It was narrated on the authority of Sa‘eed ibn Jubayr, may Allaah be pleased with him, that Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with them, said: "The first lady to use a girdle was the mother of Ismaa‘eel (Ishmael), may Allaah exalt his mention. She used a girdle so that she might hide her tracks from Sarah. Ibraaheem brought her and her son Ismaa‘eel while she was suckling him, to a place near the Ka‘bah under a tree on the spot of Zam-zam, at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Makkah, nor was there any water. So he made them sit over there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward. Ismaa‘eel's mother followed him saying, "O Ibraaheem! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?" She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her. Then she asked him, "Has Allaah The Almighty ordered you to do so?" He said, "Yes." She said, "Then He will not neglect us," and returned while Ibraaheem proceeded onwards, and on reaching the Thaniyah where they could not see him, he faced the Ka‘bah, and raising both hands, invoked Allaah The Almighty saying the following prayers:
'O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House (Ka‘bah at Makkah) in order, O our Lord, that they may offer prayer perfectly. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allaah) provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks.' (14.37) Ismaa‘eel's mother went on suckling Ismaa‘eel and drinking from the water (she had).
When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (i.e. Ismaa‘eel) tossing in agony; She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of As-Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from As-Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached the Al-Marwah mountain where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between As-Safa and Al-Marwah) seven times."
The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said, "This is the source of the tradition of the walking of people between them (i.e. As-Safa and Al-Marwah). When she reached the Al-Marwah (for the last time) she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, 'O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?" And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zam-zam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it."
The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, added, "May Allaah bestow Mercy on Ismaa‘eel's mother! Had she let the Zam-zam (flow without trying to control it) (or had she not scooped from that water) (to fill her water-skin), Zam-zam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth." The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, further added, "Then she drank (water) and suckled her child. The angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allaah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allaah never neglects His people.' The House (i.e. Ka‘bah) at that time was on a high place resembling a hillock, and when torrents came, they flowed to its right and left. She lived in that way till some people from the tribe of Jurhum or a family from Jurhum passed by her and her child, as they (i.e. the Jurhum people) were coming through the way of Kadaa'. They landed in the lower part of Makkah where they saw a bird that had the habit of flying around water and not leaving it. They said, 'This bird must be flying around water, though we know that there is no water in this valley.' They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water, and returned to inform them of the water. So, they all came (towards the water)." The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, added, "Ismaa‘eel's mother was sitting near the water. They asked her, 'Do you allow us to stay with you?" She replied, 'Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water.' They agreed to that." The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, further said, "Ismaa‘eel's mother was pleased with the whole situation as she used to love to enjoy the company of the people. So, they settled there, and later on they sent for their families who came and settled with them so that some families became permanent residents there. The child (i.e. Ismaa‘eel) grew up and learnt Arabic from them and (his virtues) caused them to love and admire him as he grew up, and when he reached the age of puberty they made him marry a woman from amongst them.
After Ismaa‘eel's mother had died, Ibraaheem came after Ismaa‘eel's marriage in order to see his family that he had left before, but he did not find Ismaa‘eel there. When he asked Ismaa‘eel's wife about him, she replied, 'He has gone in search of our livelihood.' Then he asked her about their way of living and their condition, and she replied, 'We are living in misery; we are living in hardship and destitution,' complaining to him. He said, 'When your husband returns, convey my salutation to him and tell him to change the threshold of the gate (of his house).' When Ismaa‘eel came, he seemed to have felt something unusual, so he asked his wife, 'Has anyone visited you?' She replied, 'Yes, an old man of so-and-so description came and asked me about you and I informed him, and he asked about our state of living, and I told him that we were living in a hardship and poverty.' On that Ismaa‘eel said, 'Did he advise you anything?' She replied, 'Yes, he told me to convey his salutation to you and to tell you to change the threshold of your gate.' Ismaa‘eel said, 'It was my father, and he has ordered me to divorce you. Go back to your family.' So, Ismaa‘eel divorced her and married another woman from amongst them (i.e. Jurhum).
Then Ibraaheem stayed away from them for a period as long as Allaah The Almighty wished and called on them again but did not find Ismaa‘eel. So he came to Ismaa‘eel's wife and asked her about Ismaa‘eel. She said, 'He has gone in search of our livelihood.' Ibraaheem asked her, 'How are you getting on?' asking her about their sustenance and living. She replied, 'We are prosperous and well-off (i.e. we have everything in abundance).' Then she thanked Allaah. Ibraaheem said, 'What kind of food do you eat?' She said. 'Meat.' He said, 'What do you drink?' She said, 'Water." He said, "O Allaah! Bless their meat and water." The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, added, "At that time they did not have grain, and if they had grain, he would have also invoked Allaah The Almighty to bless it." The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, added, "If somebody has only these two things as his sustenance, his health and disposition will be badly affected, unless he lives in Makkah." The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, added," Then Ibraaheem said to Ismaa‘eel's wife, "When your husband comes, give my regards to him and tell him that he should keep firm the threshold of his gate.' When Ismaa‘eel came back, he asked his wife, 'Did anyone call on you?' She replied, 'Yes, a good-looking old man came to me,' so she praised him and added. 'He asked about you, and I informed him, and he asked about our livelihood and I told him that we were in a good condition.' Ismaa‘eel asked her, 'Did he give you any piece of advice?' She said, 'Yes, he told me to give his regards to you and ordered that you should keep firm the threshold of your gate.' On that Ismaa‘eel said, 'It was my father, and you are the threshold (of the gate). He has ordered me to keep you with me.'
Then Ibraaheem stayed away from them for a period as long as Allaah The Almighty wished, and called on them afterwards. He saw Ismaa‘eel under a tree near Zamzam, sharpening his arrows. When he saw Ibraaheem, he rose up to welcome him (and they greeted each other as a father does with his son or a son does with his father). Ibraaheem said, 'O Ismaa‘eel! Allaah The Almighty has given me an order.' Ismaa‘eel said, 'Do what your Lord has ordered you to do.' Ibraaheem asked, 'Will you help me?' Ismaa‘eel said, 'I will help you.' Ibraaheem said, Allaah The Almighty has ordered me to build a house here,' pointing to a hillock higher than the land surrounding it." The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, added, "Then they raised the foundations of the House (i.e. the Ka‘bah). Ismaa‘eel brought the stones and Ibraaheem was building, and when the walls became high, Ismaa‘eel brought this stone and put it for Ibraaheem who stood over it and carried on building, while Ismaa‘eel was handing him the stones, and both of them were saying, 'O our Lord! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.' The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, added, "Then both of them went on building and going round the Ka‘bah saying: "O our Lord! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing." (2.127)