It was once a barren desert, but one day it would be filled with millions from around the world. She stood there, alone with her infant son, both of them thirsty.
She was the second wife of the Prophet known as “the friend of Allah,” Prophet Ibrahim (AS). He and his wife, Sara, lived in Palestine for many years. They worked hard, and were happy, but one thing was missing: They were childless. Sara told Ibrahim that he should marry her servant, Hajar, so that he may have a child.
Hajar and Ibrahim had a son whom they called Ismael. Prophet Ibrahim took his wife Hajar and his son Ismael to a valley which would later be known as Mecca. But at that time it was an isolated, empty land.
Prophet Ibrahim was to leave Hajar and Ismael there. Hajar asked her husband, “Are you leaving us?” to which Prophet Ibrahim had no reply. She asked again and again until she understood. Then she asked, “Is it by the order of Allah?” to which he replied, “Yes.” And to that she said, “Then we will not be lost.”
So he left them with a bag of dates, and a satchel of water. When the water started running out, Hajar went out to look for some, or at least someone. She climbed the first mountain Mount Safa, and looked out. When she couldn’t see anyone, she ran to the other side of the valley, and climbed the second mountain, Mount Marwa.
She did this seven times, running between the mountains, until she saw Ismael kick the ground with his heel, which let out a spring of pure, sweet, water. The water, which is still flowing today, is known as zam zam water.
Today, all those who go to Mecca follow those same footsteps of Bibi Hajar. She was exceptional in her faith, and a Muslim–one who submits to God–in every sense of the word.
We follow her actions at Hajj and Umrah, but let’s really examine the status and level of faith she exemplified.
When we talk about tawheed, or the oneness of God, we talk about it in the sense that we believe there is only one God, literally. But if you look deeper, you can come to an understanding that yes, there is only one God, which also means that our reliance is solely on Him…something that Bibi Hajar embraced. With an infant child in an unknown land, her bravery and reliance on God was exemplary; a reminder that we can use in our day to day lives.
We have to understand that even when we feel we are alone, or we feel like we are struggling, our beliefs point out that God is taking care of us in ways we don’t even realize. Everything happens with His will, and He is there for us even when things seem hopeless, like Hajar, who was alone in the desert without water.
So if you find yourself walking between the two mountains this year at Hajj or Umrah, take a moment to reflect on the story of Hajar and Ismael. I hope when you are down, the strength–and faith–that guided them, guides you too.