Haajar was not only virtuous for her status as wife of the father of the Prophets, Ibrahim nor for her position as mother of Prophet Ismael . Rather, we remember Haajar (may Allah be pleased with her) for her heroic actions driven by motherly instincts and strong faith in Allaah on a day that would break any one.
Allaah chose her actions on that trying day to be the basis for certain rituals of a very important act of worship, performed by millions of Muslims up until the day of judgement.
I don’t want to get into the greatness and significance of hajj and umrah in the life of the believer here. It’s enough to say that Hajj and Umrah are the greatest acts of worship that proclaim and manifest the tawheed (oneness) of Allaah. And a major requirement of Hajj and Umrah is the Sa’ee, running seven times between Mt. Safa and Mt. Marwa, just as Hajar did thousands of years ago.
Instead, today I want you to reflect on this mother that Allaah chose for all Muslims worldwide, men and women, kings and slaves., rich and poor, from every time and place, to emulate in steps.
What was so special about Hajaar?
Everything! You may not have the virtue of being a mother and wife to Allaah’s chosen men, but you can definitely take lessons of this empowered mother on her courageous acts that historic day.
Hajaar is our example and role model of a true umm empowered. Her reliance upon Allaah, determination to improve her condition, her perseverance, and wise thinking in planning her future are the qualities we should equip ourselves with to live fruitful lives.
There is a lot to learn from the biography of Haajar, but for this season of Hajj, I want you to focus on her brave actions on that one day, and build your life around these lessons of hers:
1. True Reliance upon Allaah
The Prophet narrates her story to us.
“Ibrahim brought the mother of Ismail and her son, Ismail, whom she was nursing and put her near the House by a tall tree above Zamzam in the upper part of the mosque. At that time no one lived in Makkah and there was no water there. He put them there and left with her a bag with some dates in it and a waterskin with some water in it. Then Ibrahim returned the way he had come. Ismail’s mother followed him and said, ‘O Ibrahim! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley in which there are no people or anything else?’ She said that to him several times but he did not turn to her. She said to him, ‘Has Allah commanded you to do this?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ She said, ‘Then He will not neglect us,’ and went back. Ibrahim went on until he reached a hill where they could not see him. He turned to face the House and then made a supplication with these words. He raised his hands and said:
“Our Lord, I have established some of my offspring in an uncultivated valley, close to Your Sacred House, Lord, so that they may keep up the prayer. Make people’s hearts turn to them, and provide them with produce, so that they may be thankful.” Surat Ibrahim, 14:37. [Al Bukhari]
Her statement, “Then He will not neglect us” exemplifies her high level of trust and dependence in Allaah. She was being left, alone, with an infant, in the middle of the desert, in a place where there were no people, and no food, and no means to even grow food. It was natural of her to panic, like any mother would. However, once she came to understand that this was a command from Allaah, her fears were put into perspective. “Allah will not neglect us”. It wasn’t a matter of optimism and hoping for the best. Hajar was 100% certain that Allaah would take care of them in this barren land.
2. Determination to improve her condition
What was even more amazing about Hajar was how she took matters in to her own hand, while knowing full well that Allah will provide. She didn’t just sit around or sulk in her despair. When her rations ran out and both her and her baby began to go thirsty and hungry she needed a plan. She couldn’t bare the sight of her child crying out of hunger and so left him and went to search for food. During the recent famine in Somalia, the United Nations reported that some mothers had killed their own children to save themselves from the distress of watching their little ones starve to death. Can you imagine the agony and despair? Try to under the dire circumstance Hajar was facing. In a barren land, that has never been known to possess food or people, just the two of them. What are the chances of finding water in this desert? But Hajar knew. She was certain that Allaah would never leave them. And she understood that tawakkul (reliance) upon Allaah is not complete unless you take action yourself. Her son was dying and she had to do something, so she ran up Mount Safa.
She ascended Mt.Safa in hope to see someone or source of food in the neighbouring area, but couldn’t find anything. She then ran towards Mt. Marwa to see if she could spot anything on the other side, but found nothing. But she was a fighter. She could never give up. Not while knowing the help of Allah was true and near. So again she went up Safa, and then back down and up Marwa. Hajar repeated this until she ran seven laps between the two mountains. Finally, she spotted in the distance where she had left Ismail, near the site of the Kabah, Angel Gibreel. He hit his heel on the ground and Zam Zam came gushing out.
4. Wise thinking – planning for future
As the water continued to flow, Hajar thought to collect and preserve the water by collecting and carving out a basin. The Prophet commented on this saying, “May Allah bestow mercy on Ishmael’s mother! Had she let the Zam-zam (flow without trying to control it or had she not scooped from that water to fill her water-skin), Zam-zam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth”.
Soon enough, travellers started to settle in the area. Hajar allowed them access to Zam Zam but no one could claim the well as their own. A civilization had begun and Hajar’s legacy had been marked and honoured by Allaah for thousands of years to come, up until the final hour.
Take this hajj season as an opportunity to educate your daughters about Haajar’s invinsible courage and dependance upon Allaah. Her unshakable faith in Allaah and determination to save her child are lessons for us to learn in our quest to empowerment, excellence in motherhood, and belief in Allaah.