UI – Part 195 – Muslim Heritage – The Tree (I of II)
This is the first of a two part series on the heritage of Islam. The question asked, to be answered, is as follows.
Where would Muslims be without the Jews, Christians and the Bible?
What does your family tree look like? Where did your ancestors once live? As an American to what extent do you continue to live the lives of your parents or even their parents? Has the culture of your family been diluted by an American culture, or if France, the UK, Germany, or other free countries have you adapted to and adopted the civil laws and lifestyle of the country of which you are a citizen? Or have you resisted and formed a compound within the borders of your nation that represents the culture your prefer, with rules at variance to the extent possible from the constitution or civil laws of the country where you reside?
My parents lineage varies. From my mother’s side, she was born in the USA, but her father and mother were both German, coming to America at an early age. They arrived before WWII. Their parents were also German, from different areas of Germany. There was Pauline, Christian and Wilma, Heinrich and Mildred, and so on. They were Lutheran My father was born in America, as was his mother and father, in Pennsylvania. The paternal tree stays in America for many families, with a base established 4 or 5 generations back in Wales and England. There was Hugh, and William P, Martha, James and Mary, extending to William Penn in Philadelphia. My father’s family and roots were Quaker.
Christian’s Heritage Includes Christ
For all Christians the focus is on the lineage leading up to Christ. The Bible provides a ‘tree’ for Mary, the virgin mother of Christ, and Joseph, Jesus father, but not his birth father. The Bible and Quran agree that Jesus was born of a virgin. The Bible has God as the Father, a supernatural Father. The Quran allows for Allah to enable the birth without an earthly father or a supernatural father, so claimed, but Allah can do and Be as He pleases. That for me makes the birth ‘supernatural.’ Let me take history back to Abraham. For Christ and Muhammad there are ties, without question, to Abraham. Sons of Abraham, his first son born of a servant, Hagar (not his wife), was Ishmael (Abraham was Abram at that time, age 86). Fourteen or fifteen years later his second son, born of his wife Sarah, was Isaac. In the Bible God gives his Blessing to Ishmael and promises he will be a leader of great nations. God provides Isaac His Covenant that he will be a leader of great nations and provide the seed for God’s eternal kingdom.
In Gen 16:11 – to Hagar: 11 The angel of the Lord also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery.12 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 hostilitytoward all his brothers.”
Sarah thought she was barren, but God told her she would have a son. Abraham was told too.
In Gen 17:19, God speaks, 19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.”
Thus the patriarch of the Arab nation, Ishmael, and the Jewish and Christian nations, Isaac, were born. Abraham was the father of both.
Muhammad establishes his religion. He wanted the Arabian Peninsula to recognize its heritage and have but one God. He grew up, his family the Quarysh, as keepers of the Kaaba wherein many idols, to include Christ, the moon god, Mani and many others, possibly as many as 360, were worshipped by different factions, tribes, sects when they visited his hometown. He knew the Old Testament stories and that Ishmael was the father of the Arab nations. He wanted his people to know their history and heritage and began a process of transformation. But he found little heritage from or in the line of Ishmael. Were Ishmael’s seed more Canaanites, pagans? Was this problematic for Muhammad?
The result of Muhammand’s transformation was the establishment of Islam, a following of devotees to Allah, Muslims, and the preparation of the Book, the Quran, from revelations Muhammad claims to have received during three primary stays in a cave. There were other occasions he visited this cave to be rejuvenated, about one month each year, but on three, during his sleep, through dreams, words were revealed to him, so he claimed, from Allah via the angel Gabriel. He recited verses he was given to Companions who upon his death were called upon to record what they remember so a Scripture could be prepared. Many of these persons who were to recall essential verses died, killed in battle, before their important sayings, sayings important to this Scripture, could be captured on paper.
The Book, the Quran, provides persons of history that were examples of god fearing men, examples to follow, whose life and prophecies added to the truth to be told. It is claimed, and attention is demanded that this is fact, the Quran is the corrected copy of the Bible due to the Divine Revelations received by Muhammad. For a Muslim not to believe this fact, even contemplate otherwise, there would be ‘severe’ or abasing’ ‘chastisement’; that is punishment from Allah, and even His Messenger or followers, for hindering men from their taking the right path – Islam.
Picking up a copy of the Quran, as I did many years ago, I wanted to learn about Muhammad’s heritage, the evolution from Ishmael to Muhammad.
Ishmael and Isaac went their separate ways and had separate families. Sura 11.17 provides a reference to Isaac and Jacob, his son, referring to ‘good news.’ No mention of Ishmael. 15.53 mentions the “good news of a boy, possessing knowledge,” from which my impression was this was either Isaac or Jesus. In Sura 12.102 there is talk of Joseph and a parallel made to Muhammad. In Sura 7.103 we learn Muhammad is more like Moses. Sura 4.163 mentions many, as prophets, to include: Jacob and the tribes, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, Solomon and David. Sura 6.84 names prophets as descendants of Abraham, “We gave him Isaac and Jacob….David and Solomon, and Job and Joseph and Moses and Aaron….” More prophets in Sura 6.85, “Zacharias and John (the Baptist), and Elias, each one of them righteous.” We have no mention of prophets as decendents of Ishmael.
The Heritage of Islam is in process. Has Muhammad’s birth been traced back in time? Who were born from the seed of Ishmael?
(We continue next week…… UI – Part 196 – Muslim Heritage – The Seed)
Grace and Peace.