Allah blesses Ibrahim with a son to become a prophet
Only a woman named Sarah and a man named Lot believed in Allah, and followed Ibrahim. He realized that nobody else would listen to him, and decided to emigrate for the cause of Allah, and to spread His Message elsewhere. Before leaving, he tried once again to convert his father to Islam, but to no avail. Ibrahim said to his father and his people: "We are free of you and of whatever you worship besides Allah. We have rejected you and there has arisen between us and you enmity and hatred forever unless you believe in Allah and Him alone."
Ibrahim, Lot and Sarah started their long travel. They crossed Babylon, went through Syria and Palestine calling people to Allah, helping the poor and doing good deeds. By that time Ibrahim married Sarah. Their hope was to have children who would spread the Message of Allah after their death. As for Lot, he emigrated to the land of Sodom and settled there.
Time went by and no children were born to Sarah. She realized she was sterile. She accepted her fate and submitted to the will of Allah. Ibrahim and Sarah moved to Egypt where the king gave Sarah a woman to be her servant. The woman's name was Hajar. Sarah was seeing Ibrahim' s hair getting white, and it grieved her to see his chance of having any child slipping away. She offered Hajar her servant as a wife to her husband, and prayed Allah to bless Hajar and Ibrahim with a child. And so came Ismail, a baby boy born to Hajar. How unselfish Sarah was! For her, the need to have an offspring who would carry the Message after Ibrahim was greater than her pride. Fourteen years later Allah rewarded Sarah with a son, Ishaq in spite of her old age.
Young Ismail and his mother alone in the desert of Makkah
Ibrahim woke up one day and asked Hajar to prepare herself and baby Ismail for a long travel. Ibrahim and Hajar kept walking, crossed a fertile land followed by barren mountains till they arrived at the Arabian desert. Ibrahim brought Hajar to a high hill called al-Marwa, made her and her baby sit under a tree, placed a bag of dates and some water near her, and set out homeward. Hajar ran after him and said: "Are you going to leave us in this desert where there is no one to keep us company?" She repeated this many times but he would not look back at her. She asked: "Has Allah ordered you to do so?" He said yes. "Then He will not neglect us." She said. Ibrahim walked away until he got out of their sight, he raised his hands and prayed Allah: "O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley with no cultivation, by Your Sacred House, in order that they may offer prayers. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks."
Hajar went on nursing Ismail and drinking from the water until it was all used up. She became very thirsty and the child was crying. She left him on the al-Marwa hill and hurried to the nearest hill, as-Safa. She stood there and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She descended from as-Safa, crossed the valley running and reached al-Marwa hill. She stood and started looking but could see nobody. She kept running between as-Safa and al-Marwa seven times. When she reached al-Marwa for the last time, she was exhausted, she sat next to the baby. Then she heard a voice. She stood up and said: "O whoever you might be! Have you got something to help me?' She saw an angel, Angel Jibreel, digging the earth until water flowed ! She built a little basin around it. She scooped water with her hands, drank, filled her water-skin, and nursed her baby. The place from which water flowed was Zamzam. Muslims till this day drink from the holy water of Zamzam, and during Hajj they walk between as-Safa and al-Marwa seven times to commemorate this event.
Some Arabs traveling through Makkah saw birds flying around alMarwa. "They must be flying around water." They said. When they arrived at the water, they found Hajar and asked her: "Would you allow us to stay with you, and use the water from your well?" She agreed and was pleased by their company. The people sent for their families, settled there and became permanent residents. The whole valley became alive. Ismail grew up, learned Arabic, and later married a woman from amongst the Arabs.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim who had not seen his son since he was a baby, came back to Makkah to visit him. Upon arriving, he heard that Hajar had died, but Ismail was still living there. Ibrahim was yearning to see his son whom he loved and missed a lot. He saw Ismail under a tree near Zamzam, sharpening his arrows. When he saw his father, Ismail rose up, hugged him and greeted him. It was the happiest moment for both father and son. But Allah wanted to put them to test, and it was a tough test indeed. During one night, Ibrahim had a dream. He came to Ismail and said: "O my son ! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you as a sacrifice to Allah, so what do you think?" They both realized that this was an order from Allah. Ismail said without hesitation: "Do what you are commanded, you shall find me very patient insha Allah." They had both submitted to the will of Allah. Ibrahim laid his son prostrate, put his forehead on the ground and directed a sharp knife towards his neck. At this very moment, Allah called him: "O Ibrahim! You have fulfilled the dream! Thus do We reward the good doers !" A big sheep was sent down from heaven to be slaughtered instead of Ismail, which Ibrahim did, and they both had a big celebration that day. This event is celebrated every year by all Muslims. It is Eid al-Adha where we slaughter the sacrificial sheep.
Ibrahim and Ismail kept on calling people to worship Allah. At that time there was no place built for the worship of Allah. Ibrahim wished there could be such a place where people would be in peace, and concentrate solely for the worship of Allah. His wish was answered when Allah ordered him to build the Sacred House, the Ka'bah. Ibrahim said to Ismail: "O Ismail, Allah has given me an order, will you help me execute it?" "Yes I will." Ismail said. "Allah has ordered me to build a house here." He said, pointing to a hillock higher than the land surrounding it. They went towards the place and started building the foundations of the Ka'bah Ismail brought the stones and Ibrahim built the walls, and when the walls became high, Ismail brought a large stone and put it in front of his father who stood over it and carried on building, while Ismail was handing him the stones. Both of them went on building and going around the Ka'bah, saying: "O our Lord accept this service from us." When they finished the building, Angel Jibreel descended from heaven and showed Ibrahim the rituals of Hajj. Then Ibrahim stepped on the stone and called on people: "O people obey your Lord." This large stone which Ibrahim stepped on is still there to this day near the Ka'bah. It is called Makam Ibrahim.
Thus ends the story of Ibrahim, the father of the prophets. From him descended all the prophets who came later, including Muhammad, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam. Ibrahim devoted all his life calling others to the True religion: Islam. Alone he stood against his people, his father, and even the mighty king of Babylon, and never flinched. Yet his method was always to gradually persuade them by bringing irrefutable proofs, that most often embarrassed those who refused to accept the Truth, but as Allah said: "Any whom Allah leaves to stray, there is none to guide !"