A story about Hajar (saa), about Zamzam, about Hajj, and how we are all connected through our faith in Allah. In 32 water color adorned pages, the rhyming couplets tell a well-known historical story for children of all ages, with Hajar front and center.
The book is framed with a young girl, Jamila sitting with her grandmother who has just returned from Hajj. She is giving Jamila some Zamzam water as she tells her the story of Hajar, and how at the heart of our Hajj we honor and follow in Hajar’s footsteps.
Left in the desert with her son Is’mail (as) she runs between two hills, Safa and Marwa looking for water and help. This step of Hajj, Sa’ee, is required by all pilgrims to perform as Hajar did. Grandma explains to Jamila, that after praying to Allah (swt) and after the seventh run, water appeared and still flows today, Zamzam.
Jamila learns from her grandma the value of the water, and the power trusting Allah has in our lives. She also learns how the well attracted people and is now the city of Makkah. “You see the sacred Sa’ee has many lessons within: Courage, patience, faith and love.” the grandmother tells Jamila before quoting Rumi and liking the desert water to an ocean of history.
The book contains a two page Glossary of names and terms at the end as well as information about the author and illustrators. As expected there is also an ayat regarding Prophet Ibrahim and his family from the Quran at the end, and somewhat surprisingly, Bible verses about Hagar.
I’m not sure that the link to Rumi’s quote and hence the title of the book is smooth, it seems a bit forced. Also, I’m not sure why the Bible verse and the Bible entry appearing in the Glossary is present. It seems like an Islamic story for readers of all faiths to know what Muslim’s believe, so I’m confused why the interfaith angle at the end is there. Perhaps, if there was an explanation or an Author’s Note or a tie-in to the story, but without any of that, it seems inconsistent and random.
As far as the illustrations on the 8.5 x 11 thick soft bound pages are concerned, they are rather mediocre. The anime’ style people, the texture, shimmery bits, and the flowing deserts, make me feel like I should love them, and there is truly nothing wrong with them, I just wasn’t overly wowed by them. I actually found the illustrations off for the story at hand. I’m certain everyone will disagree with me, and some really are gorgeous, but overall I found them collectively, to be just ok.