Ishmael and Islam


Hi all!

So, something was confusing me. Muslims say that the Bible was corrupted, etc, etc, and its really hard to believe. Anyways, they claim that Ishmael was nearly sacrificed, not Isaac, even though the Bible clearly says otherwise.

However, this is something I’ve never noticed before while reading Genesis: Ishmael and Isaac are about 17 years apart from each other. When Sarah gets jealous and casts Hagar away, it mentions that Hagar hides her child underneath a bush. How could a 17 year old be hidden beneath a bush??

I’m not quite sure how this adds to the Ishmael theory, but it is perhaps proof of corruption? I’m just not really sure. I realize how reliable the NT is, but what about the OT?

Any answers for this? I realize that its kinda ridiculous, but im having a dialogue with a Muslim and i dont really have a response for this.

Pax Christi!


You got the story wrong. The boy almost died due to lack of water in the wilderness, that’s why the mother “cast the child under one of the bushes”

Genesis 21:15 “And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, ‘Do not let me look on the death of the child.’ And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, ‘What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.’ Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink.”



Yes, but in verse 14 it states:

“Early the next morning Abraham got some bread and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. Then, placing the child on her back, he sent her away. As she roamed aimlessly in the wilderness of Beer-sheba,”

How would Abraham place a teenager on his mother’s back?


Bushes can get big enough to lay an adult under, whether individual or clumps of them.


Maybe she supported his weight but didn’t bear all of it. Maybe it’s just an idiom, like “uncovering his father’s nakedness” or “once in a blue moon” and she wasn’t literally carrying Ishmael personally.


The skins were put on her shoulder; not the boy


It could be that Ismael was a burden to Hagar in the sense that Hagar was displaced because Ismael was her son - so metaphorically she carried him on her back.

I am fascinated by the story of Abraham in the context of the history of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and current events. Everything that happened with Abraham was clearly the Will of God, but it seems to me that those events set up a family divide the results of which we see today in all the strife in the ME and around the world. My understanding is poor (“lean not on your own understanding”), but I ponder these things none the less.



…have you ever followed a game on tv? When the results are covered in the news does the losing team claim that the other team as way superior? No, right? That would place them as rooting for the opposition!

How can the Muslims support Sacred Scriptures when they purport to have “the sacred writings?”

…now, you want to see them become blind (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil)?

Check what Scriptures say about the anti-Christ taking over the place of the Holy Temple (Temple Mount: and making itself a god… and forcing all to be sealed on the forehead with its sign… and how those under its oppression would be forced to sanctioning (rations of food, housing: Apocalypse [Revelation] 13:15-17; 2 Thessalonians 2:4); and let’s revisit Ishmael, remember Ismael is their patriarch:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]11 Then the angel of Yahweh said to her: ‘Now you have conceived, and you will bear a son, and you shall name him Ishmael, for Yahweh has heardc] your cries of distress. 12 A wild-** of a man he will be, against every man, and every man against him, setting himself to defy all his brothers.’

(Genesis 16:11-12)
…as far as I know, Islam is the only religion whose “sacred writing” calls to the extermination of those who do not believe as they; it is the only religious body that endorses the exploitation of everything (including lies, deception, and slavery) to further its cause… quite interesting when viewed through Genesis 16:11-12, don’t you think?

…as for the explanation about the age thing… yeah, I can only think that in the olden days parents had to protect their children until they went out on their own… it is difficult to understand (Abraham puts the child on the mother’s shoulders–is that a literal thing or a metaphor?); as for the bush thing… there are bushes and then there are bushes:

Some lilac varieties can become very tall and wide, but compact varieties have also been developed (


I have seen labels stating that a gum tree will be 6’ tall after 5 years (small print says with annual pruning). In practice such a plant is likely to be 40’ tall in 10 years. A holly 6’ tall after 5 years could grow into a 50’ tree. (
…so it is quite possible that there were some bushes around big enough to shelter a couple of adults.

Maran atha!




I would be interested in knowing the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar from the Muslim point of view. I couldn’t find it online, but I did find this - which seems conciliatory:

“Muslims believe that the prophet Abraham became the leader of the righteous in his time, and that it was through him that people of both the Arabian Peninsula (Adnanites in particular) and Israel came. Abraham, in the belief of Islam, was instrumental in cleansing the world of idolatry at the time. Paganism was cleared out by Abraham in both Arabia and Canaan. He spiritually purified both places as well as physically sanctifying the houses of worship. Abraham and Ismā‘īl (Arabic: ‫إِسـمَـاعِـيـل‬‎‎, Ishmael) further established the rites of pilgrimage,[7] or Ḥajj (Arabic: ‫حَـجّ‬‎‎), which are still followed by Muslims today. Muslims maintain that Abraham further asked God to bless both the lines of his progeny, of Ismail and Iṣ-ḥāq (Arabic: ‫إِصـحَـاق‬‎‎, Isaac), and to keep all of his descendants in the protection of God.”


As the Jews, the Muslims say they are descendants of Abraham

Matthew 3:9 “Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham”


The Preaching of John the Baptist.(some context):

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees* coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?e
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.f
Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
g I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire.*

  • h His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

  • [3:7] Pharisees and Sadducees: the former were marked by devotion to the law, written and oral, and the scribes, experts in the law, belonged predominantly to this group. The Sadducees were the priestly aristocratic party, centered in Jerusalem. They accepted as scripture only the first five books of the Old Testament, followed only the letter of the law, rejected the oral legal traditions, and were opposed to teachings not found in the Pentateuch, such as the resurrection of the dead. Matthew links both of these groups together as enemies of Jesus (Mt 16:1, 6, 11, 12; cf. Mk 8:11–13, 15).


I guess I never did the math???


You’ve never seen a teenager go absolutely invisible when his parents are looking for him to do some chores?



Here’s what I do when confronted with the “Bible is corrupted” argument from a Muslim.

The first thing to remember is:

There are two types of evidence which are regularly judged inadmissible in a court of law. Anyone making a claim which is supported by this type of evidence is regularly thrown out of court. In other words, the court will not even consider their case.

These types of evidence are:

  1. Hearsay - Evidence given by anyone other than by the person giving the testimony.

For example: Jane said that John took the marbles. Did you see John take the marbles? No. Then we need to talk to Jane and not to you.

  1. Copies of maliciously destroyed originals

For example. Sir, did you bring the documents we asked for? No, but I jotted down some notes that summarize the documents. How will we know that until we can compare your notes to the actual documents?


Mohamed is the founder of the Islamic religion. In Mohamed’s case, he says that an Angel appeared to him and said that he should write the Quran (the Islamic version of the Bible) and that the Angel told him what to write in the Quran. Therefore, all of Mohamed’s case is based on the testimony of the Angel which no one else saw and no one else heard. According to Mohamed, the Angel himself was not speaking for himself but for Allah.

If Mohamed were to appear in a court of law today here is what I imagine the interchange would sound like:

Mohammed sir, is it true that an angel appeared to you with a message for mankind?


Sir, did anyone else see this angel?


Did anyone else hear the angel?


Can you bring the angel to court that we might hear the testimony for ourselves?


Mr. Mohammed, do you expect us to believe such an extraordinary claim without any evidence? Let me try a different tact. In the Bible, Moses was given a staff with which he could produce many miracles in order to prove the Divine source of his message to Pharoah. Mr. Mohammed, do YOU have any such miraculous signs which prove that an angel gave you a message?


Mr. Mohammed, there is not enough evidence here to warrant a case. Goodbye sir.

And that is how the case would end.




The second thing to remember: Copies of maliciously destroyed originals.

The second type of evidence that gets turned out of court regularly is a copy of an original document which was destroyed in order to prevent anyone from comparing the alleged copy to the original. In other words, a person destroys the original and substitutes the copy as evidence. If the copy was the duplicate of the original, and both were available, why not present the original?

This part of Islamic history is, well, unbelievable. But truth is sometimes, stranger than fiction. You be the judge.

Let me give you a bit of background in case you aren’t familiar with Islamic history:

It turns out that Mohamed never did what he claimed he was instructed by the angel to do. He dictated the Quran in brief pieces called suras to various scribes. And the Scribes dutifully memorized or wrote down what Mohamed said. In the end however, Mohamed never compiled the Quran into a single book. Although Muslims claim that he edited the Quran, it seems unlikely since the Quran was never even in one place during his life.

So, when Mohamed died, Muslims began to dispute over who had the true Quran. They compared their memorized versions to the written versions. No match. They compared their written versions to other written versions. No match. Along comes a fellow named Uthman, he orders another fellow to compile the Quran but that fellow tries and is unsuccessful. Uthman makes a decision, he decides to BURN the originals and impose his own version of the Quran on Muslims.

If you don’t believe me, here it is in their own words:
Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur’an, so he said to Uthman, O Chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur’an) as Jews and the Christians did before. So Uthman sent amessage to Hafsa, saying, Send us the manuscripts of the Qur’an so that we may compile the Qur’anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you. Hafsa sent It to Uthman. Uthman then ordered Zaid ibn Thabit, Abdullah bin az-Zubair, Sa’id bin al-As, and Abdur-Rahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of the Quraish as the Qur’an was revealed in their tongue. They did so, and when they had written many copies, Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, p.479).

What does that mean for us? Well, if that were to happen in court, the copy which is being substituted for the destroyed original would be unacceptable as evidence. Why? Because the original was destroyed in order to prevent it being put into evidence. Therefore, the copy which is now being provided in its place would be unacceptable.

Here is what I imagine the case for Uthman would sound like.

Mr. Uthman, I understand you have provided us a copy of the Quran.


Mr. Uthman, don’t you have the original so that we can compare it to the copy and see how accurate it is.

Yes, but I have already compared it and I provided you the best copy.

Mr. Uthman, the court would like to decide for itself whether you have provided the best copy.

It is no longer available, I had it burned.

You had it burned?! Didn’t you say this was the Word of God! Yet you had it burned? Pray, tell, why did you have it burned?

Because the copy I gave you is better than the original.

What!? Mr. Uthman, I suggest you leave this courtroom before I have you thrown in jail. Who in their right mind would destroy such an important document as the original revelation of God to mankind. Unless they didn’t believe it was the actual revelation of God.

And, so, the Quranic version known as Uthman’s rescension, the only Quran used by Muslims today, would be thrown out of any court as an inadmissible copy.

In summary, Mohamed’s case would be thrown out of court for lack of evidence. Uthman’s case would be thrown out of court for destruction of original evidence and substituting an inadmissible copy. The case for Islam would be summarily, thrown out of court.


A very POWERFUL post!!!


It’s a curious way to look and Ishmael and Isaac did get together again for Abraham’s funeral.

Gen 25:7-9
7 The number of years Abraham lived was a hundred and seventy-five. 8 Then Abraham breathed his last, dying at a ripe old age, an old man who had lived his full span of years; and he was gathered to his people. 9 His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah opposite Mamre, in the field of Ephron the Hittite, son of Zohar.


Muslims agree with the Bible if something supports their claims but if it doesn’t they say its corrupted. Pretty stupid logic.



…it’s the “have it your way” thing; this is often used by Scriptures “only” Believers–they seek out Scriptures that they think support their tenet/theology and ignore everything else that does not or interpret everything in light of their tenet (btw, they do the same thing with Church history and, what seems inconceivable, their own founding father’s theology); the Muslims are only different in that they, as the Jews, hold on to the Old Covenant Scriptures only.

Maran atha!



Simple human logic would tell us that the Bible narrative is more reliable than the Quran which was founded 600 years later after Christ.

Thus when they contradict each other one has to be right and the other wrong. The latter would not be the Bible.

It would be interesting to know why and how the Bible was corrupted. There must be some reasons to them and what they are.

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