Ishmael or Isaac?
Who was the real covenant child of Abraham (Ibraheem alayhissalaam)? Obviously, the Jews and Christians stand united in their support for Isaac (Ishaaq alayhissalaam), the second-born of Abraham and forefather of the Children of Israel. Muslims, however, believe him to be Ishmael (Isma’eel alayhissalaam), the first-born of Abraham (Ibraheem alayhissalaam) and forefather of the Arabs. If modern-day Trinitarian Christians whose ancestors worshipped trees and rocks can get away with being counted among the spiritual progeny of Abraham (Ibraheem alayhissalaam) simply because Jesus (‘Eesa alyhissalaam) descended from Isaac (Ishaaq alayhissalaam), then we as Muslim monotheists can certainly present our case for Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), a direct descendant of the first-born son of Abraham (Ibraheem alayhissalaam). Let’s attempt to ascertain the true identity of this covenant son by closely examining their own scripture, the book of Genesis in the Jewish Torah.
We are told in Genesis 22:2: “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
At no time during the lifetime of Isaac (Ishaaq alayhissalaam) was he ever the “only son” of Abraham (Ibraheem alayhissalaam). Did “God” forget about Ishmael (Isma’eel alayhissalaam), Isaac’s (Ishaaq alayhissalaam) brother who was fourteen years his senior? Christians will retort that God only intended the son Abraham (Ibraheem alayhissalaam) “loved,” the implication being that Abraham (Ibraheem alayhissalaam) hated Ishmael (Isma’eel alayhissalaam). Although we can never believe such nonsense, what does the Law say about this? In Deuteronomy 21:15-17 we read:
“If a man has two wives, one loved and the other unloved, and they have borne him children, both the loved and the unloved, and if the firstborn son is of her who is unloved, then it shall be, on the day of bequeaths his possessions to his sons, that he must not bestow firstborn status on the son of the loved wife in preference to the son of the unloved, the true firstborn. But he shall acknowledge the son of the unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.”
Therefore, it matters not whether Abraham (Ibraheem alayhissalaam) loved Ishmael (Isma’eel alayhissalaam), he is the first-born. It was none other than the “evil pen of a scribe” who changed the name “Ishmael” to “Isaac” in Genesis 22:2.
Truly Allah has told us: “Of the Jews there are those who displace words from their (right) places…” [Qur’an 4:46].
The Jew or a Christian, the friend of Satan will shout: “But Ishmael was the illegitimate son of a bondswoman!” Tell him to consider the following passage: “Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram” (Genesis 16:3, 15-16).
According to the Bible, Ishmael (Isma’eel alayhissalaam) is Abraham’s (Ibraheem alayhissalaam) son through his wife Hagar.
Genesis 15 reveals to us two vital stipulations in the covenant between God and the chosen child of Abraham (Ibraheem alayhissalaam). It reads:
“Then He (God) brought him (Abraham) outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And he said to him, (1) ‘So shall your descendants be.’ On the same day, the Lord made a covenant with Abram saying, (2) ‘To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates’” (Genesis 15:5,18.).
The vast majority of land between the two great rivers constitutes the Arabian desert and peninsula. This region was never conquered by the Children of Israel, but immediately upon the emergence of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and the Muslims. It was only with the appearance of the Messenger of the Covenant, Prophet Muhammad (Malachi 3) that all idolatry was rooted out of these lands promised to the covenant progeny of Abraham (Ibraheem alayhissalaam). Jewish history demonstrates the obvious ineptness of the Children of Jacob to abolish the heathen worship of statues in Palestine and even in their very Temple! Karen Armstrong, author of the popular book A History of God remarks (emphasis is mine): “We have seen that it took the ancient Israelites some 700 years to break with their old religious allegiances and accept monotheism, but Muhammad managed to help the Arabs achieve this difficult transition in a mere 23 years” (page 146).
At this point it is worth giving an overall breakdown of the family of Abraham the Patriarch, the true in faith (Hanifah). Abraham’s first son and covenant child was Ishmael, whom he bore through Hagar (Bibi Hajirah). Next, Sarah conceived a son called Isaac (Ishaaq alayhissalaam). Abraham (Ibraheem alayhissalaam) took a third wife, Keturah, and had six sons with her. Ishmael’s (Isma’eel alayhissalaam) first born, Nebajoth, had a brother named Kedar (Genesis 25:13) and his progeny are called the Kedarites or Ishmaelites. Ishmael’s two daughters Basemath and Mahalath wed Esau, who is Edom. The Lexicon Strongs’ Concordance gives Esau the title, “the progenitor of the Arab peoples” and this to a son of Isaac (Ishaaq alayhissalaam)!! These become known as the Edomites. From Jacob (Ya’qub alayhissalaam), Isaac’s (Ishaaq alayhissalaam) other son, twelve luminaries appear with names such as Ruben, Levi, Judah, Joseph, and Benjamin. The descendants of Jacob (Yaqub alayhissalaam), and not Esau or Isaac, are dubbed the Children of Israel (Bani Isra’eel). Abraham’s first born of Keturah, Midian, is described by The Strongs’ Concordance as, “progenitor of Midians or Arabians.” Therefore these Arabs are called the Midianites. A descendant of Midian named Jethro (Shu’ayb alayhissalaam in the Qur’an) gave his daughter Zipporah permission to marry a Levite named Moses (Musa alayhissalaam). Therefore, it can be observed that the vast majority of the progeny of Abraham (Ibraheem alayhissalaam) were and are in fact Arabs “as numerous as the stars” who intermarried and accepted the sons and daughters of Jacob (Ya’qub alayhissalaam) as righteous servants of the Almighty.
The Sign of God’s covenant was circumcision. In Genesis 17:9, 11 God tells Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations…and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.” In verse 26 we are told: “That very same day Abraham was circumcised, and his son Ishmael.”
So far we have been told that:
1) Ishmael is Abraham’s first-born son.
2) Hagar is Abraham’s lawfully wedded wife.
3) The covenant seed will be as numerous as the stars.
4) The covenant seed will be given the land between the Nile and Euphrates Rivers.
5) Ishmael was Abraham’s only son and seed for fourteen years.
6) Circumcision is the symbol of God’s covenant.
7) Ishmael was circumcised with his father on the same day to fulfill the covenant with the flesh of their foreskins.
None of the above have anything to do with Isaac!
Christians will no doubt point to verse 19 where God tells Abraham (Ibraheem alayhissalaam), “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.” Why has God changed his mind? He continues: “And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation” (verse 20). In other words: “Don’t worry about Ishmael, I’ll throw him a bone a two!” The most obvious piece of Jewish scribal deception, however, occurs in Genesis 21:
“Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him…So the child grew up and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the same day Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing (playing with Isaac, REB version). Therefore she said to Abraham, ‘Cast out this bondswoman with her son; for the son of this bondswoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac’…So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water; and putting it on her shoulder, he gave it and the boy to Hagar, and sent her away (he set the child on her shoulder, REB version). Then she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. And the water in the skin was used up, and she placed the boy under one of the shrubs. Then she went and sat down across from him at a distance of about a bowshot; for she said to herself, ‘Let me not see the death of the boy.’ So she sat opposite him, and lifted her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad (God heard the child crying, REB version). Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, ‘What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand (in your hand), for I will make him a great nation.’ Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink.” – Genesis 21:5-19.
It is very clear from the text that we are given the profile of an infant here and not that of a seventeen year old teenager. In Jewish custom, a child (Isaac) is weaned after three years. This would have made Ishmael seventeen. Can you imagine a grown man sitting on Hagar’s shoulder, crying beneath a shrub for water, and then being lifted up and fed by his mother?? It is very interesting to note that although Ishmael (Usma’eel alayhissalaam) is referenced in no less than eleven places in this passage, he is never addressed by name. According to Genesis 16:10-11, God called him “Ishmael” because He heard Hagar crying after she ran away from Sarah. In actuality, the child was not named until after Genesis 21:5-19 was written and “God heard” (verse 17) the infant child Ishmael (Isma’eel alayhissalaam) crying while he and his mother settled in Baca, “the weeping valley,” and not Beersheba as the Bible states. It seems as if the chronologies of these events have been deliberately manipulated in order to give the reader the impression that Ishmael was banished due to a conflict between him and Isaac (Ishaaq alayhissalaam). In actuality, the nameless infant would not know his younger sibling until many years later. We are also told in Genesis 25:9 that in the spirit of brotherhood, both sons of Abraham (Ibrahim alqyhissalaam) buried their father. From this we can also conclude that the story given in Genesis 16:10 in which God tells Hagar that she must “submit herself under Sarah’s hand,” and Ishmael (Isma’eel alayhissalaam) is called a “wild ass of a man,” are undoubtedly forgeries penned by the Jewish rabbis and scribes in order to discredit the God-given rights of Ishmael (Isma’eel alayhissalaam), the ancestor of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).
Where is Baca?
David wrote: “Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways [of them]. [Who] passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools” (Psalms 84:4-6). Amazingly, this word appears in the Qur’an:
“The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka: full of blessing and of guidance for all kinds of beings” (Qur’an 3:96).
Bakkah is the ancient name of Makkah, named after the episode of Hagar (Bibi Hajirah) and her son. Christians and Jews continue to maintain that Baca is actually a river in Palestine yet they have no idea where it is located. This shouldn’t surprise you. Christians don’t even know for certain where the birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus took place! This first House ever dedicated to the worship of the One True God was constructed by Abraham (Ibraheen alayhissalaam) and Ishmael (Isma’eel alayhissalaam) in Bakka (Makkah) as the Qur’an tells us. After they raised the foundations of the House, the Qur’an records their sublime supplication unto their Lord:
“Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-knowing. Our Lord! make of us Muslims, bowing to Thy (Will), and of our progeny a people Muslim, bowing to Thy (will); and show us our place for the celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in Mercy); for Thou art the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. Our Lord! send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall rehearse Thy Signs to them and instruct them in scripture and wisdom, and sanctify them: For Thou art the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” – Qur’an 2:127-129.
The Holy Messenger “of their own” would come from that very city thousands of years later and would be called Muhammad, literally the Praised One (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).
Esau or Jacob?…more deception
The Bible tells us that Rebekah, the wife of Isaac (Ishaaq alayhissalaam), became pregnant with twins. In Genesis 25:23 God tells her:
“Two nations are in your womb. Two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.”
The two nations were the descendants of Esau, an Arab line, and the descendants of Jacob, the Israeli line. Esau (hairy) was born first and Jacob “grabbing at his heel” shortly followed. Notice the words of God above to Rebekah, “the older shall serve the younger.” These words are obviously a fabrication given the following reasons:
• Genesis 25:31-34 relates a story in which Jacob (Ya’qub alayhissalaam) tricks Esau out of his birthright over a cup of “pottage and lentils.” If God had already ordained that Esau serve his younger brother Jacob, then why does Esau need to be tricked at all??
• In Genesis 27:22-29 Jacob fools his elderly father Isaac (Ishaaq alqyhissalaam) by pretending to be Esau by wearing goat skins on his hands (in an attempt to make himself appear hairier) to obtain his father’s lasting blessing. – “Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed [be] every one that curseth thee, and blessed [be] he that blesseth thee.”
If Isaac (Ishaaq alayhissalaam) meant to give these words to Esau, then what does this say about “God’s” words to Rebekah?
• If God wanted Esau to serve Jacob then why does the latter address the former as “lord” (adon) yet addresses himself as his “servant” (ebed) in Genesis 32:3-6, 33:1-10?
Also, why does Jacob, Leah and her children, the handmaidens and their children, Joseph, and Rachel prostrate themselves seven times to Esau if he was inferior to his brother?
Jacob comments: “If I have now found favor in your sight, then receive my present from my hand, inasmuch as I have seen your face as though I had seen the face of God, and you were pleased with me…Please let my lord go on ahead before his servant. I will lead on slowly at a pace which the livestock that go before me, and the children, are able to endure, until I come to my lord in Seir” (Genesis 33:10, 14).
Professor Abdul Ahad Dawood (formerly Reverend David Benjamin Keldani) writes in his book Muhammad in the Bible:
When we behold the number of the family of Jacob when he went to Egypt, which hardly exceeded seventy heads, and when he was met by Esau with an escort of four hundred armed horsemen, and the mighty Arab tribes submitted to the twelve Emirs belonging to the family of Ishmael, and then when the Last Messenger of Allah proclaims the religion of Islam, all the Arab tribes unitedly acclaim him and accept his religion, and subdue all the lands promised to the children of Abraham, we must indeed be blind not to see that the Covenant was made with Ishmael (Isma’eel alayhissalaam) and the promise accomplished in the person of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).