According to Islamic traditions, Prophet Ishmael (peace be upon him), the first born son of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) was left in wilderness (now known as Makka), as an infant along with his mother Hagar. Abraham invoked Almighty Allah: “0 our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley with no cultivation, by Your Sacred House (the Ka’ba at Mecca); in order, 0 our Lord, that they may offer prayers perfectly , so fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (0 Allah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks. 0’ our Lord! Certainly, You know what we conceal and what we reveal. Nothing on the earth or in the heaven is hidden from Allah.”(Qur’an;14:37-38). The biblical narrative is some what different, but it mentions: “And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. And Abram was eighty-six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.”(Genesis;16:15-16), “And the angel of the LORD said unto her (Hager), I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. 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;16:10-11). “And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.”(Genesis;13:18), “And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis;17:20), “And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”(Genesis;16:12).
The whole land of Arabia appears (Genesis;10:1-32) to have been inhabited by a variety of tribes of different lineage, Ishmaelites, Arabians, Idumeans, Horites, and Edomites; but at length becoming amalgamated, they came to be known by the general designation of Arabs. The modern nation of Arabs is predominantly Ishmaelite (decedents of Ishmael or Isma’il), their language Arabic, is the most developed and the richest of all the Semitic languages, and is of great value to the student of Hebrew. Isma’il was also a messenger of God (Qur’an;19:54). He willingly offered himself to be sacrificed in obedience to the command of Allah to his father Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), who was asked to offer the sacrifice of his ‘only son’ as mentioned at Genesis;22:2. Isaac was 13 years younger to Ishmael, hence he can not be called as only son of Abraham. Allah accepted the gesture of Abraham and substituted ram instead (Qur’an;37:102-107). Ishmael helped his father Abraham in building the Ka’ba (Qur’an;2:127). He called the people around (Arabia) to prayer and charity. Isma’il became the ancestor of Arabs. Allah says: “We blessed him (Abraham) and Isaac: but of their progeny are (some) that do right, and (some) that obviously do wrong, to their own souls.”(Qur’an;37:1130). Once the progeny of Abraham through his second son Isaac deviated from the faith of Abraham, after two and half millennium, God shifted the honor of “Leadership of Mankind” to the decedents of Ishmael by appointing Muhammad (peace be upon him) as His last messenger (610 C.E).
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