Ismail is the son of Abraham, and the father of the Arabs. His stories hold many insights and inspirations and show in many parts the meaning of being a Muslim –One who submits to his Creator’s commands-.
Ismail, the child:
As a child, an infant in fact, his father Abraham took him and his mother to a journey on the command of Allah (God). And in the middle of the road, the middle of the desert he was commanded to tell them to stay at that place and leave them. When he told his wife Hagar about the command that they were given, she only had one question.
– “Was it Allah that ordered you this?”
– He replied “yes”, and then…
– She said “So he wouldn’t let us be lost”.
With that great resolve and submission to the will of the Creator they parted each other leaving his infant child and his mother in the middle of nowhere. Abraham then made a prayer for Allah
Our Lord, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near Your sacred House, our Lord, that they may establish prayer. So make hearts among the people incline toward them and provide for them from the fruits that they might be grateful”[quran.com/14:37]
A mother with her child alone in the desert!
See the place that they were ordered to be left at was the place of the foundation of the first holy house to be established on Earth made by angles, The Ka’bah. Also it was in the middle of the desert and just pure foundations nothing more.
Time passed and as Hagar was searching everywhere for anything to drink and feed her son, a miracle happened. She saw an angel descending from the sky to the place where she left her son and striking the ground with his wings, and just afterward a big fountain of water sprung between the feet of the infant Ismail.
That water saved Hagar and Ismail, and also gathered birds to that area making an ancient Arabian tribe come to them and asking them to settle in there with them and use their water. And so the city of Makah was founded with the water from the well of Zamzam near the foundation of the first house of worship to be placed on Earth for Allah.
Ismail, the Father of Arabs and raiser of the Kaaba:
Ismail became part of the Arabian tribe. He lived with them in Makah his whole life. Moreover, later on in history his descendant will become major tribes of their own and become the majority of Arabians. Making them Sons of prophet Ismail and his Father prophet Abraham, and proud of their lineage.
Abraham used to visit Ismail in Makah many times to chick on him and his mother Hagar. And it was Abraham and Ismail who raised the foundation of The Kaaba and made it into the complete holy house, founded by angels and raised by prophets.
The story in: Quran.com/2/127-132
Ismail, The one who submits:
Just a remainder, Islam‘s meaning is “Submission to the will of Allah“. And this is stop at the life of prophet Ismail shows that concept in bulk. We encountered it before with Abraham and Hagar when they submitted to the order of Allah by staying in desert with no way known of surviving. And by showing this trust and acceptance they were rewarded of what followed. However, this Test is much harder. It is a Major Test of Islam, Resolve and trust in their Master.
The order this time was for Abraham to butcher his son; the order came to him while in dreaming which is known for prophets to be a mean of passing revelation. It was repeated so Abraham knew it was an order from his Lord.
Even though, the path of taking excuses was there, he didn’t take it. He could have easily said “It is just a dream, it isn’t an order from Allah” to try and run from the order of his Lord. But he didn’t, because he knew that it was a method of passing down revelation, he knew and Allah knew, so he couldn’t lie to himself by making excuses.
Life is a test:
It is a test, Submit to the order of your master or don’t. And what a hard test it is. But great men are tested by great ordeals. He went to his son and told him about it, and now they are all in front of that test. Will you submit to the will of your Creator!?
And indeed, they deserved the high statues they were given as prophets. They both submitted fully to Their Lord’s command. Abraham was extraordinary in that situation and his –Islam- for his Lord. But what was more extraordinary, Ismail! The man who accepted that he would be butchered, because he knew he was but a servant for his Creator. He’s given the choice, but it’s just a test. He knows that he isn’t but a slave so he accepted Allah’s order with a unique resolve.
And for his great deed of obeying Allah’s command without hesitation even if it was his own death! He was spared with yet an even bigger miracle than the one he was granted as an infant. The knife couldn’t cut him in the slightest. Even though it’s really sharp and cuts everything comes in its way! Suddenly, it can’t even scratch Ismail when placed on his nick! And a spare lamb sacrifice came down from paradise to be his substitute.
The inspiring story elegantly summarized: Quran.com/37/100-110
In this life we are here to be tested by our Creator and soon we all shall return to Him. Only by submitting to His commands and accepting them, you become free of the burdens of this life and awarded the next. We aren’t put in tests as the one Ibrahim and Ismail were in. But, we need to look up to them so that we can overcome our own tests with pure Islam for Allah.
Check out: this book to know the relation between submission and Islam.