UI – Part 629 – Abraham is to Judeo-Christian as Abram is to Islam
Many discuss Abraham as the father of the three primary religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. What is interesting to note is the birth of Ishmael, as the progenitor of Islam and Isaac, as the progenitor of Judaism and Christianity. The Bible makes a distinction, which I consider important.
Abram as described in the Bible, the source for Islam, is described as ‘exalted father.’ At an older age Abram was unable to bear a son, to be the heir to the blessings promised by God. His wife, Sarai, suggested Abram sleep with her maid-servant, Hagar, and conceive with a younger woman. It worked. A child resulted, a male, Ishmael. Ishmael is the child of the ‘exalted father’ of Islam.
It was after Ismael’s birth, when a young boy, the Bible informs us that God renamed Abram. Gen. 17:5–8, which reads, “No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”
At this juncture the Bible created a separation. After this I no longer see Abram and Abraham as the same. Their appellations had different meanings.
Father of Many Nations
Abraham became the ‘father of many nations,’ a distinction indeed from ‘exalted father.’ God’s promise, as described by Jay Sekulow, his book, Jerusalem (year 2018), became ‘front and center, Abraham would have many heirs, and those heirs would inherit the land.” The ‘land’ referred to is essentially Israel, Genesis 15:18 saying, “…from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.” Abraham then asked God to fulfill his promise through Ishmael, but God responded, basically saying, ‘not so fast.’
God told Abraham his promise would be fulfilled through Sarah, renaming Sarai. There would be a son, a naturally born son of the mother and father, Abraham and Sarah, regardless of their age. That son was to be called Isaac. He is the root of the Judeo-Christian lineage and faith. That son would receive God’s covenant and the ‘land.’ “I will establish my covenant with him,” God said (Genesis 17:19). From the NIV Bible, Genesis 17:19, “…I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”
The covenant was not with Ishmael, the son born out of wedlock, the mother Hagar, the father, Abram.
Isaac – Fulfillment of God’s Promises
So what is clear, relying on the Bible as does Islam and Judaism for foundational elements of their faith, it is Isaac who represents the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises. If you then follow the lineage of Isaac, thus the inheritors of the promises of God, you find Jews and Christians. Islam has no other reference for this claim. Isaac is the child of Abraham and Sarah.
Ishmael – Hostile Towards Brothers
Mohammad’s interpretation was in error, clearly, claiming Ishmael as the recipient of God’s promise. That is not the case. Blessed by God, yes, but not the carrier of the covenant promises. The Bible let’s us know Ishmael will be the leader of the Arab states, describing him as follows, “The angel of the Lord also said to her (Hagar): ‘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. He will be a wild donkeyi 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’” (Genesis 16:11-12). The brother of Ishmael was his step brother, Isaac. Ishmael a bastard son of Abram, his mother Hagar, a maidservant of Sarai.
Abram, having this child out of wedlock was not God’s preference. Hagar was an Egyptian woman. Mixing the blood of Abram with an Egyptian was not pleasing to God. Ismael was a child of the flesh, not from the covenant of marriage. Hagar was trapped, effectively into sleeping with Abram. He could have said ‘no’ to his wife’s offer. The result has been quite messy. God told Abram to not worry about having an heir in Genesis 15:4-5, “Then the word of the Lord came to him (Abram): ‘This man (Ishmael) will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood (Isaac) will be your heir.’ He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’”
The plot thickens. Islam’s claim to Israel, even Jerusalem, has no basis. Abraham is not the father of Islam. Abram maybe. You can say that is a technicality. But remember, God renamed Abram for a reason, providing a new identity, as if born anew, a new person. What Islam suggests, with Allah as god, is not what God informed the whole world via his Word, the Bible.
Mohammad had access to a scholar of the Old Testament, Warqah, cousin of his first wife, Khadija. Note: Khadija married to Mohammad, monogamously for 25 years, was the mother of Fatima. Warqah even interpreted the Old Testament into Arabic. He had many discussions with Mohammad. Mohammad being illiterate could not read even what Warqah wrote. The Bible stories he knew were told him. His recall, his interpretations, I suggest, were in error, biased, or both. But they were not biblical.
Giving thought to this dilemma of the recipient of God’s covenant leads to a better understanding of Israel’s claim, the Holy Land as Jewish, and false position Islam takes as to Abraham.
The Family of the Covenant Promise
Later in the Bible God repeated his covenant directly with Isaac. Then again with Isaac’s son, Jacob. From Genesis 35:12, “The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” Jacob’s name was later changed to Israel.
And now you know the real story. Islam’s roots, as many Palestinian protestors suggest, are contrived. Their claims false. The Quran, of which I have many issues, does agree with the Bible as to the Holy Land. Sura 5, verse 21, “We (Allah) settled the Israelites in a blessed land (the Holy Land) and provided them with good things.” Another verse from the Quran (17:104) says, “And … to the Children of Israel, ‘Dwell in the (Holy) land….’” There are many statements in the Quran to the effect the Holy Land belongs to the Israelites. Jay Sekulow notes, his book Jerusalem, “passage after passage not only of the Bible but also of the Quran (attests) to the existence and nature of God’s covenant with His chosen people, Israel.” [Sekulow, Jay. Jerusalem (Kindle Locations 901-902). Center Street. Kindle Edition.]
Grace and Peace