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حجر اسماعیل..jpg
Hijr Isma'il, The burial place of Hagar
Well-known As Ibrahim's wife and Isma'il's mother
Religious Affiliation Hanif
Well-known Relatives Ibrahim, Isma'il
Place of Birth Egypt
Place of Residence Mecca
Burial Place Hijr Isma'il

Hagar or Hājar (Arabic: هاجَر) was Abraham (a)'s wife and Ishmael (a)'s mother. She was a female slave of the Egyptian king, given to Sarah, Abraham's wife, as a gift. And Sarah gave her to Abraham (a) as a gift, and then she gave birth to Ishmael (a).

After Ishmael's birth, Sarah was saddened that Hagar gave birth to a baby while she was unable to have a baby. Thus, at the command of God, Abraham (a) took Hagar and her child from Syria to Mecca, which was then a dry uninhabited desert. According to the Torah, and contrary to Islamic sources, Hagar migrated after the birth of Isaac (a) and without company of Abraham (a).


On one account, Hagar was the daughter of the Egyptian king who was captivated as a slave after riots by some people in today's Ain Shams, and was sold to the next Egyptian king.[1]

Prophet Muhammad (s) asked his companions to kindly treat people of Egypt, because Hagar was Egyptian.[2]

Hagar as Gift from the Egyptian King to Sarah

On Islamic accounts, at about the age of seventy, Abraham (a) was commanded by God to migrate from Babylon.[3] Thus, together with his wife Sarah, his nephew Lot (a), and other followers of his, he went to Egypt. The Egyptian king became fond of Sarah, and out of fear, Abraham (a) introduced himself as Sarah's brother. According to ibn Athir's report, whenever the Egyptian king intended to approach Sarah, his hands were paralyzed. This happened three times until the king asked Sarah to pray that his hand go back to the original state. After Sarah's prayer, the king let her go and gave Hagar, a Coptic concubine of his, to Sarah as a gift.[4] According to Allama Tabataba'i, the fact that Ibrahim introduced Sarah as his sister is not compatible with the position of prophethood. This is one of the contradictions of the current Torah, which has also been included in Sunni historical and hadith sources.[5] However, Allama Tabataba'i, referring to a hadith quoted from al-Kafi, says that Ibrahim (a) introduced Sarah as his wife, and every time the king's hand became numb, it was Ibrahim's dua that healed the king's hand.[6]

Migration from Levant to Mecca

Abraham (a) could not have a baby from Sarah. Thus, Sarah gave him Hagar so that Abraham (a) could have a baby from her. When Hagar gave birth to Ishmael,[7] Sarah was saddened, because should could not have a baby.[8] After Ishmael's birth and the sadness of Sarah, God commanded Abraham (a) to take Ishmael (a) and his mother from Levant to Mecca.[9] Abraham (a) took them to Mecca which was a dry and uninhabited desert at the time. He left them in the location where the House of God was later reconstructed, near the present location of Zamzam water well.[10]

The name, "Hajar," does not appear in the Qur'an, but the story of her migration from Levant to Mecca appears in Qur'an 14.[11]

"Hagar to Abraham: "Do you abandon us in a land where there is no companion, no water, and no food? Abraham told her: sufficient for you is the God who commanded me to do this."

According to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), when Abraham (a) left Hagar and Ishmael (a) in Mecca and then returned home, Ishmael (a) was thirsty. In order to find water, Hagar walked seven times back and forth in the distance between Mount Safa and Mount Marwa, but she failed to find water. When she went back to Ishmael (a), she saw that water had sprung from the ground under his feet, which came to be known as Zamzam water well. This is the origin of the ritual of running between Safa and Marwa as a practice of hajj.[12]

According to Islamic sources, Hagar migrated before the birth of Isaac (a), since Sarah was saddened that Hagar could give birth to a baby.[13] However, according to the Torah, Hagar migrated after the birth of Isaac (a).[14] Moreover, the Torah recounts the reason why God commanded Abraham (a) to take Hagar and Ishmael (a) from Levant to Mecca as follows: "when Sarah saw that Ishmael bothers Isaac, she told Abraham that the child of the concubine (Hagar) cannot inherit him when her own child, Isaac, is his inheritor. Thus, she asked him to send away."[15]Moreover, according to the Torah and contrary to Islamic accounts,[16] Abraham did not accompany Hagar and Ishmael.[17]

Place of Burial

Hagar is buried in Hijr Isma'il. According to hadiths, it is from the respect for her grave that, when circumambulating around the Ka'ba, Muslims only walk around Hijr without entering it lest they step on Hagar's grave.[18]

See Also


  1. Balʿamī, Tārīkhnāma-yi Ṭabarī, vol. 3, p. 503.
  2. Ibn al-Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh, vol. 1, p. 101.
  3. Ibn al-Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh, vol. 1, p. 100.
  4. Ibn al-Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh, vol. 1, p. 101.
  5. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 7, pp. 226-29.
  6. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 7, pp. 231-32.
  7. Ibn al-Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh, vol. 1, p. 101.
  8. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 1, p. 288.
  9. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 1, p. 288.
  10. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 1, p. 288.
  11. Sura Ibrahim, verse 37.
  12. Ṣadūq, ʿIlal al-sharāʾiʿ, vol. 2, p. 432.
  13. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 1, p. 288.
  14. [Genesis 21] Isaac and Ishmael: 21:9-12.
  15. [Genesis 21] Isaac and Ishmael:: 21:9-12.
  16. Ṣadūq, ʿIlal al-sharāʾiʿ, vol. 2, p. 432; Qummī, Tafsīr al-Qummī, vol. 1, p. 60.
  17. [Genesis 21] Isaac and Ishmael::9-12.
  18. Ṣadūq, Man lā yaḥḍuruh al-faqīh, vol. 2, p. 193.


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