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Ishmael: to Maggie

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict Criticizes Islam [in Regensburg]
in response to reader comment: There is still no link between Ishmael and all Muslims

Submitted by Abu Nudnik (Canada), Sep 26, 2006 at 20:34

The verse isn't about the "Chosen People" at all. He says his hand shall be raised to "all men" not to "the Chosen People." You misunderstand the verse. Abraham/Ibrahim is being comforted in the loss of his concubine and child, Ishamael; God tells Abraham that he should obey his wife, Sarah, and send Hagar out but that, never fear, Ishmael will also be a father of a nation. He then describes his character, as I've quoted above.

On the other point, I suppose you must mean that there is no evidence that Mohammed had Ishmael as an ancestor rather than the other way round, as you've stated it. Well, I suppose not, if you insist on a badge of strict historicity. But that's the problem here. One moment you say that the Bible is not only to be taken literally (though the historicity of the Hebrew Bible is apparent everywhere, particularly in detailing embarrassing defeats, self-criticism, catalogues of shocking crimes from even its heroes) and the next you say we need to flesh out the line of descent from Ishmael's twelve sons!

That's all perplexing enough but In any case your objections are beside the point, which is that Muslims believe that Mohammed, like all Arabs, was descended from Ishmael. All Muslims, having accepted Mohammed's Koran as a true revelation of God, accept Abraham (Ibrahim) as their spiritual, though not physical, forefather. Nothing unusual about that. Christians regard the Hebrew prophets as their own

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