Ishmael and Isaac in the Bible: A Response to a Christian’s Objections, Part Eight
This article is a continuation of our discussion with a Christian from the IslamiCity Discussion Forumon the inconsistencies and contradictions of the Biblical story of Ishmael and Isaac. In his new reply, the Christian began by stating:
“In my counterargument I am just going to use simple logic for the readers just to show you why Islam’s objection to Isaac being the ‘only son’ of promise to Abraham does not work well within any scriptural reason or logic. First, Islam has no evidence to support it and second there are serious flows in the assumptions of the Bible’s inconsistencies.”
Well, it’s good that the Christian will finally use “simple logic”, because up to now, logic was pretty much absent from his responses. Let us see if he lives up to the hype.
Next, he stated (finally!) in response to our evidence from the Quran about Ishmael (peace be upon him) being the child of sacrifice:
“In this response, the name of Ishmael was never used in the Koran with connection to a sacrifice by Abraham. For this to be the cornerstone of Islam and Muhammad alleged connection to Ishmael this is not mentioned in Islam most sacred holy book. In this drama the hadith had to take precedence over the Koran to give the account of Ishmael more credibility. In other words, the hadith centuries later after Muhammad’s death had to fill in the blanks that was left out of the Koran in order to try and convince Muslims that Ishmael was the son that was about to be offered up by Abraham although the Scriptures specifically says Isaac, numerous of times.”
How disappointing! We can see the Christian once again resorting to red herrings and special pleading. It is not up to him to determine what sources Muslims use. Moreover, his only response to the Quranic evidence is that Ishmael’s name is never mentioned! If that is so important, then why is he so adamant on appealing to the opinions of some early Islamic scholars who said that the child was Isaac (peace be upon him), even though Isaac’s name is also not mentioned in the episode concerning the sacrifice?
This is the best Christian apologists can do. Instead of using “simple logic” as they claim, they resort to leaps of faith and petty assumptions to make their arguments. To repeat the evidence we previously presented in Part 4 that the Quran specifically identifies Ishmael (peace be upon him) as the child of sacrifice:
“Let us read what Yusuf Ali actually stated in his commentary on the relevant verses in Surah As-Saffat. Regarding verse 101 (which states that Allah answered Ibrahim’s prayer for a son), Ali wrote:
‘This was in the fertile land of Syria and Palestine. The boy thus born was, according to Muslim tradition, the first-born son of Abraham, viz., Ismail. The name itself is from the root Samia, to hear, because Allah had heard Abraham’s prayer (verse 100).’”
In typical fashion, the Christian has avoided this evidence. It is no wonder why.
Next, the Christian stated:
“However, I noted over forty different references how Islamic scholarship strongly disagrees with islamispeace wishful thinking that it was Ishmael instead of Isaac and that MUCH confusion exists even today over the identity of the son. In the Scriptures/Bible, the son is clearly defined as Isaac being the ‘only child’ because Ishmael was dismissed and disowned by God and Abraham. Since, the Koran explanation of the account of Abraham is grossly impaired what he uses next to defend this theory is the borderline approach to play it safe.”
We see again the arrogance and vanity of this Christian apologist. What he “noted” were plagiarized and ultimately deceptive references to certain Islamic traditions which claimed that the child of sacrifice was Isaac (peace be upon him). We refuted the Christian’s appeal to these traditions by pointing out the following facts:
- Many of the scholars who narrated traditions about Isaac also narrated traditions about Ishmael.
- Many of the traditions about Isaac related by Tabari nevertheless contradicted themselves in that they claimed that the location of the sacrifice was either in Mecca or Mina, not in Palestine. This disproves the assertion that the child was Isaac.
- The traditions about Isaac were derived from Biblical stories, not from the Quran or the authentic ahadith.
- The majority of traditions mention Ishmael, not Isaac.
The Christian has no response to these simple facts. Moreover, ultimately it comes down to one other simple fact and it is that the Quran shows by the context that the child was Ishmael. Hence, the traditions about Isaac are irrelevant and cannot be true since the Quran does not support those traditions.
Next, the Christian stated in response to our point that it does not matter to Muslims who the child of sacrifice really was (assuming it was Isaac):
“Am I not surprised he took this route, since most Muslims have taken the same stance and since the Koran intentional left it out to build Islam up as a religion of Abraham, even having the audacity to call the God of Abraham, Allah. But for truth-seekers it is a BIG problem. It is the stark difference between the truth and a lie; the Bible and the Koran; Ishmael and Isaac. Who will be the crown King of kings, the Mahdi, the Savior for all humanity and who will not? So Muslims of course will minimize it since they have no definitive answer on which way to go and in the process undermine what the Bible say about a promised savior from the line of Isaac. One way of doing this is by attacking the Bible.”
It can be noted how desperate the Christian is to criticize the Islamic position (even though he has been refuted in that regard) in order defend the contradictions in the Bible. He has yet to offer a reasonable defense of the Biblical story, and instead has spent most his time changing topics and speculating on what the Quran and other Islamic sources say on the subject, even though that does nothing to explain the Biblical contradictions.
In any case, the Islamic position is just and fair, because Allah (swt) is not a tribal god who discriminates based on ethnicity, as the Bible claims. That is why it would not matter to Muslims who was the child of sacrifice, because to Muslims, Allah (swt) had chosen both Ishmael and Isaac (peace be upon them). The sacrifice was a test of Ibrahim’s obedience to Allah (swt), not some petty episode to emphasize one son’s superiority over the other.
The Christian then stated:
“Rather than address these main issues by backing up his allegations he attacks God’s word. The Koran is for Muslims, however it has an overwhelmingly inability to clearly state what Genesis had already written thousands of years before the Koran. One such point is that Isaac was the ‘only child’ of Abraham after Ishmael and Hagar was banned from Abraham’s household which they do not deny. But, if the Koran is going to plagiarize the account of Abraham’s life that’s in the book of Genesis at least get the facts straight with supporting evidence, which is the issue. Muslims can believe whatever their heart desire, but the contradictions in the Koran when it comes to Genesis (this case) are seriously lacking truth and direction. When I present truth from Islamic sources he doesn’t say its inaccurate instead he gloats.”
It is amazing to see this dishonest Christian apologist accuse us of avoiding the “main issues” when he is the one who has changed topics over and over again. The original topic, which he attempted to respond to, was the contradictory nature of the Biblical story. What did he do? While avoiding the difficulties of the Biblical story, he instead went off on tangents and, using plagiarized sources, tried to establish that Islamic sources state that Isaac was the child of sacrifice. Instead of having the dignity to admit that he was mistaken, the Christian has shameless clung to his plagiarized sources, and avoided discussing the main issue which is the contradictory nature of the Biblical story.
Next, he stated:
“The information these Islamic scholars provided was they felt Isaac was the child. But, it is interesting how the Koran got its stories of the prophets from the Bible but you blame me as you call it “plagiarizing” as if you don’t. But, you, even you agreed with my argument when I said Muslims scholars also agree that it was Isaac who was about to be offered up because you wrote ‘…16 named Isaac.’”
We have already refuted this absurd claim. The Christian conveniently ignores the simple facts we repeated above. He also conveniently ignores what we actually stated in Part 7:
“As we can see, the traditions regarding Ishmael (peace be upon him) are numerous. In fact, even in Tabari’s history, they are more numerous than those regarding Isaac. Tabari mentions that 23 scholars named Ishmael as the child of sacrifice, while 16 named Isaac (peace be upon them all)”
Given what we actually stated, it is a mystery where the Christian got the idea that we “agree with [his] argument…” Obviously, the Christian is living in a topsy-turvy fantasy world. He resorts to straw-man arguments, which is not surprising given his utter failure in defending the Bible.
He then stated:
“Proof! And although the number is much higher than what you admitted you have no choice but to agree because of the FACTS! I’m just stating the facts but the blatant omitting of it from the Koran that it was Isaac is just crafty. It is the Koran that is not purposely clear on the matter, which makes it suspect. Whether or not the hadiths says it was Ishmael as you presented is immaterial, the hadiths are totally HEARSAY that came many, many, many centuries later. So, even here your statement lacks credibility and supports my objection to the Koran being seriously flawed or else it would have been written in the Koran, which must be disconcerting to Muslims. But, living in denial won’t make it go away! Then you begin to look for an alternative argument instead.”
So that’s his best argument! The “number is much higher” for the Isaac camp than we originally stated! Apparently, the Christian thinks that this makes his argument stronger, when in reality it exposes his deceptiveness and ignorance of the Islamic sources. When he originally referred to these traditions, by plagiarizing from a Christian apologetic source, he failed to realize that the traditions regarding the Ishmael were conveniently ignored. When we investigated the matter, we found out the reason for the missionaries’ deception. In their biased attempt to strengthen their a prior assumption that Isaac was the child of sacrifice, they selectively quoted Tabari and ignored the numerous traditions about Ishmael.
Next, he stated:
“It was a problem because you insisted that he was an infant remember, although he was considered to be a child/teenager according to Hebrew culture, a link and scriptures was provided to show you that or did you conveniently forget?”
It appears the Christian has a very short memory. We never denied that the Genesis chronology would make Ishmael to be a teenager. We pointed out the contradictions in the text since in the episode of the exile, Ishmael was describedas a helpless child. The argument was further strengthened by the use of the word “hay-ye-led”, which means “child” and not “teenager”. The Christian has avoided this issue since Part 2.
The Christian then stated:
“Here they are again to show you the term “child” could mean one who is a youth/teenager or young man, never infant.
Genesis 4:23 … A man I have killed for wounding me, Yes, a young man for striking me. Surly this would be no infant as you suggested.
Also, Genesis 42:22 “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not sin against the child,’ but you would not listen? Surly this would NOT BE an INFANT as you once suggested.
What better proof but from a Hebrew dictionary of the Old Testament. ((((Explosion))))
So before you do your victory dance again, the Hebrew word ye′ledh here rendered “child” also means “young man” and is so translated at Genesis 4:23 . It was said of the youth Joseph (17 at the time) that he was sold into slavery over Reuben’s protest, “Do not sin against the child [bai·ye′ledh].” Lamech likewise spoke of “a young man [ye′ledh]”as having wounded him at Genesis 42:22.”
Well hallelujah! The Christian finally has gathered all his courage to return to the issue he was avoiding like the plague. Unfortunately, in the typical manner of a Christian apologist, he conveniently ignores all the facts we already presented and simply repeats his previous argument. Thus, we are forced to repeat what we stated in response to the above argument. Regarding Genesis 4:23, we stated in Part 1:
“The word used in Genesis 4:23 is “we-ye-led”, not “hay-ye-led”. It is not the same word used in Genesis 21:14, in which Ishmael is referred to as a “boy”. In the original article, we also provided other examples of the use of “hay-ye-led” from which it is clear that the word referred to a very young child, or even an infant, as in the cases of both Isaac and Moses.”
Regarding Genesis 42:22, we stated:
“The word used is “bay-ye-led” so it is again the wrong word. A better example would be Genesis 37:30 in which the word “hay-ye-led” is actually used:
“He [Reuben] went back to his brothers and said, “The boy [hay-ye-led] isn’t there! Where can I turn now?””
This verse is in reference to Joseph. While it is true that Joseph was 17 years old at the time (Genesis 37:2), the use of the word “hay-ye-led” is not due to his age but to something else. In the Jewish translation, Genesis 37:2 states:
“These are the generations of Jacob: when Joseph was seventeen years old, being a shepherd, he was with his brothers with the flocks, and he was a lad, [and was] with the sons of Bilhah and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought evil tales about them to their father.”
According to Rashi, the phrase “and he was a lad” meant that:
“He behaved childishly, fixing his hair and touching up his eyes so that he would appear handsome. [From Gen. Rabbah 84:7]”
Another possible explanation for why Reuben referred to Joseph as “hay-ye-led” (despite the fact that the latter was clearly too old to be called as such) was offered by John Gill in his well-known commentary:
“…he calls him a child, though seventeen years of age, because the youngest brother but one, and he himself was the eldest, and also because of his tender concern for him…”
This further proves that the word “hay-ye-led” specifically means “child”. Genesis 37:30 is the only other place (besides the references to Ishmael in Genesis 21:8, 21:14 and 21:15) where the word “hay-ye-led” is used (out of 26 total occurrences) in reference to a teenager. Yet we can see that in the case of Joseph, it was used not to refer to his age but to his childish behavior (according to Rashi) or because of Reuben’s status as the eldest brother (according to Gill). If it was used for some other reason, then it would only create another contradiction (as with its use in Genesis 21 to refer to the 16-year old Ishmael), since a 17-year old would not be referred to as “hay-ye-led”, a word which was only used when in reference to a young child.”
Regarding the links the Christian provided, we pointed out in Part 2:
“…the link provides an example of when “yeled” refers to a “man”, namely Genesis 4:23, which we mentioned in the previous article. The variant of “yeled” used in this verse is “we-ye-led”, which is clearly a different word than “hay-ye-led”.
The definition of “yeled”, according to one authoritative dictionary is summarized as the following:
“…yeledrefers to children of both genders in a number of cases. This term is found approximately eighty times with the various meanings ‘child (male and female),’ ‘son,’ ‘boy,’ ‘youth.’
Yeled occurs approximately sixty times meaning ‘child.’ For example, it refers to Ishmael (cf. Gen. 21:8ff.); the Israelite children rescued by the courageous Hebrew midwives in Egypt (cf. Exod. 1:17f.); Moses (Exod. 2:3ff.); the child (boy) of the Zarephath widow miraculously brought back to life by Elijah (cf. 1 Kgs. 17:21ff.). See also 2 Kgs. 4:18, 26, 34.””
In the face of all this evidence, why does the Christian insist on lying to himself and to others? Isn’t it time to grow up and let go of childish fantasies? We suggest the Christian take some classes in Hebrew if he is really interested in the truth regarding the meaning of the word “hay-ye-led”. He simply fails to realize that “hay-ye-led” is a different word from “wey-ye-led” or “bay-ye-led”.
Before moving on, let us repeat the views of scholars on the linguistic contradictions in the story. As we stated in Part 2:
“…in a 2001 article in the journal “Vetus Testamentum”, S. Nikaido of Berkeley University made a very interesting observation about the depiction of Ishmael in Genesis 21, which supports our contention that the story has been altered by Jewish scribes. Nikaido states:
“According to Gen. xvii 25 (P), Ishmael was at least thirteen. Therefore, Gen. Rabbah 53.13 (also Rashi) suggests that he was carried because of illness; Abravanel interprets we”et-hayyeled as meaning Ishmael helped carry the provisions. Modern commentators, however, fault the discrepancy on P’s superimposed chronology (Gen. xvi 16 and xxi 5; xvii 25), a phenomenon occurring elsewhere (e.g., Gen. xii 11 compared with xvii 17 and xii 4). The text clearly does not portray Ishmael as a grown child (P) but most likely as an infant (E), since Hagar not only carries him (xxi 14) but also “casts” him under a bush (v. 15; cf. Exod i 22) and “lifts him up” (v. 18). Other clues include: God hears the child’s voice (v. 17), presumably crying, rather than his mother’s (E. Fripp, “Note on Gen. xxi 6. 8-12”, ZAW 12 , pp. 164-65), the reference to his “growing” (v. 20), and the fact that Hagar is not portrayed as being in any mortal danger but only the child.””
What more proof does the Christian need? You have been lied to by your priests and ministers! Cast off the shackles of missionary deception and accept the truth about the Bible.
Ironically, the Christian did refer to the above scholarly source but ultimately ignored the simple truth. He stated:
“So, rather than admit that he was incorrect, he wants to play musical chairs. I even provided a HEBREW dictionary and Bible verses to prove that Ishmael was a child/youth/young man unlike the Koran that omits his age. Since he has nowhere else to run, he finally admits Ishmael is not an infant now.”
We recommend the Christian see the evidence we presented above because he is making himself look like a fool. Also, we never said that “Ishmael is not an infant now”. The Christian needs to stop patting himself on the back and come out of his fantasy world!
Next, he stated in response to our agreement that the Biblical chronology would make Ishmael to be 13 years old at the time of Isaac’s birth (emphasis in the original):
“Which is it Islam, you’re vacillating? Is Ishmael an infant or a child/teenager? All along I have been supporting the scriptures by saying child/teenager/young man when you kept saying Ishmael was an infant, even showed you using a Hebrew dictionary. Now, the chicken’s coming home to roost. At this point Islam is in the dark since the Koran is not specific and intentionally leaves out dates, ages and location of Ishmael and Isaac whereas the Bible does not and now seeks a definitive answer to his quest for knowledge.”
It seems the Christian is lost. He cannot seem to understand that while the chronologyof the story would make Ishmael to be a teenager at the time of the exile, it is contradicted by the text’s actual depictionof Ishmael as an infant! We would expect that even a 5-year old hay-ye-led (child) would understand this! We never agreed that Ishmael was a teenager! Rather, we stated that the Bible contradicts itself and that if we take the textual descriptions at face value, then the fact is that Ishmael was an infant. If the Christian still does not understand our position, we can slow it down for him and use plain English to help him understand. Ask and you shall receive!
He then stated in response to our critique of his pathetic and laughable mathematical skills (emphasis in the original):
“It really doesn’t matter since you now agree that Ishmael was a teenager and not a youth. Nonetheless, it is common knowledge that Isaac was born in 1918 BCE, consider this to be your homework and those who wish to know. YHWH had told Abraham that as alien residents his seed would be afflicted for 400 years, which affliction ended with Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt in 1513 B.C.E. Gen 15:13 Then He said to A′bram: “Know for certain that your offspring will be foreigners in a land not theirs and that the people there will enslave them and afflict them for 400 years.
Four hundred years prior thereto would mark 1913 B.C.E. as the beginning of that affliction.
Acts 7:6 Moreover, God told him that his offspring would be foreigners in a land not theirs and that the people would enslave them and afflict them for 400 years.
This means that Isaac was about five years old when weaned, having been born in 1918 B.C.E.”
The Christian is still stuck in his straw-man argument. We never stated that Ishmael was really a teenager. We were simply responding to his childish mathematical skills and shameless deception.
Regarding the ridiculous assumption that Isaac was five-years old when he was weaned, we can first point out that the Bible contradicts itself on the length of time the Israelites would be “afflicted”. According to Exodus 12:40, it was not 400 years but 430 years:
“Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years.”
Moreover, the Israelites were not actually “enslaved” by the Egyptians until after the death of Joseph, as the book of Exodus shows clearly:
“Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.
Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”
So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.”
So, which was it? Why is that every time the Christian appeals to the Bible, he only digs himself into a bigger hole? The Bible cannot even tell us how many years the Israelites were “afflicted” without contradicting itself.
In response to our assertion that weaning occurred when a child was 2-years old, the Christian stated (emphasis in the original):
“Notice the wording ‘which occurs when a child is two’ Yes, it could be 2, 3, 4, 5 or older from the proof I’ve provided. In Samuel’s case he was three not two, but here is another piece of reference besides using a Hebrew dictionary.
Raphael Patai says of Arab children: “Cases are known where a child was suckled until his tenth year.” The evidence indicates that Isaac was about five years old when weaned.
So, although a child can be weaned at 2 he can also be weaned at 5, in fact pass 5 as noted. Was Abraham 102 as Islam assumes? Certainly NOT!”
Notice again that the Christian did not provide any reference for the above statement. The reason is that, as usual, he simply cherry-picked and plagiarized some article on the internet and blindly accepted what he was spoon-fed. Exactly what “evidence” is the Christian referring to? The “evidence” he presented above is self-contradictory (surprise, surprise). The Christian simply wants to assume that Isaac was 5-years old when he was weaned because he wants to strengthen his case against Ishmael for “mocking” Isaac. Why would we assume that he was 5-years old when the general case is that weaning occurred when a child was 2-years old? While it is also true that weaning could occur on the 3rd birthday up to the 5th birthday, this was the exception and not the rule. The Jewish Encyclopedia states (emphasis ours):
“The second or third birthday of a child whose coming into the world was very much desired by his parents was usually made the occasion of a feast, because the child was then weaned, and had consequently passed the dangerous and uncertain stage of infancy.”
The Babylonian Talmud adds (emphasis ours):
“Our Rabbis taught: A child must be breast fed for twenty-four months. From that age onwards he is to be regarded as one who sucks an abominable thing; these are the words of R. Eliezer. R. Joshua said: [He may be breast fed] even for four or five years. If, however, he ceased after the twenty-four months and started again he is to be regarded as sucking an abominable thing.”
So, we have referenced three major Jewish sources on this issue and all agree that the general rule was weaning at 2 years, not 3 years or 5 years. Hence, why would we assume that Isaac was weaned when he was older than 2 years? The Christian is once again making a leap of faith based on faulty logic.
Next, in response to our critique of his mathematical skills, the Christian embarked on another tirade, unable to admit his mistakes (emphasis in the original):
“Again, if the Koran was indeed trustworthy and reliable Islam would not have to be guessing like this. Nonetheless, as you can see islamispeace places Abraham at 102 instead, why? Because he Assumes Isaac was weaned at TWO instead of FIVE (Which still makes Ishmael a teenager, no less) It has been documented that a child can be weaned pass FIVE. Since the scripture is correct in saying FIVE and the Koran cunningly omits the age that puts Ishmael at NINETEEN as was initially stated, Islam’s formula for reaching Abraham’s and Ishmael’s age is inaccurate. (((((Explosion))))) Since a teenager (19) is persecuting a child (5) we see the logic in putting Hagar and Ishmael out, disowning them from Abraham’s inheritance. And to emphasize again, it was at this time that term “only son” was used, after Ishmael was banned from his household as the ‘book’ correctly sates.”
Notice again that he places his assumption that Isaac was weaned when he was 5-years old over the general rule that weaning occurred at 2 years. This is critical to his argument, which is why he is so adamant on maintaining it. Weaning at 2 years is the norm, so if the Christian wants us to believe that Isaac was weaned at 5 years, he has to provide the evidence. The “evidence” he provided above was faulty and self-contradictory.
Next, he stated (emphasis in the original):
“Hmmmm, getting excited are we, making it personal?”
Ah, the vanity of Christian apologists! The Christian accuses us of “making it personal”, yet if we look at all of his responses up to this point, we find that most of his time has been spent making personal attacks. But that’s okay, because we forgive the Christian for his childish behavior!
He then stated (emphasis in the original):
“No Islam, it’s not making the child superior but the position his offspring (Jesus) would hold would be superior. A position many false prophets wanted. Gen 17: 19-21 To this God said: “Your wife Sarah will definitely bear you a son, and you must name him Isaac. And I will establish my covenant with himfor an everlasting covenant to his offspring after him. But as regards Ish′ma·el, I have heard you. Look! I will bless him and will make him fruitful and will multiply him very, very much. He will produce 12 chieftains, and I will make him become a great nation. However, I will establish my covenant with Isaac, …”
According to the ‘book’ the God of Abraham (YHWH) had never set up a covenant with Ishmael, which is an unsupported Islamic teaching that the scriptures does not endorse. The Koran being a book for Muslims which doesn’t support Jesus as a Messiah added that statement but at the same time gives credibility to Jesus when his message doesn’t conflict with the Koran. Still, nowhere in the Bible did Ishmael have a covenant with Abraham’s God, maybe with Allah but not with (YHWH) that is not supported nowhere in the Holy Scriptures. Did God make a covenant with Isaac that is superior? Yes, it made an everlasting covenant set up by YHWH through Jesus Christ, an offspring of Isaac, Jacob and David. Our Savior!
Philippians 2:9 For this very reason, God exalted him (Jesus) to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name,
How else do we know Elohim made no covenant with Ishmael or ANY of his offspring, because they hated Abraham’s God.”
So, did the Christian actually refute our assertion of the pettiness of his theology? In this latest diatribe, it seems pretty clear that the answer is no. The Christian even states that Isaac’s “offspring” would have a superior “position”! Hence, we can see the pettiness of his view of “God”. Apparently, God makes some people “superior” to others. And n what basis does He do this? Is it based on their righteousness? No! The Biblical “God” is petty and discriminatory, which is an insult to the justice and fairness of the true God. The proof of this can be seen in the absurdity of the Christian’s argument about Ishmael’s banishment. He wants us to believe that Ishmael was cast out because of his “mocking” of Isaac but at the same, he wants us to believe that Isaac and Jacob were “chosen” by God despite their character flaws. It is no wonder that, as is typical with this apologist, he continues to avoid discussing the embarrassing episode involving Jacob and Esau (whom he had brought into the discussion).
Next, he finally responded to our point that Muhammad (peace be upon him) did indeed claim to be a descendant of Ishmael, yet instead of admitting he was wrong, the Christian changes his argument (emphasis in the original):
“Are you serious? Did you notice the key word “CLAIM.” But, for argument sake let us say he was, why would the God of Abraham set up a covenant with Ishmael, a people who hated the Nation of Israel and the prophets? That is utter foolishness and wishful thinking to say the least. I must say though, pretty clever to use the Hebrew prophets of the Bible in your Koran and then dismiss everything they stand for in support of Muhammadanism.”
This is unfortunately the best Christian apologists can do. They make false claims and then when refuted simply change gears and make a new argument. Admitting one’s mistakes is not a forte of these people.
As for whether the people of Ishmael “hated the Nation of Israel and the prophets”, the hilarity cannot be understated. How can they have hated the prophets when they honor them? How can they hate the “Nation of Israel” when the Quran states:
“We blessed him and Isaac: but of their progeny are (some) that do right, and (some) that obviously do wrong, to their own souls.”
“Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of Allah all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in Allah and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous.”
Furthermore, has the Christian ever considered how the Bible depicts Gentiles? Would he regard this as “Godly” behavior? He can consider the implied racism in the famous episode of Jesus and the Canaanite woman:
“Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.”
I guess that Isaac’s offspring did indeed have a superior “position”! After all, the Gentiles are nothing but dogs compared the children of Israel. We see once again the pettiness of Christian theology and their insulting views on the Almighty God. Shame on them for the lies they utter. Perhaps they should ponder on the Quran’s stern warning:
“Who, then, doth more wrong than one who utters a lie concerning Allah, and rejects the Truth when it comes to him; is there not in Hell an abode for blasphemers?”
He then states (emphasis in the original):
“Isn’t it interesting how denial works, although these highly respected Muslim scholars from long ago believed the child to be Isaac, it is my so called ‘plagiarism’ that betrayed ME, not the Muslim scholars lack of understanding on the scriptures that betrayed them; still placing blame on the Bible. No wonder Jesus told the blind religious leaders ‘the only sign that would be giving them is the sign of Jonah’. Even though the evidence was right in their faces they still refuse to believe.”
Here we can see the Christian’s hilarious use of special pleading. Now the scholars who related traditions about Isaac (peace be upon him) are “highly respected”! Wow, that’s impressive! Of course, the Christian again conveniently ignores the fact that these same scholars also related traditions about Ishmael (peace be upon him). He also conveniently ignores that fact that other “highly respected Muslim scholars” believed that the child was Ishmael. Oh and let’s not forget the Quranic evidence which he is helpless against!
In addition, we would like to point out that the Christian is still trying to deny his shameless plagiarism! Why does he say “so-called plagiarism”? Is he denying that he simply copied like-minded sources form the internet, instead of doing some honest research? Is he so arrogant that he cannot even admit his own shortcomings?
Furthermore, we have placed the “blame on the Bible” because of the Bible’s own contradictions. That was and always has been the main issue here. It was the Christian who changed topics and brought the opinions of some Islamic scholars into the mix, even though that does nothing to save the Bible from its own contradictions. This is the epitome of Christian apologetics. They change subjects and distract from the Bible when the Bible’s errors and contradictions are exposed.
Finally, the Christian attempted to use the tired old missionary argument that the Quran endorses the Bible (no doubt copying once again from missionaries). It will suffice us to refute this nonsense by showing what the Quran actually states regarding the corruption of the previous scriptures:
“Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say: “This is from Allah,” to traffic with it for miserable price!- Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby.”
Of course, if the Christian had actually read the Quran, he would already know this. But since he has not ever read the Quran, what else can we expect from him? If he is actually interested in what the Quran really says, we advise him to read Brother Ebrahim Saifuddin’s excellent article on this subject.
To close this article as usual, we now list the issues which the Christian continues to ignore:
- The status of Hagar as a legitimate wife of Abraham.
- The absence of the story of Ishmael’s birth in the Dead Sea scroll 4Q225 (a clear attempt to eliminate the contradictory nature of the Biblical story).
- The promise/covenant with Isaac was made before Ishmael and Hagar were sent out but after the “covenant of circumcision”.
- The status of Ishmael as a legitimate son of Abraham and a member of his household even after the exile and at the time of the sacrifice.
- The Masoretic text of Genesis 22 is contradicted by the Septuagint and other translations.
- The evidence from the Quran and authentic ahadith show that the child of sacrifice was Ishmael (peace be upon him).
- God chose Isaac and Jacob, even though both exhibited shameful behavior. Isaac exhibited cowardice and deceit while Jacob exhibited blackmail and deceit. In contrast, Ishmael was supposedly “left out” because he mocked Isaac.
- The canonical books of the Bible quote from non-canonical sources as scripture.
Why does the Christian continue to avoid the truth?
And Allah knows best!
 Exodus 1:6-11 (New International Version).
 Surah As-Saffat, 37:113.
 Surah Al-Imran, 3:113-114.
 Surah Az-Zumar, 39:32.
 Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:79.