The Wives of Ismael (AS)

When Ismael (AS) grew up, he married a woman from the tribe of Jurhum. One day, Ibrahim (AS) came into Mecca to visit his son. He came to the house and Ismael’s (AS) wife opened the door. She did not recognise or know who Ibrahim (AS) was, and thought that he was just a traveller. Ibrahim (AS) asked where Ismael (AS) was, to which she replied, ‘He has gone in search of food.’

Ibrahim (AS) then asked about how the two of them were living. At this, the wife started complaining, ‘We are living terribly. We live in hardship and poverty all the time.’ And she continued to complain about her situation.

So Ibrahim (AS) then told her, ‘When your husband returns, give him my greeting and tell him to change his door.’

When Ismael (AS) returned, he sensed that someone had come. So he asked his wife, ‘Did anyone visit you?’

She replied, ‘Yes. An old man who looked like this,’ and she described Ibrahim (AS), ‘came and asked about you and how we were living. I told him we were living in hardship and poverty.’

Ismael (AS) then asked, ‘Did he give you any advice?’

‘Yes. He told me to give you his greeting and for you to change your door.’

At this, Ismael (AS) said, ‘That was my father, and what he meant by “change your door” was for me to divorce you. Go back to your family.’ This was because as soon as Ibrahim (AS) asked her about how they were doing, she began to complain to someone she thought was a complete stranger. This showed that she was ungrateful of how she was living and unsupportive of her husband. So Ismael (AS) divorced his wife and married another woman from the Jurhum.

Later, Ibrahim (AS) once again came to visit his son. This time, his new wife answered the door. Once again Ismael (AS) was out, so just like last time Ibrahim (AS) asked his wife how they were living. She responded that they were living well alhamdulillah, and did not talk too much about their situation. So Ibrahim (AS) said, ‘Give my greetings to your husband, and tell him to keep his door.’

When Ismael (AS) returned, he again sensed that someone had come. He asked his wife, who told him what Ibrahim (AS) had told her. So Ismael (AS) said, ‘That was my father, and what he meant was that I should keep you.’ This wife had good manners as she did not complain to a man she didn’t know, and so Ismael (AS) remained with her.