Our Prophet's
"And you are truly ˹a man˺ of outstanding character"
[Surah Al-Qalam 68:4]
The Children of Ismail - the Arabs
By: Shaikh Zafar Ul Hasan Al Madani

Ismail (peace be upon him) grew up and got married to one of the daughters of the people of caravan. Now the family grew into three. Ismail (peace be upon him) was an excellent archer. He used to go to the valley to hunt and bring meat for his family. This was a routine and it continued till Hajrah (May Allah be pleased with her) died.

One day, Ibrahim (peace be upon him) came to visit his son. Ismail (peace be upon him) was not at home. His wife did not recognise him. He asked the girl for Ismail (peace be upon him) and she told him that he was not at home. He asked her if everything was okay. She was ungrateful, and complained bitterly about her tough domestic life. Ibrahim (peace be upon him) left after leaving a message for Ismail that he should change the threshold of his door. In the evening when Ismail (peace be upon him) returned, his wife conveyed him the message. He said, “He was my father and he has asked me to divorce you”. He then divorced her and married another girl from the same tribe.

In his next visit, Ibrahim (peace be upon him) found that his son was not at home again. He asked his new daughter-in-law how things were. She expressed gratitude and offered good hospitality to her guest, whose identity was still unknown to her. She cheerfully answered that they were prospering and she expressed gratitude to Allah for all his blessings. She offered Ibrahim (peace be upon him) meat and water, and he asked for Allah’s blessings on all their meat and water. When he left, he told her to give his regards to her husband and to tell him to keep the threshold of his gate.

When Ismail (peace be upon him) returned home, he asked if anyone had visited in his absence. She told him about the nice old man and the piece of advice he had left in his message for Ismail (peace be upon him). From this message Ismail (peace be upon him) got to know that his father approved of the new wife and had advised Ismail (peace be upon him) to keep her with him.

Lessons in character building from the story of Ismail (Peace be upon him)

Islam has laid a lot of emphasis on gratitude. Ungratefulness causes one to lose many blessings. The first lady lost the honour of being the wife of Prophet Ismail (peace be upon him) due to her ingratitude.

The second one was very hospitable to the traveler and expressed gratitude and delight on her life with her husband. A pleasing quality indeed.

The Arabs are the descendants of this couple and that is the origin of their race. A long time passed and one day Ibrahim came to visit his son again. It was here that Allah commanded them to build the Ka’ba. As they worked, they kept repeating:

“Our Lord! Accept this service from us, for Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.”
(Al Baqarah :127)

That is how the Ka’ba was built.

One of the supplications that Ibrahim (peace be upon him) made: “Our Lord! and send amongst them a messenger from themselves who will recite to them Your verses and teach them the Book and wisdom and purify them. Indeed, You are the Exalted in Might, the Wise.”

There were four things Ibrahim (peace be upon him) pleaded to Allah in the above supplication.

  1. A messenger to his people from his offspring
  2.  Who would teach them his book
  3. and (impart) wisdom
  4. and purify them

This supplication was answered with the advent of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.