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Meet Hagar, mother of the Islamic Prophet Ishmael published by
In a comment to another blog on this series on Hagar, @lfjoito asked ‚‚
In a comment to another blog on this series on Hagar, @Esther Teuka (@lfjoito) asked ‚‚¬‚Å "so how did Ishmael end up as a Muslim prophet?‚‚¬"

To find the answer, we turn to the Bible (Genesis 21:5-21), the Koran and other sources.

In Genesis, when Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away (at Sarah's insistence) God promised to make Hagar's son the father of ‚‚¬‚Å a great nation.‚‚¬ (See Genesis 21:13 & 18) Although there appeared to be virtually no chance that Hagar and Ishmael could survive in the Negev Desert, Abraham still provided Hagar with provisions. This was a sign of his protection of Hagar and his firstborn, a sign that they should not be harmed. We later see how God came to Hagar, giving her His protection and providing water to her and Ishmael.

Birthright of Abraham

The Book of Genesis also tells us how the blessing (birthright) of Abraham was given to Isaac, Abraham's son by his wife Sarah.

The Koran gives a very different story. Hagar is not mentioned by name in the Koran, but the ‚‚¬‚Å mother of Ishmael‚‚¬ is prominent. Women are seldom mentioned by name in the Koran, so this would not be unusual.

In the Koran, it is Ishmael, not Isaac, who received the birthright of Abraham. The Koran also says that it was Ishmael, not Isaac, who was to be sacrificed to God. These two fundamental differences have been extremely important throughout history and are one major source of the differences between Arabs (Muslims) and Jews today.

The Genealogy of Muhammad

Abraham - Hagar



Ishmael -- Egyptian Wife



Kedar and all Arabs




Prophet of Islam

Ismael, Prophet of Islam

In the Koran, Abraham joins Ishmael in what is now called Mecca (in Saudi Arabia). There they rebuilt an altar to God that was first built by Adam and destroyed in Noah's Flood. This is also the site where Hagar found a well as mention in Genesis.

In the Koran (19:54), Ishmael is described as ‚‚¬‚Å a messenger and prophet.‚‚¬ In Islam, it was Ishmael who was to be sacrificed, received the birthright of Abraham, founded the city known as Mecca and was an ancestor of the Prophet Muhammad.



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Published: Feb 02 2010 09:13:22am

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Art Schnatterly (@aliveintheword)

My friends and companions: This may come as a surprise to some of you.chuckle*, but I love history. I'm always ready to "talk history" with anyone who will listen. When talking about this series on Hagar with a friend, the conversation moved to the American Civil War. Both of us have visited many of the battlegrounds from this important event in America's history. He commented about how he enjoyed these "very old" sites. In terms of American history, they are old. Then I look at the timing of the life of Abraham. He lived someplace between 3500 and 4000 years ago! We still are learning things about his life, his descendants and see the impact of his life in world events today. We even have many archaeological sites that can be directly related to the life of Abraham! While this alone is awesome, to me it's deepest meaning is just how short, how transitory our human lives are. Eternity and eternal; life are just incomprehensible to me. In time (and I am in no hurry), I'll find out just what that means. Shalom, Art

Esther Teuka (@lfjoito)

Hey ARt, Thank you for the history lesson on Haggar and Ishmael. Wow to think that this is what makes the 2 beliefs difference is 2 brothers well half brothers. Thanks

Art Schnatterly (@aliveintheword)


You are very welcome! Thanks for posing the question.

The foundations of three of the world's great religions are of the "Seed of Abraham." These are Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Judaism and Christianity come through Isaac, Islam through Ishmael via Muhammad. Judaism dates back thousands of year, depending on how one marks it beginnings. Christianity dates back just over 2,000 years to the time of Christ. Many mark Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in the upper room as the birth date of the Church. Islam dates back to the late 7th century A.D. when the Islamic Prophet Muhammad dictated the Koran over a period of 40 years.

"Well" is a good word! In the next blog of this series, we'll see the role that a well has to play in the Islamic pilgrimage know as "The Hajj."

Keep the questions coming!

Shalom, Art

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