Prophet Muhammad once related the story of Ishmael and his mother:

“Abraham brought the mother of Ishmael and her son to the Ka‘ba under a tree on the spot of Zamzam. During those days no one lived at Mecca. There was no water there. Abraham placed near them a bag of dates and a waterskin containing some water, and set out homeward.

Ishmael’s mother followed him and asked, 'O Abraham! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person or anything else?' She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her. Then she asked him, 'Has God ordered you to do so?' He said, 'Yes.' She said, 'Then He will not neglect us,' and returned.

Abraham proceeded onward, and on reaching the turn where they could not see him, he faced the Ka‘ba, and raising both hands, prayed: ‘Our Lord, I have settled some of my children in an uncultivable valley near Thy Sacred House—our Lord—that they may observe Prayer. So, make men’s hearts incline towards them and provide them with fruits, that they may be thankful.’

Ishmael’s mother went on suckling Ishmael and drinking from the water. When the water in the waterskin finished, she and her child became thirsty.

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The mountain nearest to her was Safa. She ascended it and looked around but she could not see anybody. She descended from Safa and ran to the top of Marwa, the other mountain nearby. She looked around and did not see anyone. She ran between Safa and Marwa seven times. This event in history, hurrying between Safa and Mrawa, is a part of the pilgrimage.

On Marwa, she heard a voice. She became quiet and attentive. She heard the voice again. She said, ‘I hear you. Can you help?’ It was an angel near Zamzam. He continued digging the earth with his heel or with his wing until water started flowing. She started to make a dam around it and started filling her waterskin.

Then she drank (water) and suckled her child. The angel said to her, ‘Do not worry. This is the House of Allah to be built by the boy and his father. Allah never wastes His people.’

She continued to live there. Some people from the tribe of Jurhum passed by. They saw a bird flying around. They said, ‘This bird is flying around water.’ They discovered the source of water. They all came there. Ishmael’s mother was sitting near the water. They asked her if they could stay there.

She replied, ‘Yes, but you will not have any right over the water.’ They agreed. Ishmael’s mother was pleased. They settled there. Their families joined them later.”

It was the faith in God and sacrifice of a mother for the Almighty and the faith and sacrifice of a father which laid the foundations of the town which came to be known as Mecca where Prophet Muhammad raised the flag of Islam centuries later.