Abraham (08), Isaac (09) Ishmael (10)
Associated Patriarchs and Prophets and their sacred Books.
Stephen N, Lambden, UC Merced.
In Progress revised from the Lambden Ph.d (1980s+ 2002- Last updated 20-02-2020.
Abraham- Ibrahim (fl.19th cent. BCE?).
Frequently mentioned in the Qur'an. (Q14 [title] x 69 in 245 verses within 25 sūras) Abraham in the Q. is a son of Āzar (Q. 6:74 cf. the Eliezer of Gen. 15:2f and Gen.11:26 where the father is Teraḥ). He is the khalīl-Allāh (`the friend of God’, Q.4:125; 6:125) and scriptural father of monotheism. For Muslims Abraham became a proto-Muslim proponent of primordial Islām, the millat Ibrāhīm ( "religion of Abraham", Q. 2:130 etc.). Neither genealogically a Jew nor a Christian (Q. 3:67) Abraham is several times accorded the epithet ḥanīf , loosely, `pure monotheist’ (cf. Syr. ḥanpo pl. ḥanpe , Q. 2:135; etc). According to Q. 29:27 God
established nubuwwa (`prophethood’) and al-kitāb (`The Book’ , `Scripture’) "among his progeny" (see 09 &10).
In Bābī- Bahā’ī sources Abraham is a centrally important maẓhar-i ilāhī (Baha'u'llah Surat al-Nuṣḥ, 246-7; Kitab-i iqan:8/7-8). Several legendary episodes within Abraham’s life are given a spiritual interpretation, including his being cast into the "fire" (al-nār) which became "light" (al-nūr) and his unfulfilled sacrifice of [Isaac] Ishmael (Baha'u'llah Surat al-Nuṣḥ, 247-8, etc. ). For `Abd al-Baha' his exiles prefigured those of Baha'u'llah (AB*, SAQ : IV).
Abraham- Ibrahim and Islamo-biblical pseudepigraphical sacred writings
Isaac or Yiṣḥāq (Q. x17 in 12 sūras) according to Gen. 22:1f the son of Abraham. In the biblical tradition he was the one bound for sacrifice (akedat Yiṣḥāq, cf. Gen 22:9). Though this is not explicit in the Q. some early Persian and other Muslim sources supported his status as dhabīḥ (`the one [well-nigh] sacrificed’).1
1 Linked (among others) withJacob and his half-brother Ishmael (Q. 9:71; 19:39; cf.10 below) most of the qur’anic references to him occur in miscellaneous lists of prophets and associated figures. (Alexander, DBI: 44-7 + bib.; Montgomery Watt `Isḥaq’ EI2 IV:109-110; Naudé, 1971).
Isaac is rarely mentioned in Bābī- Bahā’ī primary sources. Baha'u'llah and `Abd al-Baha' have commented upon the meaning and discrepancy between the biblical (Isaac) and qur’ānic exegetical (Ishmā’īl) references to different sons of Abraham involved in the near sacrifice (Fadil-i Māzandarānī, K 3:196-201). They held that both narratives enshrine the same "spiritual" truth.
Isaac- Yiṣḥāq and Islamo-biblical pseudepigraphical sacred writings
Ismā`īl, Ishmael. Rasul and nabi (= Heb yišmā˓ēl). Ishmael is (Qx12 in 8 sūras) the biblical eldest son of Abraham and Hagar (Gen. 16:11ff) said in the Qur'an to have received divine revelations (Q. 2:136; 4:163). In the Qur'an he (or a second Ismā’īl) is explicitly named a prophet-Messenger (rasūl an nabīyy an , Q.19:54b) though little concrete information is given about him. He most probably was the one who (it is implied) among other things assisted his father in establishing the Meccan Ka`bah as the centre of pilgrimage (Q. 2:125f) (Paret, `Ismā’īl’ EI2 IV:184-185+bib., Firestone, 1988;1990). Some Muslims hold that he was the ghulām al-ḥalīm ("the wise youth") whom Abraham prepared as the dhabīḥ (`one [well-nigh] sacrificed’, Q. 37:101-7). Abraham’s intended sacrifice of Ishmael is occasionally mentioned in Bābī- Bahā’ī sources where he is a paragon of detached, personal sacrifice ( Baha'u'llah,Tablet to Riḍā’ GWB:XXXII). Following the post qur’ānic story Baha'u'llah likened the actual death of his son Mīrzā Mihdī (d. 23nd June 1870) in Acre, to Abraham’s intended sacrifice of Ishmael (ibid).
As in various Islamic (Shī`ī) and Shaykhī texts, Bābī- Bahā’ī primary sources mention two Ishmaels, one the son of Abraham and the other the rasūl and nabī mentioned in Q. 19:54-5 as interpreted by Imam Ja`far al-Ṣādiq and others (Biḥār 213:388-91; `Abd al-Baha' & Shoghi Effendi unpublished). This second Ismā’īl is sometimes identified as the Israelite prophet, Ismā’īl son of Hizkīl (son of Ezekiel) (Shaykh Aḥmad, JK 1/1:101).
Ishmael-Ismā`īl and pseudepigraphical sacred writings