Hajar and the Significance of Her Sacrifice and Perseverance

The story of Sayyidatina Hajar a.s.
by Ustazah Syafiqah Binte Mohammed 2022-07-07 • 15 min read
Syafiqah Mohammed is an alumni of Madrasah Alsagoff Al-Arabiah and Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah. She graduated with a degree of Qur’an and Sunnah from International Islamic University Malaysia. She is currently taking the Postgraduate Certificate in Islam in Contemporary Societies (PCICS).
2022-07-07 • 15 min read

This Hari Raya Haji, as we reflect on the sacrifices made by the family of Prophet Ibrahim a.s., let us commemorate and look into Sayyidatina Hajar's incredible strength and trust in Allah s.w.t. 

Sayyidatina Hajar a.s. was the wife of Prophet Ibrahim a.s. and the mother of Prophet Ismail a.s. Although we may often hear about the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim and his son Prophet Ismail, Hajar's sacrifice is just as amazing and one that should not be overlooked. Her perseverance and high trust (Tawakkal) in Allah s.w.t. are commemorated in the ritual act of Sa'i. Etched in time, this act of worship is performed by millions of Muslims today. It also serves to remind us of the virtue displayed by the strong and honourable Sayyidatina Hajar a.s.

Read: The Value of Sacrifice in Islam

Aidiladha, Zulhijjah, Hajar, Ibrahim, Hagar, Sa'i, Safa Marwa

The Story of Hajar a.s.

The life of Prophet Ibrahim’s family is filled with lessons of sacrifices and love. Upon reaching the barren lands of Makkah, Allah s.w.t. commanded Prophet Ibrahim a.s. to continue his journey alone, leaving Sayyidatina Hajar a.s. and their newborn son, Prophet Ismail a.s. to make do by themselves in Makkah. This was a trial for the family of Prophet Ibrahim a.s.

When Prophet Ibrahim was leaving them, Hajar said to him: 

فَقالَتْ: يا إبْرَاهِيمُ، أَيْنَ تَذْهَبُ وتَتْرُكُنَا بهذا الوَادِي الَّذي ليسَ فيه إنْسٌ ولَا شَيءٌ؟ فَقالَتْ له ذلكَ مِرَارًا، وجَعَلَ لا يَلْتَفِتُ إلَيْهَا، فَقالَتْ له: آللَّهُ الَّذي أَمَرَكَ بهذا؟ قالَ: نَعَمْ، قالَتْ: إذَنْ لا يُضَيِّعُنَا

"O Ibrahim. Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no one nor is there anything else around (a barren land)?" She repeatedly asked (him), but he did not turn (to respond). She then asked him: "Did Allah commanded you to do so?" He said: "Yes." She said: "Then He will not leave us (to be lost)."

(Sahih Al-Bukhari)

That is the faith of Sayyidatina Hajar a.s. After realising that it was a command from Allah s.w.t, her faith remained strong, knowing that Allah, the one who commands Prophet Ibrahim a.s. would never do so without purpose and wisdom, although it was yet to be seen. She knew that when Allah brings them into a situation, He will also be the one to guide them through it.

Separation is indeed a painful experience in life. It was even harder for them knowing that Makkah then was not the thriving city that we know today. It was a barren land with no life around. There was neither water nor people. In the blazing heat of the desert, the only essentials they had were a bag of dates and a container of water.

Prophet Ibrahim a.s. continued his journey to obey the Divine command dutifully with a heavy heart. Upon reaching a place far enough where neither their sight nor the sound of Ismail's cries could reach Prophet Ibrahim a.s, he finally turned back facing the Kaabah, where his family stayed, praying to Allah s.w.t. wholeheartedly:

رَّبَّنَآ إِنِّىٓ أَسْكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِى بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِى زَرْعٍ عِندَ بَيْتِكَ ٱلْمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ فَٱجْعَلْ أَفْـِٔدَةً مِّنَ ٱلنَّاسِ تَهْوِىٓ إِلَيْهِمْ وَٱرْزُقْهُم مِّنَ ٱلثَّمَرَٰتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْكُرُونَ

Our Lord! I have settled some of my offspring in a barren valley, near Your Sacred House, our Lord, so that they may establish prayer. So make the hearts of (believing) people incline towards them and provide them with fruits, so perhaps they will be thankful.

(Surah Ibrahim, 14:37)

Although they departed from each other physically, they were united by love and reliance upon Allah s.w.t.

Aidiladha, Zulhijjah, Hajar, Ibrahim, Hagar, Sa'i, Safa Marwa

After some time, all the water she had was gone and her milk dried up. Both mother and son became thirsty as there was not a single drop of water to be found. She became desperate and ran between the hills of Safa and Marwa, hoping to find anyone whom she could ask for help. She repeated it several times but still, no one could be seen.

However, when she reached Marwa for the seventh time, she heard a voice. She kept quiet and listened to it attentively. The voice was heard again and Sayyidatina Hajar a.s. asked:

فَقالَتْ: قدْ أَسْمَعْتَ إنْ كانَ عِنْدَكَ غِوَاثٌ، فَإِذَا هي بالمَلَكِ عِنْدَ مَوْضِعِ زَمْزَمَ، فَبَحَثَ بعَقِبِهِ - أَوْ قالَ: بجَنَاحِهِ - حتَّى ظَهَرَ المَاءُ، فَجَعَلَتْ تُحَوِّضُهُ وتَقُولُ بيَدِهَا هَكَذَا، وجَعَلَتْ تَغْرِفُ مِنَ المَاءِ في سِقَائِهَا وهو يَفُورُ بَعْدَ ما تَغْرِفُ

"O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?" She saw an angel at the place of Zamzam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it.” 

(Sahih Al-Bukhari)

The Significance of Hajar's Sacrifice and Perseverance

All Islamic historical stories contain valuable lessons that we can learn from for us to possess the qualities of good believers. Just like the story of Hajar a.s, her sacrifice and perseverance teaches us many powerful life lessons to grasp when facing hardships as a Muslim:

Aidiladha, Zulhijjah, Hajar, Ibrahim, Hagar, Sa'i, Safa Marwa

1. Always Trust Allah in Every Situation

Just imagine the feeling of being left in the desert with a newborn son. Hajar's sacrifice shows us how amazing her trust is in Allah s.w.t. when she was in a difficult situation. She was willing to obey His command because she had no doubt that Allah s.w.t would not abandon her and her son when she had nothing else [1]. This can be seen through the conversation between Hajar and Prophet Ibrahim a.s. upon his leaving.

As Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran, 

وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ

And whoever puts their trust in Allah, then He will suffice him 

(Surah At-Talaq, 65:3) 

Also, the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. said in a Hadith,

لَوْ أَنَّكُمْ كُنْتُمْ تَوَكَّلُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ حَقَّ تَوَكُّلِهِ لَرُزِقْتُمْ كَمَا تُرْزَقُ الطَّيْرُ تَغْدُو خِمَاصًا وَتَرُوحُ بِطَانًا

"If you were to rely upon Allah with the required reliance, then He would provide for you just as a bird is provided for, it goes out in the morning empty, and returns full." 

(Sunan At-Tirmizi)

Trusting in Allah s.w.t. means having a good perception towards Allah s.w.t. After facing many hurdles from being left alone and having no access to food and water to running between two mountains, she still had faith in Allah s.w.t. that He would send His help to them [2]. 

Read: What Does Tawakkal (putting Trust in Allah) Mean?

"Allah the Exalted says through the Hadith Qudsi of Rasulullah s.a.w:

أَنَا عِندَ ظَنّ عَبدِي بِي

"I am as my servant expects me to be."

(Muttafaqun ‘Alayh)

Due to her unwavering trust, Allah s.w.t. granted them Zamzam that still flows until today for us to commemorate to this day.

Aidiladha, Zulhijjah, Hajar, Ibrahim, Hagar, Sa'i, Safa Marwa

2. Patience is the Key to Success

Not only did Hajar have faith in Allah s.w.t, but she also displayed great patience throughout her trial which led to her success. We observed that Hajar did not complain or give up when facing the test due to her strength and will to persevere. 

This indicates that all trials sent by Allah s.w.t. are meant to teach us patience. Through patience, our connection with Allah is strengthened and we will gain rewards abundantly by our struggles [3].

Read: 3 Good Deeds With Unlimited Rewards

The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. said in a Hadith,

عَجَبًا لأَمْرِ المُؤْمِنِ، إنَّ أمْرَهُ كُلَّهُ خَيْرٌ، وليسَ ذاكَ لأَحَدٍ إلَّا لِلْمُؤْمِنِ، إنْ أصابَتْهُ سَرَّاءُ شَكَرَ، فَكانَ خَيْرًا له، وإنْ أصابَتْهُ ضَرَّاءُ، صَبَرَ فَكانَ خَيْرًا له

How wonderful is the affair of a believer for there is good in every matter and this is not the case with anyone else except for a believer; for if he experiences delight, he thanks (God), thus it is good for him, and if he experiences harm and shows patience, (then) it is good for him.

(Sahih Muslim)

Aidiladha, Zulhijjah, Hajar, Ibrahim, Hagar, Sa'i, Safa Marwa

On top of that, challenges are also meant to unleash our potential to the fullest [4]. Based on Hajar's story, she has proven that, with patience, she managed to fulfil the tasks with courage, self-assurance, a strong mind and a decisive attitude. Hence, she is more than the stereotypes that people may have about women such as being emotionally unstable, weak-minded, indecisive and faint-hearted in times of tribulation [5].

3. Struggle Can Lead to Success

Having only trust and patience is not enough to solve a problem. Efforts must also be made to achieve the desired outcome. For instance, Sayyidatina Hajar a.s. did not only sit, making Dua and waiting for help to come. She exhausted all efforts to find solutions by going to and fro between the two hills of Safa and Marwa over and over again which total up to about 3.15km [6], in the intense heat of the desert.

This shows us the high level of perseverance demonstrated by Hajar a.s. in accomplishing challenging tasks. Through the process, she did not whine and grieve for the adversity that happened to her. But instead, she took actions such as climbing to the top of the two hills repeatedly and looking around for signs of people [7].

Aidiladha, Zulhijjah, Hajar, Ibrahim, Hagar, Sa'i, Safa Marwa

Eventually, after going through all the struggles, Allah s.w.t. sends His help through an angel to point out the miraculous spring of Zamzam until the water flowed from it until today. The key lesson from this experience is that His help will arrive when one puts in the effort to change his/her condition.

As Allah s.w.t says in the Quran, 

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ

Indeed, Allah would never change a people’s state (of favour) until they change their own state

(Surah Ar-Ra’d, 13:11)

Conclusion

Like the stories of Prophet Ibrahim a.s. and Prophet Ismail a.s, this event was also meant to be a test of faith on Sayyidatina Hajar a.s.

Their faith in Allah s.w.t. remains unshakeable despite having to sacrifice separating from someone they love. This is also why the act of Qurban and Sa’i is performed as the rituals of Hajj in the commemoration of Hari Raya Aidiladha. It is to remind us that true faith is to put Allah, the One and only God first in every situation.

When one puts absolute trust in Him and does his/her utmost to deal with the trial, Allah s.w.t. will show His way out, often in unexpected ways.

And Allah knows best

 


References:

[1] Faruqui, S. (2021). Hajar (as) and the Miracle of Zamzam. Retrieved from Muslim Hands: https://muslimhands.org.uk/latest/2021/04/story-of-hajar-and-zamzam-well-in-the-quran-and-hadith
[2] Faruqui, S. (2021). Hajar (as) and the Miracle of Zamzam. Retrieved from Muslim Hands: https://muslimhands.org.uk/latest/2021/04/story-of-hajar-and-zamzam-well-in-the-quran-and-hadith 
[3] Bukhari, M. (2019). 5 Lessons We Can Learn From Hajar. Retrieved from Human Appeal: https://humanappeal.org.uk/news/2019/08/5-lessons-we-can-learn-from-hajar
[4] Bukhari, M. (2019). 5 Lessons We Can Learn From Hajar. Retrieved from Human Appeal: https://humanappeal.org.uk/news/2019/08/5-lessons-we-can-learn-from-hajar
[5] Afshan, S. (n.d.). Hajj and Haajar (AS). Retrieved from AURA: https://auramag.in/hajj-and-haajar-as/
[6] What is the Distance Between Safa and Marwa. (n.d) Retrieved from ilinktours: https://www.ilinktours.com/blog/distance-between-safa-and-marwa/
[7] Afshan, S. (n.d.). Hajj and Haajar (AS). Retrieved from AURA: https://auramag.in/hajj-and-haajar-as/

 

 

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