This article narrates the story of prophet Ismail in Islam PBUH) in brief. It also answers some of the most common questions related to his childhood and family tree. Besides, we will highlight the most important lessons behind his story and reflect upon it.
Here we will learn the following:
- Who Is Prophet Ismail in Islam?
- The Story Of Ismael In The Quran
- Where Was Prophet Ismail Born?
- Prophet Abraham Leaves Ismail and Hajar In The Desert
- The Story of Prophet Ismail and Zamzam
- The Story Of Prophet Ismail’s Sacrifice
- Is Ismail The Father of Arabs Or Islam?
- The Relation Between Prophet Ismail and Prophet Ishaq
- The Story of Prophet Ismail’s Wife
- Lessons From The Story Of Abraham’s Son, Ismail
- Brief History of Prophet Ismail
Introduction | Who Is Prophet Ismail in Islam?
Prophet Ismail is the son of Prophet Abraham (PBUH), 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-.
Prophet Ismail had a miraculous survival near the holy masjid of Mecca where a water well burst out of nowhere under his feet. This well was the cornerstone of tribal gathering and Mecca establishment. In fact, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is one of Prophet Ismail’s grandsons.
The Story Of Ismael In The Quran
The inspiring story of the prophet Ismail is elegantly summarized in various surahs in the Quran. You can find parts of his story in Surah Al-Baqarah, Surah Ibrahim, Surah Maryam,, and Surah Al-Saffat.
Where Was Prophet Ismail Born?
Prophet Ismail was born in Palestine to his mother Hajar -the wife of prophet Abraham (PBUH). He was born after several years of prophet Abraham having no children from his first wife Sarah. When he was born, he was a blessing from God to Abraham (PBUH) who wished to have children.
Prophet Abraham Leaves Ismail and Hajar In The Desert
God created us to test our faith and good deeds. Each one has a test relevant to his degree of faith. Abraham (PBUH) was tested in his beloved only son, Ismail.
God commanded Abraham to take his family on a special journey and leave them in the desert near the foundations of the sacred Kaaba. So, Abraham took the young Ismail and his mother on that journey by the command of Allah (God). Then, in the middle of the desert, he left them alone in an abandoned place.
When he told his wife Hagar about the command they were given, she only had one question:
– “Was it Allah that ordered you this?”
– He replied “yes”
– She said “So he wouldn’t let us be lost!”
With that great submission to the Creator, Abraham parted, leaving his infant child and his wife in the middle of nowhere!
Abraham parted, and once became alone, he made a prayer to 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]
The Story of Prophet Ismail and Zamzam
Hajar soon found herself alone with her baby in the middle of a gloomy desert. She believed God wouldn’t leave them alone, yet, she knew she had to work hard searching for water and supplies.
Time passed and as Hagar was searching everywhere for anything to drink and feed her son. A miracle happened! An angel descended from the sky to the place where she left her son and struck the ground with his wings. Afterwards, a big fountain of water sprung between the feet of the infant Ismail.
That water is called Zamzam. It saved Hagar and Ismail, and gathered birds to their area. This encouraged Arabian tribes to gather and ask them to settle to use their water. And so, the city of Makkah was founded with the blessed well of Zamzam near the foundation of the sacred Kaaba.
The Story Of Prophet Ismail’s Sacrifice
Just a reminder, Islam‘s meaning is “Submission to the will of God”. We have previously encountered this concept with Abraham and Hagar when they submitted to God by staying in the desert with no way known of survival. However, this Test is much harder!
The order this time was for Abraham to butcher his son. It came to him in the form of a recurrent dream -which was known for prophets to be a means of revelation and a command from God.
Even though he could make excuses, he didn’t do that to escape the order of his Lord. He submitted and aimed to obey God.
Abraham (PBUH) went to his son Ismail and told him about God’s command. Ismail (PBUH) without hesitation told his father:
“O my dear father! Do as you are commanded. Allah willing, you will find me steadfast.”(Quran 37:102)
When they both were successful in the test, God ordered Abraham to sacrifice a great sheep instead.
The Family Tree Of Prophet Ismail – Is Ismail The Father of Arabs Or Islam?
After Ismail and his mother Hajar settled near Zamzam and interacted with different tribes, Ismail became part of the Arabian tribe. He lived with them in Makkah his whole life. Moreover, later on in history his descendants became major tribes of their own and became the majority of Arabians, making them Sons of Prophet Ismail and his Father Prophet Abraham and proud of their lineage. In fact, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the fruit of this blessed ancestry.
The Relation Between Prophet Ismail and Prophet Ishaq
Prophet Ismail and Prophet Ishaq (Isaac) are two brothers to the same father -Abraham (PBUH)- but to two different mothers. Ismail (PBUH) is the son of Hajar and the father of Arabs, while Ishaq (PBUH) was the son of Sarah (Prophet Abraham’s first wife) and the father of Israelites sons.
In fact, Prophet Ishaq (PBUH) was miraculously born to Sarah after long years of infertility and after Abraham (PBUH) was very old. This was narrated in Surah Hud where Sarah became amazed by God’s decree:
“She wondered, “Oh, my! How can I have a child in this old age, and my husband here is an old man? This is truly an astonishing thing!”(Quran 11:72)
Prophet Ishaq (PBUH) became then the father of other prophets; Ya’qoub (Jacob) and then Yusuf (Joseph) peace be upon them all. While Prophet Ismail (PBUH) was the grand father of Muhammad (PBUH).
The Story of Prophet Ismail’s Wife
It was narrated that Prophet Abraham (PBUH) once visited his son Prophet Ismail after his marriage. When he reached his home and asked for Ismail (PBUH), his wife told him that he was out and went for some work.
Prophet Abraham (PBUH) wanted to test his son’s wife so he didn’t reveal his identity of being Ismail’s father. Then he asked her of their financial status. Ismail’s wife began complaining of the difficulties of their living and showed great dissatisfaction!
Abraham (PBUH) told her to convey a hidden message to her husband when he returns to change his wife. When Ismail returned and his wife conveyed his father’s message, he said: “That was my father and he is telling me to divorce you”.
Ismail (PBUH) then married a better wife who was satisfied with their living and praised her husband in his absence.(Riyad as-Salihin 1867)
Lessons From The Story Of Abraham’s Son, Ismail
There are many lessons to be learned from the story of Prophet Ismail (PBUH). Life is a test of whether you will submit to the order of your master or not.
What a hard test it is! But great men are tested by great ordeals. Will you submit to the will of your Creator?
And indeed, Abraham and Ismail (PBUT) deserved the high status they were given as prophets. They both submitted fully to Their Lord’s command. They were excellent in their tests and their –Islam- for their Lord. They knew They weren’t except slaves to God so they accepted God’s orders without hesitation.
Ismail was rewarded 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.
Conclusion | Brief History of Prophet Ismail
Ismail (PBUH) was one of the greatest prophets of God. He was the son of Abraham (PBUH) and the grandfather of Muhammad (PBUH). Moreover, he was the founder of Mecca and the first builder of Kaaba with his father on its foundations put by angels.
Ismail and Abraham went through difficult tests of Islam, submission to God where they successfully fulfilled God’s commands without hesitation.
Their story has many lessons to be learned. We are here in this life 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 Paradise in the hereafter. 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.
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