2:124 And remember when his Sustainer had Abraham go through trying circumstances with His commands, and he fulfilled them. Then He said, “I have appointed you an exemplary leader for all mankind.” He asked, “And of my offspring (will there be exemplary leaders as well)?” He replied, “My Covenant does not include the wrongdoers.”
[Being the offspring of a great man avails none. Trying circumstances: Abraham stood up to the formidable challenge of a mighty priesthood, rampant idolatry and the tyrannical autocracy of King Nimrod Shaddad in Ur, Mesopotamia. Imam = Plumb line that ensures the verticality of a wall = An outstanding leader]
2:125 Remember, We appointed the House a means to achieve unity among all mankind, and thus, a source of peace and security. So,attain the stature of Abraham recalling his firm stand (for Monotheism) and closely follow the Divine Commands. We did take a Covenant from Abraham and Ishmael, “Keep My House clean of all falsehood for those who rally around it and those who strive hard for the noble objectives and those who submit in humility to the Divine Commands."
[Al-Bait = The House = Ka’bah = The Symbolic House of God in Makkah = The meeting point for all mankind = The Source of peace, security and unity for all humanity. 2:142-143, 3:96, 5:97, 14:35, 22:25. Musalla = The ways to obey God. Maqam-e-Ibrahim = The stature of Abraham = The stand he took. Taifa = Those who might be diverse in color and geography but united in Ideology. Taaif = Watchman = Custodian = One who stands guard. Taifeen = Caretakers of humanity = Guardians of human rights. ‘Akafa = To prevent schism and discord = Set things right. 'Aakifeen = Those who strive for a noble objective = Those who prevent divisions = Who set things right.
Ishmael resided permanently in Makkah, while his father kept traveling between Hagar (Haajirah) in Makkah and Sarah in Can’aan (Palestine). Ishmael married a woman from the Qahtani Tribe of Jurham and became the ancestor of Musta Ribah (Arabianized tribes or the early Arabs). So the Arabs are, interestingly, descendants of a Hebrew father, Ishmael and a Qahtani Jurham mother from the Arabian Peninsula. They had twelve sons in their long and happy married life. The Qahtanis are still abundantly found in Arabia. They were a wandering tribe in Southern Arabia who had settled in Makkah before Ishmael, because of the (contrary to popular legend) pre-existing well of Zam-Zam. The “Wilderness of Beer-Sheba” of Genesis 21:14, embraces the Southern Palestine, and Hijaz (the mid-western Arabia). Therefore, the Bible and the Qur’an are in agreement concerning where Ishmael and his mother Hagar had settled after moving from Can’aan.
Here is a glimpse of history about Hagar and Ishmael as found in the Bible.
Genesis 17:20 - As for Ishmael, I have heard you (O Abraham); behold, I will bless him and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.
Genesis 21:17 - And God heard the voice of the lad (Ishmael); and the angel of God called to Hagar from the Heights, and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation.
Genesis 21:20 - And God was with the lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran (Faran, Makkah).
This history also explains why the Qur’an repeatedly asserts that the Arabs had not received any scripture before the Qur’an. The Arabs, being the descendants of Ishmael, could only become a community long after Ishmael had passed on and when his progeny had multiplied with time. Note: The Valley was a barren land, but Abraham settled his family in the town of Makkah, near the soon to be built Ka’bah. So, contrary to popular legends, Abraham never left his family in the isolation of a desert]