CAN WE PLEASE STOP CALLING ISLAM ABRAHAMIC?
We have heard and been taught that Islam is an Abrahamic religion but on what basis though?
First, there is the claim that Islam started with Ishmael (the first son of Abraham) or that Arabs were descendants of Ishmael. The first leg of the claim cannot be true as Adam is way before Ishmael and is considered to be a prophet in Islam, the second leg is not supported by reasonable Biblical or historical evidence of any kind.
The Bible references Arabia, Arabians, Ishmael and Ishmaelites without linking the two to any common ancestry. There is also no reliable way of tracing Muhammad’s (the prophet of Islam) ancestry to Ishmael.
Furthermore, Ishmael himself had an Egyptian lineage (his mother Hagar was Egyptian and so was the wife he later married) so it beggars belief that he could be the progenitor of a race of people he himself was a descendant of. That Islam started with Ishmael or can be traced back to him seems to be one of those things we have heard so much and take for granted as true with zero evidence.
Secondly, Abraham was a Jew. He is in fact the first man in scripture to be referred to as such when he was called Abram, the Hebrew (Genesis 14:13) and the sentiments Muhammad had towards Jews was, shall we say, not the very best…
“Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:
The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 54 Hadith 103)
“It has been narrated by ‘Umar b. al-Khattib that he heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say:
I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim.” (Sahih Muslim Book 32 Hadith 75)
Muhammad even blamed Jews for the fact that food decays,
“Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Were it not for Bani Israel, meat would not decay; and were it not for Eve, no woman would ever betray her husband.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari Book 60 Hadith 72)
If Islam is Abrahamic and Muhammad’s roots were truly from a son of Abraham, why did he portray so much ill-will towards the Jews?
Thirdly, even if we were to concede that Islam can historically be traced to Ishmael and Muhammad is in fact his descendant, the position that Islam is Abrahamic still cannot stand from a Biblical perspective. Paul writes,
“…For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” (Romans 9:6–7)
Although the point Paul was making is a more spiritual one, he does make a crucial scriptural point. That Isaac was the promised seed, not Ishmael. Even if Ishmael is the seed of Abraham as well (and was blessed by God as a result), Isaac was the son through which God was going to fulfil the promises He made to Abraham. This is further illustrated by the fact that in Genesis 22, where God tests Abraham in asking him to offer Isaac, he refers to Isaac as follows,
“…Take now your son, your only son Isaac…” (Genesis 22:2)
God recognised Isaac as Abraham’s only son for purposes of the gospel and of His promises towards him.
Isaac was the son through which God’s chosen people, Israel came. Isaac was the son through which Jesus Christ came and Isaac was the son through which the gospel was preached to Abraham, as it is written,
“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” (Galatians 3:8)
and again, Jesus says to the Jews,
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56)
So Ishmael had absolutely no role to play either in the timeline of the Jews, God’s chosen people or in the story of the gospel that was preached to Abraham.
Although God also recognised Ishmael as Abraham’s son and promised to bless and make a nation out of him, there is absolutely nothing linking this with Islam. The blessings and nations God made of Ishmael are noted in scripture thus:
“Now this is the genealogy of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s maidservant, bore to Abraham. And these were the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: The firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; then Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadar, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These were the sons of Ishmael and these were their names, by their towns and their settlements, twelve princes according to their nations. These were the years of the life of Ishmael: one hundred and thirty-seven years; and he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people. (They dwelt from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt as you go toward Assyria.) He died in the presence of all his brethren.” (Genesis 25:12–18)
He was gathered to his people, not his children or his descendants. His people lived between east of Egypt and toward Assyria. So these, what would be today, Arabic people preceded Ishmael not proceeded from him.
Finally and most importantly, Islam, from a Biblical standpoint cannot be Abrahamic because it rejects Jesus Christ, the promised seed of Abraham as well as the gospel that was preached to Abraham.
Jesus has the below exchange with the Jews, actual physical descendants of Abraham,
“They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham.” (John 8:39)
Abraham delighted in the gospel of Jesus Christ (John 8:56), Islam does not. It denies that Jesus Christ died on the cross, it denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, it does not recognise the atonement in the blood of Christ. So what link does it have with Abraham?
What about Judaism, why not say it is not Abrahamic since it rejects Jesus and the gospel as well? Well, for one, adherents for the most part are Jews, physical descendants of Abraham and it is based on the laws given to Moses, a Jew, a descendant of Abraham. Further more, it is the fore-runner of Christianity and as such there is no dispute regarding the similar roots of both faiths, as Jesus Christ Himself said,
“…for salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22)
Islam on the other hand comes from the message of Muhammad which he, without any witnesses by the way, claims to have gotten from Allah, a name neither Abraham nor the Jews knew God by.
In conclusion, whether historically, logically or Biblically, there is no connection between Islam and Abraham. It was not, is not and will never be an Abrahamic faith.