What is equally if not more noteworthy is that Hagar’s exhaustive search for help in walking seven times between Safa and Marwah later become “rites” of God, or sha‘a’ir, as indicated in the Qur’an. That is, sha‘a’ir that were originated by Hagar in an act of motherly and religious devotion become constitutive parts of what would later be revealed as one of the five pillars of Islam, name the major pilgrimage (hajj), as well as part of the minor pilgrimage (‘umrah). What better way to accept the sacrifice of a faithful servant than to deem that servant’s acts of sacrifice as rituals designed to heighten God consciousness in the believers?
In sum, Hagar symbolizes the strength and courage of God’s chosen agents, here in the role of both matriarch and messenger in God’s sacred history. Her maternal strength, her courage, constancy, and self-initiation as messenger – all derived from taqwa – provided her with the necessary qualities not only fulfill her sacred mission but also to become an aspect of the mission itself. In her suffering for God’s cause, Hagar had to endure distress and danger that have typically marked the careers of God’s chosen historical agents. Like God’s prophets, moreover, Hagar persevered, and thus her name and memory came to be part of Islam’s sacred history and ritual.
“Hagar: A Historical Model for Gender Jihad” by Hibba Abugideiri in Daughters of Abraham: Feminist Thought in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
I love the part which highlights that activism and self-integration are part of taqwa itself. Grab this book if you can!
I think I’m definitely buying this book. I’ve always loved the story of Hagar (and the fact that we mimic her search for nourishment at Umrah and Hajj), and this gives a very refreshing perspective on her.