Ishmael bigraphy, stories - Prophet

Ishmael : biography


Ishmael ( ISO 259-3 Yišmaˁel; Ismaēl; ; ') is a figure in the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, and was Abraham's first son according to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Ishmael was born of Abraham's marriage to Sarah's handmaiden Hagar (). According to the Genesis account, he died at the age of 137 ().

World views

Historians and academics in the fields of linguistics and source criticism believe that the stories of Ishmael belong to the three strata of J, or Yahwist source, the P, or Priestly source, and the E, or Elohist source (See Documentary hypothesis). For example, The narration in is of J type and the narration in is of E type.S. Nikaido(2001), p.1

Islamic traditions consider Ishmael to be the ancestor of Arab people, excluding Arabs who are descendants of Ya'rub. Arabs who are from Ishmael-descendant tribes are occasionally referred to as "Arabized-Arabs" to highlight their ancestry.

Jewish traditions are split between those, like Josephus, who consider Ishmael the ancestor of the Arabs,Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Ch. 12; 2, 4 and those, like Maimonides, who believe that the northern Arabs are descended from the sons of Keturah, whom Abraham married after Sarah's death.

Pre-Islamic Arabia

Some Pre-Islamic poetry mentions Ishmael, his father Abraham, and the sacrifice story, such as the Pre-Islamic poet "Umayyah Ibn Abi As-Salt", who said in one of his poems: بكره لـم يكن لصبر عنه أو يـراه فـي معشر أقتال ([The sacrifice] of his first-born of whose separation he [Abraham] could not bear neither could he see him surrounded in foes).The Treasury of literature, Sect.437The Beginning of History, Volume 3, Sect.10Al-Kashf Wa Al-Bayan, Volume 11, Page 324

"Zayd Ibn Amr" was another Pre-Islamic figure who refused idolatry and preached monotheism, claiming it was the original belief of their [Arabs] father Ishmael.The Beginning and the End by Ibn Kathir - Volume 3, Page 323The History by Ibn Khaldun, Volume 2, Page 4

Also, some of the tribes of Central West Arabia called themselves the "people of Abraham and the offspring of Ishmael", as evidenced by a common opening of speeches and harangues of reconciliation between rival tribes in that area.The Signs of Prophethood, Section 18, page 215The Collection of the Speeches of Arabs, volume 1, section 75


Judaism has generally viewed Ishmael as wicked though repentant (whereas Christianity omits any reference to repentance, which is sourced in the Talmudic explanation of the Hebrew Bible Judaism maintains that Isaac rather than Ishmael was the true heir of Abraham.

In some Rabbinic traditions Ishmael is said to have had two wives; one of them named Aisha. This name corresponds to the Muslim tradition for the name of Muhammad's wife. This is understood as a metaphoric representation of the Muslim world (first Arabs and then Turks) with Ishmael.Shalom Paul in The Oxford Dictionary of Jewish Religion, p.358

The name of an important 2nd century CE sage—Ishmael ben Elisha, known as "Rabbi Ishmael" (רבי ישמעאל), one of the Tannaim—indicates that the Biblical Ishmael enjoyed a positive image among Jews of the time.

Rabbinical commentators in the Midrash Genesis Rabbah also say that Ishmael's mother Hagar was the Pharaoh's daughter, thereby making Ishmael the grandson of the Pharaoh. This could be why Genesis 17:20 refers to Ishmael as the father of 12 mighty princes. According to Genesis 21:21, Hagar married Ishmael to an Egyptian woman, and if Rabbinical commentators are correct about Hagar being the daughter of the Pharaoh, his marriage to a woman selected by the Pharaoh's daughter could explain how and why his sons became princes.

However, according to other Jewish commentators, Ishmael's mother Hagar is identified with Keturah, the woman Abraham married after the death of Sarah, stating that Abraham sought her out after Sarah's death. It is suggested that Keturah was Hagar's personal name, and that "Hagar" was a descriptive label meaning "stranger"., commentary on Parshah Chayei Sarah, Chabad Lubavitch., Bar-Ilan University's Parashat Hashavua Study Center, 2003., Torah Insights, Orthodox Union, 2002. This interpretation is discussed in the MidrashBereshit Rabbah 61:4. and is supported by Rashi, Gur Aryeh, Keli Yakar, and Obadiah of Bertinoro. Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Itzhaki) argues that "Keturah" was a name given to Hagar because her deeds were as beautiful as incense (hence: ketores), and/or that she remained chaste from the time she was separated from Abraham—keturah [ קְטוּרָה Q'turah ] derives from the Aramaic word for restrained.

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Living octopus

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