Story of Safa and Marwa


Hajj and Umrah are the most important and fundamental obligations in Islam and hold profound significance in the hearts of Muslims. Muslims go on this odyssey with the perspective of immeasurable spiritual rewards and gains.

The center of this spiritual voyage is the Story of Safa and Marwa. In the remembrance of this tale of faith and belief, walking and jogging (Sai) between the hills of Safa and Marwa is an integral part and ritual of Umrah. Without performing Sai (walking and jogging between Safa and Marwa your pilgrimage can not be completed.

Story of Safa and Marwa

Here in this article, I will explain all the things, about the story of Safa and Marwa.


What is Safa and Marwa?

Safah and Marwa are two historical hills, that are present in the Masad Al Haram. These two mountains are religiously important because of the religious and spiritual story of the faith and devotion of Bibi Hajra (AS) and his beloved son Hazrat Ismail (AS).

During the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage, Sai is an integral part.  Sai is an Arabic-rooted word meaning striving and walking. Pilgrims walk and jog back and forth seven times in remembrance of these reverent personalities between the mountains of Safa and Marwa.

What is the distance between Safa and Marwa?

There is a distance of approximately 3.6km between Safa and Marwa. If we talk in terms of meters, it is 450 meters distance that pilgrims have to cover in Sai during their haj and Umrah rituals.

Why story of Safa and Marwa is important?

Islam teaches us the lesson of bearing the harsh and tough times with devotion and faith, this story of Safa and Marwa depicts, how Hazrat Hajra didn’t lose hope and faith in the worst and brutal conditions. The purpose of walking back and forth to this mountain is to tell the believers how the almighty values the people who have a firm belief in him and their faith never shatters whatever the conditions are. This practice of Sai also teaches the lesson of patience and remaining steadfast. It also teaches how the almighty helps his servants by turning the improbable into reality.

What is the Story of Safa and Marwa:

 Legends Hazrat Ibrahim (AS), Bibi Hajra (AS) and Ismail (AS):

This story of Safa and Marwa revolves around the divine test, of the legendary characters of Islamic history Bibi Hajra (AS) and Ismail (AS). Hazrat Hajra was the beloved wife of the prophet Ibrahim (AS), both of them were blessed with a son when Hazrat Ibrahim reached at very old age.

 Hazrat Ibrahim was 86 years old and Hazrat Hajra was at a young age when gave birth to a son. Hazrat Ibrahim was married to Hazrat Sarah before marrying Hazrat Hajra, Hazrat Ibrahim and Sarah did not have a child, years passed and they became old. Hazrat Sarah first wife of Ibrahim (AS) suggested and allowed her husband to marry her slave Hazrat Hajra (AS).

A Trail of Faith:

Soon after they got married, Hazrat Hajra (AS) gave birth to a baby son named Ismail (AS). When Hazrat Ismail was an infant, Hazrat Ibrahim Khalil Ullah was commanded by Almighty to leave her beloved wife and infant that he got at that elderly age, in the barren desert of Mecca. Hazrat Hajra initially became hesitant to leave her beloved land Palestine, but when she learned that this was a divine commandment she agreed.

Just imagine there was no population in the vast desert of Mecca, it was completely uninhabited, without any shelter, without any supply of food or water, and there was fear of desert wild creatures coming and harm to his beloved son and wife.

But Ibrahim (AS) surrendered his head before the divine command, and her wife also didn’t refuse to disobey the almighty’s revelation. And agreed to go to the barren, uninhabited land of Mecca with her beloved child whom she got, after lots of prayers.

A Mother’s Resolve:

 The real test for Ibrahim (AS) in this story of Safa and Marwa is leaving his beloved son he got in his old age and her young beautiful wife, her companion, in a barren land. Where there was no hope of survival and no sign of life. The life of his dynasty was in extreme danger.

But what makes this story a time-honored narration, is the faith and devotion to the Almighty’s command. Ibrahim and Hajra choose to surrender before the divine commandments over their son’s life.

A Mother’s Desperation:

When Hazrat Ibrahim left Hazrat Hajra she was with few supplies and a water skin. They were all alone in the middle of the barren, dry valley of Mecca between Safa and Marwa. After some time, the water ended under the roasting sun. And soon after Hazrat Ismail (AS) became thirsty. Hazrat Hajra was helpless because she was unable to produce milk due to a lack of water and food. Under the burning hot sun, Hazrat Ismail’s (A.S) condition was critical, he was having severe seizures.

Mother was in utter despair, her only child was dying of thirst. She was running in despair and searching for water in the barren desert.  When she doesn’t find in surroundings. She climbs up to the mountain running to see if any passenger is coming with the hope of finding water from him.

She ran and climbed up the mountain, to find any trace of water far off or in the hope of finding out any passenger and then climbed down to see her son.  She completed 7 rounds in that way. But even in this condition, she didn’t lose hope in almighty. Her faith in the Almighty was not shattered.

The Miraculous Springs:

Hajra is running back and forth from Safa to Marwa and Marwa to Safa, her desperation is growing with every second, because of the condition of her beloved son. She was pleading to Allah to save her beloved son. Almighty is looking from the skies, answered her prayer, and sent an angel named Jibril (AS). He touched his wings to Ismail’s (AS) feet, and water Burst from his feet and ground under his feet.

Hajra gave water to her son, drank that water herself, and nursed her infant. She (RA) dug a hole where water was emerging and said Zam Zam to flowing water which means stop.  Water stopped and started to accumulate in the form of a well. That’s why this water is called ZamZam water, and well is called ZamZam well.

 Divine Intervention; From wilderness to wonderland:

A well of sweet water formed there. Travelers passed there, Bibi Hajra allowed them to drink and use water from that well. Birds and animals also started to come and satisfy their thirst. Gradually travelers started to build their communities over in the land that was a barren land.

Angel insured Hazrat Hajra that Almighty is happy with Hajra and Ibrahim and told her that one day Ibrahim and Ismail will construct Allah’s home Bait Ullah here on this land.

Significance story of Safa Marwa:

This story of firm faith and devotion was accepted by the Allah Almighty. And now to keep the name of his beloved believers Ibrahim, Hajra, and Ismail, it is an integral part of pilgrimage either in the form of Haj or Umrah on Allah’s command.

Wrapping up the Story of Safa Marwa:

Haj and Umrah are the spiritual journeys to find spiritual growth, and peace and to make a stronger connection to the divine. Safa and Marwa story is a fable of unwavering faith, submission, and divine intervention, that is the source of guidance for Muslims all over the world. The purpose of Sai is to remind Muslims how to face the challenges of their life, by having strong faith in the Almighty’s plans.

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