Ishmael (Ismail, in Arabic)
ISHMAEL (Ismail, in Arabic)
Son of the prophet Abraham and his Egyptian servant Hagar. Abraham's wife, Sarah, after having miraculously given birth to Isaac (Ishaq, in Arabic) in spite of persistent sterility, was jealous of this older son. In response to Sarah's demand, Abraham disassociated himself from Hagar and her son. Although Jews, Christians, and Muslims agree that Abraham showed his faith in God by sacrificing his beloved only son when asked to, they disagree on the identity of the child. The Bible states that this child was Isaac. Followers of Qurʾan believe Ishmael was the sacrificial son, although the Qurʾan does not give the child's name. Muslims note that the Bible supports their belief by saying that Abraham offered his only son, and Ishmael was Abraham's only son for more than thirteen years, which would make it impossible for Isaac to be the son he sacrificed. A popular tradition recorded in the Bible makes Ishmael the ancestor of the Arabs of the desert (Ishmaelites). Islamic tradition also recognizes Ishmael as ancestor of the Arabs, while his half-brother Isaac is considered the ancestor of the Jews.