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Ishmael is recognized as an important prophet and patriarch of Islam.

Muslims
believe that Ishmael was the firstborn of Abraham, born to him from his second
wife Hagar. Ishmael is recognized by Muslims as the ancestor of several prominent
Arab tribes and being the forefather of Muhammad.

1) A prophet (nabi) is said to have received the highest form of inspiration


(wahi), but is not necessarily required to deliver the message.
2) An apostle (rasul) receives the same form of inspiration but is
commanded by the Most High to deliver the message to men.

The apostles then, were messengers of the Most High who had been sent to peoples
of the past.

Islam claims that there were be nine special messengers (rasul): Nuh, Ibrahim,
Daud, Yaqub, Yusuf, Ayyub, Musa, ‘Isa and Muhammad all were said to bring
new laws which successively abrogated the preceding revelation. The difference
between rasul and nabi is not always clear.

Only a minority of individuals called prophets in the Qur’an are so described in the
Bible. The lists of the prophets in the Qur’an do not follow a chronological order
and his understanding of them seems confused. Muslims often accuse Christians of
deprecating the prophets as the Bible records their sins and failures such as lying or
adultery; there are no such allegations made against such prophets as Enoch,
Elijah, Joseph and Daniel.

However, it remains true that deficiency resides in man, the Most High alone is
perfect. Man by contrast has short-comings and he who has virtues still has sinful
tendencies.

The Most High chose certain prophets to convey his message and guided them
by the Holy Spirit in truth:

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private


interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy
men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:20- 21

According to the Qur’an, Muhammad was lost and astray before he was guided and
according to Islamic historical books, Abdul-Muttalib, was the pagan grandfather
of Muhammad. Muhammad’s grandfather took care of Muhammad when he
became an orphan.

Although over 80 and an important person from the Hashim line and devoted to his
grandson he being a pagan has no place in the prophetic line; neither does Ishmael.

However, according to the Hebrew Scriptures, “neither Ismail nor Isaac are
prophets” so was the Qur’an mistaken? Does the Qur’an wrongly ascribe Ismail
and Isaac with the office of a prophethood?

Islam considers that both Isaac and Ishmael were prophets. However, the Hebrew
Scriptures never ascribed that title to Isaac or for that matter Ishmael. As it seems
has the status of prophet-hood been misunderstood by the Qur’an, through
Muhammad when he tried to grasp the teaching of the Hebrew Scriptures?
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in
various ways.” Hebrews 1:1

In Hebrews 1:1 explains that the Most High spoke to the fathers by the prophets –
the point being, the prophets spoke to the Israelites of an earlier generation who
were under the covenant. After the rift with Sara, Ishmael left the family home,
only returning to help his brother bury their father showing that Ishmael never had
a prophetic ministry to the covenant people.

However, in the Qur'an we may conclude that no gift of prophecy or revelation lies
in the seed of Ishmael as the Qur'an itself states, as we will see that Ishmael is lost
sight of, and cut off from the prophetical line according to the Qur'an.

Now as the Hebrew Scriptures lays no claim that Ishmael was a Prophet. In fact, it
is right to judge the Qur’an by what has already been revealed in the previous
scriptures.

If they do not agree then something is badly amiss.

The Muslim argument is always:

“that the previous revelations has been misrepresented and distorted by the hand
of misguided people through the age”

However, this is not supported by the Qur’an but that is another matter.

In respect of the Most High’s sovereign choice of chosen messengers scripture


teaches that the Most High called Israel to be his people and sent them his
prophets.

“I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and


your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your Elohim and the
Elohim of your descendants after you.” Genesis 17:7
Although Ishmael will be come a great nation:

“And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him
fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve
rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.” Genesis 17:20

The covenant will be established with Isaac through Sarah:

“Then Elohim said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will
call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for
his descendants after him.” ​Genesis 17:19

“​But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this
time next year." Genesis 17:2​1

Is it fair to say the Qur’an was mistaken or that the Qur’an is therefore wrong in
declaring that Ishmael was a prophet for he was not included in the covenant
promises while the Hebrew prophets were.
Ishmael is not called a prophet throughout the entire Hebrew Scriptures or the
Gospel because Ishmael was not a prophet; likewise Isaac was not called a prophet
because he was not a prophet.

Again, the Qur’an was mistaken. Of course, the Qur’an may be consistent to its
own story-line saying Ishmael was a Prophet along with Isaac but it conflicts with
the previous scriptural revelations in this and other matters.
According to the Qur’an, Ismail’s revelation is not clear in Qur’an and it does not
support the spread of the millata Ibrahim. Ismail is not a prophet because the
covenant with Abraham is continued through Isaac.

Again, Ismail is not found in the prophetic line.

Some Muslim scholars believes the Qur’an generally concentrates on the historical
events and the stories summarize their lessons and warnings and that Islam
considers all prophets and messengers are sent with the same message
(monotheism) with a slight difference in legislation according to the humanitarian
need of the time, so basically, it’s not about Ismail, it’s about the prophetic
experiment as a system in the Qur’an .
In Islam they are proponents of monotheism while in the Hebrew Scriptures, they
have additional roles such as bring back an erring people to the covenant of the
Most High.

The aspect of them presenting “the same message with a slight differences in
legislation according to the humanitarian need in every time” is a position not
found in the Hebrew Scriptures.

According to the teaching of the Hebrew Scriptures and the Gospel, Ishmael is not
a prophet of the Most High along with other Quranic candidates like Adam, Hud,
Lot, Shu’aib, Zechariah, Uzair, Zu’l-Qarnain etc.

In fact there are a number of verses in the Qur’an that mention Ishmael. They state
that he received revelation in Sura 2:136, 3:84, 4:163, while in Sura 19:54, 55 calls
Ishmael a messenger and prophet who “​used to enjoin on his people prayer and
charity, and he was most acceptable in the sight of his Lord.”

In some places he is associated with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the Tribes
while in other places his name is linked with Elisha, Jonah and Lot; Idris and
Zu’l-kifi. He is also said to have helped his father Abraham build the Ka’abah in
Sura Al-Baqarrah 2:127.

While Islam views Ishmael as a prophet both the Qur’an and the Hadith traditions
fail to explain the substance of Ishmael’s revelation, nor is it explained how it is
related to the spread of the Millata Abraham.
The Hadith traditions concentrate on other factors like acknowledging that his
mother was Hagar; that there was a feud between Hagar and Sarah; that he was
involved in digging the foundations of the Ka’abah and other related non-biblical
stories.

The Hebrew Scriptures explains both the substance and the context of the life of
Ishmael who gradually disappears from the picture as the covenant with Abraham
is continued through Isaac. In other words Ishmael is not found to be in the
prophetic line.

The amazing point is that the Qur’an is in agreement with the the Hebrew
Scriptures on this particular subject and that is no gift of prophecy or revelation lies
in the seed of Ishmael and so therefore Muhammad has no claim to the biblical
prophetic line.

If he has no claim he cannot be the last and final prophet ​‘the seal of the
prophets’.
The source of Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet lies not in his spiritual ancestry
in the line of the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures but in a completely different
area.

According to the Hadith, one of the reasons the Arabs believed Muhammad was a
prophet was the evidence of a mole of an unusual size on Muhammad’s back, this
lump they believed was a divine seal predicted in scripture. Just as this prediction
is absent in scripture so likewise there are no predictions of any prophet coming
from the line of Ishmael.

However, there is a big contradiction Sura Maryam, we do find this verse:

“And remember Ishmael, who was true to his promise; ​and he was a messenger
and a prophet​.” Sura 19:54

How the Qur'an comes to this conclusion when he is outside the race of prophets
can only be explained as a symptom of trying to wedge his descendant Muhammad
into a line to which he did not belong.
According to the Qur'an, Israel favored among all nations and above the seed
of Ishmael:

“​O Children of Israel​! Remember the favour wherewith I have favoured you and
preferred you above all nations (or all creatures)” Al Baqarrah 2:44

Abraham’s godly seed does not include Ishmael:

"​And We gave to Him Isaac and Jacob and placed in his descendants
prophethood and scripture. ​And We gave him his reward in this world, and
indeed, he is in the Hereafter among the righteous." Sura 29:27

The question that needs to be asked is why isn't there any mention of Ishmael in
this passage. Some Muslim scholars present the explanation that Ishmael is not
mentioned with Isaac and Jacob because the Qur'an is speaking of the long line of
descent of the prophets of Israel.

They say that as Muhammad came from Ishmael it was not suitable to mention him
on this occasion but he is later mentioned but in quite another connection.

Hence, the object in naming Isaac and Jacob was to indicate the progeny of
Abraham from whose line prophets should arise. As there is an absence of
Ishmael’s name then the text suggests that no prophet would arise from among his
descendants.

However, according to Islam, Muhammad is the greatest of all prophets from out
of Abraham so why no mention of him here?

Honours are awarded to Isaac and Jacob not to Ishmael:

“And when he had separated himself from them, and from that which they
worshipped beside God, ​We gave him Isaac and Jacob​; and We made them both
prophets; and We granted unto them (benefits of) our mercy; and We granted unto
them a lofty tongue of truth.” Surah Maryam 19:49

Again we find no mention of Ishmael whereas high honours are paid to Isaac and
Jacob.

When Abraham departed to the holy land the Most High gave him a son and a
grandson to live with him and made them both prophets these alone are mentioned
as the Most High’s gift to Abraham, as the root and ancestry from which the race
of prophets sprang.

"​And We gave to Him Isaac and Jacob and placed in his descendants
prophethood and scripture. ​And We gave him his reward in this world, and
indeed, he is in the Hereafter among the righteous." Sura 29:27

Ishmael is considered a patriarch of Islam based upon legends that have developed
around him and information found in the Qur’an. But what does the Hebrew
Scriptures tell us about Ishmael?

Ishmael was one of Abraham’s children but why was he not once again with Isaac
and Jacob according to the Qur’an? The Qur’an recognises that Isaac and Jacob
were the root and ancestry of the race of the prophets, and from them was to spring
Him in whom “all the nations of the earth would be blessed”

“and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have
obeyed me."​ Genesis 22:18

“I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give
them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be
blessed.” Genesis ​26:4
“Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the
west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be
blessed through you and your offspring.​” Genesis 28:14

Isaac was the child of promise without question and we can refer to the Torah and
use the Qur’an as a reference.

However, whereas Ishmael was born of the bondservant Hagar, without promise or
heavenly message. Again, the promise of the gift of prophecy to the seed of
Abraham, in immediate connection with the mention of Isaac and Jacob as progeny
given by covenant to Abraham, is in strong contrast with the absence of any such
promise in passages where Ishmael is named.

Further honours awarded to Isaac and Jacob but not to Ishmael:

“And We bestowed on him Isaac and Jacob as an additional gift; and We made all
of them righteous persons; We made them also leaders, that they might guide
others by Our command. And We inspired them to do good works, the observance
of prayer, and the giving of alms; and they served Us.” Sura Al Anbia 21:69-70

This is now the fourth text gathered from different parts of the Qur’an where each
excels that which preceded it in the grandeur of the blessings bestowed on
Abraham and his two sons.

The Qur’an recognises along with the Torah the blessings Isaac and Jacob
obtained from the Most High:

1) We guided them aright

2) We made them all prophets

3) We committed to their progeny the gift of prophecy and the Scriptures


4) And all of them We made righteous.

Surely, if Ishmael had been a partaker with Isaac in the promised blessing, his
name would have appeared somewhere in connection with it. Here in this reference
the same conclusion is drawn that ​Ishmael is not alluded to as the progenitor of
any from whom a prophetical race would arise​. He must therefore be excluded
from the promise given to the patriarch.

Muhammad told to remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

“And remember Our servants, ​Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob​, men strenuous
and prudent. Verily, We purified them with a perfect purification, through
remembrance of the life to come. And they were in Our sight chosen men and
good. And remember Ishmael and Elisha and Dhul Kefl, all good men.” Sura
38:43-46

Some Muslim Scholars say that Muhammad is told to remember Abraham, Isaac
and Jacob for their power in the Most High’s service, their insight in spiritual
things, and excellent works.

However, this is now the fifth verse in which Ishmael is not mentioned as being of
the family of Abraham. How is it that the Most High bids Muhammad to remember
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob​, their virtue, knowledge and grace, and not a word of
his progenitor Ishmael, who is spoken of as if he ​“belonged to another
generation,” ​and not to Abraham at all?

In the above verse, Ishmael whose inclusion is not alongside the family of
Abraham but linked with ​Elisha and Dhul Kefl:

“Remember Ishmael, Elisha, and Dhul Kefl, all good men.”

Elisha lived some one thousand years after Ishmael and they are linked with Dhul
Kefl who is said to have belonged to a different race completely from the Prophets.
It is to be especially noted that the Prophet of Islam is here desired to “remember”
the three patriarchs, ​Abraham, Isaac and Jacob​, without any reference to
Ishmael, who had no claim to be associated with them.