The Slaughtered One - The Story of Our Prophet Isma'il
by: Kamal al-Syyed | Translated by: Jasim al-Rasheed

Prophet Abraham emigrated to the land of the two rivers (Iraq). He took with him his wife Sarah and his cousin prophet Lot (A. S). They went to the Kingdom of Egypt. There the King of Egypt gave Sarah a slave girl called Hajir. For he wanted to honor the wife of the Friend of the Merciful (Allah), namely Abraham.

Prophet Abraham went to Palestine. He arrived in the village of Sadum, on the coast of the Dead Sea. Then be ordered Lot to live in that village to invite its people to believe in Allah, the Glorified.

As for prophet Abraham and his wife Sarah, they went to Palestine. Prophet Abraham saw a beautiful valley surrounded by hills. So he stopped to rest.

Many years ago, prophet Abraham lived in the land, which is today called the city of al-Khalil.

Prophet Abraham pitched his tents in that wide valley. Then he let his cattle graze.

That valley was used by travelers, so for this reason travelers visited Abraham. Prophet Abraham received them well and talked with good words, Then he supplied them with fresh water and delicious food.

Prophet Abraham preached to his guests. He wanted the people to worship Allah, the One and Only. He did not want them to associate any partner with Allah.

Days and years passed. People understood that Abraham was a good, generous person. They were familiar with his morals, generosity, and love for guests. They of knew his righteousness, worship, and piety.

The Good News

When people looked carefully at the eyes of prophet Abraham, they found sadness in them. Why was Abraham sad? He was sad because he loved children. He hoped that he would have a child.

Prophet Abraham became an old man. His wife was an old woman, but they had no child. They wanted the child to play in their tent or with their lambs.

Sarah, the wife of prophet Abraham, loved her husband. She did not want him to be sad, thus she asked him one evening: "Do you want to have children'?" "That's up to Allah's will," replied prophet Abraham "I'm satisfied with that."

Sarah, the righteous woman, explained: 'I want to have a baby. I want to look after him. I will love it, and it will. love me."

"How will that happen?" asked prophet Abraham.

Sarah answered: "Friend of the Merciful (Allah), I will give you my slave girl Hajir. Marry her. May Allah give you children from her." "Sarah, I don't want you to be sad because of me," explained Abraham.

"Friend of the Merciful (Allah), I will not be sad. Rather, I will be glad," commented Sarah.

Sarah gave her slave girl to her husband, Abraham. Prophet Abraham married the slave girl.

Nine months passed. Prophet Abraham heard his baby weeping. He rejoiced at the birth of his baby lsma'il.

The Departure

Allah, the Glorified, gave Abraham a baby. Abraham called the baby Isma'il. Isma'il was a lovable baby. He filled his father's heart with happiness. Abraham kissed the baby and spent some time in the tent of the baby's mother, Hajir.

Sarah was a good woman. She loved prophet Abraham. She wanted him to be glad, however she was jealous of Hajir. Allah gave Hajir a baby and deprived Sarah of that.

Sarah wanted to get rid of her jealousy. She did not want to bear malice against Hajir. So she said to her husband Abraham: "Now, I don't want to see Hajir. When I see her, I'm jealous of her. I don't want to enter the fire because of jealousy."

Allah, the Glorified, is Kind to people. Sarah was deprived of having babies. She endured the sufferings of the emigration, for she believed in her husband Abraham. She was patient throughout those years. She remained believing in her Lord and the message of Abraham.

To the Old House

Our Lord, the Glorified, ordered Abraham to take Hajir and her son Isma'il and go to a distant place in the south.

Prophet Abraham obeyed Allah's order, then began walking to an unknown place. Sarah accompanied Abraham. She was carrying her baby Ism a'il. They walked for days and days. When prophet Abraham saw a beautiful place or a grassy valley, he looked at the sky, and hoped that he arrived at the promised place.

However, an angel came down from the sky and said to him: "Go on walking."

So prophet Abraham and Hajir, carrying her baby, continued walking.

After long days, they arrived in a valley. The valley had nothing except sand and some wild plants.

In that valley, the angel came down from the sky and said to prophet Abraham: "You have arrived in the Sacred Land."

Abraham stopped in that valley. They valley was void of life. It bad neither water nor plants. No one had lived in it. Allah wanted Hajir and her baby to live in that place.


Prophet Abraham kissed his lovable baby, Isma'il and wept for him.

Abraham had to go back and leave Hajir and her baby at that wild place, so he wept for them.

Hajir turned to left and right. She saw nothing except sand and mountainous rocks. So she asked her husband: "Will you leave us in this lonely valley?"

"Hajir, Allah has ordered me to do that, answered Abraham.

Hajir was a believing woman. She knew that Allah was Kind to people, and that He wanted to bestow blessings upon them.

She said to Abraham: "As Allah has ordered you to do this, then He will look after us. He won't forget his creatures."

Abraham saw his wife and his baby off and went away.

Abraham stopped on the tops of the hills and looked at the sky. He asked Allah to protect his wife and his baby from wickedness.

Water! Water!

Abraham disappeared in the distant horizon. Hajir was unable to see him. As for Isma'il, he did not know what had happened.

Hajir spread the skin of the ram for her baby. She rose to make a small tent for her and her baby. She worked with tranquillity as if she had been in her own house.

She firmly believed that Allah would look after her and her baby.

During the day she collected some wood. When the evening came, she burnt the wood and made a loaf of bread. She spent most nights looking at the sky full of stars.

Several days passed. Hajir led the same life. She used up all the water in her water-skin. The valley was full of silence.

Hajir walked about the valley but she found no trace of water. She believed that the valley had no water.

No body passed through the valley and no bird flew in its sky.

Isma'il, the baby, wept because he was thirsty. He wanted a drop of water. However, he did not know what was happening and where he was.

Hajir looked at her baby with kindness. Then she asked herself. "What will I do? Where can I get water in this desert?"

Suddenly her heart was full of the feelings of motherhood. She said to herself. I must do something. I must find water in this land.

"Perhaps there is a small stream or a spring of water beyond that mountain. Perhaps a good person has dug a well beyond that hill for travelers."

Hajir rose. She looked all about her. She was afraid that a wolf or a hyena would eat her baby., However, she saw nothing except some thistles here and there, so she ran towards al-Safa Mountain.

Hajir ran quickly. She hoped that she would find water. In the meantime she was afraid that a wolf would eat her thirsty baby, Isma'il. She heard Isma'il crying.

Hajir stopped at the top of the mountain. She looked at the valley and saw something like the waves of water, thus she descended towards the valley.

However, there was nothing except sand. What she saw in the middle of the valley was a mere mirage.

Hajir carne back running to her baby, Isma'il. She heard him crying for water. Then she looked at al-Marwa Mountain. She hoped that she would find water beyond it.

She ran very quickly. Sand was rising under her feet.

She saw something like water. So she ran quickly but she saw nothing except a mirage. She did not hear Isma'il cry because she went far away.

So she came back quickly. She heard him crying in the distance. She thought that he was looking for her or that he was afraid.

Again she began running between the al-Safa Mountain and al-Marwa Mountain. She was looking for water for her baby Isma'il. She thought that he will die of thirst.

Then she looked at the sky and said at the top of her voice: "My Lord!"

She climbed al-Marwa Mountain. She did not see Isma'il and did not hear him cry. She was afraid that he died of thirst or a hungry wolf ate him, so she came back running very quickly. She found Isma'il calmly moving his hands and legs. She was astonished to see a spring of water gushing out at Isma'il's little legs.

She looked at the sky and wept for joy. Allah had accepted her prayers, so He made water gush out from the sand.

She made a small wall all around the water because she wanted the water to be a well. Later people called the well Zamzam. The thirsty drink from it.

The Tribe of Juhrum

Birds smelled the water. They hovered happily over the spring.

Hajir was glad to see the birds flying in the sky of the valley.

Isma'il was also happy to see them playing in the air.

The people of those deserts were Bedouins. On day the tribe of Juhrum passed by the valley. It saw birds flying in the sky.

The tribe knew that there was water in the valley, so it headed for the well.

When the members of the tribe entered the valley, they were astonished to see a woman and her baby in it.

The woman said to thern: "I'm the wife of Abraham, the Friend of the Merciful (Allah)."

The members of the tribe of Juhrum were good people, thus they asked Hajir: "Please, let us live in this valley."

Hajir replied: "You have to wait till I ask the Friend of the Merciful (Allah) for permission."

The, members of the tribe of Juhrum pitched their tents near the valley. They waited till prophet Abraham came.

Prophet Abraham came. He saw the tents. He also saw camels grazing about the desert. So be rejoiced at the arrival of that Arab tribe.

The members of the tribe of Juhrum came and asked Abraham to permit them to inhabit the valley. Abraham permitted them.

In turn they gave lsma'il many lambs. They pitched a tent for him and his mother to protect them from the sun's heat and winter rain.

Isma'il grew up and learned the language of the Arabs. He was a good young man. He inherited the manners of his father, Abraham. He was affected by the morals of the good Arabs. He learned from them generosity, entertainment, bravery, and knighthood.

The Kaaba, the Symbol of Oneness

Allah, our Lord, ordered prophet Abraham (A.S.) to build a house and a mosque as a symbol for the Oneness of Allah and a place for worshipping Him.

Prophet Abraham said to his son Isma'il: "Allah has ordered me to build His House on that small hill."

Abraham obeyed Allah's order, and Isma'il obeyed his father when he ordered him to build Allah's House.

Abraham, the old man, and Isma'il, the young man, had to carry out that difficult task.

They had to bring suitable rocks from the mountains surrounding the valley.

They had to gather earth and bring enough water to build the House.

So they brought rocks from the mountains surrounding the valley, made a water pool, and collected dust.

lsma'il chose solid rocks and brought them to build the foundations of the House.

He collected many green rocks, and then he poured water on the earth.

Prophet Abraham aligned the green rocks one by one to build the foundations of the House. As for Isma'il, he handed his father the rocks.

Isma'il and his father built a line of rocks every day. Then they went around it and said: "Our Lord, accept (it) from us. Indeed, You are Most Hearing, Most Merciful."

The building reached high in the air. It was eight meters high. Prophet Abraham saw a space in the high angle of the House.

That night meteors were glowing in the sky, A meteor fell at the bottom of the neighboring mountains.

In the morning prophet Abraham headed for the mountain towering over the valley. He saw a rock as white as snow. The rock was about the size of the space. So prophet Abraham carried it and put it into the space.

Abraham and Isma'il finished building the House, the Sacred House of Allah. The house was the first mosque in which people worshipped Allah, the One and Only.

The Kaaba had two doors one facing the east, the other facing the west. Prophet Abraham gathered plants with good smell and hanged them on the doors of the Kaaba. Hajir, Isma'il's mother, came and gave cloth as a gift cloth to cover the Kaaba.

Abraham summoned People to the Hajj

Prophet Abraham climbed the mountain. Hie stopped on its summit and shouted to people at the top of his voice. He summoned them to make the pilgrimage to the Kaaba.

The tribe of Juhrum and the neighboring Arab tribes heard the call of Abraham, the Friend of the Merciful (Allah).

In that year no one performed the hajj except prophet Abraham, Isma'il, and Hajir. The angel Jabrael come down to prophet Abraham and taught him how to perform the hajj.

They took water from the Zamzam Well and washed their bodies. They wore white clothes and went around the Kaaba seven times. They Performed their prayers and asked Allah to accept their deeds.

Then they went to cross the valley of al-Safa Mountain and al-Marwa Mountain. There Hajir remembered her terrible state on that day twelve years ago. That was when Isma'il was a baby.

She remembered the time when Isma'il was crying and she was looking for water. She also remembered when she crossed the valley seven times looking for water, and when she supplicated to Allah. Moreover, she remembered the time when Allah, the Glorified, made water gush out at Ismael's feet.

Allah, our Lord, wanted this events to stay alive in the memory of people. He wanted them to remember that Allah, the Glorified, had power over all things.

Prophet Abraham and his son Isma'il went up on al-Safa Mountain. They humbly looked at the House of Allah and said: "There is no god but Allah. He is One and Only. There is no partner with Him. Kingdom and praise belong to Him. He gives life (to creatures) and makes (them) die. He has power over all things."


The angel Gabrael came down to prophet Abraham. He ordered him to take water and go to the Arafat and Mina Mountains. Since then the eighteenth day of Dhi al-Hijja has been called the Day of Quenching (Youm al-Tarwiya)

Prophet Abraham spent the night there looking at the sky full of stars.

He looked at the stars which looked like lamps. He knew that Allah created them, so he prostrated to Allah, the Creator. All good attributcs belong to Allah. Allah gives life to (creatures) and makes (them) die.

Prophet Abraham closed his eyes and slept. He dreamt that he slaughtered his son Isma'il. Then he woke up. When he woke up, he saw that his son was sleeping. So he slept again.

He dreamt that he slaughtered his son and offered him as a sacrifice to the Lord of the worlds.

Prophet Abraham woke up. Dawn had broken. He performed the ritual ablution and prayed. Isma'il woke up. He also performed the ritual ablution and prayed. The sun rose and covered the hills with light.

Prophet Abraham was sad. Allah, the Great and Almighty, wanted to test him again. Allah wanted him to kill (sacrifice) his son. What would he do?

If Allah, the Glorified, had ordered him to throw himself into fire, he would have done that. However, what would he do? This time he had to murder (sacrifice) his son Isma'il. I (the author) wonder: What would Abraham do? Would he tell his son about that? Would he sacrifice his son by force'? If he had told his son of that, would his son have accepted it? Would Isma'il bear the pains of being sacrificed?

Isma'il saw that his father was sad. So he asked him: "Father why are you sad?"

"My little son, a certain matter has made me worried, answered prophet Abraham "I dreamt that I killed (sacrificed) you. What is your opinion about that?"

Isma'il understood that Allah, the Glorified, ordered his Apostle Abraham to sacrifice his son. Isma'il loved his father very much. He knew that his father behaved according to Allah's orders.

Abraham was the Friend of the Merciful (Allah). Allah tested him when he was a young man in the land of Babylon.

Isma'il knew that Allah wanted to test His friend Abraham. So he said to his father: "Father, do what Allah's ordered you to. Allah willing, you'll find me among the patient."

Prophet Abraham rejoiced at Ismael's words. Isma'il was loyal and obedient to his father, He believed in Allah and His Apostle.

The Slaughtered One

Prophet Abraham took a knife and piece of rope and went to one of the near-by valleys. Isma'il accompanied his father silently. He was preparing himself for the moment of being sacrificed. He asked Allah to make him patient in order to bear the pain of being sacrificed.

Hajir thought that Abraham and Ism5'il went to collect wood.

Prophet Abraham and Isma'il reached the valley.

Isma'il looked at his father. He saw that his eyes were full of tears. He also wept for his father, who was an old man. He wanted to end the matter quickly. So be said to his father: "Father, tie my hands and legs strongly. Don't let your clothes become stained with blood. Don't let my mother know about this. Sharpen the knife. Slaughter me quickly, for the pain of slaughtering is severe."

Prophet Abraham wept and said: "My little son, you're the best helper against Allah's order."

He tied Ismael's hands and legs strongly. Isma'il completely submitted to Allah's order. Then he closed his eyes.

He put the knife on Ismael's neck. There was no time except one moment.

What happened at that exciting moment? Was Isma'il slaughtered? No.

Prophet Abraham heard a heavenly voice. The voice ordered him to slaughter a ram instead of Isma'il.

Prophet Abraham looked in the direction of the voice. He saw a fat ram coming down from the top of the mountain.

Prophet Abraham untied Ismael's hands and legs. Then he slaughtered the ram and offered it as a sacrifice to our Lord, the Merciful.

Slaughtering rams has become among the rites of the hajj since then.

Abraham and Isma'il built Allah's House. Moslems from every where come to visit it. They go around it and glorify Allah's Name. They run between Mount al-Safa and Mount al-Marwa as Hajir did. They sacrifice rams as Abraham did. They do that according to Abraham's religion. Abraham's religion is the religion of Islam.

I am the Son of the two Slaughtered Ones

Do you know who said this phrase?

It was prophet Mohammed (S. A. W.) who said it. Why did he say it? He said it because he belonged to Ismael's progeny. Prophet Isma'il (A. S.) lived and married and had children.

Abd al-Mutalib, the grandfather of prophet Mohammed (S. A. W), belonged to Ismael's children. It was he who dug the Zamzam Well.

The Abyssinian Army attacked Makkah during Abd al-Mutalib's lifetime. They came to destroy the Kaaba.

Abd al-Mutalib asked Allah, the Glorified, to protect the Sacred House from the wickedness of the wickedness. Allah accepted the prayer of the grandson of Abraham and Isma'il. He sent the birds of Ababil to attack the Army of Abraha, the Abyssinian. So the birds attacked the army and scattered it.

Abd al-Mutalib asked Allah, the Glorified, to give him ten sons. He vowed that if Allah gave him ten sons he would sacrifice one of them for Him. Allah, the Glorified, gave Abd al-Mutalib ten sons, so Abd al-Mutallb said: "Allah has given me ten sons, so I must fulfill my vow."

He drew lots, and the lot fell upon Abd Allah, the father of prophet Mohammed (S. A. W.). He wanted to sacrifice him.

The people of Makkah loved Abd Allah very much, thus they said to Abd al-Mutalib: "Don't slay your son. Draw lots between him and camels. Give your Lord till He is satisfied."

Abd al-Mutalib drew lots between his son and ten camels. However, the lot came to Abd Allah. The number of the camels was one hundred. Then the lot fell upon them. Allah was satisfied with this number.

Abd al-Mutalib ordered his people to slaughter the camels and divide their meat among the poor and the hungry.

Abd Allah was about to be sacrificed, but Allah was satisfied with the camels. So Abd Allah was like Isma'il in this situation.

For this reason prophet Mohammed said: "I am the son of the two slaughtered ones." That is because he was the son of Abd Allah b. Abd al Mutalib who was among the children of the Slaughtered One, namely Isma'il.

Moslems go to Makkah every year to perform the hajj. They remember the story of Isma'il, who was loyal and obedient to Allah and His Apostle.

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

[83] And most surely Ibrahim followed his way.
[84] When he came to his Lord with a free heart,
[85] When he said to his father and his people: What is it that you worship?
[86] A lie-- gods besides Allah-- do you desire?
[87] What is then your idea about the Lord of the worlds?
[88] Then he looked at the stars, looking up once,
[89] Then he said: Surely I am sick (of your worshipping these).
[90] So they went away from him, turning back.
[91] Then he turned aside to their gods secretly and said: What! do you not eat?
[92] What is the matter with you that you do not speak?
[93] Then he turned against them secretly, smiting them with the right hand.
[94] So they (people) advanced towards him, hastening.
[95] Said he: What! do you worship what you hew out?
[96] And Allah has created you and what you make.
[97] They said: Build for him a furnace, then cast him into the burning fire.
[98] And they desired a war against him, but We brought them low.
[99] And he said: Surely I fly to my lord; He will guide me.
[100] My Lord! grant me of the doers of good deeds.
[101] So We gave him the good news of a boy, possessing forbearance.
[102] And when he attained to working with him, he said: O my son! surely I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you; consider then what you see. He said: O my father! do what you are commanded; if Allah please, you will find me of the patient ones.
[103] So when they both submitted and he threw him down upon his forehead,
[104] And We called out to him saying: O Ibrahim!
[105] You have indeed shown the truth of the vision; surely thus do We reward the doers of good:
[106] Most surely this is a manifest trial.
[107] And We ransomed him with a Feat sacrifice.
[108] And We perpetuated (praise) to him among the later generations.
[109] Peace be on Ibrahim.
[110] Thus do We reward the doers of good.

Koran, 37, 83-110