Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem.
I want us to imagine something please. Imagine a husband telling his wife to get dressed because they’re going out. She obeys and follows. They get in the car.
He drives far away… until they reach the middle of literally nowhere; a completely deserted area with absolutely nothing around.
The husband then asks his wife to step out of the car with their baby.
She asks him why. He doesn’t respond. She gets out. He takes off!
She runs after him with the baby asking why he is doing that. He tells her that he is fulfilling a religious duty; Allah inspired him to do that!
Let’s allow this to sink in for a moment…This is not a hypothetical scenario, a bed time story or a legend. Thus Iis- more or less- what happened to Prophet Ibrahim (peace and blessings upon him) and his wife Hajar (may Allah be pleased with her).
We all know the story to a certain extent. But maybe we do not stop to contemplate on how this is relevant to us today; how it’s relevant to dealing with our own problems and our own hardships.
This story actually responds to some major spiritual, emotional, psychological, and even existential quests of many people.
“Why me? Why is this happening to me? What did I do? Why do believers have to suffer while those who’re less religious have everything they want? What’s the point? Where is the wisdom? Where is the mercy?”So many questions go through people’s minds when they’re facing a difficulty.
But Allah doesn’t leave our quests unanswered. He sent us messages, He sent us Messengers and He sent us those who go through what we go through (or even worse) so that we learn, grow, remain steadfast and keep moving gracefully towards Him until we meet Him!
“There was certainly in their stories a lesson for those of understanding. Never was the Qur’an a narration invented, but a confirmation of what was before it and a detailed explanation of all things and guidance and mercy for a people who believe.” (Qur’an 12:111).
Now let’s go back to Hajar’s story and slowly think about a few points.
Prophet Ibrahim A.S took Hajar and their baby to a valley that was completely deserted. He was inspired to take them there, then leave. As he was leaving, Hajar went after him and kept asking why he is doing that. When he didn’t respond, she got the message! She asked him, “Has Allah commanded you to do so?” He said: “Yes.”
She said: “Then He will not neglect us.” [Al Bukhari]. This is such a heavy statement…. “He will not neglect us”!
This woman doesn’t have anywhere to go. Her husband who is supposed to take care of he left her. She doesn’t have enough food or drink. Her child will soon start crying desperately, beyond what any mother could bear. She doesn’t know what will happen to them or how this will be resolved or if they’ll remain in that place indefinitely…
Truth be told, many people in her place would have started doubting Allah Himself. They would have said: “why would this hardship be placed on us; the good believers? The disbelievers are comfortable in their homes, and we’re the ones suffering! Why is this happening? How is this fair? Where is the mercy?”
But Hajar didn’t do that. She asked whether what happened was the decree of Allah, because if it was, then there is definitely goodness in there. Why? Because Allah’s Name is The Most Merciful and whatever He does is essentially merciful even if it doesn’t look like it to us immediately. His Name is The All-Wise and whatever He does has wisdom even if we fail to see immediately.
This is the message in this ayah: “…and despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.” (Qur’an 12: 87).
Why is giving up linked to disbelief? If you want to know then don’t miss the second reminder in shaa Allah. May Allah keep guiding us all and protect us from any satanic influences. Aameen.