Sunday, December 2, 2012

Is Mohammed a Descendant of Ishmael?

By Dr. Rafat Amari

Muslims believe that Mohammed is a descendant of Ishmael. As proof of their position, Muslims refer to genealogies written around 770-775 A.D. by Ibn Ishak.

What he has written is simply not true. Ishmaelite tribes, especially the tribe of Nebaioth from which, according to Ibn Ishak, Mohammed is said to have come, were nomadic tribes who lived in the Sinai and Fertile Crescent deserts. These tribes disappeared after the 7th century B.C.

Mohammed's family was a Sabaean Yemeni family, while the Ishmaelites, who lived in the deserts of the Fertile Crescent, became extinct many centuries before Mohammed's family left Yemen.

Historians say that the family of Mohammed was a family which lived in Saba-Yemen. In the 5th century A.D., Qusayy Bin Kilab, the 8th ancestor of Mohammed, gathered an alliance of many Yemeni families forming Quraish, the tribe from which Mohammed later came. These families only came to occupy Mecca in the 5th century A.D. The city of Mecca was built by the tribe of Khuzaa'h in the 4th century A.D.

Mohammed’s family is not connected to any Ishmaelite tribe because Mohammed’s family didn’t leave Yemen until the 5th century A.D., and that’s about 1,100 years after the Ishmaelites disappeared. Mohammed’s tribe could not have lived in the same locations as the Ishmaelite tribes at any time throughout history.

The genealogy fabricated by Ibn-Ishak contradicts the sayings of Mohammed, who expressed his ignorance about his ancestors prior to his 17th ancestor.

Ibn Ishak was considered by the Muslim scholars of his time as being guilty of forgery and fabricating false genealogies.[1][i]

Long before Ibn Ishak, Muslims who lived in Mohammed’s own time also fabricated genealogies in an attempt to connect Mohammed to the descendants of Ishmael. Mohammed, himself, rejected all of these false genealogies, and he put limits regarding the genealogy of his ancestors. Regarding Mohammed’s own rejection of the false genealogies, Amru bin al-As wrote:

Mohammed genealogized himself regarding his ancestors until he reached al-Nather bin Kinaneh, then he said, “anyone who claimed otherwise or added further ancestors, has lied.[2][ii]

By this, Mohammed confessed that neither he, nor anyone else, knew about his ancestors beyond al-Nather bin Kinaneh. Nather bin Kinaneh is the 17th ancestor in the genealogy which Mohammed recognized as true. Other narrations of the customs, or sayings, of Mohammed, called Hadiths, show Mohammed refused to be genealogized prior to Maad, معد who some suggested, was the 4th ancestor prior to al-Nather bin Kinaneh.[3][iii]

When we look at the ancestors of Mohammed, it’s reasonable to estimate 30 years for each generation of the 17 ancestors of Mohammed. Therefore, we can conclude that Mohammed knew about the genealogy of his tribe as far back as about 510 years. If we want to add the other four ancestors that Mohammed listed, we would go back 630 years. The truth is, nobody knew beyond such date. How, then, could Ibn Ishak and his followers reliably document a genealogy back to Ishmael, who lived in 2050 B.C.? This gives approximately 2000 years between the 21st ancestor of Mohammed and Ishmael. How could Ibn Ishak claim the Ishmaelites lived in Mecca during this period and give details about their history when Mohammed himself said that nobody knew about his relatives prior to his 17th or 21st ancestor? Mecca was not even in existence during this period, as we have clearly demonstrated. Ibn Ishak’s genealogy contradicts Mohammed’s own claims that he did not know his ancestors farther back than al-Nather bin Kinaneh, the 17th ancestor before himself.

All the genealogies that appeared at the time of Mohammed were considered by Mohammed and his close followers to be false.

Many versions of Hadith of Mohammed coming from the followers of Mohammed all report that Mohammed opposed to be genelogized until Ishmael. All his closest contemporaries and followers considered the genealogies appearing at his time to be false. Among the people who reported Mohammed’s opposition to such genealogies were his wife, Aisheh, and his cousin, Ibn Abbas, one of the most important reporters of Mohammed’s Hadith.[4][iv] Ibn Ishak went against what all these people had said by creating genealogies which connect the ancestors of Mohammed with Ishmael.

Ibn Ishak altered the genealogies listed by Moses in Genesis; he inserted Arabic names from his time and contradicted the history regarding Amalek.

The fabrication went beyond this. The genealogies created by Ibn Ishak and others who came after him inserted Arabic names into the genealogies which we find in Genesis. For example, Ibn Ishak inserted the Arabic name “Ya’rab,” which comes from the word “Arab,” listing him as the son of “ Khahtan.” Ibn Ishak then replaced Khahtan for Joktan, mentioned in the book of Genesis as the son of Eber, the son of Arphaxad, and the third son of Shem, the son of Noah.[5][v]We know that the term “Arab” didn’t exist until the 10th century B.C. How, then, could it be inserted into history shortly following Noah, perhaps around 5500 B.C.?

Ibn Ishak went still farther. He changed the name of Lud, the fourth son of Shem, to Luth. He then made Luth the father of Amalek, who fathered the Amalekites. He also claimed that Amalek and his tribe lived in Mecca, and he claimed that the ancient Egyptians were also descendants of Amalek. He then made Amalek’s original name “Arib,” just to connect him with the Arabs.[6][vi] Indirectly, through these false genealogies, Ibn Ishak claimed that Mecca existed at the time of Noah and his grandson, Lud. This directly contradicts the historical facts we examined before, showing that Mecca didn’t exist until the 4th century A.D.

Amalek is a descendant of Esau, the son of Isaac. Genesis 36:12 states that Timma was a concubine of Eliphaz, the first born of Esau, and that she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. Amalek became the father of the Amalekites, which was an Edomite tribe which originally lived in southern Jordan, but moved to the eastern part of the Sinai, as was attested at the time of Moses. The Amalekites became extinct after the 10th century B.C. There’s no mention of Amalek in any inscription or in the writings of any Greek historian, which would indicate that the tribe lived in central, western or northern Arabia.

Refuting the Claim About Jurhum

Ibn Ishak claimed that the tribe of Jurhum lived in Mecca as far back as the time of Abraham. He also claimed that Jurhum was the grandson of Joktan, the son of Eber. He further claimed that Jurhum’s original name was “Hathrem.”[7][vii] The significance of the name “Hathrem” is that it is characteristic of Arabic-style names used at the time of Ibn Ishak, which was in the 8th century A.D. The names given in the inscriptions of Yemen and northern Arabia are totally different from the style of the names given in Ibn Ishak’s genealogies, which reflect the names of his generation. It is a fact that no inscription, no Greek or Roman historian, and no geographer who visited Arabia, ever mentioned a tribe called Jurhum. The first mention of Jurhum we find it in a poesy of Ummyya bin Abi al-Salet, the maternal cousin of Mohammed, who also claimed to be a prophet. The poem attributed to Ummyya says “the Lord of Ad and Jurhum” [8][viii]. First of all, the poem most probably was composed after the event of Islam, because we do not have in Jahiliyah pre-Islam any mention about Jurhum. The idea that many of the Jahiliyah poetry were added after Islam is embraced by great scholars such as Tah Hussein, the famous Egyptian scholar. Secondly, for the case of argument, if we want to admit the originality of such verse, we could not build upon it a history that a nation called Jurhum existed in Arabia since the time of Abraham, because Ummyya was contemporary of Mohammed, and he can't be a source of documentation about a nation which would have existed prior to his time by 2700 years. Because there were no archiving methods and no printing like we have today, it’s commonly accepted that tradition can be considered accurate only if it was written within four centuries of the writers. If Jurhum existed as tribe in Arabia, it could have been a small tribe that appeared some time after the Christian era. Since no classical writer mentioned this tribe, if existed, it should have been insignificant. Ummyyia's poems are full of myths: such as his claim that the Queen of Saba, who visited king Solomon was his aunt; he claimed this to justify his claim to the role of prophecy. In addition, Ummyyia had relationship with a Jinn-devil, who used to instruct him, which proves that he was a part of the occult religion of Arabia. If we want to accept this poem as composed by him, how can we rely on poems of such personality to establish history dating back to 2700 years before his time?

Enormous historical mistakes exist in the Quran, and the genealogies created after the rise of Islam, to support the Quran. Some examples are the genealogies regarding Thamud and Nimrod.

There are other serious historical mistakes in the Islamic genealogies regarding the tribe of Thamud. Thamud is an Arabic tribe which appeared in the 8th century B.C., as was attested at the time of the Assyrian King Sargon II through his Inscriptions. Thamud later lost its political power about the 5th century A.D. The Islamic genealogies attempted to back statements made in the Qur’an which placed Thamud and Ad – another Arabian tribe which appeared after Thamud-as tribes which came right after Noah. So they created a father for the tribe of Thamud and named him “Thamud.” Then they claimed he was the grandson of Shem, the son of Noah.[9][ix] All this was created just to fit the narration of the Qur’an.

The Qur’an claims that the tribe of Thamud was the third generation after Noah, ( The Qur'an made the Arabian tribe of Ad to be second generation after Noah's generation; then Thamud as the third generation, See Surah 7:69; 23:31,32;14:8,9) and it was condemned by Allah to be punished by a wind. (The wind was the god who brought judgment in Zoroastrianism. We know this is also an enormous historical mistake. Not only did Thamud not appear until the 8th century B.C., but the official history, as shown by Assyrian inscriptions, demonstrates that Thamud continued to exist during the 7th century B.C. Also, writings by various Greek and Roman geographers who wrote about Arabia, said Thamud continued until the 5th century A.D. as a politically-organized tribe which occupied a large part of northern Arabia. No wind destroyed the tribe, as the Qur’an claims.

This should be enough to convince us, but there’s yet another enormous historical mistake in the Islamic genealogies. This one concerns Nimrod. According to Genesis 10:8-11, Nimrod was the first builder of the old cities of Mesopotamia. He was the son of Cush, the son of Ham, the son of Noah.We can date him to between 5000 and 4500 B.C. Islamic genealogies correctly state that Nimrod was the son of Cush, but incorrectly state that he lived around the time of Abraham.[10][x] This false claim about Nimrod was made to conform to a mistake in the Qur’an, which made Nimrod reign at the time of Abraham. The Qur’an says Nimrod persecuted Abraham and cast him into a fire which did not harm him. We read this in Surah al-Anbiya' 21:51-70 and Surah al-Safat 37:95. The narration of the Qur’an is taken from the Jewish book called Midrash Rabbah, chapter 17.

We urge Muslims to study history, and to compare the facts to what they have been told in the Qur’an and in Islamic tradition. The claims of Mohammed, the Qur’an and Islam are clearly unfounded. Even if such historical errors were accepted by the followers in Mohammed’s time, we now have so much more evidence which proves them in error. How can anyone embrace these enormous mistakes, when a simple study of history demonstrates how wrong they are.

No one has the right to claim he descended from a specific man who lived 2,000 years before him, unless he has written documents which testify to his claim. In Mohammed’s case, those documents simply do not exist. We have no proof that the ancestors of Mohammed were the descendants of Ishmael

I will continue to analyze the Islamic genealogies which began to appear in the 8th century A.D., and which endeavor to connect Mohammed with Ishmael. I already quoted the Hadith of Mohammed, in which he prohibited any genealogy which described him any further back than Nather bin Kinaneh, who lived 17 generations before him. Other Hadith of Mohammed state that he didn’t want to be genealogized prior to Maad معد, which some suggested to be the fourth person prior to Nather bin Kinaneh. The many genealogies which appeared since the 8th century A.D. confirm the same information, that the genealogy of Mohammed is limited to probably 17 generations before him, but certainly not more than 21 ancestors.

Why is this significant in our search for Mohammed’s genealogy? In the first place, Mohammed himself confessed that he didn’t know of any ancestor before his 17th ancestor. Secondly, after the 17th generation, we begin to notice the differences in these genealogies. After Maad bin Adnan, number 21, the genealogies begin to contradict themselves with big differences, reflecting the fact that the authors of such genealogies couldn’t find resources on which to build their genealogies. That’s because Mohammed prohibited his contemporaries from going any further back than his 17th ancestor. Thus, every one fabricated Mohammed’s genealogy differently from the other.

Another interesting feature of their work is that all of the biographers used Arabic-style names of the 8th and 9th centuries A.D., but they applied the names to the generation in which Ishmael lived. As an example, we find a genealogy mentioned by Tabari, in which the author of the genealogy said Nebaioth, the first-born of Ishmael, begot a son under the name of al-Awam  العوام , and al-Awam to beget al-Saboh الصابوح. Notice the Arabic names. In the genealogy, designations of al-Awam, and al-Saboh, respectively, follow the names.[11][xi] We don’t find this style even in the inscriptions of North Arabia before the Christian era. Instead, we see these names are of the same style as the Umayyad and Abassid periods, after the 8th and 9th centuries A.D.( the Abassid period began in the year 750 A.D.).

When we return to the genealogy fabricated by Ibn Ishak, on which other Muslim writers built in more recent times, we notice his Arabization of the genealogy. As I stated previously, he listed the son of Nabaioth, first-born of Ishmael, as Yashjub يشجب, his son is Yarob يعرب. Yarob is, in itself, a word derived from the word Arab. Ibn Ishak did this in order to make Ishmael appear to be an Arab. Though we know that the word “Arab” was not known before the 10th century B.C., this style for names like Yarob and Yashjub is characteristic of the 8th century A.D., in which Ibn Ishak lived. A common characteristic to all these genealogies is that they claim Mohammed was descended from Ishmael, and they all give a limited number of ancestors between Mohammed and Ishmael.

There are 2,670 years between Ishmael and Mohammed; a large span of time which cannot be covered with only 40 generations.

Ibn Ishak listed 40 ancestors. He wasn’t aware, when he fabricated his genealogy, that 40 ancestors are not sufficient to cover the great time span between Ishmael and Mohammed. Ishmael lived around 2050 B.C., while Mohammed emigrated to Medina around 620 A.D. Therefore, there are about 2,670 years between Ishmael and Mohammed. How can this great period be covered by only 40 ancestors?

By contrast, the Gospel of Matthew reports the genealogy of Jesus Christ as far back as Abraham. We find 42 ancestors between Abraham and Jesus, though it’s a period of only l,950 years. The genealogy of Mohammed must account for another 720 years.

Another thing to consider is that a Jewish generation is longer than an Arabian generation. Consider the ancestors of Isaac from Abraham to King David. Many of these men fathered their first-born when they were 40 or 50 years old. We see that between the captivity in Babylon in 586 B.C., and the birth of Jesus, there are 14 generations. This shows that the Jewish generation in that period was around 41 years. But when we come to the Arabian generations, we can’t allow 41 years for each generation. Scholars consider an Arabian generation to have been about 20 years, because Arabians married when they were about 17-20 years old, due to weather and their cultural environment.

The Archaeology of Arabia Confirmed the Relative Brevity of an Arabian Generation

Archaeology confirms the lower figures for the generations in Arabia. If we study the series of kings in Arabia, both in northern Arabia and Yemen, we come to verify the shortness of Arabian generations when compared to generations in other places, such as Israel. For example, the series of rulers in Saba and Himyar of Yemen begin with the Karibil A. in the 9th century B.C., and run through Maadikarib III, King of Himyar, who was number 102, the last one in the series. He reigned between 575- 577 A.D.[12][xii] We see 102 generations of kings in a span of about 1,400 years. Remembering that a few of these rulers were brothers of other kings in the same generation, we find between 75 to 80 generations, and we conclude that the average Arabian generation was about 17-20 years.

Considering the shortness of the Arabian generation, let’s suppose that each generation in Mohammed’s genealogy is 20 years. Since Mohammed is separated from Abraham and Ishmael by 2,670 years, there must have been a little over 133 generations between them. When we do the math, we have 2,670 years divided by 20 years, which equals 133 and one-half generations, not 35 or 40, as claimed by Ibn Ishak and the others who fabricated genealogies for the ancestors of Mohammed. We see how unprepared and unwise they were to claim Mohammed is descended from Abraham and his son, Ishmael.

Except for the lineage of Jesus, which was documented by written books of the Bible through the centuries, no other family in history has ever accounted for their ancestors over a period of 2,000 years.

Let’s look at this another way. If we assume that the 21st ancestor of Mohammed is known, and if we make a generation 25 years rather than 20 years, then ancestor number 21 would still be 525 years distant from Mohammed. This means that the 21st ancestor of Mohammed lived between 50-70 A.D. This would make the gap between him and Ishmael about 2,000 years.

Except for the linage of Jesus, no family in history had ever verified their ancestors over a period of 2,000 years. The family of Joseph, who was from the royal lineage of Judah, and the family of Mary, who was from the same tribe, could account for their ancestors as far back as Abraham. Because there have been documented, written books of the Bible in each generation, the facts are verified again and again. They give testimony to the promise God made to Abraham and to Isaac, son of Abraham, which God then confirmed to almost every member of the Messianic genealogy. God’s divine promise accompanied others in the Messianic line, such as Isaac, his son, Jacob, and Jacob’s son, Judah, as it was recorded by Moses in the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

The genealogy continued to be recorded in many other books of the Bible. For example, we see God confirming the continuity of the Messianic line in the book of Ruth through Boaz, one of the ancestors of King David. The promise of God concerning the birth of a divine child as Savior was confirmed to David and his son, Solomon, then to many other kings, until we reach the last king who governed Judah at the time of Babylon’s captivity, around 586 B.C. The confirmation of God’s promise continued after the captivity of Babylon. In fact, God renewed His promise to another ruler in David’s royal line, Zerubbabel, who became governor of Judah around 538 B.C.

Many prophets prophesied God’s incarnation in human form after Zerubbabel was governor. The series of prophesies continue until we reach the prophet Malachi, who wrote the last book of the Old Testament around 436 B.C. The first chapter of Malachi begins with these words:

Behold I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple.

It is clear that the God of the Old Testament, who spoke to Malachi and to all the prophets, was the One who promised to come, announcing the sending of a messenger to prepare the way for Him as a sign of His coming. This messenger was John the Baptist, whom God called in the same generation in which Christ was incarnated, and who testified in John 1:26, 27 concerning Jesus. He said:

I baptize with water, but there stands one among you whom you do not know. It is he who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.

Later, when John was asked by the Jews if He was the Messiah, said in Matthew 3:2 that he was “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” He was the one who came to prepare the way before the Lord, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3. John the Baptist pointed to Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, and the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

There is a complete continuity of documented records and historical testimonies regarding the Messianic genealogy of Jesus.

The royal lineage continued to be well-known between the time of Malachi and Jesus. In fact, rulers in Judah continued their rule in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabees during the 2nd century B.C. This means that the period, which was covered only by oral tradition until we reached Mary and Joseph, doesn’t exceed 120-140 years. That was a short time in which families would know about the father of their grandfather who lived 140 years earlier.

When we consider John the Baptist, of whom there is a written testimony, not just in the New Testament, but also in historical literature, such as the writings of Josephus Flavius , the Jewish-Roman historian, we have a complete continuity of documented records and historical testimonies regarding the Messianic genealogy of Jesus.

The absence of any record between Mohammed and Ishmael which would support the Islamic claim that Mohammed is descended from Ishmael.

On the other hand, when we come to the family of Mohammed, whose oldest disputable ancestor was 21 people distant from him, and who lived in Yemen in the first century A.D., how can we connect Mohammed’s 21st ancestor with Ishmael who lived in Sinai 2,000 years before him? No Arabian documents written before Mohammed even allude to such a claim.

Islam also claims that Abraham and Ishmael founded the city of Mecca, but Mecca was not in existence prior to the 4th century A.D. There’s no historical document written during the 2,000 years between Mohammed’s 21st ancestor and the time of Ishmael, which claims the 21st ancestor of Mohammed was a descendent of Ishmael. And there is no credible document written between the time of Mohammed’s 21st ancestor and his own time.

As if this were not enough evidence that Mohammed couldn’t have descended from Ishmael, we have the testimony of thousands of inscriptions, annals and archaeological records which speak about hundreds of rulers in Arabia who belonged to many different tribes, but no inscription or record includes material on any of the ancestors of Mohammed. This can only confirm that Mohammed’s family was an ordinary and unknown family like any other family in Yemen, and that it never ruled in any city in western Arabia, even though Islamic tradition claims it ruled in Mecca.

The Impossibility of the 21st Ancestor of Mohammed Claiming to be Descended from Ishmael

Because Mohammed came from an average Yemeni family, how can his 21st ancestor possess information about ancestors who lived at the time of Abraham? Although printing was invented in the 15th century, and archiving and documentation has since become more organized, and easier, than in previous centuries, none of the families in our generation know the names of their ancestors who lived 1,000 years ago. How, then, could an ordinary man, such as the 21st ancestor of Mohammed, who lived around the 1st century A.D., know anything about an ancestor who lived 2000 years before him?

From Assyrian records dated between the 9th and 7th century B.C., we know that Ishmaelite tribes lived as nomads in Sinai and the Fertile Crescent. But none of these records include the name Ishmael. No inscription shows that they called any person by that name. This demonstrates to us that they didn’t know their lineage from Ishmael. Otherwise, they would certainly have been proud to be his descendants, and they would have recorded Ishmael in each subsequent generation, just as the Israelites recorded Isaac as part of their Israelite religious heritage in every ancient book they wrote.

Because Ishmael received no spiritual call from God, his only historical descendants were the twelve tribes which descended from his sons. In consequent generations, even his sons' descendents forgot about him, including his name, even though the time between Ishmael and these tribes was only about 1,200 years (between the 7th and 9th century B.C.). Since this is the case for the true descendants of Ishmael, how can a man who lived in Yemen, far from where Ishmael lived, conclude he descended from Ishmael who lived 2,000 years before him? If the Ishmaelites themselves were not aware of their ancestry from Ishmael, who would have told the 21st ancestor of Mohammed that he was descended from Ishmael?

There is no proof that Mohammed’s ancestors, number 17 or number 21, ever claimed to be descendants from Ishmael. There’s no written document before Mohammed that make such a claim. Even if such document were to have existed, still this ancestor would have no right to claim descendancy from a man who lived 2,000 years before him, without written documents in each generation to prove his case.

It is clear that the claim of Islam about Mohammed coming from Ishmael progeny is farther from the truth than if I claimed that I came from the line of Julius Cesar who lived 2,000 years before my time. Though I would claim that my 21st ancestor was from Julius Cesar, I have nothing to confirm my claim. Such a claim is impossible to verify by anyone living in our generation. That’s why no one today, even in Rome itself, claims descendancy from Julius Cesar, nor did any Italian who lived 1,000 years ago dare to make such a claim. It’s understood that even 1,000 years without any documented testimony renders the claim ridiculous.

It was a common custom in Arabia at the time of Mohammed for many who claimed to be prophets to claim that they were descended from Biblical figures.

Such claim, if anyone would embrace it, would be considered as transgressing honesty and logic. Yet, there were those people in Arabia, specifically at the time of Mohammed, who knowingly held to the claim that they were descendents of Biblical figures. Men who claimed to be prophets often claimed to descend from known figures in history, or from people mentioned in the Bible. Umayya bin abi al-Salt, a maternal cousin of Mohammed, claimed to be a prophet. He said the Queen of Sheba, who visited Solomon, was his aunt.[13][xiii] He said this to establish that he was from the line of her brother. Also Tubb'a (the Yemeni leader who ruled between A.D. 410 and 435 and occupied Mecca) claimed to be a prophet and claimed that the Queen of Sheba was his aunt.[14][xiv] Throughout history we have had people like Umayya bin Abi al-Salt, who wanted to be prophets over their people. They made their claims because knew that many around them were naive and ignorant and wouldn’t refute their claims.

Although false prophets in Arabia had the audacity to claim they were offspring from a man who lived 1,000 years before them, Mohammed claimed to descend from Ishmael who lived 2,700 years before him, yet without any historical written document. My heart goes out to our Muslims friends who continue to trust their eternal destiny to a claim which is against logic and history.

Mohammed claimed to have ascended to heaven, met Abraham, and learned that he was a true copy of Abraham, so as to convince his followers that he was descended from Abraham.

We saw how Mohammed claimed that Ishmael was his ancestor. He claimed this, even though the time between Mohammed and Ishmael was about 2,700 years, and there were no written documents at any time to support this claim.

But there is more involved than supporting an unhistorical claim. Mohammed connected himself to Abraham by saying he was a physically-true copy of Abraham, because he had ascended to heaven where he encountered many Biblical figures – and among them was Abraham.

He also claimed that heaven has seven layers, copying the idea embraced by many religions and sects of his time, such as Gnosticism, Manicheism and Zoroastrianism. Gnostic literature makes man responsible for each of the sky’s seven layers. Mohammed claimed the same. Mohammed placed Abraham in the sky’s seventh layer,[15][xv] where he ruled over believers who did more works, and performed more religious rites, than the inhabitants of the lower layers.

In order to persuade his followers that he was the offspring of Abraham, Mohammed claimed that he was a true copy of Abraham.

When his followers asked Mohammed what Abraham looked like, he told them that Abraham was a copy of Mohammed himself. He told them:

I did not see a man similar to him like your friend, nor is your friend likened to any person like him.[16][xvi] (By “friend,” Mohammed meant himself.)

Al-Bukhari, the authoritative book of Mohammed’s Hadith, quotes Mohammed as saying, “I am the most likened son to Abraham.”[17][xvii] Mohammed wanted to persuade his followers that he was the offspring of Abraham, so he claimed that physically he was a copy of Abraham. Isaac did not dare to make such a claim, though he was Abraham’s son, and his mother was Abraham’s step sister. Neither did Jacob, or any of his descendents who were close to Abraham’s time, claim that they were a physical copy of Abraham. How could a man who lived 2,700 years after Abraham make such claim?

Ishmael is not the Father of Muhammad

By Sam Shamoun

According to the Holy Bible Ishmael settled in Paran and married an Egyptian from whom he had twelve sons:
"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. While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt." Genesis 21:13-21
The Holy Bible locates Paran near Israel (Canaan) and Egypt, south of Judah. John L. McKenzie in his Dictionary of the Bible notes:
Paran (Hb pa'ran, most frequently the name of a desert region). The place name Elparan (Gn 14:6) no doubt is associated with the desert; this place is thought to be identical with Elath* by some scholars. The desert of Paran was the home of the Ishmaelites (Gn 21:21). It was, the itinerary according to P (cf. PENTATEUCH), reached by the Israelites after the desert of Sinai (Nm 10:12), and they camped in this desert for some time (Nm 10:12; 13:3, 26, mission and return of the scouts). In Dt 1:1 Paran is vaguely defined as a place in the desert. Hadad of Edom passed through the desert of Paran on his journey from Midian* to Egypt (1 Kings 11:18). The mountains of Paran are the place from which the theophany* appears (Dt 33:2; Hab. 3:3); like most other names mentioned in the theophanies, Paran reflects the region S of Judah. The desert of Paran is probably that region of the Negeb* which lies S of Kadesh-barnea*. (McKenzie, p. 637)
Compare the following OT passages:
"In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert. Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they conquered the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazazon Tamar." Genesis 14:5-7

"On the twentieth day of the second month of the second year, the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle of the Testimony. Then the Israelites set out from the Desert of Sinaiand traveled from place to place until the cloud came to rest in the Desert of Paran. They set out, this first time, at the LORD's command through Moses." Numbers 10:11-13

"So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on till she was brought back. After that, the people left Hazeroth and encamped in the Desert of Paran." Numbers 12:15-16

"The LORD said to Moses, "Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.' So at the LORD's command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites." Numbers 13:1-3

"At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land. They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. They gave Moses this account: 'We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.'" Numbers 13:25-27

"These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the desert east of the Jordan—that is, in the Arabah—opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab. (It takes eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount Seir road.)" Deuteronomy 1:1-2
Unless Muslims want to claim that Moses and the Israelites traveled from Sinai all the way to Mecca and back during their 40-year desert wandering, it becomes quite evident that Paran is nowhere near Mecca.

Continuing further:
"Now Samuel died; and all Israel assembled and mourned for him. They buried him at his home in Ramah. Then David got up and went down to the wilderness of Paran." 1 Samuel 25:1
Are we to assume that David went to Mecca after Samuel's death?
"This is the blessing that Moses the man of God pronounced on the Israelites before his death. He said: "The LORD came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran. He came with myriads of holy ones from the south, from his mountain slopes. Deuteronomy 33:1-2

"But Hadad, still only a boy, fled to Egypt with some Edomite officials who had served his father. They set out from Midian and went to Paran. Then taking men from Paran with them, they went to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave Hadad a house and land and provided him with food. Pharaoh was so pleased with Hadad that he gave him a sister of his own wife, Queen Tahpenes, in marriage." 1 Kings 11:17-19

"God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth." Habakkuk 3:3
Interestingly, the preceding passages connect Mount Paran with Seir and Teman. Both Seir and Teman are associated with Edom. Here is McKenzie regarding the locations of Seir and Teman:
Seir (Hb se'ir), a geographical name; Seir is associated with Esau* and Edom* and the association is expressed in a play on the words se'ar, "goat," and sa'ir, "hairy," in Gn 25:25; 27:11, 23. The name appears as the designation of a land, of a mountain, and as a gentilic. There is no doubt that the mountain is the chain which extends SW of the Dead Sea along the W side of the Arabah*, rising to an average height of 5000 ft. The name was later extended to the corresponding mountain chain on the E side of the Arabah. As a territorial designation the term is used more loosely of the region adjacent to the mountain chain, substantially identical with the territory of Edom ... Israelite tradition itself recognized that the claim of Edom to Seir and its settlement there were older than its own claim to Canaan. It was the region of Esau the brother of Jacob ... The mountain becomes a loose designation of its inhabitants as "the men of Seir or Mt Seir" (2 Ch 20:10, 22f; 25:11, 14); these must be the Edomites ... (McKenzie, pp. 783-784)

Teman (Hb teman, "the south"), a place name; a region of Edom (Je 49:7; Ezk 25:13; Am 1:12; Ob 9) mentioned with Dedan* (Ezk 25:13), famous for its wise men (Je 49:7), the place from which Yahweh appears (Hab 3:3; mentioned with Mt Paran*); genealogically reckoned a descendant of Esau and a son of Eliphaz (Gn 36:11, 15, 42; 1 Ch 1:36, 53). The situation is unknown except that it must be in the territory of Edom. Very frequently in the OT teman is used to signify simply "south" as a point of direction. (McKenzie, p. 872)
J. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, p. 897, states:
TEMAN.- A tribe (district) of Edom.
In light of this, it is little wonder that Hadad of Edom passed through Paran en route to Egypt. It makes no sense for Hadad to travel from Edom to Mecca in order to get to Egypt.

[See also this discussion on the location of Paran in the rebuttal to Al-Kadhi, section 6.4.]

Furthermore, there is no evidence apart from the later Muslim traditions that Ishmael ever married a Jurhumite woman since the Holy Bible indicates that he married an Egyptian. The Holy Bible also tells us where Ishmael's sons settled:
"This is the account of Abraham's son Ishmael, whom Sarah's maidservant, Hagar the Egyptian, bore to Abraham. 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 25:12-18
McKenzie locates Shur around the area of Palestine and Egypt:
Shur (Hb sur), a geographical name which designates the slopes of Palestine and E of Egypt and N of the deserts of the Sinai peninsula. The Hb word suggests sur, "wall", and some geographers have thought that the name alludes to the line of fortresses constructed by the Egyptians to protect the E frontier of Egypt. The region is the scene of the flight of Hagar* in the account of J (Gn 16:7). Abraham dwelt for a time in the Negeb* between Kadesh* and Shur (Gn 20:1). The Israelites traversed the desert of Shur after crossing the Sea of Reeds (Ex 15:22). The area from Havilah* to Shur was the home of the Amalekites* and other nomad tribes (Gn 25:18; 1 S 15:7; 27:8). (McKenzie, pp. 810-811)
This conclusively demonstrates that neither Ishmael nor his twelve sons settled in Mecca. It is claimed that some of the descendents of Ishmael's twelve sons migrated to Arabia. For instance Nebaioth is said to be the father of the Nabateans. The Nabateans flourished in northern Arabia, first establishing their capital in Petra in the 4th century B.C. which was captured by the Romans in 106 B.C. They then moved to Damascus. The Dead Sea Scrolls actually contains Nabatean documents from the later period.

There are two major problems with the above assertion. Even though it may be true that some of Ishmael's descendants settled in Arabia, this does not mean that they necessarily were the fathers of the Arabs. Muslim tradition itself affirms that Ishmael was not the father of the Arabs. Ibn Ishaq's biography of Muhammad states:
Ishmael is the son of Ibrahim (Abraham) b. Tarih (Azar) b. Nahur b. Sarugh b. Rau'u b. Falikh b. 'Aybar b. Shalikh b. Arfakhshadh b. Sam (Shem) b. Nuh (Noah). (Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, tr. Guillaume, p. 3)
Then we have another line from Noah, where we read:
'Ad b. 'Aus b. Iram b. Sam b. Nuh and Thamud and Jadis the two sons of 'Abir b. Iram b. Sam b. Nuh, and Tasm and 'Imlaq and Umayan the sons of Lawidh b. Sam b. Nuh are all Arabs. Nabit b. Isma'il begat Yashjub and the line runs: Ta'rub-Tayrah-Bahur-Muqawwan-Udad-'Adnan. (Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, tr. Guillaume, p. 4)
This demonstrates that Arabs existed long before Ishmael was even born since according to this tradition, Ishmael's great-great-great-great...-great uncles were already the Arabs.

Second, the Hadith does not agree with the biblical record at all. The Hadith claims that after settling in Mecca Ishmael married twice, and both of his wives were of Arab descent:
Narrated Ibn Abbas:

The first lady to use a girdle was the mother of Ishmael. She used a girdle so that she might hide her tracks from Sarah. Abraham brought her and her son Ishmael while she was suckling him, to a place near the Ka'ba under a tree on the spot of Zam-zam, at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Mecca, nor was there any water. So he made them sit over there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward. Ishmael's mother followed him saying, "O Abraham! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?" She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her. Then she asked him, "Has Allah ordered you to do so?" He said, "Yes." She said, "Then He will not neglect us," and returned while Abraham proceeded onwards, and on reaching the Thaniya where they could not see him, he faced the Ka'ba, and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying the following prayers:

"O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House (Kaba at Mecca) in order, O our Lord, that they may offer prayer perfectly. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks.' (14.37) Ishmael's mother went on suckling Ishmael and drinking from the water (she had).

When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (i.e. Ishmael) tossing in agony; She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached the Marwa mountain where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between Safa and Marwa) seven times."

The Prophet said, "This is the source of the tradition of the walking of people between them (i.e. Safa and Marwa). When she reached the Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, "O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?" And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zam-zam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it."

The Prophet added, "May Allah bestow Mercy on Ishmael's mother! Had she let the Zam-zam (flow without trying to control it) (or had she not scooped from that water) (to fill her water-skin), Zam-zam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth." The Prophet further added, "Then she drank (water) and suckled her child. The angel said to her, "Don't be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people.' The House (i.e. Kaba) at that time was on a high place resembling a hillock, and when torrents came, they flowed to its right and left. She lived in that way till some people from the tribe of Jurhum or a family from Jurhum passed by her and her child, as they (i.e. the Jurhum people) were coming through the way of Kada'. They landed in the lower part of Mecca where they saw a bird that had the habit of flying around water and not leaving it. They said, "This bird must be flying around water, though we know that there is no water in this valley.' They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water, and returned to inform them of the water. So, they all came (towards the water)." The Prophet added, "Ishmael's mother was sitting near the water. They asked her, "Do you allow us to stay with you?' She replied, "Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water.' They agreed to that." The Prophet further said, "Ishmael's mother was pleased with the whole situation as she used to love to enjoy the company of the people. So, they settled there, and later on they sent for their families who came and settled with them so that some families became permanent residents there. The child (i.e. Ishmael) grew up and learnt Arabic from them and (his virtues) caused them to love and admire him as he grew up, and when he reached the age of puberty they made him marry a woman from amongst them.

After Ishmael's mother had died, Abraham came after Ishmael's marriage in order to see his family that he had left before, but he did not find Ishmael there. When he asked Ishmael's wife about him, she replied, "He has gone in search of our livelihood.' Then he asked her about their way of living and their condition, and she replied, "We are living in misery; we are living in hardship and destitution,' complaining to him. He said, "When your husband returns, convey my salutation to him and tell him to change the threshold of the gate (of his house).' When Ishmael came, he seemed to have felt something unusual, so he asked his wife, "Has anyone visited you?' She replied, "Yes, an old man of so-and-so description came and asked me about you and I informed him, and he asked about our state of living, and I told him that we were living in a hardship and poverty.' On that Ishmael said, "Did he advise you anything?' She replied, "Yes, he told me to convey his salutation to you and to tell you to change the threshold of your gate.' Ishmael said, "It was my father, and he has ordered me to divorce you. Go back to your family.' So, Ishmael divorced her and married another woman from amongst them (i.e. Jurhum).

Then Abraham stayed away from them for a period as long as Allah wished and called on them again but did not find Ishmael. So he came to Ishmael's wife and asked her about Ishmael. She said, "He has gone in search of our livelihood.' Abraham asked her, "How are you getting on?' asking her about their sustenance and living. She replied, "We are prosperous and well-off (i.e. we have everything in abundance).' Then she thanked Allah' Abraham said, "What kind of food do you eat?' She said. "Meat.' He said, "What do you drink?' She said, "Water.' He said, "O Allah! Bless their meat and water." The Prophet added, "At that time they did not have grain, and if they had grain, he would have also invoked Allah to bless it." The Prophet added, "If somebody has only these two things as his sustenance, his health and disposition will be badly affected, unless he lives in Mecca." The Prophet added," Then Abraham said Ishmael's wife, "When your husband comes, give my regards to him and tell him that he should keep firm the threshold of his gate.' When Ishmael came back, he asked his wife, "Did anyone call on you?' She replied, "Yes, a good-looking old man came to me,' so she praised him and added. "He asked about you, and I informed him, and he asked about our livelihood and I told him that we were in a good condition.' Ishmael asked her, "Did he give you any piece of advice?' She said, "Yes, he told me to give his regards to you and ordered that you should keep firm the threshold of your gate.' On that Ishmael said, "It was my father, and you are the threshold (of the gate). He has ordered me to keep you with me.'

Then Abraham stayed away from them for a period as long as Allah wished, and called on them afterwards. He saw Ishmael under a tree near Zamzam, sharpening his arrows. When he saw Abraham, he rose up to welcome him (and they greeted each other as a father does with his son or a son does with his father). Abraham said, "O Ishmael! Allah has given me an order.' Ishmael said, "Do what your Lord has ordered you to do.' Abraham asked, "Will you help me?' Ishmael said, "I will help you.' Abraham said, Allah has ordered me to build a house here,' pointing to a hillock higher than the land surrounding it." The Prophet added, "Then they raised the foundations of the House (i.e. the Ka'ba). Ishmael brought the stones and Abraham was building, and when the walls became high, Ishmael brought this stone and put it for Abraham who stood over it and carried on building, while Ishmael was handing him the stones, and both of them were saying, "O our Lord! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.' The Prophet added, "Then both of them went on building and going round the Ka'ba saying: O our Lord! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing." (2.127) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 583)
This tradition clearly contradicts the biblical data that shows that Ishmael settled in Paran, not Mecca, and married an Egyptian, not an Arab. The above tradition states that Ishmael learnt Arabic from the tribe of (or a family from) Jurhum who settled in Mecca. Since Arabic is not Ishmael's mother tongue, and since Arabic as a language existed before, Ishmael cannot be the ancestor of Arabs. This means that the notion that Ishmael is the progenitor of the Arabs is erroneous. At most, Ishmael can only be called an Arabicized immigrant. The Muslim traditions prove that Ishmael is not the father of all the Arabs.

The Muslim traditions further complicate the problem. We are told:
Ma'n Ibn 'Isa al-Ashja'i al-Qazzaz (silk-merchant) informed us; he said: Mu'awiyah Ibn Salih informed us on the authority of Yahya Ibn Jabir who had seen some Companions of the Prophet and said: The people of Banu Fuhayrah came to the Prophet and said to him: You belong to us. He replied: Verily, (the archangel) Gabriel has informed me that I belong to Mudar. (Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Volume I, p. 4)
This indicates that Muhammad's genealogy was actually revelatory, not necessarily common knowledge. In fact, the people of Banu Fuhayrah did not know that Muhammad was a descendent of Mudar and Muhammad had to be informed by Gabriel that he was, not through common knowledge. This may form the basis of some hadiths:
Narrated Kulaib:

I was told by the Rabiba (i.e. daughter of the wife of the Prophet) who, I think, was Zainab, that the Prophet forbade the utensils (of wine called) Ad-Dubba, Al-Hantam, Al-Muqaiyar and Al-Muzaffat. I said to her, "Tell me as to which tribe the Prophet belonged; was he from the tribe of Mudar?" She replied, "He belonged to the tribe of Mudar and was from the offspring of An-Nadr bin Kinana." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 698)
Muslims may claim that Muhammad is a descendant of Kedar and therefore a true offspring of Ishmael. Muslim historians traced Muhammad's line to an 'Adnan, an alleged descendant of Ishmael. The following genealogy is taken from T.P Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 217:
Adnan- Ma'add- Nizar- "Ilyas- Mudrikah- Khuzaimah- Kinanah- An-Nazr- Malik- Fihr- Luwaiy- Ka'b- Murrah- Kilab- Qusaiy- "Abdul Manaf- Hashim- Abdul Muttalib- Abdullah- Muhammad.
This other one comes from a Muslim website:
Prophet Muhammad- Abdullah- Abd Al Muttalib- Hashim- Abd Manaf- Qusaiy- Kilab (Ancestor of the Holy Prophet's mother)- Murrah- Ka'b. Lu'ayy- Ghalib- Fihr- Malik- Al Nadr- Kinanah- Khuzaiymah- Mudrikah- Ilyas- Mudar- Nizar- Madd- `Adnan- Adad- Zayd- Yaqdud- Al Muqawwam- Al Yasa'- Nabt- Qaidar (Kedar)- Prophet Ismail(Alaihi Salaam)- Prophet Ibrahim (Alaihi Salaam)- Tarih- Nahur (Nahor)- Sharukh- Ar'u- Farigh- `Abir- Shalikh- Arfikhishd- Sam (Shem)- Prophet Nuh (Noah) (Alaihi Salaam)- Lamak- Mutawshilkh- Khanukh- Burrah- Mihlayil- Kaynun- Anuus- Shees (Seth) (Alaihi Salaam)- Prophet Adam (Alaihi Salaam). (Source.)
On the mother's side, the above list gives Muhammad - Aminah - Wahab - Abd Manaf - Zuhrah - Kilab, same as the Kilab in Muhammad's side. This reference is derived from Ibn Al Jawzy via Abi Muhammad Ibn Al Samarqandi via `Ali Ibn `Ubayd of Kufa, a companion of Tha'lib Muhammad ibn Abdullah.

The following genealogy is taken from Syed Yusuf:
1 Abraham Hanifa (AS) was the father of 2 Isma'il (AS) was the father of 3 Kedar was the father of 4 "Adnaan was the father of 5 Ma'add was the father of 6 Nizaar was the father of 7 Mudar was the father of 8 Ilyaas was the father of 9 Mudrikah was the father of10 Khuzaimah was the father of11 Kinaanah was the father of12 Al-Nadr was the father of13 Maalik was the father of14 Quraysh was the father of15 Ghaalib was the father of16 Lu'ayy was the father of17 Ka'ab was the father of18 Murrah was the father of19 Kilaab was the father of20 Qusayy was the father of21 "Abd Manaaf was the father of22 Haashim was the father of23 "Abdul Muttalib was the father of24 "Abdullah was the father of25 Muhammad (SAW)(source)
There are several problems with these genealogies. The first problem is the time span, as noted by the following sources:
"If there are only four generations between Adnan and Ishmael, then the are about 24-25 generations between Muhammad and Abraham spanning about 2500 years. This makes for about one hundred years between generations, which is a bit far-fetched (it is ok if it were for some generations, like Abraham and Ishmael, but very far-fetched if it were to occur regularly. We know that the generations near to Muhammad are pretty normal, not so stretched out, so this makes the other inter-generational gaps even wider). On the other hand, using the data from reference 2, we get about 32-33 generations between Abraham and Muhammad, giving us an inter-generational gap of about seventy-five years. This is still unbelievably high.

It should be said that perhaps, we are faced with incomplete data in that some generations are omitted (the situation is also to be seen in Matthew's genealogy of Jesus where he omitted some names). It could be the same with Muslim genealogical data. On the other hand, if the hadith that there are only four generations between Adnan and Ishmael is literal, then we are faced with a problem. If the hadith is true, then Muslim genealogy is most likely false (it is difficult to imagine so many one hundred years between generations). If the hadith is false, then we have to re-evaluate the accuracy of hadith reports. (Source.; bold emphasis ours)
Commenting on Yusuf's list given above, the authors at FreeThoughtMecca note:
First of all, there are only 24 generations from Abraham to Muhammad, which is quite fantastic. Now, if we grant 30 years to each generation (i.e. make the generous assumption that each male fathered his respective son by age 30), this would place Abraham some time around 150 BCE. The math behind such a conclusion goes as follows:

30 X 24 = 720

Muhammad was allegedly born 570 CE

570 - 720 = -150.

The oldest existing texts to mention Abraham are found among the scrolls from Qumran (so-called "Dead Sea Scrolls"), which date anywhere from the 3rd century BCE to 68 CE. With that in mind it is reasonable to assume that writing already existed on Abraham (as well as numerous later Biblical heroes, such as Isaac, Jacob, Moses, et cetera) at the time the above genealogy places the patriarch. Of course, this is a moot point, as no Muslim would ever try and place Abraham's life around 150 BCE.

The only way out of this would be to take a page from the Judeo-Christian folklore, and start postulating wild scenarios, where patriarchs don't reach puberty until 90, father children at 120, and finally die some time around 200 years of age! Of course that is just plain absurd, and it shows the extent of the silliness found in the "intellectual" religion known as al-Islaam. (source; bold emphasis ours)
Apart from the disparaging remarks regarding the age of some of the Patriarchs, the problem with the Muslim genealogies stands out clearly.

The second problem with these genealogies is that they are written long after Muhammad's rise to fame. In other words, these are not based on pre-Islamic records but records compiled by Muslims after the death of Muhammad. It is not hard to imagine Muslims concocting genealogies around biblical figures in order to legitimize Muhammad's claim to prophethood. Let us point again to this hadith:
Ma'n Ibn 'Isa al-Ashja'i al-Qazzaz (silk-merchant) informed us; he said: Mu'awiyah Ibn Salih informed us on the authority of Yahya Ibn Jabir who had seen some Companions of the Prophet and said: The people of Banu Fuhayrah came to the Prophet and said to him: You belong to us. He replied: Verily, (the archangel) Gabriel has informed me that I belong to Mudar. (Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Volume I, p. 4)
If this is true, then the genealogy of Muhammad was not known to either himself or his clan. Otherwise he could have appealed to general knowledge and would not have had to appeal to revelation to place himself in a certain descendency. To be a descendant of Ishmael (via Mudar) was a claim that started with Muhammad's own words but without historical evidence even in his life time. In the end, it comes down to nothing but an unsubstantiated claim from Muhammad, ... or from later Muslims who put this into his mouth.

The third problem with these above lists is that they are not even consistent with that given by Ibn Ishaq in his Sirat Rasulullah. Ibn Ishaq, the earliest biographer of Muhammad traces his line to Ishmael through Nabit (Nebaioth), not Kedar. Here is Ibn Ishaq's list:

Muhammad's Pure Descent From Adam
Abu Muhammad "Abdul Malik ibn Hisham the Grammarian said:

This is the book of the biography of the apostle of God.

Muhammad was the son of "Abdullah, b. "Abdu'l-Muttalib (whose name was Shayba), b. Hashim (whose name was Amr), b. "Abdu Manaf (whose name was al-Mughira), b. Qusayy (whose name was Zayd). B. Kilab, b. Murra, b. Ka'b, b. Lu'ayy, b. Ghalib, b. Fihr, b. Malik, b. al-Nadr, b. Kinana, b. Khuzayma, b. Mudrika (whose name was "Amir), b. Ilyas, b. Mudar, b. Nizar, b. Ma' add, b. "Adnan, b. Udd (or Udad), b. Muqawwam, b. Nahur, b.'Tayrah, b. Ya'rub, b. Yashjub, b. Nabit, b. Isma'il, b. Ibrahim, the friend of the Compassionate, b. Tarih (who is Azar), b. Nahur, b. Sarugh, b. Ra'u, b. Falikh, b. "Aybar, b. Shalikh, b. Arfakhshadh, b. Sam, b. Nuh, b. Lamk, b. Mattushalakh, b. Akhnukh, who is the prophet Idris according to what they allege, but God knows best (he was the first of the sons of Adam to whom prophecy and writing with a pen were given), b. Yard, b. Mahlil, b. Qaynan, b. Yanish, b. Shith, b. Adam.
The Line of Ismail
Isma'il b. Ibrahim begat twelve sons: Nabit the elder, Qaydhar, Adhbul, Mabsha, Misma, Mashi, Dimma, Adhr, Tayma, Yatur, Nabish, Qaydhuma. Their mother was Ra'la d. Mudad b. "Amr al-Jurhumi (II). Jurhum was the son of Yaqtan b. "Aybar b. Shalikh, and [Yaqtan was] Qahtan b. "Aybar b. Shalikh. According to report Isma'il lived 130 years, and when he died he was buried in the sacred precincts of the K'aba besides his mother Hagar (I2). (The Life of Muhammad, trans. Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, tenth impression 1995], pp. 3-4; bold emphasis ours)
Ishaq is basically in agreement with the Holy Bible regarding the names and number of sons born to Ishmael. The only difference being is that Ishaq believes that these sons were conceived from Ra'la a Jurhumite.

This leads us to our final problem. The veracity of these records is based primarily on the assumption that Ishmael settled in Mecca and married a Jurhumite woman. Since Ishmael did not settle in Mecca, but in Paran, and married an Egyptian this means that neither Kedar nor Nebaioth could have been the ancestor of the Meccan Arabs.

There are certain Islamic scholars who readily admit this fact. The late Egyptian Professor, Dr. Taha Husayn, considered one of the foremost authorities on Arabic literature, while commenting on the story of Abraham and Ishmael building the Kabah, states:
"The case for this episode is very obvious because it is of recent date and came into vogue just before the rise of Islam. Islam exploited it for religious reasons." (As quoted in Mizan al-Islam by Anwar al-Jundi, p. 170 as found in Behind the Veil, p. 184, source; bold emphasis ours)
Writer Camilla Adang, in a footnote from her book Muslim Writers on Judaism and the Hebrew Bible from Ibn Rabban to Ibn Hazm, mentions:
... Ishmael is considered the progenitor of the Arabs. Dagon (1981) has shown that this idea is an Islamic construction AND THAT NO CONNECTION BETWEEN ISHMAEL AND THE ARABS HAD EVER BEEN MADE IN THE PRE-ISLAMIC PERIOD. Already in the first Islamic century, however, Ishmael came to symbolize the Islamic Umma, and biblical passages about Ishmael were taken to refer to Muhammad, the Arabs, or the Muslim community. (Adang, p. 147, fn. 37: E.J. Brill Academic Publishers; August 1997 ISBN: 9004100342; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Former Muslim turned to atheist Ibn Warraq writes:
We are told that [Abraham] was born in Chaldea, and that he was the son of a poor potter who earned his living by making little clay idols. It is scarcely credible that the son of this potter went to Mecca, 300 leagues away in the tropics, by way of impassable deserts. If he was a conqueror he no doubt aimed at the fine country of Assyria; and if he was only a poor man, as he is depicted, he founded no kingdoms in foreign parts. — Voltaire

For the historian, the Arabs are no more the descendents of Ishmael, son of Abraham, than the French are of Francus, son of Hector. — Maxime Rodinson

It is virtually certain that Abraham never reached Mecca. — Montgomery Watt

The essential point ... is that, where objective fact has been established by sound historical methods, it must be accepted. — Montgomery Watt
According to Muslim tradition, Abraham and Ishmael built the Kaaba, the cube-like structure in the Sacred Mosque in Mecca. But outside these traditions there is absolutely no evidence for this claim - whether epigraphic, archaelogical, or documentary. Indeed Snouck Hurgronje has shown that Muhammad invented the story to give his religion an Arabian origin and setting; with this brilliant improvisation Muhammad established the independence of his religion, at the same time incorporating into Islam the Kaaba with all its historical and religious associations for the Arabs. (Ibn Warraq, Why I Am Not A Muslim [Prometheus Books, Amherst NY 1995], p. 131; bold emphasis ours)
Finally, Islamicist Alfred Guillaume notes:
"... there is no historical evidence for the assertion that Abraham or Ishmael was ever in Mecca, and if there had been such a tradition it would have to be explained how all memory of the Old Semitic name Ishmael (which was not in its true Arabian form in Arabian inscriptions and written correctly with an initial consonant Y) came to be lost. The form in the Quran is taken either from Greek or Syriac sources." (Alfred Guillaume, Islam [Penguin Books Inc., Baltimore, 1956], pp. 61-62)
In case Muslims want to claim that the biblical text has been tampered with, it should be pointed out that the Jews would have no reason to distort the location of Paran since there was neither Christians nor Muslims around when these texts were written. Therefore, claiming textual distortion will not solve the problem for the Muslims.

In light of all this confusion, it becomes evident that the biblical data is more precise and accurate since it is much older and closer to these events. Since the Holy Bible indicates that Ishmael never settled in Mecca he therefore cannot be the father of the Arabs that settled there. In other words, Muhammad is not a descendant of Ishmael.

In the service of our great God and Savior, the risen Lord of eternal glory, Jesus Christ. Amen. Come Lord Jesus. We love you always.


  1. The question that most of us ask now, arose before during the time of Muhammad s.a.w; preaching the words of God onto Arabia. Was Muhammad mentioned? This was the question by inhabitants of Arabia towards Jews that embraced Islam. And if we refer to the claim by past Jewish converts, they had quote verses from Isaiah 42.

    In passages of Isaiah. God address His chosen servants with their names, and in the prophesied verse we see God mention clearly the prophet’s name. **Some examples of God mentioning His servant by name.
    (My Servant Isaiah, My Servant Eliakim, David My Servant, Jacob My Servant, My Servant Israel, and so in Isaiah 42:1 , God specifically mention My Servant Ahmad)

    In Isaiah 42:1, it is deemed not a coincidence upon seeing the writing of both אתמך (Atmc) אחמד (Ahmd). And the word before אתמך (Atmc), is עבדי (Abdi~My Servant). For indeed, it is indicating Ahmad; Abdullah (Ahmad; Servant of God).

    **Not to mention אתמך (Atmc) happen to be a special term foretelling the coming of a righteous man and is used only ONCE throughout the entire Book. [could this be a copying error or an intended error?]

    The prophecy Isaiah (42:1–17) tells about Ahmad; ‘Servant of God’ whom will war to correct the wrongs and bringing judgement based on the law of God. He will liberate act of worshiping molten images and thus Arabia (wilderness desert, villages and cities) will glorify God since then. **As can be seen today, Arabia are worshiping,praising God and singing words of God daily. Inhabitants from all around the world gather there and voice out loud their praise to God.

    And we continue reading Isaiah (42:18–25); God remind the ‘blind and deaf’ about the wrath of God towards Children of Israel, whom neglect the message brought by past Servant of God.

    And not to repeat; the same mistake upon the coming of the new Servant of God


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...