This article is part of the series Christianity from the perspective of Islam

Isaac or Ishmael?

Whenever the original teaching was falsified, God sent a new prophet to expose corruption and to lead the people back to His path. That is why the Koran is called al-Furqan, the criterion (of right and wrong, e.g. of what was previously revealed in the Torah and the Gospel).

Allah. There is no Allah save Him, the Alive, the Eternal. He hath revealed unto thee [Muhammad] the Scripture with truth, confirming that which was [revealed] before it, even as He revealed the Torah and the Gospel. [Ali Imran 2-3]

Let's take as an example the story of Isaac and Ishmael, as we already talked about human sacrifice, to see how we can use the Koran as a criterion which stories in the Bible are true and which are not.

Muslims remember every year during the celebration of Idhul Adha, the story of Abraham, who was put to test by God in the form of the command to sacrifice his only son. Abraham passed the test, and had already placed his son on the woodpile, when God made known that Abraham had already fulfilled the vision and passed the test. Instead of his son, Abraham sacrificed then a ram. This story is also narrated in the Torah / Bible, but there is a small and subtle difference: In Judaism / Christianity, Abraham has almost sacrificed Isaac while in Islam Ishmael.

The Bible says: "For now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me."

Here it is said that Abraham wanted to sacrifice his only son, as a proof of his obedience to God. But the first son he had was with Hagar (Hajar) and was called Ishmael as the Bible testifies itself:

Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had a handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. [Genesis 16]

But why did the old Jewish scribes did not accept Ishmael as a son?

According to Jewish understanding, Hagar was an "unclean bird" because a non-Jewish woman, as one can read in the Zohar:

In Shemos 32a is described how an angel stands for 400 years before the throne of the Almighty and asks, if anyone who is circumcised does not have a part in His name. God finally replied and said that Isaac was circumcised properly while Ishmael was circumcised imperfectly. But just because of this imperfect circumcision, God gave in to the insistence of the angel and gave the descendants of Ishmael the land of Israel to rule until the time of the return of the Jews. So the descendants of Ishmael will prevent the Jews to return until the bonus of the imperfect circumcision is finished.

Daniel is said to have seen in a dream that Israel is occupied by three animals: A frog, which is eaten by a snake, which in turn was eaten by a raven. The frog symbolizes Macedonia and Greece, the snake Rome, and the raven the Arabs. Here it comes:

The raven is an unclean bird, and he was female, to symbolize the fact that Ishmael was from a non-Jewish mother, Hagar.

So pure racism: a black, carrion eating, hateful bird symbolizing a non-Jewish mother. One wonders: If Abraham and Sarah had not recognized children from a non-Jew, would it have ever made sense to marry Abraham with Hagar? Of course not. Therefore this argument is completely absurd.

But why was it so important to forge this passage in the bible?

And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. [Genesis 22: 15-18]

God promises here to Abraham that all nations will be blessed by his seed. Of course, the Jews wanted to get this blessing for themselves. And simply forged the story by mentioning Isaac instead of Ishmael. But the Bible itself exposes this deception by saying that at the time of this near-sacrifice, Abraham had only one son. And that logically must have been Ishmael then, who was born before Isaac.

This is evidenced further by God's promise concerning the seed of Abraham: Who is more numerous, the descendants of Isaac, the Jews, or the descendants of Ishmael, the Arabs?

Of course, the descendants of Ishmael are several times more numerous. So this blessing was given to him who (willingly) participated with Abraham in the test: Ishmael.

What sanctuary is visited each year by more than three million people of all nations? The Kaaba, built by Abraham and Ishmael.

And by whom are all nations of the earth blessed? Not by Jesus, who was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel, but by the Prophet Muhammad pbuh from the seed of Ishmael, who was sent as a mercy to all people.

O People of the Scripture. Why will ye argue about Abraham, when the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Have ye then no sense? Lo. ye are those who argue about that whereof ye have some knowledge: Why then argue ye concerning that whereof ye have no knowledge? Allah knoweth. Ye know not. Abraham was not a Jew, nor yet a Christian; but he was an upright man who had surrendered [to Allah], and he was not of the idolaters. Lo. those of mankind who have the best claim to Abraham are those who followed him, and this Prophet and those who believe [with him]; and Allah is the Protecting Guardian of the believers. A party of the People of the Scripture long to make you go astray; and they make none to go astray except themselves, but they perceive not. O People of the Scripture. Why disbelieve ye in the revelations of Allah, when ye [yourselves] bear witness [to their truth]? O People of the Scripture. Why confound ye truth with falsehood and knowingly conceal the truth? [Ali Imran 65-71]

Unfortunately, not only the story of Isaac and Ishmael is forged in the Bible. Also otherwise, the Bible is a book that is far from being the "Word of God", as we shall see in the next chapter.


Next chapter:

Bible & Koran - a revelation of God?
Whoever reads the Bible or the Koran, will certainly admit that much truth and wisdom can be found in these books. But, is this sufficient to claim, the book would be a "holy book" or even "God's Word"? Surely, it must be possible to prove such a claim by relatively plain criteria...



What does the Koran say about Jesus?

Jesus, Son of God?

What became of God's commandments?

Where does Christmas come from?

The Sons of God

Original sin and crucifixion

Human sacrifice

Isaac and Ishmael

Bible & Koran - a revelation of God?