The History of Safa Marwa

by Ustaz Vincent Souleymane

The race between the Safa and Marwah mountains is part of the obligatory rites of the great pilgrimage (al hajj) and the small pilgrimage (al ‘umra).

اِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِنْ شَعَاۤىِٕرِ اللّٰهِ ۚ فَمَنْ حَجَّ الْبَيْتَ اَوِ اعْتَمَرَ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِ اَنْ يَّطَّوَّفَ بِهِمَا

“Indeed, the hills of Safa and Marwah are among the symbols of Allah. So whoever performs the pilgrimage or minor pilgrimage, let them walk between the two hills.”

[Al-Baqarah 2:158]

It commemorates the episode of the life of Hajar, the wife of the Prophet Ibrahim, mother of the Prophet Isma’îl.

When the place that would later become the city of Makkah was a desert place, without human beings, plants or water, Ibrahim, brought his wife Hajar and his baby son, Ismail. Allah ordered him to leave them in this place where life was impossible.

In this, there is a great trial for our father Ibrahim, who was old and had wanted so much to have a son.

As for Hajar, when she knew that the order to leave them there came from Allah, she said “Then He will not abandon us.” We also see in this reaction, how much Hajar trusted her Lord.

As she lay under the hot desert sun, her baby was beginning to dehydrate, and she began to search for water with the fervor of a mother who wanted to save her son’s life.

She went back and forth between Mount Safa and Mount Marwa until the angel Jibril appeared and struck the ground, spouting the blessed spring of ZamZam, which continues to flow to this day as pilgrims drink from it every year by the millions and bring it home.

pexels cottonbro 10678358 The History of Safa Marwa 


 [Photo: Pexels/Cottonbro]

She was thus able to give her son water and this place became a watering place, something so precious in the middle of the desert. Later on, the Arab tribe of Jahum from Yemen passed by and asked Hajar for permission to settle down.

It is in commemoration of this episode in the life of the blessed family composed of Ibrâhîm, Ismâ’îl and Hâjar, that Allah has ordered us to reproduce these journeys between the mounts Safa and Marwa during the pilgrimage.

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Contributed by Vincent Souleymane

Vincent Souleymane, a French imam and shariah advisor at Muslim Pro, has devoted his time to study and enrich others with the knowledge of Islamic sciences ever since he converted to the religion in 1999. During his studies at the Oussoul Eddine Institute in Saint-Denis, he became aware of the importance of devotion to Allah and decided to continue his religious studies at the daroul ouloum achrafiya of the Island La Réunion and at the IESH of Château Chinon. Since then, Vincent Souleymane devotes himself to the Almighty by teaching Islam at the Oussoul Eddine Institute, as well as being an imam at the Fontenay sous Bois Mosque.