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Legitimacy of Hagar and Ishmael

Many Christians and Jews mistakenly believe that Abraham’s descendants through Ishmael (Muhammad and his ancestors, as seen in Fig. 3) were excluded from God’s covenant with Abraham (pbuh) because Ishmael’s mother, Hagar,was not a legitimate wife of Abraham, thus, her son Ishmael (the father of the Arabs) was not a legitimate son of Abraham. Therefore, they conclude that Ishmael(pbuh) and his descendants were not included in God’s covenant with the sons of Abraham (pbuh) and that this covenant was exclusive to Abraham’s second son, Isaac, the father of the Jews.

In what follows we will disprove each of these claims, in addition to showing evidence of human tampering with the text of the Biblical verses.

The story of Ishmael according to the Bible is as follows: Abraham married Sarah (pbut). Sarah was a barren woman and bore him no children (Genesis 16:1). God then made a great promise to Abraham even before any children were born to him.

“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Genesis 12:2-3

Not long after, Sarah gave Abraham her handmaid, Hagar, to be his wife according to the legal Jewish custom of polygamous marriages (customary in the Bible among Israelites and many of their prophets).

“And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife..”

Genesis 16:3

trees2

Fig. 3 Arabs and Jews. Semitic “brethren.”
In Genesis 16 we are told that after Hagar (pbuh) became pregnant with Ishmael, Sarah (pbuh) felt that Hagar despised her, so she dealt with her harshly until she was forced to escape from this harsh treatment

“And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her face”

Genesis 16:6.

The angel of God then appeared before Hagar and told her to return to Sarah and submit herself to her will and that “the Lord has heard thy affliction” and would reward her with a son called “Ishmael” (God hears) and would multiply her seed exceedingly. Hagar willingly bowed to the command of her Lord and returned and submitted herself to Sarah. In A Dictionary of Biblical tradition in English literature, we read:

“The Jewish Haggadah identifies Ishmael as one of the six men who were given a name by God before their birth (Ginzberg, LJ 1.239).”

Abraham was eighty six years old when Ishmael was born (Genesis 16:16). When Abraham reached ninety-nine years of age, Ishmael was thirteen years old and remained the only son of Abraham. Now, God promises to establish his covenant with all of Abraham’s “seed” without exception:

“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God..”

Genesis 17:7-8.

God now informs Abraham that his covenant shall be given through circumcision, so Abraham immediately circumcises himself and Ishmael, the father of the Arabs (Genesis 17:23), thus establishing God’s covenant with Ishmael.

The significance of circumcision was also noted by Biblical scholars as being not merely an external act:

“This was His own sign and seal that Israel was a chosen people. Through it a man’s life was linked with great fellowship whose dignity was it’s high consciousness that it must fulfill the purpose of God”

Interpreter’s Bible, p. 613

To this day, all Muslims practice circumcision. The “sign and seal” (Romans 4:11) of the Abrahamic covenant.

We notice that God’s covenant was promised to be with Abraham’s “seed.” But if we read Genesis 21:13 we will find that Ishmael is Abraham’s “seed”:

“And also of the son of the bondwoman……he is thy seed.”

The same arguments can be made for God’s covenant with Abraham

“the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”

Genesis 15:18

As we can see, this covenant was intended to be of the same generality as God’s covenants with Noah (Genesis 9:8-17), and David (2 Samuel 7; 23:5). God’s covenant was intended to be a covenant with those who are obedient to Him and follow his command, not a covenant that makes a certain group of people genetically superior and closer to God even from before their birth, such that they are his “chosen children,” and God’s prophethood and message can only come from their lineage.

When Abraham reached one hundred years of age, God blessed him with a second son, Isaac (Genesis 21:5). Isaac was born to him through his first wife, Sarah. The Bible tells us that because of Sarah’s jealousy that Ishmael may inherit with her own son Isaac (Genesis 21:10), she had Abraham cast out Hagar and Ishmael and send them to the wilderness of “Paran” (genesis 21:21). We are told that she was particularly angry with what she considered to be a mockery on the part of Ishmael towards her own son Isaac. This incident is alleged to have occurred after Isaac was weaned (remember this) as narrated in Genesis 21:8.

Sarah now allegedly ordered Abraham to cast Hagar and Ishmael out, (apparently, in Abraham’s tribe, children who mock their brothers and sisters are to be thrown out in the nearest desert along with their mothers) Abraham obeyed Sarah and cast the “bondwoman” and her son in the desert and was blessed by God who told him to “hearken unto her voice.” Abraham gave Hagar provisions and water and put her child “Ishmael” upon her shoulder and left them in the wilderness of Beer Sheba in Southern Palestine. When they ran out of water, an angel appeared and conveyed to her the words of God: “Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.” God then showed her a well of water and they drank. Ishmael dwelt in the wilderness of “Paran” and begat twelve sons one of whom was called “Kedar.” As mentioned in 6.4, the Arabic form of the word Paran is Faran or Pharan. It means “two who migrated.” It appears that the place took it’s name from Hagar and Ishmael who came there as two refugees.

We, as Muslims, have a very similar narration of the same sequence of events in the Qur’an. However, in the Qur’an, the details differ from the narration of the Old Testament. Muslims respect Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Isaac, and Ishmael (pbut) as very decent, moral and pious people. Muslims believe that the prophet Abraham (pbuh) received a revelation from God to take Hagar and her BABY, Ishmael, to a barren desert in Northern Arabia (Paran), more specifically to the future location of Makkah, and to leave them there. When Abraham began to leave, Hagar called out to him “where are you leaving us?” After repeating the question three times she asked him “Did God command you to do this?” Abraham answered “yes.” So Hagar said: “Then He will not forsake us.” When Hagar and her baby ran out of water she began to fear for her baby’s life and took to running back and forth between the two hills of “Al-Safa” and “Al-Marwa” in search of water. Meanwhile, God sent an angel who caused water to gush out of the earth for them. This became the water of the well of “Zamzam” which the pilgrims of Makkah drink from today. Once water was found in this place the Bedouins began to settle there and it became the city of Makkah. Centuries later, Muhammad (pbuh), the prophet of Islam, was born to the descendants of Ishmael. The rites of hastening between the two hills of “Al-Safa” and “Al-Marwa” have been preserved in the Muslim’s yearly pilgrimage to Makkah even to this day.

The major differences in the Biblical and the Qur’anic narrations are that the OT claim that Hagar was (originally) left in Beer Sheba and not Paran as stated by the Muslims, and that this occurred when Ishmael was not a baby, but a fully grown teenager.

This Old Testament narration can be found to contain obvious modifications from the following analysis: According to the Bible, Abraham was eighty six years old when Ishmael was born (Genesis 16:16). He was one hundred years old when Isaac was born (Genesis 21:5). This makes Ishmael fourteen years older than Isaac. The above expulsion of Ishmael and his mother is alleged to have occurred after Isaac was weaned (Genesis 21:8). Muslims wean their children after two years. Biblical scholars tell us that babies were weaned about the age of three. This makes Ishmael at least seventeen years old at the time of the alleged mockery and expulsion. The profile of Ishmael in Genesis 21:14-19 however, is one of a small baby and not that of a full grown teenager of seventeen years. Let us study it.

1) According to the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible which was compiled from manuscripts more ancient than those of the King James Version of the Bible, the verse of Genesis 21:14 reads “..putting [it] on her shoulder, along with the child.” Did Abraham put a seventeen year old boy on Hagar’s shoulder? It would be more logical for him to put Hagar on Ishmael’s shoulder if he were, as claimed, seventeen years old at the time. So Ishmael must have been a baby at the time.

2) In Genesis 21:15 we read “and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.” Did Hagar “cast” a seventeen year old teenager under a shrub? This too is consistent with a baby and not a full-grown teenager.

3) We read in Genesis 21:16 that Hagar sat far away from Ishmael so as not to see him die before her own eyes. Is this the profile of a full-grown teenager who should, more appropriately be worried about his mother or of a helpless baby?

4) In Genesis 21:17 we read the angel’s command to Hagar: “Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand;” Who would be more capable of lifting the other up, Hagar or her seventeen year old teenage son? This too is the profile of a little baby.

5) Throughout this story we are drawn a picture of Hagar doing this, and Hagar doing that, and Hagar worrying, and Hagar weeping, and so on while Ishmael sits where he was “cast,” under the shrub. Would a full grown teenager of seventeen sit under a shrub and wait for his mother and himself to die while his mother looked for water for him, or would he have her sit in the shade while he went in search of water?

6) Even the angel did not address both of them but only Hagar, the only one who would understand. Once again the profile of a baby and not a seventeen year old teenager.

7) Ishmael is always referred to as “the child” and “the lad” in the story. Do people usually refer to seventeen year old teenagers as “child” and “lad”?

8) In Genesis 21:20 we read that after this incident, “God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.” Is this a profile of a fully developed teenager or a child who is growing up, learning, and developing?

The above analysis clearly exhibits evidence of human modification to the text of this story. The claim that Ishmael mocked Isaac and that this had anything to do with Hagar’s journey is an obvious fabrication since Isaac was not even born yet when this story occurred (Ishmael was still a baby). The reason for Hagar’s journey was not Sarah’s jealousy, Ishmael’s mockery, or the racial superiority of Sarah. It was only the command of God, pure and simple. In an effort to keep all prophets of God Israelites, even God himself is alleged to have submitted to, and even blessed the alleged jealous whims of Sarah. Further, if such elaborate additions to the story could be inserted into the text, then how much simpler to change the original journey to Paran to take a detour into Beer Sheba.

The Interpreter’s Bible compares the texts of Genesis 21:14-19 with Genesis 16:1-16 and draws the following conclusion:

“The inclusion in Genesis of both stories so nearly alike and yet sufficiently different to be inconsistent, is one of the many instances of the reluctance of the compilers to sacrifice any of the traditions which has become established in Israel.”

As damaging and conclusive as this proof of the modification of the Old Testament is, still, it pales to insignificance before the much more devastating proof of this same fact to be found in section 2.3.

Someone may now object: well then, the verses stating Abraham’s age must be the ones which have been (unintentionally) modified. This is a valid theory, however, the problem with this theory is that first of all, these numbers were spelled out in letters and not written using numerals. Second, the transmitters of the Old Testament (the Jews) claim that every word and every letter was faithfully counted and preserved and thus, they can confidently claim that it would be impossible for unintentional errors to creep in, even by accident.

We also notice that even in the New Revised Standard version of the Bible, Genesis 16:16 and 21:5 state the same ages mentioned above. Is this not proof of the Qur’an’s claim that the previous books of God were tampered with by the hands of the unscrupulous few?

It now becomes evident that sometime after God sent down the Old Testament, someone decided that they did not want the Arab descendants of Ishmael to be included in God’s covenant with Abraham. They wanted it exclusive to the Jewish branch of his descendants. Therefore, the Old Testament was “corrected” in order to show that God’s intent was that His covenant be with the Jews only.

Now that we see that the original covenant of God was with all of the children of Abraham (pbuh) without exception, then we are left with another question: The Bible describes in great detail the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham through Isaac which was fulfilled in Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus (pbut). But what of his promise to Abraham through Ishmael? God does not renege on his promises, so how was it fulfilled? The Bible is, for the most part, silent about the promise to the Ishmaelites. Why? Because just as Jesus (pbuh), during the time of the Old Testament had not yet come and there were only prophesies of his coming containing unmistakable signs but no detailed stories of his life, in the same manner, both the Old and New Testament contain unmistakable prophesies of Muhammad (pbuh) but no in-depth analyses and stories. The Interpreter’s Bible admits that the Ishmaelites and other descendants of Abraham were “somehow participating in the Abrahamic covenant” (page 616). The coming of Muhammad (pbuh), the descendant of Ishmael, is the fulfillment of this promise.

Some people will claim that even though Ishmael was Abraham’s “seed,” still, “seed” is a lesser designation than “son,” and only Isaac was Abraham’s “son.” However, the Bible also bears witness to the fact that Ishmael was Abraham’s “son”:

“And Abraham took Ishmael his son.”

Genesis 17:23

Not only that, but the Bible tells us that Ishmael remained the legitimate son of Abraham until even after his death,

“Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full [of years]; and was gathered to his people. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah”

Genesis 25:8-9

So was Ishmael a lesser “son” than Isaac because Isaac’s mother was Abraham’s wife while Hagar was not? Once again, let us read the Bible:

“And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid….and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife..”

Genesis 16:3

So the Bible also bears witness that Hagar was Abraham’s legitimate wife. In fact, if this were not the case then we would be labeling prophet Abraham an adulterer. A serious accusation indeed.

Once the legitimacy of Hagar as Abraham’s wife and Ishmael as his son has been established, now the objection of many becomes that Isaac was a better and truer son of Abraham because he was the son of the free woman not the bondwoman. However, this claim is not supported by the law of the Old Testament. According to this law, the first born son was to have double portions of honor, and even inheritance, and this right could not be affected by the status of his mother.

“If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, [both] the beloved and the hated; and [if] the firstborn son be hers that was hated: Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit [that] which he hath, [that] he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, [which is indeed] the firstborn: But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated [for] the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he [is] the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn [is] his.”

Deuteronomy 21:15-17

In the same Interpreter’s Bible we read the following comment on the above verses:

“However, the law of the first-born had ancient sanction, and so long as it was accepted justice demanded that mere favoritism not be allowed to deprive the eldest son of his rights.”

The Dictionary of the Bible says:

“However deeply rooted [polygany] was before the exile may be seen from the parable of Ezk. 23, which represents Yahweh as the husband of two wives. The law of Dt 21:15-17 which is parallel to several Mesopotamian laws, protects the ‘hated’ wife and her children especially if she has borne the firstborn son (hated here means less loved)…”

The Dictionary of the Bible, John McKenzie, S. J., Collier books, p. 549

Abraham was eighty six years old (Genesis 16:16) when Ishmael was born and was one hundred years old (Genesis 21:5), when he was blessed with a second son, Isaac (pbuh). So Isaac was fourteen years younger than his older brother Ishmael, the first-born son of Abraham.

It should further be noted here that a similar occurrence is narrated in the Old Testament regarding a slave girl named Ruth and a landowner named Boaz (Ruth, chapters 3 and 4). Ruth, a widowed slave girl, was married to Boaz and gave him a son named Obed. Obed went on to become the founder of the royal line of Jews who, according to the Old and New Testament, were the ancestors of both King David and Jesus Christ peace be upon them both (for example Matthew 1:5-16). Not only that, but according to the same Old Testament, Ruth was a Moabitess (Ruth 2:2). Moabite women, according to the Old Testament, were women used to lure Israelite men into immorality and the worship of the pagan god Baal (for a related story, please read section 5.2).

So, if a slave woman of a nation of such ill repute among the Jews as the Moabites is given legitimacy among the Jews and can even go on to become the ancestor and mother of their greatest prophets and leaders and indeed Jesus Christ (pbuh) himself, then why is a whole branch of prophet Abraham’s children cast off simply because their mother too was a slave girl?

Further, it is well known that fully six of the tribes of Israel trace their ancestry through the second wife of Jacob (Israel), Rachel, and two of his concubines, Bilhah, and Zilpah. Nowhere in the Bible is it mentioned that these six tribes are disqualified from God’s covenant simply because their mother was the “second” wife of Jacob or one of his concubines.

Jacob M. Myers, a professor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary and a contributor to Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, is a well recognized leading expert on the Old Testament. In his book Invitation to The Old Testament (pp. 26) he states the following regarding the Nuzi laws of marriage of Abraham’s (pbuh) time:

“Archaeological discoveries help us to fill in the details of the biblical narrative and to explain many of the otherwise obscure references and strange customs that were commonplace in Abraham‘s world and time…… A Nuzi marriage contract provides that a childless wife may take a woman of the country and marry her to her husband to obtain progeny But she may not drive out the offspring even if she later has children of her own. The child born of the handmaid has the same status as the one born to the wife. That is why, when Sarah wanted to drive out Hagar and Ishmael, it was quite objectionable to Abraham -because of the legal custom of the religion from which he came, he was reluctant to do so. It required a special divine dispensation to act contrary to that custom.” We have already seen how the “special divine dispensation” was a forgery.

Further, while Ishmael was the first begotten son of Abraham, we notice that Obed was the tenth grandson of Abraham (The Old and New Testament genealogies differ in the actual names). So, if Obed is given such legitimacy in the Old Testament as being a legitimate father in their most royal line, even though he is the son of a bondwoman, then Ishamel’s claim to this legitimacy is much older and more pronounced.

Once Ishmael has been proven to be a legitimate son of Abraham and not only equal to Isaac, but according to the law of the Jews, deserving of double the portion of honor and inheritance allotted to Isaac, then the final objection becomes that Isaac was specifically chosen to be the child of promise. In A Dictionary of Biblical tradition in English literature, we read:

“St. Augustine, in De civitate Dei (15.2), equates Ishmael “born in the course of nature,” with the flesh and Isaac, “born in fulfillment of a promise” with the spirit. For Augustine, Ishmael exists outside the realm of God’s grace; for this reason, and because of their enforced wanderings in the desert, he associates Ishmael and Hagar with Cain.”

As we have already seen, God’s covenant was with the “seed” of Abraham (pbuh), among whom was Ishmael. Secondly, there are many verses which specifically single out Ishmael for God’s blessing. After the birth of Ishmael and before the birth of Isaac, God repeats his promise to Abraham to bless all the earth through his progeny.

“As for me, behold, my covenant [is] with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.”

Genesis 17:4

Also, “And also of the son of the bondwoman (Hagar) will I make a nation, because he [is] thy seed. ……… I will make him a great nation.”

Genesis 21:13

So, not only is Ishmael a legitimate son of Abraham, but God Almighty promised to bless Ishmael’s descendants just as he would in the future promise to bless Isaac’s descendants. Further, God’s covenant of circumcision with Abraham was fulfilled in Ishmael long before the birth of Isaac.

As has already been demonstrated in chapters one and two, the Bible has been modified extensively over the ages to the point that even conservative scholars now admit that it’s ancient copies contain many thousands of “variant readings” between one-another. Many examples have been presented. As seen in chapter two, thirty two conservative Biblical scholars backed by fifty cooperating denominations bore witness to the “many” and “serious” errors contained in the current King James Bible. Even the original ancient manuscripts themselves contain many differences and conflictions. Whole passages show up in some “ancient manuscripts” while being completely missing from older ones. Even geographical locations are changed from one ancient copy to the next. All Bibles in existence today are the result of very extensive cutting and pasting from these various manuscripts with no single ancient copy being the definitive reference. Even at that, all Bibles in existence today still contain countless examples of very serious contradictions of founding Christian doctrine (see chapter two, and also chapter one).

In the Interpreter’s Bible we read:

“Many Israelites did not want a God who would be equally the God of all nations on the Earth. They did not want one who would be impartial Holiness. They wanted a God who would be partial to them. So we read in Deuteronomy of the demands for a complete extermination of all non-Israelite people of Palestine (Deuteronomy 7:2) and as to the carrying out of that injunction read the harsh sentences of Deuteronomy 20:10-17.”

Is it possible, in light of the overwhelming evidence beginning to come to light of the modification of the Old Testament, that the transmitters of this book (Genesis) made certain modifications to favor their own people? We have already seen the evidence.

Such verses as Genesis 17:21 and Genesis 21:21 do not exclude Ishmael from God’s covenant as some claim. The example of this is one who says: “I love my parents” and then a few days later says “I love my mother.” Does this mean that he does not love his father? Since God had already consecrated his covenant between Abraham and his son Ishmael years before the birth of Isaac, and Abraham had already circumcised Ishmael so that he might receive God’s covenant, therefore, it was necessary to reaffirm that Isaac was not left out of this covenant even though it was established after the birth of Ishmael but before his own birth.

Many people point to the verse of Genesis 22:2 as proof that Isaac was the only legitimate son of Abraham. We read:

“And he (God) said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”

Genesis 22:2

What is going on here? On the one hand we have verses such as Genesis 16:15, Genesis 17:23, Genesis 17:25, Genesis 17:26, and Genesis 25:9…etc. which clearly confirm the fact that not only was Ishmael the first born son of Abraham and a legitimate son, but he remained so until the day Abraham died and was buried. On the other hand we have Genesis 22:2 which claims that Isaac, Abraham’s second son is the only son of Abraham.

To understand this we need to go back to the Qur’anic version of this story. In the Qur’an we are told that Abraham (pbuh) was deprived children until his old age whereupon he was given Ishmael, his first born son. Up until this point the Qur’an and the Old Testament are in agreement. It stands to reason that after having been deprived an heir for so long Abraham would become extremely attached to his only begotten son Ishmael. For all he knew then he very likely might not be blessed with any more children before his death. We are now told in the Qur’an that Allah (God) Almighty decided to test Abraham’s faith. He therefore decided to set up a test for Abraham in the one thing which he held most dear to his heart in all of this world: His only son. When Ishmael reached the age of striving, God Almighty showed Abraham a vision wherein he was to sacrifice his only son Ishmael to God. Abraham went to Ishmael and asked his opinion on this matter. This was not an attempt by Abraham to escape the command of God, but only an attempt to better prepare his son. Ishmael replied to his father: “O my father, Do as you are commanded. You shall, by Allah’s will, find me to be among the patient.”

We are told that the devil then came to Abraham, Hagar, and Ishmael in turn trying to convince each one to disobey the command of Allah. Each one in turn did not respond to him and cast stones at him till they drove him away. This act is also preserved to this day in the Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah in the symbolic act of stoning the three pillars called the “jamarat.”

Abraham took his son Ishmael and placed him on the ground facing down so that he would not have to look at him. Just when he was about to sacrifice Ishmael God sent an angel to Abraham to stop him and to provide him with a ram as an alternate sacrifice in place of his son as a reward for his sincere intentions. He then further rewarded Abraham with Isaac, a great and pious prophet as a second son. This story can be found in the Qur’an. Abraham prayed:

“My Lord! grant me (a son) of the righteous. So We gave him tidings of a gentle son(Ishmael). And when he was old enough to strive with him, he said: O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice you. So look, what do you think? He said: O my father! Do that which you are commanded. Allah willing, you shall find me of the steadfast. Then, when they had both surrendered (to Allah), and he had placed him upon his forehead, We called unto him: O Abraham: You have (already) fulfilled the vision. Lo! thus do We reward the good. Lo! that verily was a clear test. Then We ransomed him with a tremendous victim. And We left for him among the later folk (the salutation):’Peace be unto Abraham!’ Thus do We reward the good. Lo! he is one of Our believing slaves. And We gave him tidings of the birth of Isaac, a Prophet of the righteous. And We blessed him and Isaac. And of their seed are some who do good, and some who plainly wrong themselves. And We verily gave grace unto moses and Aaron, And saved them and their people from the great distress, And helped them so that they became the victors. And We gave them the clear Scripture And showed them the right path. And We left for them, among the later folk (the salutation): ‘Peace be unto Moses and Aaron!’ Lo! thus do We reward the good. Lo! they are two of our believing slaves.”

The noble Qur’an in Al-Safat(37): 100-113

We notice that the major difference in the Qur’anic and Biblical versions is that the Qur’an affirms that it was Ishmael (The father of the Arabs) who was to be sacrificed, while the Old Testament claims that Isaac (The father of the Jews) was the one to be sacrificed. However, if we study the verse of Genesis 22:2 we will find the words “thy son, thine only [son].” Isaac was never Abraham’s only son. As we have seen, Ishmael was born before Isaac and remained (according to the testimony of the Bible) the legitimate son of Abraham until AFTER his death. As we have already proven, the story of God’s command to cast out Ishmael and his mother due to Ishmael’s alleged mockery is a fabrication. The only son of Abraham who was ever Abraham’s “only” son was Ishmael. This was during the fourteen year period after the birth of Ishmael but before the birth of Isaac. Notice how by changing this one word from “Ishmael” to “Isaac” an entire branch of Abraham’s descendants (the Arabs) are conveniently excluded from God’s covenant and it becomes exclusive to the Jews? Once Ishmael is reinstated as the one mentioned in Genesis 22:2 then the stories in the Bible begin to make sense once again.

In Encyclopedia Judica Jerusalem, volume 9, under the heading “Ishmael,” we read:

“It is related that a renowned traditionalist of Jewish origin, from Qurayza tribe and another Jewish scholar who converted to Islam, told Caliph Omar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (717-20) that the Jews were well informed that Ismail (Ishmael) was the one who was bound, but they concealed this out of jealousy.”

“Verily, those who conceal that which Allah has sent down of the Book and purchase a small gain therewith, they eat into their bellies nothing but fire. Allah will not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them, and theirs will be a painful torment.” The noble Qur’an, Al-Baqarah(2):174

“And (remember) when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka’aba in Makkah), (praying): Our Lord! Accept from us (this service). Verily! You, only You, are the Hearer, the Knower. Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our ways of worship, and relent toward us. Verily! You, only You, are the Relenting, the Merciful. Our Lord! And send among them a messenger from among them who shall recite unto them Your verses, and shall instruct them in the Book and in wisdom and shall purify them. Verily! You, only You, are the Mighty, the Wise. And who desires other than the path of Abraham except he who befools himself? Truly, We chose him in this world, and Verily! In the Hereafter he shall be among the righteous. When his Lord said unto him: Surrender! (literally: Be a ‘Muslim’) he said: I have surrendered (Literally: I have become a ‘Muslim’) to the Lord of creation. The same did Abraham enjoin upon his sons, and also Jacob, (saying): O my sons! Verily! Allah hath chosen for you the (true) religion; therefore die not save as men who have surrendered (Literally: Have become ‘Muslims’). Or were you witnesses when death came to Jacob? When he said unto his sons: What will you worship after me? They said: We shall worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, One God, and unto Him we have surrendered. That was a nation which has passed away. They shall receive the reward of that which they earned, and you of what you earned. And you will not be asked of what they used to do. And they say: Be Jews or Christians, then you will be rightly guided. Say: Nay, rather the religion of Abraham, the upright, and he did not associate partners (with Allah). Say: We believe in Allah and that which was revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the twelve sons of Jacob, and that which was given to Moses and Jesus, and that which the Prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered. And if they believe in the like of that which you believe, then they are rightly guided. But if they turn away, then they are in discord, and Allah will suffice you against them. He is the Hearer, the Knower. The religion of Allah!, and which religion can be better than Allah’s? and we are His worshippers. Say (unto the People of the Scripture): Do you dispute with us concerning Allah when He is our Lord and your Lord? Ours are our works and yours your works. And we are sincere in worship to Him(alone). Or do you say that Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the sons of Jacob were Jews or Christians? Say: Do you know best, or does Allah? And who is more unjust than he who hides the testimony which he has from Allah? And Allah is not unaware of what you do. That was a nation which has passed away. They shall receive the reward of that which they earned, and you of what you earned. And you will not be asked of what they used to do.” The noble Qur’an, Al-Baqarah(2):127-141

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