahim!" Hajar called, as he walked away, round shouldered with sorrow. "Ibrahim! Where are you going?"

She tried not to let too much of her fear and unease leak into her words, but seeing the grief on her Ibrahim's PBUH face just before he walked away had frightened her badly.

"Wait!" Hajar said as she ran after him, stumbling in the soft sand and clasping her infant son tightly to her chest. "Wait! Ibrahim! Where are you going? You're leaving us in this empty valley where nothing lives?! Ibrahim!"

Unable to speak or face Hajar and explain his seemingly cruel actions to her, Ibrahim PBUH walked faster.

"Ibrahim!" Hajar called again as her tiny son began wailing and struggling, disturbed by the distress in his mother's voice.

Hajar stood still suddenly as a thought struck her. "Did God tell you to do this?" she called to Ibrahim PBUH in a softer, less frightened voice.

"Yes." He finally replied, pausing in his determined retreat.

"Then we will not be lost." Hajar said firmly in a serene voice.

She then turned and walked back to where the bags were lying on the soft desert sand. She sat there calmly and quietly nursing her baby as Ibrahim began walking again. Eventually, he dwindled, then disappeared, into the distance.

Once he was out of her sight, Ibrahim PBUH stopped and lifted his hands prayerfully and said with a full heart, "Our Lord, I have left my family in a valley bare of plants by your forbidden (sacred) house, God, that they may pray (to you) so let the hearts of some people yearn for them (in this place) and grant them fruits (harvests/food) that they may be thankful" (Surat Ibrahim, Ayah 37).

Then with slow, faltering steps, Ibrahim PBUH made his way back north to where his first wife, Sarah, waited; her heart still full of jealousy and resentment towards the pretty young handmaiden who had given Ibrahim PBUH what she could not, a child.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

As time went by, Hajar sparingly drank the water and ate the dates and she lovingly nursed her son. She explored the small valley where they had been left and looked in vain for any sign of other people. Sooner than she imagined, the water and the dates ran out and not long after that, she was dismayed to find she could no longer produce the milk that fed her small, bright baby.

At first when deprived of the milk that is every baby's birthright, Ismael PBUH cried. When that brought no results, he wailed, then he shrieked. Finally, he began thrashing about and crying in a thin tired voice. Giant tears leaked from his glistening brown eyes and rolled down his face, painting trails in the shimmering dust the sighing desert winds brushed across his face.

As Ismael PBUH cried, Hajar grew more and more desperate and more and more frantic. Her son refused to be comforted and his tearful brown eyes seemed to reproach her for the grumbling emptiness in his small belly. So Hajar left off trying to comfort him and shot to her feet, determined to find something, anything with which to feed her hungry son.

Hajar sprinted to the top of a nearby mountain, Al-Safa, at the foot of whose gentle slope Ismael lay crying. From that height, she looked intently into the distance, hoping to spy dust signaling the approach of a caravan or a distant glimmer that bespoke the presence of water, but there was nothing.

Hajar ran down the small mountain, past her inconsolable child and up another mountain, Al-Marwa, which lay opposite to the first. Again she looked intently for any sign of life in the endless desert, but there was nothing.

Ismael lying on the ground, hungry, hot and thirsty, screamed louder and began to flail about with his arms and legs, desperate for something to fill his empty belly and quench his terrible thirst. Hearing his cries, Hajar felt her heart contract and break at the idea of her beautiful baby boy dying with her there in the great, silent, uncaring desert. She could not, would not, allow it!

So she ran frantically and desperately back and forth between the two mountaintops of Al-Safa and Al-Marwa again and again and again, hoping, searching, straining her eyes and very soul for any sign of life in the burning desert, but there was nothing.

Finally, when she had run to the top of Al-Marwa for the seventh time, Hajar thought she heard something.

"Hush!" she said to herself, pressing a hand to her chest and the other to her mouth, trying to hear over the sounds of her wildly beating heart and her harsh, gasping breaths.

When the sound did not repeat itself, she called out to the vast, empty desert, "I hear you, if you have aid to offer!"

As she turned, scanning the near and far reaches of the desert, Hajar's eyes seemed pulled towards her tiny flailing son, something near him was glinting at her in a friendly fashion. She ran to Ismael PBUH and looked down in wonder. There was a place in the sand, near where he lay, that seemed to be getting darker, then as she watched in disbelief water began to bubble out of the sand.

Hajar threw herself down and began eagerly scooping the water up, barely believing it could be real. Surely it was a desperate dream that would soon end, leaving her and her son alone and dying again. Yet, when she scooped the water into her mouth, she found it cool and sweet and pure and best of all so very, very real.

"Do not be afraid of being lost," said the angel who had dug the sands with his wingtips and made the water flow, "This is the location of God's house, this boy and his father will build it, and God does not allow his people to be lost."

Unaware of the angel's protective presence, Hajar continued to scoop up and drink the water that kept bubbling up from the desert sands, tears of joy and gratitude running freely down her face.

After her first frantic drink, Hajar lovingly dribbled some of the life giving water into the mouth of her tiredly hiccupping baby, who swallowed gratefully and then curled up and slept exhaustedly, safe in his mothers arms. Then slowly, luxuriously Hajar drank her fill of the sweet water and carefully filled the nearby water skin to the brim.

Sometime later, Hajar sat and contentedly nursed her baby, looking around at the quiet desert as the wind whispered over the sand dunes and between the jutting mountains. It was really a rather beautiful place she found herself and her son in, not quite as frightening as she had thought. Now, with the water softly bubbling up beside her, her confidence was soaring and she was sure she could find some palm trees, heavy with dates, that would feed them for months to come.

If only there were some people nearby, thought Hajar who was a sociable soul. But for the lack of people, had she been asked how she felt at that moment, she most likely would have said blissfully content.

Almost as if in answer to her unspoken prayers, and no doubt in answer to Ibrahim's PBUH spoken prayers, a caravan of the Jurhum tribe was slowly making its way through the desert. When they saw some birds circling off to the side, they realized there must be water somewhere nearby to attract the birds. So they changed their course and made their way steadily towards the place where Hajar and her son, Ismael PBUH, now lived.

When the men of the caravan found the water source, they also found a woman and her baby sitting possessively by it. Courteously, the men asked Hajar's permission to make use of the precious water source and Hajar, equally as courteous, consented.

After some discussion, the people of the caravan requested Hajar's permission to stay and make their home by the water source. Hajar, feeling much cheered by the friendly company and the courteous treatment, readily agreed on the condition that it be understood that the water belonged to herself and her son. The people of the caravan agreed that of course the water was hers and they would happily trade her whatever she needed in return for access to the water.

Thus the people of the caravan and Hajar and her young son, Ismael PBUH, happily settled the in place that would later be known as Mecca and enjoyed the sweet fresh water that would later come to be known as the Water of Zamzam.

*Written by © 2011. Care to read or leave Comments?

Notes:
  1. Names, Translations and Aliases:
    • Ibrahim PBUH (aka Abraham): إبراهيم عليه السلام
    • Ismael (aka Ishmael): إسماعيل عليه السلام.
    • Hajar (aka Hagar): السيدة هاجر رضي الله عنها.

Sources:
  1. Al-Bukhari, M. (2004 AD, 1424 H). صحيح البخاري [Sahih Al-Bukhari]. Beirut: Al-Maktaba Al-Assrya. Page 590-591.
  2. Ibn Katheer Al-Dimishqui, Emad Al-Deen (1399 H). مختصر تفسير ابن كثير [Summarized Tafseer Ibn Katheer]. Beirut: Dar Al-Quran Al-Kareem. Volume II. Page 302.
  3. القرآن الكريم [The Noble Quran]. (1417 H). Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah, KSA: Mujama'a Al-Malik Fahad. Page 260. Surat Ibrahim (سورة إبراهيم). Aya (Verse) 37.

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