Abraham and Ishmail in Hijjaz

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In this occasion I would like posting about history of Abraham and Ismail in the Hijjaz. I hope this article can help you in understanding the Islamic history. Read carefully!
Though the Quran, unlike the Bible, does not begin with Creation its various revelations address "occasions" rather than develop into a narrative line it often comments upon it. It knows too about the cosmological Adam, and Noah consistently appears in its enumeration of the prophets sent to humankind; but by the frequency, length and importance of its references to Abraham, it is clear that he is the central figure in the development of God's relations with His human creation, and not merely as a prophet. The Quran is more generous than the Bible in providing details of Abraham's "conversion" to the worship of the One True God (Quran 2: 74-79, 21: 52-71, etc.), but it passes thence directly to Abraham and his son Ishmael in Mecca and God's command to father and son to construct the Ka`ba there.
There is no mention in the Quran of Hagar or Sarah, nor any reference to the Bible's elaborate stories of the early days of Ishmael and Isaac. Their history was left for the later Muslim tradition, and so too was the explanation of how Abraham and Ishmael got from the land of Israel to Mecca. Later writers responded with enthusiasm to the challenge, and there is more than one medieval Muslim version of how it came about. The historian Tabari (d. 923 A.D.) had read a number of them and presented his own conflation of the different traditions on Abraham's transit to the Hijaz of Western Arabia.
According to . . . al-Suddi: Sarah said to Abraham, "You may take pleasure in Hagar, for I have permitted it." So he had intercourse with Hagar and she gave birth to Ishmael. Then he had intercourse with Sarah and she gave birth to Isaac. When Isaac grew up, he and Ishmael fought. Sarah became angry and jealous of Ishmael's mother. . . . She swore to cut something off her, and said to herself, "I shall cut off her nose, I shall cut off her earbut no, that would deform her. I will circumcise her instead." So she did that, and Hagar took a piece of cloth to wipe the blood away. For that reason women have been circumcised and have taken pieces of cloth (as sanitary napkins) down to today.
Sarah said, "She will not live in the same town with me." God told Abraham to go to Mecca, where there was no House at that time. He took Hagar and her son to Mecca and put them there. . . . According to . . . Mujahid and other scholars: When God pointed out to Abraham the place of the House and told him how to build the sanctuary, he set out to do the job and Gabriel went with him. It was said that whenever he passed a town he would ask, "Is this the town which God's command meant, O Gabriel?" And Gabriel would say: "Pass it by." At last they reached Mecca, which at that time was nothing but acacia trees, mimosa, and thorn trees, and there was a people called Amalekites outside Mecca and its surroundings. The House at that time was but a hill of red clay. Abraham said to Gabriel, ''Was it here that I was ordered to leave them." Gabriel said, "Yes." Abraham directed Hagar and Ishmael to go to the Hijr, and settled them down there. He commanded Hagar, the mother of Ishmael, to find shelter there. The he said "My Lord, I have settled some of my posterity in an uncultivable valley near Your Holy House . . ." with the quote continuing until . . . that they may be thankful." (Quran 14: 37) Then he journeyed back to his family in Syria, leaving the two of them at the House.
At his expulsion from Abraham's household, Ishmael must have been about 16-years-old, certainly old enough to assist his father in the construction of the Ka`ba, as described in the Quran and is implicit from the last line of the preceding. Tabari's version of what next occurred is derived from Genesis 21: 15-16, transferred from a Palestinian setting to a Meccan one. Its object is now clearly to provide an "Abrahamic" explanation for some of the features of the Mecca sanctuary and the Islamic Hajj or pilgrimage. The helpless Ishmael sounds much younger than 16 in these tales, and some Muslim versions of the story do in fact make him a nursing infant, which means, of course, that Abraham will have to return on a later occasion to build the Ka`ba with his son.
Then Ishmael became very thirsty. His mother looked for water for him, but she could not find any. She listened for sounds to help her find water for him. She heard a sound at al-Safa and went there to look around and found nothing. Then she heard a sound from the direction of al-Marwa. She went there and looked around and saw nothing. Some also say that she stood on al-Safa praying to God for water for Ishmael, and then went to al-Marwa to do the same.
Thus is explained the origin of the pilgrimage ritual of the "running" back and forth between the two hills of Safa and Marwa on the eastern side of the sanctuary. 8 Tabari continues:
Then she heard the sounds of beasts in the valley where she had left Ishmael. She ran to him and found him scooping the water from a spring which had burst forth from beneath his hand, and drinking from it. Ishmael's mother came to it and made it swampy. Then she drew water from it into her waterskin to keep it for Ishmael. Had she not done that, the waters of Zamzam would have gone on flowing to the surface forever . . . (Tabari, Annals, vol. 1, pp. 278-279 = Tabari 1987, pp. 72-74)
The Quran is quite explicit on the subject of Abraham as the builder of God's House, though it describes it with what are to us, at least, some unfamiliar, and so presumably authentic, Meccan cult terms:
Remember We made the House a place of assembly (mathaba) for the people and a secure place; and take the station (maqam) of Abraham as a prayer-place (musalla); and We have a made a pact with Abraham and Ishmael that they should sanctify My House for those who circumambulate it, those using it as retreat (`aqifun), who bow or prostrate themselves there.
And remember Abraham said: My Lord, make this land a secure one, and feed its people with fruits, those of them who believe in God and the Last Day . . . And remember Abraham raised the foundations of the House, yes and Ishmael too, (saying) accept (this) from us, for indeed You are All-hearing and All-Knowing. (Quran 2: 125-127) And again, "Behold, We gave to Abraham the site of the House; do not associate anything with Me (in worship)! And sanctify My House for those who circumambulate, or those who take their stand there (qaimin), who bow (rukka`) or prostrate themselves (sujud) there" (Quran 22: 26).
What the Muslims were told on divine authority about the ancient cult center at Mecca is summed up in those verses, and it was left to the piety and curiosity of later generations of Muslims to seek out additional information on what was not merely an antiquarian survival but the most sacred building in the world. And many of them did. The authority here is the classical exegete Zamakhshari (d. 1144 A.D.), commenting on Quran 2: 127 with special insistence of the identity of the Abrahamic Ka`ba with its heavenly prototype:
Then, God commanded Abraham to build it, and Gabriel showed him its location. It is said that God
sent a cloud to shade him, and he was told to build on its shadow, not to exceed or diminish (its
dimensions). It is said that he built it from five mountains: Mount Sinai, the Mount of Olives, Lebanon, al-Judi, and its foundation is from Hira. Gabriel brought him the Black Stone [that is, the stone embedded in the southeast corner of the Ka`ba] from Heaven.
It is said that Abu Qubays brought it [that is, the Black Stone] forth, 10 and it was drawn from inside
it, where it had been hidden during the days of the Flood. It was a white sapphire from the Garden, but when menstruating women touched it during the pre-Islamic period, it turned black.
It is said that Abraham would build it as Ishmael handed him the stones. Our Lord (2:127) means that they both (and not Abraham alone) said "Our Lord," and this activity took place in the location where they erected (the House) in (its) position. Abdullah demonstrated that in his reading, the meaning of which is: "The two of them raised it up, both of them saying, "Our Lord." (Zamakhshari, Tafsir, 311) Zamakhshari's information does not pretend to add historical detail; it simply fleshes out the story at one or another point, as does the commentator Tabarsi (d. 1153) on Quran 2: 125, though by Tabarsi's day most commentators were convinced that the Quran's not entirely self-evident reference to a "station of Abraham" (maqam Ibrahim) referred to a specific stone venerated in the Mecca haram:
God made the stone underneath Abraham's feet into something like clay so that his foot sunk into it. That was a miracle. It was transmitted on the authority of Abu Ja`far al-Baqir (may peace be upon him) that he said:
Three stones were sent down from the Garden [the heavenly Garden of Eden, that is, Paradise]: the Station of Abraham, the rock of the children of Israel,11 and the Black Stone, which God entrusted Abraham with as a white stone. It was whiter than paper, but became black from the sins of the children of Adam.
Abraham raised the foundations of the House (2:127). That is, the base of the House that was (already there) before that, from Ibn Abbas and Ata who said: Adam was the one who built it. Then its traces were wiped out. Abraham ploughed it (in the original place to establish the foundations).
That is the tradition from our Imams. But Mujahid said: Abraham raised it up (originally) by the command of God. Al-Hasan used to say: The first to make the pilgrimage to the House was Abraham. But according to the traditions of our comrades, the first to make the pilgrimage to the House was Adam. That shows that he was [the one who built it] before Abraham. It was related on the authority of al-Baqir that he said: God placed four columns beneath the Throne. . . . He said: the angels circumambulate it. Then, He sent angels who said, "Build a House like it and with its measurements on the earth". He commanded that whoever is on the earth must circumambulate the House. (Tabarsi, Tafsir, vol. 1, pp. 460, 468)
This, then, is how most later Muslims understood the proximate origin of the Ka`ba, alluded to in Quran, to wit, that the Patriarch Abraham, on a visit to his son Ishmael in Mecca, put down, on God's command, the foundation of the House on a site already hallowed by Adam.

Peters, F. E. Muhammad and the Origin Islam. New York: State University of New York Press

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