ABRAHAM (peace be upon him) is the main pivot around whom the religion of Islam revolves. He was put to such severe tests that no other Prophet ever faced. It was all because the coming generations of the Muslims should know that the Father of this Ummah did never hesitate to offer the sacrifice of his dearest things.

He stood firmly while calling the people to leave idol worship and believe in Allah Alone. He smashed the idols and stood in the face of Nimrod the Barbarian who cast him in a massive blazing fire but Allah ordered the fire: “O fire! Be you coolness and safety for Abraham.”

Abraham was a great devotee of Allah who surrendered to his Sustainer’s Will and Plan. In return, Allah too accepted his sacrifices and made his memory everlasting for the Muslim generations in the form of Haj till the Last Day.

Allah blessed him with a son at the age of 86 but he was directed to leave his breastfed son Ismael and his mother Hagar in a barren and stony desert having no animate beings in the treeless valley of Hijaz.

They were the very first inhabitants on the land which was destined to later become the cradle of Islam. Hagar’s breast dried up, her throat choked with extreme thirst, the cries of her infant baby made her run in search of water between the two hills now known As-Safa and Al-Marwah. Every time she was desperate in her great agony to find some animate being or some trace of water but she could find nothing.

On her seventh run to Al-Marwah, she heard a sound coming from the direction of her son. She saw someone standing by the side of her son. She ran back to find an angel that had struck the land with a big wing making the water spring in a fountain. She said ‘Zamzam.’ This Zamzam became the food and drink for the mother and her son for years to come.

Allah loved the mother’s running to save the life of her son and later preserved it as Sa’ee an ingredient of Haj and Umrah.

A caravan from Yemen happened to pass from there. They, on finding water, took permission from Ismael’s mother to live there. Ismael lived with them and learned their language Arabic. On some occasions, Abraham would come from Jerusalem to see his son. Now there comes the severest test for Abraham when this time he came to his son and said, “O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offering you in sacrifice to Allah). So look what you think.” The dutiful son did not resist but submitting to the will of Allah said, “O my father do what you are commanded, if Allah wills, you will find me the patient.”

The submission of both the father and his son is the greatest example of surrendering to the will of Allah. Then when they had submitted themselves (to the Will of Allah) and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead for slaughtering. It is said that Abraham had covered his eyes with a cloth and he put the knife on the neck of his son and was about to cut through it, to find that Allah has replaced Ismael with a male sheep.

Allah said, “We called out to him: ‘O Abraham! You have fulfilled the dream. Verily thus We do reward the good-doers. Verily, that was a manifest trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (i.e. a ram).” (Qur’an, 37:102-107)

Allah loved this sacrifice so much that he made it an eternal remembrance for the Muslims who come for Haj and offer this sacrifice.

After a lapse of good time Abraham came again and told his son to lend a helping hand in building the House of Allah, i.e. the Ka’ba.

“And (remember) when Abraham and (his son) Ismael were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka’ba at Makkah) saying: Our Lord accept this service from us.” (Qur’an, 2:127)

After the building of Ka’ba Allah sent Arch Angel Gabriel who came following the prayer of Abraham, “Our Lord, make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You and show us our Manasik (rituals of Haj and Umrah).” (Qur’an, 2:128)

So Gabriel taught Abraham the Tawaf, Sa’ee, both done in seven circuits, then Gabriel took him to Mina, where Satan tried to interfere with the Haj rituals. So Gabriel gave Abraham seven pebbles to throw at Satan saying ‘Allah Akbar’. Satan tried three times and so we have three places now known as Jamarat. Gabriel showed all other rituals of Haj including going to and staying Muzdalifa and Arafat. He also showed Abraham the allround boundaries of the Haram.

Lastly, Allah ordered Abraham: And proclaim to mankind the Haj. They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Haj).

Is it not amazing that this proclamation was made 6,000 years ago and now we see the millions of believers coming for Haj and Umrah from every corner of the world.

Thus we see that our obligatory Haj is the outcome of the severest tests put to Abraham (peace be upon him). Our Prophet comes from his progeny and he re-instituted all the rituals of Haj as he said‚ “Take from me your rituals of Haj.” (Agreed upon)