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What it means to be a true descendant of Abraham

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict Criticizes Islam [in Regensburg]
in response to reader comment: Ishmael: to Maggie

Submitted by Maggie4Life (Australia), Oct 2, 2006 at 02:21

One of the most ridiculous claims for Islam that it is the true religion and that Muslims are the true Chosen People. However, true Scriptures, not the Koran, the Hadiths or any other muslim literature, paints a very different picture of what it means to be a true descendant of Abraham.

St. Paul, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, wrote the Letter to the Romans, and it is in this letter than one sees what is required to be a true son or daughter of Abraham. This is an issue that many Catholics and Protestants understand in different ways, especially when Protestants argue for faith alone, without the benefit of good deeds, however, they are wrong in their interpretation, but what they believe is still a lot closer to the truth than the muslim who believes the lies of Mohammed, and the lies of the interpreters of the Koran.

Abraham was justified by God, and reckoned to be righteous because of his faith, for he did what God told him to do, and he believed in the promises made by God, even though he was an old man. Sarah did not have the same level of faith as Abraham, yet she was still chosen to be the mother of the heir to the promise, that is the mother of Isaac. It was Sarah's lack of faith, and desire to be a mother that caused her to doubt God, and to give Hagar to Abraham so that Hagar would conceive and give birth. According to Genesis, Hagar was a very spiteful woman, who upon becoming pregnant was very cruel to her mistress. It is for this reason that Hagar was cast out of the household of Abraham before Ishmael was born. However, Hagar was urged to return by the angel. Then Sarah fell pregnant and gave birth to Isaac. We do not know why Sarah behaved in a jealous way when she saw the two boys playing together, but whatever she saw was sufficient for her to urge Abraham to cast out Hagar for good.

In Genesis it does not say that Abraham was comforted and that the promise that Ishmael would be made a great nation too, but it says that the promise was made to Hagar. Here is the exact verse:

"...So she sat at a distance; and the child wailed and wept. But God heard the boy wailing, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven. What is wrong Hagar? he asked, "do not be afraid for God has heard the boy's cry where he lies. Come pick up the boy and hold him safe, for I will make him into a great nation..." (Gen 21: 17-19)

In other words there was no promise made to Abraham regarding the descendants of Ishmael. However, there is a purpose for having this particular promise recorded. It is the fact that Ishmael lived in the wilderness, and that his wife came from the land of Egypt. It is significant because Hagar was a slave of Sarah, and she came from Egypt. The descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ended up in the land of Egypt and they ended up being enslaved by the Egyptian Pharoah.

Hagar and Ishmael represent slavery, not just physical slavery, but slavery to sin. Sarah, on the other hand, and her descendants are those who are the children of the promise. However, as time goes on, the Chosen People consider themselves to be exclusive, and they forgot that they were meant to be the ones who were to show the way of God to all of the nations. Despite this failure, the Messiah, that is the Anointed One, who was promised to Adam and Eve, did come to earth. He was born of a virgin by the name of Mary, in a stable at Bethlehem and his name is Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God, for God is three and God is one at the same time. This is what was revealed during the mission of Jesus Christ on earth - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now St. Paul in the Letter to the Romans, relates how we who are Gentile Christians are also the descendants of Abraham, not because of circumcision in the flesh, but because of the circumcision of our hearts. If we belong to God, and I am certain that there are many Muslims who are inclined to God (the ones who do not believe in the violence advocated by Mohammed), then we have the law of God written in our hearts. We do not need laws such as the precepts of Judaism, or the Sharia of Islam. These are laws that cause us to be slaves to sin. Under such laws there is little opportunity for wholeness in God because contravening those laws is too easy. Take for example the requirement for a kosher house - if the law is not kept and the house is unclean and untidy, then the wife has sinned. The same goes for the requirement for kosher cooking pots and implements, as well as food requirements. As another example, there is the laws regarding the attire of women. Under Islam's sharia a woman is not allowed to show any flesh or she has sin and punishment must be inflicted upon her. However, where there is freedom in Christ there is no such restriction, for the laws regarding attire do not make a woman more or less holy. That does not mean that a woman should go around wearing a mini skirt or revealing clothing. There are limitations upon what should be considered as demure clothing.

If sharia was imposed upon the world, then Sin will have conquered Grace. However, Jesus promised that the gates of hell will not prevail. In other words Grace abounds and conquers sin. The imposition of Sharia therefore is a form of enslavement, and it does not make anyone a descendant of Abraham, either in the flesh or in the spirit. This is why a Muslim is not in fact a true descendant of Abraham, and that using Ishmael as the link to Abraham is false.

Genesis is not meant to be taken so literally and the writers did not mean for us to link back to Abraham in this way. What the writer is saying is that the descendants of Ishmael are the ones who made war on the descendants of Isaac. This is the lead up to the enslavement of the chosen people in Israel, where they first became known as the Hebrew race. The most literal understanding of these passages in Genesis is that through Hagar there is slavery, and through Sarah there is freedom. We see that now, because those who want to impose Sharia also want to enslave the rest of the world. We have as an example the way in which Sharia was imposed in Afghanistan under the Taliban. We know for example that women who were trained to be doctors, lawyers and teachers were no longer allowed to go about their daily tasks. The level of medical care in Afghanistan for women dropped dramatically under the leadership of the Taliban. If women went out in public, and even the slightest bit of flesh was seen the women were dragged off to a prison where they were tortured because of their alleged transgression. As well as the offences that have taken place in Afghanistan, there are other nations where Sharia has been imposed, and where women often stand accused of adultery, even though they have been raped. The way in which these laws are imposed the women are deprived of their human rights as a result of the imposition of Sharia.

If women do not fare all that well as a result of Sharia, neither do Christians, Jews, Hindu and Buddhists. In Afghanistan the Muslims went about smashing ancient Buddhist statues. In Indonesia the Buddhists on Bali suffer at the hands of the Muslims. In fact the murder of almost 200 people in Bali was against the Hindu and Buddhists of the Island as much as it was against the westerners who also lost their lives. If the dogs responsible for this loss of life are allowed to go free in the future then no justice will be done. Crimes are being committed in the name of Islam. This is not the way of Abraham. It is not the way of Jesus Christ. However, it is the way of Mohammed...

Submitting....

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