Will you give information about the life of Hz. Ismail (Ishmael) (pbuh)?

The Details of the Question
Will you give information about the life of Hz. Ismail (Ishmael) (pbuh)?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Hz. Ismail (Ishmael) (pbuh) is one of the prophets mentioned in the Quran. He is also called "Dhabihatullah (the sacrifice of Allah)". He is the oldest son of Hz. Ibrahim (pbuh) born of Hagar. His name is mentioned in twelve places in the Quran; it is also stated that revelation was sent to him (al-Baqara, 2/136; Aal-i Imran, 3/84; an-Nisa, 4/163). It is stated in the Quran that Hz. Ismail (pbuh) is a prophet and messenger and that he informed his ummah about the orders of Allah like prayers and zakah. Similarly, it is stated in the Quran that he is one of the ancestors of Hz. Yaqub (Jacob) (pbuh) together with  Hz. Ibrahim (Abraham) (pbuh) and Hz. Ishaq (Isaac) (pbuh) (al-Baqara, 2/133), that he raised the foundations of the Kaaba together with Ibrahim (pbuh), his father and that they were responsible for the cleanliness of the Kaaba. (al-Baqara, 2/125 and 127)

Hz. Ismail (pbuh) was brought up together with the children of Jurhumis, who had settled in Makkah, and learned archery from them. When a group of people from the tribe of Aslam were shooting arrows and competing, Hz. Prophet (pbuh) said to them,

"O Sons of Ismail! Shoot arrows! Your ancestor was a skilled archer." (Bukhari, al-Anbiya, 12). Hz. Ismail (pbuh) was a good archer and hunter. He used to go out of the haram area of Makkah and hunt there; he liked riding horses and taming wild horses. The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Get horses! Inherit and leave horses as inheritance because it is the inheritance of your ancestor, Ismail, to you." (Abu'l-Fida, al-Bidaya wa'n-Nihaya, I, 192) Hz. Ismail spoke the Arabic language very well and fluently.  

Acting upon the order of Allah, Hz. Ibrahim (pbuh) took his wife, Hagar, and his son, Ismail, to Palestine. Hz. Ismail (pbuh) was a baby who sucked his mother's milk. Hz Ibrahim left them under a large tree near the place where the Kaaba was built afterwards. He left some dates and water with them. The city of Makkah had not been built then; there was nobody around. There was not any water, either.

When Hz. Ibrahim (pbuh) was about to leave, Hagar asked him,"O Ibrahim! Where are you going by leaving us alone in this deserted valley?" Hagar asked again, "O Ibrahim! Did Allah order you to leave us here?" Hz. Ibrahim (pbuh) said, "Yes, Allah ordered it." Hagar said, "Then, Allah is enough for us; He will protect us." Thus, she trusted Allah. When Ibrahim (pbuh) reached the place called Thaniya, he turned to the Kaaba and prayed as follows:  

"O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Thy Sacred House; in order, O our Lord that they may establish regular prayer: so fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with Fruits: so that they may give thanks." (Ibrahim, 14/37)

Days passed. They ran out of water and dates. There was nobody around; the baby was crying due to thirst.

Hagar started to look for water. She went up to Safa hill; she looked around but she could not see anybody. She came down Safa hill and ran to Marwa hill. She looked around but she could not see anybody. She repeated this going and returning seven times. When she went up to Marwa in her seventh attempt, she saw an angel on the place where the well of Zamzam is present now. It was digging the earth with the heel of its foot. Water came out of that place. According to a different narration, the baby started to dig the sand with his foot or hand and water came out. Hagar came and drank water and gave some water to the baby.

Hz. Hagar tried to form a pond so that the water would not flow out and started to fill her leather bottle. The Prophet (pbuh) narrated this incident as follows:   

"May Allah show mercy to Ismail's mother, Hagar! If she had left Zamzam free and had not filled her hands with it, it would have been a flowing river." (Bukhari, Anbiya, 9).

After Hz. Hagar found the water, a group of Jurhumis passing through the valley of Makkah saw a bird over the valley. Jurhumis knew that this bird flew over the places where there was water but there had been no water there. They sent somebody to check whether there was water there. When they found out that there was water, they wanted permission from Hagar to settle near the water. Hz. Hagar gave them permission on condition that they would not claim any rights on this water. Hz. Ismail learned fluent Arabic from them. When he became a young man, he married a girl from Jurhumis. After this marriage, Hagar died

Hz. Ibrahim went to Makkah to check the state of his son. When he arrived at Ismail's house, he was not there. He talked to Ismail's wife.
"Where is Ismail?" Ismail's wife said,
"He has gone out to find sustenance."
"How is your living?" he asked.
"We are having difficulty; it is bad." She answered. Hz. Ibrahim said,
"When your husband comes, give him my regards and tell him to change the threshold of his gate" and went away.

When Ismail (pbuh) returned from hunting, he asked his wife,

"Did anybody come to our house?"
She said, "Yes an old man came. He asked about our living and I said, 'We are having difficulty.'" Hz. Ismail said,
"Did he tell you anything?" She said,
"He gave you his regards and said,"Tell him to change the threshold of his gate." Ismail (pbuh) realized the situation and said to her,
"That old man was my father. He wants me to divorce you. Go back to your family."

Thus, Ismail (pbuh) divorced his first wife. After a while, he married another girl from Jurhumis.

Hz. Ibrahim went to Makkah again. Ismail had gone out hunting. He talked to Ismail's wife in the same way. However, the woman said their living was fine. Then, Ibrahim (pbuh) said to her, "When your husband comes, give him my regards and tell him to keep the threshold of his gate."

When Ismail (pbuh) returned from hunting, she told him what had happened. Ismail said,

"He was my father. You are the threshold of my gate. He orders me to treat you well." (Bukhari, Anbiya, 9)

Hz. Ibrahim sometimes came from Damascus to visit his son and his wife, Hagar. Once he saw in his dream that he was sacrificing him. When he saw the same dream three times, he said to his son,
"O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: now see what is thy view!" (The son) said: "O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me if Allah so wills one practicing Patience and Constancy!" (as-Saffat, 37/102)

Allah rewarded this submission of Hz. Ibrahim (pbuh) and Ismail (pbuh). He sent a great sacrifice instead of Ismail (pbuh). (as-Saffat, 37/107)

However, Jews claim that the son that Hz. Ibrahim (pbuh) wanted to sacrifice was Hz. Ishaq (pbuh) not Hz. Ismail (pbuh). (see Ali al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanzu'l Ummal, XI, 490)

There are some weak narrations regarding the issue but the real reason for these claims of Jews is their jealousy. Hz. Umar b. Abdulaziz, the Caliph, asked a Jewish scholar who became a Muslim,"Which son was Hz. Ibrahim (pbuh) ordered to sacrifice?" He said,"By Allah! Allah ordered Ismail to be sacrificed. Jews know it. However, Jews are jealous of Arabs. They are jealous of the fact that Ismail surrendered to the divine order about him and that he was praised by Allah; they want to attribute this virtue to Ishaq, their ancestor." (Tabari, Tarikh, I, 138,139).

During one of Hz. Ibrahim's journey to Makkah, he was ordered by Allah to build the Kaaba. He built the Kaaba with his son Ismail (pbuh). (al-Baqara, 2/127; al-Hajj, 22/26-27) Hz. Ismail carried stones and Hz. Ibrahim put up the walls.

After the death of his father, Hz. Ismail (pbuh) became a prophet for the people of Hejaz. This issue is mentioned as follows in the Quran: "Also mention in the Book (the story of) Ismail: he was (strictly) true to what he promised, and he was a messenger (and) a prophet. He used to enjoin on his people Prayer and Charity and he was most acceptable in the sight of his Lord" (Maryam, 19/54-55)

According to what is reported, Hz. Ismail (pbuh) died forty years after the death of his father at the age of 137 and he was buried next to the grave of Hagar in the Kaaba / Hijr. Al-Musta'raba group of Arabs originated from the sons of Hz. Ismail (a.s); their origin goes back to Adnan.

The grave of Hz. Ismail (pbuh) is in the place called Hijr in Haram. (Ali al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanzu'l Ummal, XI, 490)

(Abdullah YÜCEL, Şamil İslam Ansiklopedisi)

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