Isaac or Ishmael

Muslims from all over the world are observing Eid Al-Adha. It is a holy festival which started yesterday Sunday 11th of August and finishes on Thursday the 15th of August.

It is also known as a festival of sacrifice because it remembers that Abraham was willing to Sacrifice his son in obedience to gods command. The story is recounted in the 22nd chapter of genesis in the Old testament and it is also recalled in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews chapter 11.

The fundamental difference between those of us of judeo-christian heritage and those of Islamic heritage is that we believe that Abraham was prepared to Sacrifice his son Isaac the son whom his wife Sarah bore.

Our Islamic cousins believe that Abraham or Ibrahim as they call him was going to sacrifice the son that he had with the servant girl Hagar that son was named Ishmael.

I think the importance of this story is about obeying God’s commands.

I find this story from Old testament scripture most interesting.

Abraham’s wife Sarah was barren and could not have children. Abraham like most men got the urge and Sarah told him to go with the servant girl Hagar which he did and the result of that union was Ishmael.

There is no doubt from my reading of the Old testament scripture that Abraham loved his son Ishmael and spent much time with him. Sarah on the other hand was intensely jealous of the relationship that Abraham had with Ishmael and did much to separate them. Eventually Sarah finally gave birth to a son we know as Isaac.

The important thing is to understand inheritance rights as they would have applied in those days. Isaac who in fact was the second son of Abraham received the inheritance rights because he was the sun between Abraham and his wife Sarah.

Ishmael did not receive the inheritance because Abraham was not married to Hagar. Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away in obedience to gods command and with the proclamation made by Sarah “that this boy shall not be an heir with my son Isaac” Genesis 21 10-12.

From a Judeo-Christian perspective which as a Christian I hold too is that it was Isaac that Abraham was going to sacrifice.

Also the place where that sacrifice was to take place was also very important. The place was Holy Mount Moriah. King David purchased from Ornan the Jebusite the threshing floor on Mount Moriah and it was here that the first temple was built and the second temple which is known as Herod’s temple was built. Now stands in its place following the destruction of the temple under the Romans in 70 CE is the Dome of the Rock.

Temple Mount is a place in Jerusalem which is of significant importance to Jews, Muslim and Christians.

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