He is Ishmael, son of Abraham, true to his promise, the Prophet, the messenger, the instructor to prayer and almsgiving, to his Lord pleasing, the ransomed with a great sacrifice, the raiser of the foundations of the House with his father, the grandfather of the last prophet and the father of Al-Musta’riba Arabs.
His name and lineage: He is Ishmael, son of Abraham, who was born after his father was too old. As his wife, Sarah was barren, Abraham asked Allah to give him a good son, supplicating “My Lord, grant me [a child] from among the righteous.” Allah heard his prayer and “gave him good tidings of a forbearing boy,” whom Abraham called Ishmael. His mother is Hagar, the Coptic, who was a handmaiden given to Sarah by the King of Egypt, when the Abrahams passed by Egypt. Sarah gave Hagar to her husband, Abraham, hoping that she might give him the boy Sarah herself failed to give it to him. What she wanted happened, as Allah gave Ishmael to Abraham.
In Quran: The Prophet Ishmael bin Abraham is mentioned twelve times in the Quran. His mention is closely associated with talking about his father, Abraham. Quran talks about this Holy Prophet within its talking about many subjects related to prophecies, miracles and revelation. Quran clarified a side of Allah’s gifts to this Holy Prophet, as he is true to his promises and does not break them. Ishmael is a prophet who Allah has raised his stature and sent him as a messenger with the law from Him to guide people. He used to order his family, closest people to him and all people to pray and give the poor. His qualities, words and deeds were pleasing to Allah, the Almighty. He is one of those who Allah brought at his mercy and made righteous.
In the Torah: The biblical heritage talks too much about Ishmael, when talking about Abraham and Isaac. That heritage recognizes many stations related to his mother, his birth and taking him with his mother out in to Mecca. But, biblical heritage clerks did not consider Ishmael a prophet. Rather, and in a clear historic contradiction, they claim that the near-sacrifice of Abraham’s son was Isaac not Ishmael and that Allah gave his convent to Isaac; though they acknowledge that Ishmael is Abraham’s first son, who Allah gave to him at an elder age and promised him that He would create many nations out of. In this heritage, Ishmael appears next to his brother, Isaac at the funeral of their father, Abraham in Hebron. It cites a long list of Ishmael’s children, who are the heads of twelve tribes of his descendants that were spread in the corners of the Arabian Peninsula, borders of the Levant and Iraq, becoming the ancestors of many Arab tribes.
Zamzam well: Allah instructed Abraham to take his first son, Ishmael and his mother, Hagar out in to the valley of Mecca in Al-Hijaz, which was in ruins. So, he took them to where Allah ordered him. In the valley of Mecca, between the tops of the Hijaz, where there were neither water nor planting, he left them and turned away, by the order of Allah, too. All they had were little water and a pod of dates, which ran out quickly. So, Hagar and her newborn baby were thirsty. Thus, the mother went in a frantic search for water. She climbed up Safa mount and looked at the valley, but she did not see anything. Then, she went down and passed the bottom of the valley until she reached Marwah, which she climbed up as well, but she did not see anything. She repeated the journey of running between the two hills seven times and saw nothing, until her forces could not help her any more. As she sat down in desperation, the mercy of Allah came to her. When she looked toward her crying baby, who hit the ground with his feet, she noticed that his feet had scratched the ground allowing a spring of water to bubble up to the surface. The mother quickly gave her baby and herself a drink and refilled her bottle, saying to water “zam zam”, and the well was called Zamzam forever.
The emergence of Mecca: Life started in the arid valley, as the birds discovered the exploding water well, flied around it and proliferated, guiding other creatures to the well, including human. Tribes of Al-Amaliq, then Jurhum, were the first to pay attention to the well of Ishmael. They asked his mother the permission to build their tents close to the place and she authorized them to do so, being happy by their presence around. Among these tribes, Ismail grew up, married and got children. Around this holy well at the valley in which the foundations of Allah’s House were meant by Allah to be raised, urbanism started to expand. Little by little, Mecca emerged as housing, a market and a direction of all Arab tribes.
The near-sacrifice of Abraham’s son: Ishmael grew up and reached the age of exertion with his father, whose heart was attached to him so much, as he was given to him at an elder age. The father visited Mecca from time to time to see Ishmael and his mother. But, at his coming this time, he was on a date with a great trial. Abraham saw in a dream that he slaughtered his only son, Ishmael, who was the very one he waited so long and was given to him at an elder age. With no hope to get another, Abraham gave Ishmael so much love! Because he realizes that dreams of prophets are revelation, and despite the in-self conflict and the strong parental emotion such thing might provoke, Abraham did not ask why. Abraham is not of the type who asks their Lord about His orders. But, he thought if he should speak with the boy about it, or he should put him down and slaughter him by force. Finally, he chose to tell him, and the boy’s answer was: Do as your Lord commanded you, and you will find me of the steadfast.
Redemption: In his answer to his father, Ishmael looked like if he had passed patience and readiness to die to the point of being happy of his death by order of Allah. Therefore, Abraham’s heart was comfortable with his son, who rivaled him in the love and obedience of Allah. Abraham wasted no time, went with his son to the altar, as he has already sharpened the knife, and put him down upon his forehead in preparation, then put the knife to his throat. Just before he moved the knife, the upper appeal came to Abraham, ending the difficult exam and scoring the best results in it, for him and his son, Ishmael. Allah ransomed Ishmael with a great sacrifice. Then, the day of the great redemption became a feast in which Muslims remember the meaning of obedience, sacrifice and true Islam, which means to surrender without hesitation to the will of Allah and to His command.
His marriage: Ishmael bin Abraham lived in Mecca, in the lap of his mother, Hagar, then between his peers of the first community in Mecca formed of some caravan traders and some neighborhoods attracted by the spring of Zamzam. During his boyhood, he practiced hunting and trained wild horses, which he liked and used. When he reached maturity of men, Ishmael married a girl from Jurhum, a neighboring tribe. In the absence of Ishmael, an old man visited his wife and asked her about their conditions. Since her response to his questions was full of complaints, the old man gave her a message to give to her husband, which was to “change his threshold.” When Ishmael arrived that night and was informed by his wife of what the old man said, he told her that the visitor was his father and that he had instructed him to divorce her, which Ishmael did. Then, Ishmael married a second wife. The old man returned to visit Ishmael and again Ishmael was out. When he asked her about their situation, her answers indicated faith in Allah. Abraham again left with her a message to Ishmael, ordering him to “keep his threshold.”
Building the Kaaba: That is an honest mission singled out by Allah two prophets and messengers, namely Abraham and Ishmael. All events we have seen, including coming to Mecca and redemption of Ishmael, were nothing but a prelude to the honest mission. The Lord of the Worlds has issued the order to Abraham to raise the foundations of the Holy House of Allah, which the first House established for mankind to worship Allah. It is believed widely that the favor of its construction at the first time goes to Adam, who is the first man to fall to the earth. It was said that he had built and roved around it the way angels rove around the Throne of Allah. Then, Adam and his sons died and long period of time passed after them. Then, the Deluge flooded the Earth, wiping out the House and its place until Allah designated for Abraham its site and entrusted to him and Ishmael the renewal of its construction. So, it remains as long as there are night and day.
Invocation: Abraham and Ishmael roll up their forearms to raise the foundations of the House of Allah, in response to Allah’s command to purify it for those who perform Tawaf, those who stand in prayer and those who bow and prostrate. Their effort in digging deeply the foundations, cutting, settling and transferring stones and raising the foundations was not comparable to their outstanding effort in supplication and invocation. Abraham and his son prayed Allah to make it a secure city and to provide its people with fruits. They asked him to accept it from them, to make them Muslims in submission to Him and from their offspring a Muslim nation in submission to Him, to show them the rites of pilgrimage, and to send among them a messenger from themselves who will recite to them Allah’s verses, teach them the Book and wisdom, purify them and bring them out from darkness of ignorance into the light. Allah has answered prayers of Abraham and Ishmael with the Last Prophet, Mohamed and with his nation, the Muslim nation.
His people: Ishmael was a prophet and a messenger. Allah sent him to the Arab tribes in Mecca and the Hijaz, who were Al-Amaliq, Jurhum, Yemen’s Qahtani tribes of Al-Aribah, all Arabian Peninsula’s population, borders of the Levant and what was near places where he lived. He called them all to the religion of Islam, the religion of Abraham, which was based on the worship of Allah alone. That is the religion of Islam, the religion of all prophets. As the Quran noted, he used to teach people to have faith in the unseen and instruct them to pray, give, perform acts of righteousness and get away from bad deeds.
His descendants: Experts in genealogy and authors of biographies and stories talk about twelve sons of Ishmael, whose mother is Ra’alah bint Madad bin Amr Al-Jerhomi Al-Qahtani and who we mention with reservation. According to stories based mostly on the heritage of people of the book, these sons are: Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah , Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. All tribes of Arabs of the North, or the so-called Al-Aribah, belong to Ishmael, but the chain after Adnan, the twentieth ancestor of the Prophet Mohamed, is inaccurate. So, the good historians did not consider it.
His death: The Prophet Ismail passed away at the age of one hundred and thirty seven years, in Mecca, after he delivered the message of Allah, announced what He had commanded him to announce and called to the religion of Islam and to worship Allah, the Judge. He was buried near his mother, Hagar in Al-Hijr.