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Are the heirs of Ishmael or Isaac given the Promised Land?

And when We made the House (at Makka) a resort for mankind and sanctuary, (saying): Take as your place of worship the place where Abraham stood (to pray). And We imposed a duty upon Abraham and Ishmael, (saying): Purify My house for those who go around and those who meditate therein and those who bow down and prostrate themselves (in worship). Surah 2:125

The Koran claims that Abraham and Ishmael established the Muslim faith and their nation. Since Ishmael was the firstborn son, he and his line should be the most favored by Allah.

The Bible says that while Ishmael was the firstborn son of Abraham, he was not the son of the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 12. Ishmael, as told in Genesis 16, was the product of a situation, set up by Abraham’s wife Sara, for Hagar, her Egyptian maidservant, to get pregnant by Abraham and have the rightful heir to Abraham’s fortune.

But that wasn’t God’s plan.

Abraham wanted to have a son, but he was 100 years old, so he talks to God...

Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”  Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 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 twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” Genesis 17:17-21

These verses indicate:
  • Abraham asked that Ishmael be the blessed one. God agreed that Ishmael will be blessed, but not the same blessing.
  • The child that came from Sarah will be the one promised one.
  • Ishmael will be fruitful and the father of twelve rulers.
  • Ishmael was circumcised.
Later, after Isaac was born, the circumstances changed between Sarah and Ishmael. Sarah had her promised son—Isaac. Now she regretted the situation she set up between Abraham and Hagar and it caused tension in their camp. Sarah wanted Hagar kicked out.

But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the maidservant into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”  Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the desert of Beersheba.  When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down nearby, about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there nearby, she began to sob.  God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”  Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt. Genesis 21:12-21

These verses indicate:
  • God promised that Ishmael would get his own nation.
  • God loved Ishmael and Hagar and provided for them.
  • Ishmael married an Egyptian woman, beginning an Arabic genealogy. Hagar was from Egypt so she returned to the land she knew. These are not Egyptians, but a mix of Egyptian-Middle Eastern-Jewish.
It is clear Abraham loved Ishmael, as did God, but God said it was Isaac who was the child God promised to Abraham and the rightful heir of his legacy and the Promised Land of Israel.

Ishmael and Isaac are clearly two patriarchs of two different nations.

 Genesis 25 gives us Ishmael’s lineage and fate:

These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. These were the sons of Ishmael, and these are the names of the twelve tribal rulers according to their settlements and camps. Altogether, Ishmael lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. He breathed his last and died, and he was gathered to his people. His descendants settled in the area from Havilah to Shur, near the border of Egypt, as you go toward Asshur. And they lived in hostility toward all their brothers. Genesis 25:13-18