5 Lessons We Can Learn From Hajar
Co-authored by Musa Bukhari
Four thousand years ago, lived a woman whose legacy was so powerful that it still offers us hope when we meet our own darkness all these years later. Her husband, Ibrahim (AS), left her with their baby in the barren desert. She understood that Ibrahim was following God’s orders, and she trusted His plan, even though she did not know what it was.
This is the legacy of Hajar (RA). Hajar exemplified many qualities of a believer during her trial. Here are five attributes that we should strive to follow.
1. Optimism, through thinking good of Allah (swt)
“I am as My servant expects of Me, so if he thinks good of Me then he will have it, and if he thinks evil of Me then he will have it.” (Bukhari)
After questioning Ibrahim’s decision to leave her, Hajar realised that it was an order from Allah. Hajar’s reaction demonstrates two admirable qualities. Firstly, she thought good of her husband, recognising that he would not do something so grave without instruction from God.
Secondly, Hajar responded with, “Then He will not neglect us.” (Bukhari), accepting that Allah would take care of her and her baby despite the difficulty of what they would face. She thought good of Allah, did not question His orders, and did not chase after Ibrahim out of anger or fear.
Whoever relied upon Allah, he will suffice him. (Surat al-Talaq 65:3)
2. Tawakkul (reliance on Allah)
Hajar put her trust and reliance in Allah. When the little food and drink that she had with her had run out, her baby started crying excessively out of great hunger and thirst. However, Hajar did not despair. Instead, she relied on Allah to give her a way out.
What’s more, her faith allowed Hajar to contribute to Islam, even as we practise it today. She searched for help by repeatedly walking up two mountains; what Hajar carried out as a matter of her perseverance is practised today as one of the rituals of Hajj – Safa and Marwa. This is the loft status Hajar’s actions hold today, contributing to one of the pillars of Islam.
If Allah helps you, none can overcome you: If He forsakes you, who is there, after that, that can help you? in Allah, then, Let believers put their trust. (3:160)
3. Sabr (patience)
The theme of sabr is maintained throughout the trial of Hajar. From the point of being deserted with a baby, to running out of food and water, to running up and down mountains several times looking for water, Hajar never gave up. This shows the beautiful essence of a trial from Allah – it teaches us patience, and it is a show of our character. Allah sends us these trials to not only strengthen the connection with Him and gain rewards through our struggle, but to also dig deep to fulfil ourpotential and excel thereafter. This is the fruitful and ongoing benefit of patience, which Hajar exemplified.
Ahmad Ibn Hanbal reported: Abu Muslim al-Khawlani, may Allah have mercy on him, said, “To renounce the world does not mean to forbid what is allowed, nor to squander wealth. Verily, to renounce the world means to be more reliant on what is in the hand of Allah than your own hand. If you are afflicted with a calamity, you have stronger hope for the reward in store for you, if you continue to endure it.”
4. Taqwa (being conscious of God)
Hajar’s response to her trial is filled with taqwa. She was always mindful of Allah’s presence and never thought badly of Him; this was the foundation which allowed her to exercise optimism and patience.
O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Quran 49:13)
Hajar demonstrated objectivity by understanding why Ibrahim had to leave her and her baby in the desert. She didn’t know how many hours or days she would be left for, but detachment, in its right place, helped to keep her focused on the more important attachment to Allah.
She recognised that the trial came from Allah and only He could bring her reprieve. This was Hajar’s example of detachment from all but Allah, even from the love and dependence she held for her husband.
On the authority of Abi al-‘Abbas Sahl bin Sa’d al-Sa’idi who said, “A man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, direct me to an act which if I do it, [will cause] Allah to love me and people to love me.” He answered: “Detach yourself from the world and Allah will love you. Detach yourself from what people possess and they will love you.” (Ibn Majah)
Hajar’s character is truly inspiring. She faced a test that few of us can comprehend, yet her actions show that she was a person of true faith. There is so much we can learn from Hajar and so many qualities that we can learn to apply to our own lives.
May Allah allow us to excel in our worship, using the example of Hajar and the prophets, and may we be in the company of the righteous in Jannah.