Abraham



Jews, Christians and Muslims all agree that Abraham is the Patriarch of their religions and founder of Monotheism.

Judaism and Christianity teach that the story of Abraham is more than the story of one man. Abraham becomes the patriarch of the Jewish nation as he passes 10 severe tests of his belief in God and God’s covenant with him.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam teach that Abraham enters into a covenant with God in which both sides make commitments. Abraham is required to leave his homeland, and to follow the direction into the land that God promised Abraham and his descendents. God promises to bless Abraham and his descendents, and to make of them a great nation. Asking Abraham to leave his father’s house is the first test of the covenant. The most significant demand God makes on Abraham is that he and his descendants totally commit to a belief in one and only one God. This is the foundation of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

When Sarah and Abraham are in Egypt, on their way to the Promised Land, Hagar, an Egyptian girl, becomes a handmaiden for Sarah. Since Sarah is childless she tells Abraham he should conceive a child with Hagar. However, once Hagar becomes pregnant, her relationship with Sarah turns bitter. Hagar leaves home but an angel of God tells her she will bear a son, Ishmael and he will be the head of many tribes and she should return home to Abraham and Sarah. Hagar returns and Ishmael is born.

Thirteen years later, God promises Abraham that Sarah will bear a son who will inherit his covenant. As a sign of this promise God demands that all males be circumcised, now and in the future. The practice of circumcision represents a significant sign of the covenant between God and Jewish people. Abraham and his son Ishmael (at the age of thirteen) and all the men in the household are circumcised.

After Sarah gives birth to Isaac, she insists that Abraham cast out Hagar and Ishmael. Once again, God reassures him that Ishmael(picture) and his offspring will make a great nation. Abraham reluctantly sends them away.

Differences worth noting

Islam

Islam teaches that Abraham was one of 5 great prophets who received special revelations from Allah. Whereas Judaism and Christianity teach that the covenant with God was passed on through the genetic line of Isaac, Islam teaches that this special covenantal relationship was with Abraham and therefore passed to both his sons, Isaac and Ishmael. In contrast to the Jewish and Christian interpretations, Muslims believe that God equally favored Hagar and Sarah. Muslims believe that Ishmael was the son that Allah (God) asked Abraham to sacrifice, not Isaac. They stress, however, that the focus of the sacrifice is on the testing of Abraham’s faith and willingness to submit to the will of God, not which son was subject to sacrifice.

After Hagar and Ishmael(picture2) were driven out by Sarah, they wandered in the desert between two mountains looking for water. Angels appeared reassuring Hagar that God would bless her son and make him the father of a great nation. They then settle in what is today, Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, where Ishmael’s descendents become Muslims.

In summary and most importantly, all three religions teach that Abraham was a model of how humans should live their lives displaying courage, faith, sacrifice, obedience, and trust in one supreme God. We believe that the “spirit” of this story is to see Abraham as a role model and to encourage all of us to live our lives with the same courage, faith, and determination to be the best person we can be.

Source: http://homepage.mac.com/jerrypeterson/CHUMSsite/pages/Story%20Abraham.html