The Norman Transcript

Religion

April 3, 2014

Abraham’s test of faith and salvation

NORMAN — Mohamed Kohia, Rockhurst University professor: In Islam, Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) is labeled as the father of prophets. Among his children was the first born Ishmael (Ismael) and second born Isaac (Ishac). From the offspring of Ismael came only one prophet “Mohammad,” and from the progeny of Ishac came many prophets, including Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus and others (peace be upon them all).

Ismael is recognized by Muslims as an important prophet, patriarch, and the ancestor of several prominent Arab tribes. Mohammad was the descendant of Ismael that would establish a great nation, as promised by God in the Old Testament:

“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 12 rulers, and I will make them into a great nation.” (Genesis 17:20)

Ismael, being the first born of Abraham (about 13 years before Isaac), is believed by Muslims to be the one offered for sacrifice by Abraham in an amazing obedience of God, and he was saved by God’s mercy.

In conclusion, the following must be noticed:

· Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son to please God.

· Ismael makes sure in different ways that neither he nor his father hesitated in their obedience to God. In this way, Ismael is a model of surrendering one’s will to God, an essential characteristic in Islam.

· In Islam, all prophets are equally respected and treated as special human beings, chosen by God to deliver his message: “We make no distinction between prophets.” (Q: 2:285)

Rabbi Avi Weinstein, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy: A great Jewish philosopher, when asked about the essential difference between Judaism and Christianity, quipped: The central theme of Christianity is that God offered his only son for the salvation of man. For Judaism, it is that a man offered his only son to God.

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