Muslim Woman in Niqab

“Then the angel of the LORD told [Hagar], “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel added, “I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.”The angel of the LORD also said to her:

“You are now with child
and you will have a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the LORD has heard of your misery.

He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers.”

She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi…”

Genesis 16:9-14

Hagar. When I think of her I usually think, “What a sad situation she was in.” Already a slave she was asked to sleep with her master and bare him a son because he and his wife could not conceive. I thought of Sarah and how she and Abraham did not trust that God would fulfill His promise of the son of promise (Isaac).

When the true son did come, Ishmael became a threat in Sarah’s eyes. So she ordered Abraham to send he and his mother away-somewhere far away where they would never again remind her of her own faithlessness and unbelief.

I felt sorry for Hagar but I didn’t really like her. I thought of her as a schemer maybe and was a little bothered by the fact that she would have slept with another woman’s husband. ( I know the culture was different but they must have known it was wrong…?) I guess I thought poorly of her and felt a little like she “got what she deserved.” After all, the arab nations came from Ishmael as God promised…and I didn’t trust them either, right?

But after reading her story with fresh perspective from the Holy Spirit I see now that I had never seen her at all. So this is the Hagar I see today:

A Slave: She had to do what Sarah asked, didn’t she? I am sure she felt she had no choice but to obey.

A Woman: She had no husband. She was dishonored in that society for being unmarried. If it had been me I might have been thinking,” Well, at least if I am sleeping with Abraham I might get more respect around here, especially if I bare his child.”

A Daughter: This is when God reveals Himself to her. Hagar says, “This is the God who SEES ME.” Had Hagar felt that she had never truly been “seen” in her entire life? She was now no longer invisible. Finally, Someone had seen her but moreover this Someone had shown love and protection for she and her child. Oh Father, you are always the one who sees and delivers 🙂

A Mother: After learning she was pregnant she probably felt that her life was meaningful now. Scripture says she despised Sarah (Gen 16:4) after learning she was pregnant and there is no doubt Sarah despised her! She treated Hagar so badly that Hagar fled to get away from her. And in the wilderness as her teenage son lay dying she cries out again to the One Who Sees for salvation. And He answers.

Tears streamed down my face as I read her story again, this time God answering my prayer to give me a heart for Muslim women. These women who are hidden away in houses and treated as less than a whole person. These women who live their lives in seclusion and fear. These women who have no rights are covered until they are no longer visible to society or to the world. Oh God help them to see that the same eyes that saw Hagar in the desert sees them now in that same desert land thousands of years later!

In visions, in dreams and in their hearts. Open their eyes to see the well of Living Water.