Abraham, Ishmael, and The Arabs
Table of Contents
Ishmael and The Sacrifice
According to the Koran

[37:102] When he grew enough to work with him, he said, "My son, I see in a dream that I am sacrificing you. What do you think?" He said, "O my father, do what you are commanded to do. You will find me, GOD willing, patient."
[37:103] They both submitted, and he put his forehead down (to sacrifice him).
[37:104] We called him: "O Abraham.
[37:105] "You have believed the dream." We thus reward the righteous.
[37:106] That was an exacting test indeed.
[37:107] We ransomed (Ismail) by substituting an animal sacrifice.
[37:108] And we preserved his history for subsequent generations.
[37:109] Peace be upon Abraham.
[37:110] We thus reward the righteous.
[37:111] He is one of our believing servants.
The Sacrifice
According to the Old and New Testaments

Genesis 22:2 Genesis 22 Genesis 22:1-3 
Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." 

Hebrews 11:17 Hebrews 11 Hebrews 11:16-18 
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son,

Genesis 25:9 Genesis 25 Genesis 25:8-10 
His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, 
Study finds genetic links between Jews and Arabs
By Dina Kraft
Associated Press

JERUSALEM -- Tradition says the biblical patriarch Abraham fathered both the Jewish and Arab nations. Now, new DNA-based research reveals a genetic link between Jews and Palestinians, suggesting the two peoples, locked in a bitter struggle for more than a century, indeed share a common ancestry dating back 4,000 years.

The study, published Tuesday in "The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" in Washington, D.C., says the Y chromosome found in Jewish men may go back to a common pool of Middle Eastern ancestors. After the first major Jewish exile of 586 B.C., when Jews dispersed across Europe and North Africa, Jews largely retained their genetic identity, one that was formed in the Middle East, according to the study, led by Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona.

Even after centuries of exile, Diaspora Jews remained closer to each other and more similar to Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese in terms of shared Y chromosome characteristics than to people in their host countries, the study says. "Eventually people will realize that they are not that different," said Batsheva Bonne-Tamir, a geneticist from Tel Aviv University who participated in the study.

Still, she cautioned that the techniques were new and that until the human genome is mapped, it will be difficult to be certain about the conclusions. The study compared the male, or Y, chromosome, which is passed from father to son in 1,371 males from seven groups of Israeli Jews of various origins and 16 non-Jewish groups in the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

Hammer identified 19 variations of the Y chromosome, including eight lineages found to varying degrees among Jews and Arabs. Based on this measure, the study found that despite the many centuries their ancestors had spent in exile in different parts of the world, the Israeli Jews in the sample had the closest genetic links. Next in genetic affinity to Jews were Palestinians and Syrians, followed by Saudi Arabians, Lebanese, and Druse, a Middle Eastern sect that practices a secret form of Islam.

According to the research, in one of the lineage branches, the percentage of variation in the Y chromosome between Jews and Palestinians differed by only 1 percent compared to a difference of 5 percent between Jews and Europeans. A low rate of intermarriage between Diaspora Jews and gentiles was a key reason for the continuity, Bonne-Tamir said. For example, since Jews first settled in Europe 80 generations ago, the intermarriage rate was estimated to be only about 0.5 percent in each generation.

As a result, according to the Y chromosome results, Jews of European descent living in Israel have closer genetic affinity to Syrians than to the non-Jews of the countries they came from. Hebrew University geneticist Howard Cedar said even though Y chromosomes are considered the best tool for tracing genetic heritage, researchers still don't know what the history is behind the variations. As a result, it is difficult to draw conclusions about genetic affinity.

"The problem is in the interpretation," Cedar said. "It's very difficult to reconstruct the histories of these events, it's difficult to interpret." Bonne-Tamir, who heads the National Laboratory for the Genetics of Israeli Populations, said that until recently, such research on genetic affinity was limited to classical markers, such as blood groups and enzymes.

The genetic link between Jews and Arabs suggested by the study is reflected in the biblical account in Genesis of how Abraham fathered two sons: Ishmael by his wife's maid Hagar, and then, when Sarah was able to conceive, Isaac. Although Muslims give a different version of the story, they revere Abraham and Ishmael -- or Ibrahim and Ismail, -- just as Jews do Abraham and Isaac.

On the Net:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, www.pnas.org
Distributed by The Associated Press (AP)

Abraham: A Vessel for Reconciliation?
How one man from far in the past help us understand our future.  
By Bruce Feiler
'We Can Create Our Own Abraham'
Author Bruce Feiler argues that an understanding of Abraham can help heal the divisions between his many descendants.  
Interview by Rebecca Phillips  
Bruce Feiler's best-selling book of 2001, "Walking the Bible," recounted his journey through the Middle East as he retraced the biblical stories of the Torah. To write his latest book, "Abraham," due out this month from William Morrow, Feiler returned to  the Middle East, traveling through dangerous regions in search of the patriarch of the three major monotheistic faiths. In "Abraham," Feiler argues that it is impossible to understand the divisions between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism--and much of current world events--without understanding the world's first monotheist.

Location and Nature of Arab Tribes

Beyond a shadow of doubt, the biography of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) manifestedly represents an exhaustive embodiment of the sublime Divine Message that he communicated in order to deliver the human race from the swamp of darkness and polytheism to the paradise of light and monotheism. An image, authentic as well as comprehensive, of this Message is therefore only attainable through careful study and profound analysis of both backgrounds and issues of such a biography. In view of this, a whole chapter is here introduced about the nature and development of Arab tribes prior to Islam as well as the circumstantial environment that enwrapped the Prophet's mission.