A Quranic Portrait of Prophet IsmāꜤīl
Muhammad Ismail Attari
(6th year student, Jamia-tul-Madinah Faizan-e-Bukhari, Karachi)
Allah Almighty sent prophets and messengers to guide mankind to His way. Amongst them is Prophet IsmāꜤīl عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام. He is the elder son of Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام and the forefather of the beloved Prophet Muhammad صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. His mother is Sayyidah Hājirah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا. He عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام possessed many lofty attributes, five of which are being mentioned here:
1. Truthful in his promises and one who informs of the unseen
It is mentioned in the noble Qur'ān:
وَ اذۡکُرۡ فِی الۡکِتٰبِ اِسۡمٰعِیۡلَ ۫ اِنَّہٗ کَانَ صَادِقَ الۡوَعۡدِ وَ کَانَ رَسُوۡلًا نَّبِیًّا
“And remember IsmāꜤīl in the Book; he was indeed true in promise and was a Messenger, a Conveyor of the unseen news (i.e. a Prophet).”
Although all the prophets عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام were steadfast in fulfilling their promises, Prophet IsmāꜤīl عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام is singled out in this verse because he was distinguished in this quality. For example, he pledged to his father that he should sacrifice him in accordance with the command of Allah Almighty and that he would find him patient. He was truthful in fulfilling this promise.
There are a few reasons for singling out Prophet IsmāꜤīl عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام in this verse: 1) He is of greater rank and superiority than Prophet Isḥāq and Prophet YaꜤqūb عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام. 2) The divinely ordained code of law given to him was distinct, and so too was his nation. 3) He helped in the construction of the KaꜤbah. 4) He is the forefather of the Arabs.
2. A personality of excellence
He عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام is an illustrious personality amongst creation. Allah Almighty states:
وَ اذۡکُرۡ اِسۡمٰعِیۡلَ وَ الۡیَسَعَ وَ ذَاالۡکِفۡلِ ؕ وَ کُلٌّ مِّنَ الۡاَخۡیَارِ (ؕ۴۸)
“And remember IsmāꜤīl and Yasa' (Elisha) and Zul-Kifl; and they are all excellent.”
The meaning is: Dear beloved! Recall the virtues and patience of IsmāꜤīl, YasaꜤ, and Dhū al-Kifl عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام, so that you attain comfort from their lives, and people attain passion to perform pious deeds due to their praiseworthy attributes. They are all outstanding personalities.
3. Pleasing to Allah Almighty
Allah Almighty states:
وَ کَانَ عِنۡدَ رَبِّہٖ مَرۡضِیًّا (۵۵)
“And was pleasing to his Lord.”
He was a servant who was very pleasing to Allah Almighty due to his praiseworthy states and qualities, his obedience, righteousness, patience and self-sufficiency.
4. Highest rank of patient people
Allah Almighty says:
وَ اِسۡمٰعِیۡلَ وَ اِدۡرِیۡسَ وَ ذَاالۡکِفۡلِ ؕ کُلٌّ مِّنَ الصّٰبِرِیۡنَ
“And (remember) IsmāꜤīl, and Idrees and Zul-Kifl; all of them were patient.”
Sayyidunā IsmāꜤīl عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام exemplified exceptional patience in crucial moments of his life. Notably, he displayed remarkable composure and submission to the will of Allah when he was about to be sacrificed. He was also patient whilst residing in the harsh wilderness. As a result of this, Allah Almighty bestowed him with such an honour that He brought forth His beloved and final Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم from Prophet IsmāꜤīl’s progeny.
5. Covered by the special mercy of Allah Almighty
وَ اَدۡخَلۡنٰہُمۡ فِیۡ رَحۡمَتِنَا ؕ اِنَّہُمۡ مِّنَ الصّٰلِحِیۡنَ (۸۶)
“And We admitted them into Our mercy; indeed, they are amongst those who deserve Our special closeness.”
May Allah Almighty grant us the ability to read about the lives of the noble Prophets عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام and act upon their teachings.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ خاتَمِ النَّبِیّیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم
 Al-Quran, 19:54, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān
 Seerat al-Ambiya, p. 347
 Tafsīr al-Na’eemi, vol. 16, pp. 284,285
 Al-Quran, 38:48, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān
 Tafsīr Khāzin, vol. 4, p. 44, Saad, under verse no: 48
 Ṣirāṭ al-Jinān, vol. 8, p. 409
 Al-Quran, 19:55, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān
 Ṣirāṭ al-Jinān, vol. 6, p. 122
 Al-Quran, 21:85, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān
 Ṣirāṭ al-Jinān, vol. 6, p. 364
 Al-Quran, 21:86, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān