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Was Ishmael a Worldly Solution for Abraham?

Questioner

David

Reply Date

Oct 10, 2016

Question

Does it say in the Koran that Ishmael is Abraham's true son, not Isaac? Isaac was the son of Sarah, Ishmael, though, is through Hagar, the maid given to Abraham by Sarah. God promised Abraham and Sarah a child, not Abraham and Hagar. The son, Ishmael, is a worldly solution to Abraham's life, Isaac is God's solution. Please note, however, that God blessed Ishmael; and that he would become a great nation in his own right. Personally, I believe that if your heart is searching the one true God, then by default you do seek Him. However the issue between God and man starts with the original sin, man's rebellion. You believe that this started and finished with an immediate repentance; but I, as a Christian, do not. I do believe that Adam repented and that it was accepted, however the promise came that God himself would lift man's burden. The promise of Christ Jesus was issued there in the garden it is only through accepting the blood of Christ that we are justified, not through works of ourselves.

Consultant

Answer


Was Ishmael a Worldly Solution for Abraham?

Salam Dear David,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

According to the Bible and the Quran, both Prophet Ishmael and Prophet Isaac are Prophet Abraham’s true sons (peace be upon them all). Read God’s promise of Ishmael in this verse:

“And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction” (Genesis 16:11-12, KJV)

Remember that prophet Abraham was without a progeny until God blessed him with his firstborn Ishmael. Indeed he was longing for a son (read Genesis 15:1-4).

How can anyone claim that the first son of Abraham bestowed upon him by God Almighty in answer to his prayers was not the one promised, but was an “intruder” as implied by some? Was the birth of Prophet Ishmael an ominous accident that unsettled God’s plans? Was not God Almighty in command at the time?

You have said: “God promised Abraham and Sarah a child, not Abraham and Hagar. [T]he son born, Ishmael is a worldly solution to Abraham’s life, Isaac is God’s solution.”

Where does God say that Prophet Ishmael is a worldly solution to Prophet Abraham’s life and Prophet Isaac is God’s solution?

If Ishmael were a worldly solution to Abraham, why should he be the firstborn, who always had a higher status than the rest of the children in those days (see Deuteronomy 21:15-17)?

Between God and Man

You have spoken of the “issue between God and man”. Let us see what that is.

God created Adam and showered upon him several blessings. Satan misled him to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit. God punished him and his mate by banishing them from the Garden. Adam and Eve repented, and God forgave them.

You agree that Adam’s repentance was accepted. If so, why does God want to punish Adam’s children for a sin they were innocent of? Do you not believe that God is Just?

How can a Just God do the injustice of punishing Adam’s progeny for a sin they never committed? How can a Just God punish Adam’s children, even after punishing Adam? He was expelled from the Garden; and he was put on “hard labor” (readGenesis 3:14-19).

How can a Just God punish Adam’s children even after Adam repented and his repentance was accepted?

This theory of Original Sin being inherited by generations of humans to be born till the Day of Judgment undermines the concept of Divine Justice. One may say that the real “original sin” is this distortion, this violation of God’s Justice. The sin committed by Adam is a natural one, as Adam was a weak human; and God permitted Satan to tempt him.

It is quite human that Adam was tempted to eat the forbidden fruit. God is Wise. He knew Adam would be tempted; it was God’s plan that Adam would be expelled. And it is God’s plan that Adam and his children would live on earth until the Day of Judgment.

And it is God’s plan again that the earth would be a testing field for Adam’s children, where they would continue to be tempted to disobey God. And obviously, they would be committing the sin of disobedience. What is the difference between Adam’s sin of disobedience, and the sin of one of Adam’s children, as sin per se?

If Adam’s sin required that God should die on the cross to atone for that sin, how many times God should die to atone for all the sins of disobedience you and I and every human being commits?

Christians believe that God is Love. What could that mean if God wants to punish an innocent baby born today, simply for the reason that he is Adam’s progeny?

How can the theory that if the baby is baptized, that baby is exempted from punishment hold?

How can the theory that to save mankind from eternal damnation, the All-Powerful God had no option but to be born as a weak human to suffer and die on the cross hold?

Why could the All-Merciful God not just forgive the humans? The usual argument is that God chooses to do so, because He loves mankind. If so, why does God not save all the children of Adam out of His infinite love?

You have said that “the promise of Christ Jesus was issued there in the garden, it is only through accepting the blood of Christ that we are justified, not through works of ourselves”.

I have not found this idea stated in the Genesis story — that only through accepting the blood of Christ that we are justified, and not through works of ourselves.

If this idea — which research has shown is actually an idea with pagan roots — were true, there must have been a clear, unambiguous statement of that in the Book of Genesis. But there is no such thing.

And Jesus himself would have made it perfectly clear that “only through accepting the blood of Christ that we are justified, not through works of ourselves.” And there is no saying of Jesus to that effect. So my question is: If the Bible is not the source of authority for your fundamental creeds, what is?

You write: “I believe that if your heart is searching the one true God, then by default you do seek Him.”

I fully agree with you, and pray that you and every seeker for the truth finds the One True God.

I hope this answers your question. Please, keep in touch.

Salam.




About Professor Shahul Hameed

Professor Shahul Hameed is an Islamic consultant. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.


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