Abraham’s Prayer:

The coming of Father Abraham ushered in a new era in the mission of man as the Vicegerent of Allah on the earth. On one hand he was a model for mankind, while on the other he became the father of the revealed religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  Judaism and Christianity came from his son with Sarah, while Islam came from his son Ishmael.

Christians do not recognize Ishmael as a son in every sense of the word, because he was born from the slave of Sarah that is Hagar. However their argument for not accepting him as a legitimate son of the Patriarch is very weak. Their reason for not accepting him as Abraham’s first son is as they say that he was the son of lust and not the son of Promise.

What they failed to take note of is the fact that his father Abraham was a very pious person and because of his righteousness, according to their beliefs is that he is in Paradise.

He became the father of Ishmael when Sarah gave her slave Hagar to him, so that he did not commit any immoral act. So the argument about him being the son of lost is misleading.

Sarah’s gift to Abraham:

Abraham was nearing eighty years old and was not blessed with any offspring from Sarah. He used to pray for a son, as he was desirous of having someone to take up his legacy and continue to spread the Religion of Submission, Islam.

Abraham’s prayer is recorded in the Holy Qur’an as follows:

O my Lord, grant me a righteous son. (37:100)

Both Abraham and his wife Sarah were concerned about the fact that they did not have any children. The Bible tells us about their concern as follows:

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife bare him no children, and she had a hand maid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord had restrained me from bearing I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten yars in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar and she conceived. (Gen. 16:1-4)

So Ishmael was born in the normal way like any other human being. His birth was that of a normal child, which resulted in the union of a male Abraham and a female Hagar, who was given to him by her mistress Sarah.

From Ishmael’s genealogy came Prophet Muhammad (pboh). The Prophet (pboh) was also born as a normal human  being. Perhaps, that is a reason why Allah records about him in the Holy Qur’an in the following verse.

Say, (O Muhammad) I am a human being just like you. (18:110)

Both the Qur’an and the Bible confirm that fact that the Merciful Lord accepted the prayer of Abraham regarding his off springs. In the case of Ishmael there are the following references.

Bible:

According to the Bible, the Lord said to Abraham:

As for Ishmael I have heard your prayer, I will indeed bless him and make him fruitful, giving him many, many descendents. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. (Gen. 17:18-20)

Qur’an:

Allah tells us about the birth of Ishmael in the Qur’an as follows

So We gave him (Abraham) the good news of a boy (Ishmael) ready to suffer and forbear. (37:101)

Both the Qur’an and bible confirm that Ishmael was a gift from the Lord to the Patriarch. So to lower his status in the eyes of man, in order to promote the importance of Isaac is misleading. Both of these sons had their mission, one to the Israelites and the other to the whole world.

In addition to getting the good news from the Lord about Ishmael, Abraham also prayed that from his offspring should come a person who will be able to establish the Lord’s religion of Submission on the earth. This is confirmed in the Holy Qur’an in the following verses:

Our Lord, send amongst them (i.e. among the progeny of Ishmael) a Messenger of their own, who shall rehearse Thy Signs to them and instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom, and sanctify them. (2:129)

Abraham: a model.

Abraham is recognized as a model and a very righteous person. This is confirmed both in the Bible and in the Qur’an.

The Bible records about his righteousness in the following verses:

And it came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by the angels unto Abraham’s bosom. (Lk. 16:22).

Allah says about him in the Qur’an the following:

Abraham was indeed a model, devoutly obedient to Allah, (and) true in faith; and he did not join gods will Allah. He showed his gratitude for the favors of Allah, Who chose him and guided him to a Straight Way. And We gave him good in this world, and he will be, in the Hereafter, in the ranks of the righteous. So We have taught you ( O Muhammad), follow the ways of Abraham, the True in Faith, and he did not join gods with Allah. (16:120-3)

Abraham’s prayer was very specific. He wanted someone to come after him whol will be able to:

1.     Teach the people how to read the Book.

2.     Teach them the messages contained in the Book.

3.     Teach them the wisdom (application and benefits) of the Messages in the Book.

4.     Teach them self-purification and Spirituality

None of the Messengers were able to fulfill the prayer of Father Abraham. As a result the Israelites were always on the lookout for him who was to come as the answer to the Patriarch’s prayer.

There were always wise men called Sophias on the borders and in the important centers on the lookout for him who was to come, i.e. the Expected one. When John the Baptist began his mission the people taught that he was the Expected One. In response to their belief he said:

I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. (Lk.3:16)

When Jesus began his mission, John taught that he was the Expected One, so he sent two of his disciples to question Jesus about it. The Bible records this in the following verses:

And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus saying: Art he that should come? Or look we for another? (Lk.7:19)

In response to John’s query Jesus said:

Verily, I say unto you, among them that are born of woman there had not been a greater than John the Baptist. (Mt.11:11)

And I shall pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever. (Jn.14:15)

I have yet many things to say unto you but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit when the Spirit of Truth is come, he shall guide you unto all truth, for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear that shall he speak; and he shall show you things to come. (Jn.16:12-15)

Neither did John nor Jesus meet the criterion of the conditions made by Father Abraham regarding the prayer for the one who was to take his legacy. As a result the Sophias continued to keep looking for the Expected One.

When Prophet Muhammad (pboh) was born they saw the sign in the sky and they were sure that he had arrived. This was confirmed by the Jewish Monk Bohira who interviewed the Prophet (pboh) as a boy who was in the company of his uncle Abdul Mutallib, on a caravan journey to Basra.

We see that Allah answered Abraham’s prayer with the birth of Prophet Muhammad (pboh). He says:

Allah did confer a great favor on the Believers when He sent among them a Messenger from amongst themselves, rehearsing unto them the Signs of Allah, sanctifying them, and instructing them in Scripture and Wisdom. (3:164)

Unfortunately, the followers of Isaac did not select to accept him as the one they were expecting due to the fact that he came from the progeny of Ishmael and not of Isaac.

Whatever Jews and Christians may want to believe, that does not alter the position and status of the Prophet (pboh), as he was the only one that was able to unite mankind into one brotherhood. He fulfilled the prediction of Jesus who informed his people that the Comforter will teach them all things, and will not say anything, except what the Lord wants him to say. About this Allah says:

He never said of his own desire, (all that he said) is inspiration (from the Lord) sent down to him. (53:3-4)