Giulia Di Porto says that when the Coordination of Women Theologians proposed to her to conduct research into Agar for the Mothers of Faith series, she was at a difficult time in her life; nonetheless, she immediately said “yes”.
The result is a fascinating and engaging book, in which Bible and history are mirrored in the author's personal experience of motherhood.
“Hagar, a woman whose story of motherhood is told in the cycle of the patriarchs, is almost always defined by her relationships: she is Sarah’s slave, Abraham’s wife, the mother of Ishmael. And yet Hagar the Egyptian, by putting the experience experienced personally before social hierarchies and the constraints of law, redefines herself, changes her gaze on her own condition “she listens to what happens to her and, with the help of the God of Israel, gives life to a new history, to a new people”, we read in the book’s preface.
A woman by the name of Hagar, who is not mentioned directly in the Koran, is known and revered nonetheless, like Hājar, by the Muslim tradition. To her harried running in search of water for her son Ishmael and to her, one traces the sa’y ritual, which is the fast walk between the Mecca hills of Safa and Marwa, which takes place during the major and minor pilgrimages of the hajj and the ʿumra.