When Abraham prayed to God for a son virtuous and righteous, he was eighty ﬁve.
And a son was born of Hagar from Abraham, and he named him Ishmael. Birth of Ishmael caused grief to Sarah, the first wife of Abraham. She demanded Abraham to separate himself from them. God commanded Abraham to take them to the desert of Arabia. Abraham brought Hagar and Ishmael in the wilderness of desert where now Ka’aba stands. In those days this place was not inhabited and it was all wilderness.
On his way back, when son and mother got out of his sight, Abraham prayed to God, “O our Lord! I have made some of my off spring 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. ”
(S: 14, V: 37)
In few days when the stock of water and the dates with the mother and the child exhausted, breasts of the mother dried up, the child started crying. The mother grew restless and started searching for water anxiously. She first went on to the nearby hill Safa and found nothing there. She returned and saw the crying child and climbed the other hill Marwa. There too, she found nothing so she returned to the child and when she couldn’t ‘ withstand the cries of the child, she again went up the Safa. Thus she completed seven rounds of running to and from, between the two peaks of Safa and Marwa. God approved the anxious feelings of the mother and this effort; saai, was made to be followed by every pilgrim that comes to the House of God:
Behold! Safa and Marwa are among the Symbols of God. So if those who visit the House in the Season or at other times should compass them round, it is no sin in them. And if any one obeys his own impulse to good, be sure that God IS He Who recognizes and knows.
(55 2, V1 153)
On completion of her seventh running from Marwa, when Hagar came to the child, she saw a fountain gushing underneath the small feet of Ishmael. God sent an angel to tell her not to worry, God would not let her perish and that was the place where the child and father would construct Ka’aba; the House of God. And, people would come there from far and wide to worship and pay homage to God.
After sometime, the tribe of Bini Jerham, seeing the abundance of water settled there with the permission of Hagar. Ishmael’s childhood was spent with those people.
Many commands of God are directly related to with Ishmael or were proclaimed in his times and these are still practiced and observed. One of them is the proclamation of Circumcision. Ishmael was thirteen and Abraham was ninety-nine when the Circumcision was made mandatory.
Another practice that is directly related with the august person of Ishmael and is mentioned in Divine Scriptures, is offering of sacrifice once a year.
Abraham witnessed a dream for three nights consecutively that he was scarifying his beloved son Ishmael for God. When he related this dream to his son, Ishmael said to his father that he was a prophet of God and a revered person, if God had wished him to sacriﬁce his son, he, being an obedient son would submit to the holy will of God and he might proceed.
To fulfill the God’s Command, both father and the son got out of the house. In order to stop them to advance on the path of God, Satan came to Hagar and told her that Abraham was taking Ishmael, her only son to slay him. She said that he was their only son who had been granted to them after so much praying and Abraham cannot do that unless there was some reason for that. Satan said. “God has commanded him to do so.” Hearing this, she said, “If this is the decree of my Lord, God, I am pleased with this.”
After his failure with the mother, Satan came to Abraham and said, “You are old now and he is your only son, if you would kill him who would carry your name?” Abraham replied, “I am related to him because of God who has made me his father. God has entrusted me with his responsibility and He is the Master and Omnipotent, He may command us anything that He may desire. We submit to Him as obedient servants.”
Seeing his efforts bearing no fruits and futile for the mother and father, Satan attempted his trick upon Ishmael.
Ishmael replied to his misleading suggestion, “My father is near to God and Gabriel comes to him with God’s message. His acts are according to God’s Commands. I am sure that his dream is true and I submit myself to the will of God.”
On their way towards the alter, the devil attempted to distract them three times and all these three times, son and father cast stones on him. To commemorate this great sacriﬁce, the pilgrims and the Muslims, offer sacriﬁce on 10 day of Zilhaj. The casting of pebbles towards the devil is now practiced as Rami Jamar.
When son and the father reached Mana, Abraham caused his son Ishmael to lie on the ground on his face and attempted to cut his throat.
So when they had both submitted their wills to God, and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead for sacriﬁce, We called out to him ”O Abraham! "Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!" Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial: And We ransomed him with a momentous sacriﬁce. (S: 37, V: 103-107)
Obedience and submission of Abraham and Ishmael earned the approval of God and God saved Ishmael and gave a rain to Abraham to sacriﬁce instead and thus completed his dream. This was the Great Sacriﬁce that God has made a practical example of sacriﬁce.
God commanded Abraham to build a House for God. Father and the son prayed continuously to God during the construction of Ka’aba. Holy Prophet (PBUH) had said, ‘I am the answer to the prayers of my father Abraham.”
Two great prophets of God constructed Ka’aba for they first time. Father was the mason and the son was the laborer. When the walls of Ka’aba reached the height and a pedestal was needed to stand upon for further construction, a large stone was used or the purpose. This very stone is now known as the Station of Abraham. Abraham made the announcement of Pilgrimage standing upon this very stone.
"Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall rehearse Thy Signs to them and instruct them in scripture and wisdom, and sanctify them: For Thou art the Exalted in Might, the Wise.”
(S22, V: 129)
When Ishmael was appointed a prophet, he preached the Religion of God and spread the teachings of his father in Arabia, Yemen and Hijaz.
His mother tongue was Egyptian and his father’s language was Hebrew, he was very ﬂuent in Arabic as well. His knowledge of these languages helped him in spreading the message of God far and wide with great success.
Ishmael wedded Amara bint visit his son. Ishmael was not at home. Abraham asked his daughter-in-law as to how was she doing She started complaining about difficult situations and poverty. When he was leaving, he told her to give his regards to her husband and he should change his door lining. When Ishmael came home and his wife told him about the stranger and his message of changing of lining, he understood that the guest was no other than his father who had suggested him to have another wife.
Then he married Saeeda Bint Mudaf Jerhami. After some time Abraham again came to visit his son. This time too, he was not around. His wife greeted the old man with courtesy. When he asked her how was she doing, she thanked the Lord for His blessings and praised her husband for being so caring. Abraham, before leaving told her to give his regards to Ishmael and to enjoy the new door lining and to keep it safe.
On his return when Ishmael heard the message, he told his wife that the old man, she was telling him about, was his father Abraham had delicately suggested not to leave her. Ishmael had twelve sons and they grew to be the head of their respective tries.
“And these are the names of Ishmael's sons. The first born of Ishmael was Nebajot; and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadar, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their towns and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations."
(Genesis Ch: 25, 13-16)
Two of these twelve sons of Ishmael: Nebajot and Kedar are more famous than others. The generation of Nebajot was called People of the Stone and the generation of Kedar was called People of Rass; meaning an old well. Generations of Kedar inhabited Makka. Holy Prophet (PBUH) was born in this linage.
Ishmael had a daughter; too, whose name was Mahalat. She was married to Esau, the firstborn of his twin brother from Isaac and Jacob’s elder brother.
Ishmael is the forefather of Holy Prophet (PBUH), whose time is estimated about three thousand years before Holy Prophet of Islam. He lived for 137 years. He was buried near Ka’aba between Mezab and Hijar Aswad. It is said that his mother was also buried there. By the time of his death his offspring generations had spread over to Hijaz, Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Egypt.
Two of the miracles performed by Ishmael are found in books of history. Once a man brought his lean and diseased cow and told him that the cattle had no milk. Ishmael ran his hand over the udder of the cow, and it started giving milk. Similarly, once few guests were there, who had come from far away, there wasn’t anything to serve them. He had some water from the Zamzam well, in a cooking pot and covered it with his shawl. And, then he prayed to God, blew over the pot. When the cover of the pot was removed the pot was found full of sumptuous food.
The holy Quran tributes Ishmael in these words:
Also mention in the Book the story of Ishmael: He was strictly true to what he promised, and he was an apostle and a prophet. He used to enjoin on his people Prayer and Charity, and he was most acceptable in the sight of his Lord.
(S: 19,V: 54-55)
And Ishmael and Elisha, and Jonas, and Lut: and to all We gave favor above the nations: To them and to their fathers, and progeny and brethren.‘ We chose them, and we guided them to a straight way.
(S: 6,V: 87-88)
And (remember) Ishmael, Idrees, and Zulkiﬂ, all (men) of constancy and patience; We admitted them to Our mercy: for they were of the righteous ones.
(S: 21,V: 85-86)
And commemorate Ishmael, Elisha, and Zulkiﬂ: Each of them was of the Company of the Good.
(S: 38,V: 48)
The story of Ishmael mentioned in the holy Quran guides us to this simple conclusion that when anything is done for the sake of God and for earning His pleasure, its results live long and it become immortal. Willingness of Hagar to reside in the wilderness and her running in between the two hills in search of water earned commendation of God Almighty and a spring of flowing water was made available for them and repetition of this act of faith and belief, to commemorate her faithful effort, following her footsteps was made mandatory for every pilgrim that visits the holy Ka’aba to perform the pilgrimage.
It has been revealed in this story that when a person is acquainted with that relation which exists between him and his Lord God, he becomes aware of the reasons behind every act and deed of God, no form of Satan can deceive him and his pattern of belief and faith reaches those heights of certitude whence he have full realization of the fact that every thing comes from God and returns to Him only. Such a person witnesses the reﬂection of the Beauty of God in everything, which he observes.
Willingness of Ishmael to be sacrificed by his father for the sake of God is an irrefutable proof of the fact that he was familiar with the extraterrestrial realms remaining in the world of matter work of his imaginations or something like that rather He did not reject the dream of his father considering it just a I acknowledged it as true and guidance from his Lord and submitted himself for the sacrifice. This clearly establishes that Ishmael was well versed with the senses of the dreams and that of the wakefulness.
Deliberation in this story of the holy Quran leads us to conclude that besides other things the importance and significance of the world of dreams have been pointed out in this story.
Let us delve upon the reality, the details of the components of dreams.
That, which we call dreaming, leads us towards the soul and its potentials. That is, during sleep all the apparent movements of our limbs except breathing are suspended but in that State_0f dreaming we are ambulant, articulating, contemplating, feeling sad or happy. In short, the sum total articulating that we pursue during wakefulness are also performed or conducted in the state of dreaming.
One can raise this objection that dreaming is merely an abstract activity and is related with imaginations only because when we restore to wakefulness, no effect of the deeds performed or activity conducted lasts thereafter. It is an altogether absurd approach. Everyone in his lifetime occasionally experiences such dreams that are called wet dreams or wakes up horriﬁed after a frightening nightmare or the dreams that come true sometime after awakening.
We will not be able to find even a single person who hasn’t experienced such a dream or dreams in his lifetime. In View of this fact, this statement that dreams are merely a work of imaginations is refuted altogether. After acknowledging the fact that the dreams are not mere imaginations, the significance of dreams is conﬁrmed.
If we are attentive towards something, it has some value otherwise both dreaming and wakefulness has no significance long waking hours pass by absent—mindedly. Similarly major portion of dreams, too, passes by unnoticed. At times dreams have significance and at others even alert conscious significance at all.
Both dreaming and wakefulness are related to with the senses. In the former state the speed of senses become fast and in the later one it slows down but the nature of the senses does not change or alter. Same one type of senses operates in in the dreaming and the wakefulness. It can be said that dreaming and wakefulness are two chambers of our mind When the Senses are operating through one chamber it is named as wakefulness and when _these function through the other one, it is known as dreaming. It means the same one set of senses is alternating in dreaming and awakening.
The method of working of these senses, during waking, is that the eyelids strike upon the eyeballs to make these senses work, that is, man enters the realm of the senses of the wakefulness after getting out of the senses of dreaming.
During dreaming-man eats, drinks and moves around, which means that the soul moves around even without using this body of ﬂesh and bones. This is the ability of the soul, which becomes functional only in the state of dreaming. If somehow or the other, we could explore this ability of the soul, we could put it to our use even in our wakefulness. The knowledge of the prophets of God commences from this point and this the knowledge through which they told us that from where does man come, where did he live before coming to this world and where does he go after leaving this world of matter.
For witnessing all these unseen details all the sages, prophets of God and His messengers practiced meditation and taught their disciples to meditate in the components of the universe.
Man remains active whether he is in a state of consciousness or is living under his Unconscious mind. When the life is spent remaining within the conﬁnes of Spatio-temporal restraints, it is known as wakefulness and when one gets liberated from the confines and gravity of Space and Time, it is known as dreaming.
Man has the habit of waking after inducing sleep upon the Unconscious going to sleep after his conscious sleeps. When the Unconscious awakes, the Conscious sleeps and when the Conscious awakes, the Unconscious sleeps. Quran has termed the Diurnal Senses as the Day (Nihar) and the Nocturnal Senses as the Night (Lail). The World Unseen and knowledge about it can only be accessed through the Nocturnal Senses and Material world and knowledge about it are the Diurnal Senses.
Whether it is Nocturnal or these are Diurnal senses, urges of both the senses are the same. In Diurnal Senses we remain conﬁned in the Spatio-temporal limits whereas in Nocturnal Senses we become free from the limiting restrictions of Space and Time.
Waves of Noor (Light) come from the heavens and the soul absorbs them because only Noor can absorb Noor. Soul is a pure body; it is not an imaginary thing. When these waves transform into chemical components, brain with million of cells come into being. These very waves of the soul are distributed in these cells of the brain but the cells do not accommodate all these waves. The waves needed by the soul remain infused in the soul and the waves necessary for the working of brain become the components of brain, thus forming the brain.
Holy Prophet (PBUH) lived for sixty-three years. He received Revelations for twenty-three years. Initially for six months he witnessed true dreams. Six months have the same ratio with twenty-three years, which is there for the dreams with the chapters of spiritual knowledge; i.e., 1: 46.
According to the Holy Prophet (PBUH), “Dreams are also a kind of Revelation.” He said, “Other than divinations no sign of prophet hood is left.”
When his companions asked him, “ What do you mean by Divinations?”
“True Dreams,” he had replied.
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