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HAGAR
HAJAR
AJAR

Heb: Hagar (Click to ViewClick to ViewClick to View)

The maid servant of Sarah, Abraham's wife. Regarding her origin, Sahih Bukhari gives this tradition:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "The Prophet Abraham emigrated with Sarah and entered a village where there was a king or a tyrant. (The king) was told that Abraham had entered (the village) accompanied by a woman who was one of the most charming women. So, the king sent for Abraham and asked, 'O Abraham! Who is this lady accompanying you?' Abraham replied, 'She is my sister (i.e. in religion).' Then Abraham returned to her and said, 'Do not contradict my statement, for I have informed them that you are my sister. By Allah, there are no true believers on this land except you and I.' Then Abraham sent her to the king. When the king got to her, she got up and performed ablution, prayed and said, 'O Allah! If I have believed in You and Your Apostle, and have saved my private parts from everybody except my husband, then please do not let this pagan overpower me.' On that the king fell in a mood of agitation and started moving his legs. Seeing the condition of the king, Sarah said, 'O Allah! If he should die, the people will say that I have killed him.' The king regained his power, and proceeded towards her but she got up again and performed ablution, prayed and said, 'O Allah! If I have believed in You and Your Apostle and have kept my private parts safe from all except my husband, then please do not let this pagan overpower me.' The king again fell in a mood of agitation and started moving his legs. On seeing that state of the king, Sarah said, 'O Allah! If he should die, the people will say that I have killed him.' The king got either two or three attacks, and after recovering from the last attack he said, 'By Allah! You have sent a satan to me. Take her to Abraham and give her Ajar.' So she came back to Abraham and said, 'Allah humiliated the pagan and gave us a slavegirl for service." (Sahih Bukhari 3.420)

Muhammad does not identify in this tradition who the king was, but the Bible tells us that this incident occured in Egypt, involving the Pharoah (Genesis 12:10-20). Although there is no mention of Hagar by name, verse 16 mentions that Abram acquired also some maidservants at this time.

Al-Tabari relates a tradition that mentions Egypt and the Pharaoh explicitly:

Then Abraham went forth a fugitive for the sake of his Lord, and Lot went with him. Abraham married Sarah, the daughter of his paternal uncle, and took her out with him when he fled for the sake of being able to practice his religion and worship his Lord in safety. He settled in Harran and stayed as long as God willed him to stay. Then he left as a fugitive and traveled to Egypt, which was then under the rule of one of the earliest Pharaohs.

It is said that Sarah was one of the best human beings that ever existed. She would not disobey Abraham in any way, for which God honored her. When her goodness and beauty were described to Pharaoh, he sent a message to Abraham asking, 'Who is this woman who is with you?' He replied, 'She is my sister.' He feared that if Pharaoh learned that Sarah was his wife, he would kill him to possess her. Pharaoh said to Abraham, 'Adorn her and send her to me so that I may look at her.' Abraham went back to Sarah and ordered her to prepare herself, then sent her to Pharaoh. She went in and approached him. When she sat next to him, he reached out to her with his hand, but his arm suddenly became stiff all the way up to his chest. When he saw that, he looked at her with awe and said, 'Pray to God to release me! By God, I shall not cast suspicion on you. I shall indeed be good to you.' So she said, 'My God, if he is being truthful, release his hand.' And God released his hand and he sent her back to Abraham. Pharaoh also gave her Hagar, a Coptic slave-girl of his." (Al-Tabari, The History of al-Tabari, Vol. II, Prophets and Patriarchs, trans. William M. Brenner [State University of New York Press, Albany 1987], pp. 62-63)

Sarah was unable to conceive for many years, so Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham in order to produce a son. When Hagar had a son, she began to taunt Sarah and in the end Hagar had to leave with her son Ishmael.

Muslims often contend that Hagar was Abraham's wife, although we are not aware of even any Muslim tradition that calls her the wife of Abraham.

Muslims point to Genesis 21:14 to prove that the Bible must have been corrupted.

Hagar herself is not mentioned in the Qur'an at all.


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