3 lessons on hardship from Hajar’s (as) life

With the blessed days of Hajj upon us, we reflect on the life and legacy of Prophet Ibrahim (as). But one cannot tell his story without acknowledging and appreciating Hajar (as)’s role. And one cannot complete Hajj without running in her footsteps. 

Here are 3 lessons we can learn from Hajar, may Allah be pleased with her, as we navigate our own tests in this life.

1. The importance of optimism and having complete trust in Allah

After a long journey through the desert as a family, Hajar (as) watched her husband walk away from her and their infant son. She called on him repeatedly until finally she asked, “Has Allah ordered you to do this?” He said, “yes”, to which she responded, “then He will not neglect us.” 

Left in a barren, rugged, dry land with her baby with no more than a few dates and a small pouch of water, not knowing how long she would be there alone, Hajar surrendered to Allah’s plan. She had no doubt that He would take care of her. Even while it may have been difficult for her to understand why Allah would make such a command, she maintained a positive assumption of Him. As He says, “I am as My servant expects of Me, so if he thinks good of Me then he will have it.” (Bukhari)

Many of us may have found ourselves left alone in proverbial deserts, asking ourselves and Allah “why is this happening to me?” From our limited perspective, we can’t understand the wisdom behind our tests. But our difficulties are merely a pixel in the full picture of what Allah has written for us. In Hajar (as)’s case, her trial brought forth the miracle of Zamzam, turning the barren desert of Makkah into a bustling settlement and eventually, the spiritual center of Islam, where millions of Muslims gather to follow in her and her family’s footsteps. 

Having complete trust in Him and maintaining our optimism is essential to getting us through every test. 

2. Being patient but not passive

Deserted and slowly running out of food and water, Hajar was desperate to find help for herself and her infant, who became increasingly distressed. While she remained patient and maintained unwavering faith that Allah would soon bring relief, she also didn’t just sit around waiting for a miracle. She actively worked to try to change her circumstances. Hajar paced the valley between Mount Safa and Marwa, her frantic feet pounding the burning desert sand. She repeated this not once or twice, but seven times, until at last Angel Jibreel came to assist her. 

Hajar (as) shows us that while our trust in Allah fuels our patience through challenging times, we should also do our part. She could have easily given up, but she remained persistent. As the Prophet (S) said, “Tie your camel and trust in Allah.” (Tirmidhi)

3. Detachment from this life and attachment to Allah

Perhaps the biggest lesson we can learn from Hajar (as) is her detachment from this life. Had she been more attached to her husband Ibrahim (as) than Allah, she would have been left in complete despair after he walked away from her. It was her ability to detach that allowed her to submit to Allah’s will. She had full awareness that the One who brought forth this trial was the One who would bring her out of it. 

Detaching from this life is difficult, but when we prioritize attachment to Allah over attachment to our worldly affairs, we realize that everything has a divine purpose. We’re able to surrender to the All Wise and acknowledge that He has ultimate control over our outcomes. Attaching to Allah gives meaning to every blessing and every challenge; and when we realize that everything, even the trials and tribulations, happen for a reason - we’re emotionally and spiritually empowered to overcome them.

May Allah grant us the strength of Hajar (as) and place us upon the path that brings us closer to Him.

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