Ismail (AS) was a divine prophet whose brother was Ishaq (Isaac). What Ismail (AS) promoted was in line with his father’s monotheistic call, which was against Shirk (polytheism) and idolatry.
Ismail (AS) was born at a time when Ibrahim (AS) and his first wife Sareh (Sarah) had lost hope of having children. At Sareh’s suggestion, Ibrahim married Hajar (Hagar) and Ismail was born.
Later, Sareh also gave birth to a child, Ishaq (AS), but she remained jealous of Hajar and Ismail (AS) and asked Ibrahim (AS) to send them away. According to narrations, Ibrahim (AS) took Hajar and Ismail (AS) with him to an arid land named Mecca. Ibrahim (AS) left them there and returned.
That land flourished and became settled down after the Zamzam well sprang under the feet of Ismail (AS).
The Jarham Tribe that was passing by settled down in Mecca after finding out that water had been found in that land. Jarham was an Arab tribe and Ismail learned Arabic from them. He then married a girl from that tribe.
According to historical narrations, Ismail had 12 sons, from among whom Shuaib (AS) was chosen as a prophet of God.
Ismail is known as one of the forefathers of Arabs. He has been calls Abu Al-Arab (father of Arabs). Also, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) belonged to the Quraysh tribe, which traced its origin to Prophet Ismail (AS).
Among important events during the life of Ismail (AS) was accompanying his father in building the Holy Ka’aba. Some historical accounts, though, say that the Ka’aba was built by Prophet Adam (AS) and Ibrahim (AS) and his son repaired it. Then Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS) became the caretaker of the holy place.
The story of sacrifice is another important milestone in Ismail’s life. In some sources, especially Jewish ones, it was Ishaq, Ibrahim’s other son, who was offered as sacrifice but according to Islamic sources, God ordered Abraham to sacrifice Ismail by slaughtering him with a knife. When Ismail learned about the divine command, he accepted to be sacrificed on the path of God, However, when Ibrahim put the knife on Ismail’s throat, a ram was provided by God and it was sacrificed instead.
The name of Ismail is mentioned in the Quran 11 times, including in verse 85 of Surah Al-Anbiya where Ismail, along with other prophets like Dhu Al-Kafal and Idris, is praised for being among the Sabireen (those who are patient).
According to narrations, Ismail lived 130 years or more. Before death, he handed prophethood over to his brother Ishaq. Ismail was buried in Mecca next to his mother Hajar.