Place of Abraham in Islam, Christianity, Judaism


Faith, Sacrifice, Commitment and Patience.

These are just some of the qualities that characterize Prophet Ibrahim or Abraham as he is called in English (peace be upon him).

So it should come as no surprise that he is revered not just in Islam, but in Christianity and Judaism as well. Prophet Ibrahim is also a great personality to discuss in dialogues between Muslims, Jews and Christians. (Read more: Abraham inspired Eid’s sacrifices)

Here is some basic information about him from the three perspectives:

1. Islam

“Salam (peace) be upon Abraham!” God says in the Quran (37:109).

In Islam, Prophet Ibrahim is the friend of God and the father of Prophets (Ismail or Ishmael in English and Ishaq or Isaac and the grandfather of Prophet Yaqub or Jacob). He is also one of the ancestors of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Anyone who rejects Prophet Ibrahim is not a true believer in Islam. Prophet Ibrahim plays a key role in this regard. In terms of beliefs, a Muslim must believe in all of the Prophets. This includes not just Prophet Ibrahim, but his sons Ismail, Ishaq, his grandson Yaqub and of course his descendant Prophet Muhammad.

When it comes to the five pillars of Islam, the importance of Prophet Ibrahim becomes even more evident.

The second pillar of Islam is Salah, the obligatory five daily prayers. Every Muslim who has reached the age of puberty is accountable for their prayers, be he male or be she female, whether they live in the desert of northern Arabia, a village of northern Pakistan or an urban center of North America.

During one part of each of these five prayers, Muslims must ask God to send His blessings upon Prophet Ibrahim. Now calculate this: you’ve got more than a few million Muslims, every day, five times a day, in virtually every time zone on this planet asking God to send His blessings on Prophet Ibrahim in the course of his/her prayer.

More importantly, the direction in which every Muslim must face when praying is towards a structure Prophet Ibrahim built with his son Ismail: the Kaba, in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

With regards to the Kaba, God says this about it: “The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka (another name for Makkah); full of blessings and guidance for all kinds of beings: in it are signs manifest, the station of Abraham-whoever enters it attains security; pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to God-those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith, God stands not in need of any of His creatures”(Quran 3:96-97).

This leads to the second way in which this Prophet, described as the intimate friend of God (Quran 4:125), is revered: Hajj.

Hajj is the pilgrimage every Muslim must make to Makkah at least once in his/her lifetime. Hajj is also an obligation no Muslim is allowed to reject or ignore. It is in this rite that Prophet Ibrahim’s importance becomes even more prominent. (Click here to learn more about Hajj.)

In general, Prophet Ibrahim’s centrality to this fifth pillar of Islam is indicated by the Prophet Mohammed’s statement, You must adhere to the traditions and rituals (of Hajj), for these have come down to you from (your forefather) Ibrahim in heritage (Tirmidhi).

First, the Kaba is the central structure around which the Hajj takes place. No Hajj is valid without going around this structure built by Prophets Ibrahim and Ismail in counterclockwise fashion seven times. Second, Muslims who perform the Hajj or Umra must run in the middle portion of the distance between Safa and Marwa (two hills close to the Kaba) seven times. This is a commemoration of the sacrifice of the wife of Abraham, Hajira (may God be pleased with her) for her son Prophet Ismail.

Prophet Ibrahim had settled his wife and son in the valley of Makkah by God’s order to pioneers a civilization. It was from this civilization that the Prophet Mohammed was born.

Finally, Prophet’s Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his beloved son Ismail for the sake of God exemplifies not only his sincere devotion to God. The commemoration of this sacrifice is practiced with the sacrifice of an animal during Hajj and one of the two Islamic holy days: Eid-ul-Adha.

Both father and son willingly submitted to God’s command. God substituted a ram in Ismail’s place at the last moment. God talks about this incident in Quran 37:100-107.

The sacrifice that is offered by Muslims all over the world every year (at Eid-ul-Adha) is in commemoration of the supreme act and spirit of sacrifice offered by Prophet Abraham in lieu of his son Ismail.

2. Judaism

According to A Concise Encyclopedia of Judaism by Dan Cohn-Sherbok (Oneworld Publications 1998), Prophet Abraham is the father of Jewish people. According to Scripture, he was the son of Terah and the father of Isaac, who was born to Sarah, and he is also the father of Ishmael, who was born to Hagar.

After leaving Ur of the Chaldees, Abraham traveled to Canaan, visited Egypt and returned to Hebron. God appeared to him in a vision. He promised Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land. God tested Abraham’s faith by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac (Gen. 11:26-25:10).

When the mother of Isaac, Sarah, died, Abraham bought the cave of Macpelah as a burial place. Abraham died at the age of 175.

According to the Oxford Concise Companion to the Jewish Religion by Louis Jacobs (Oxford University press 1999), the story of Abraham is narrated in the book of Genesis (11:27-25:18). Here is an excerpt from that section (from Genesis 22:2-13) which focuses on the Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Isaac, according to Jewish tradition:

And He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you”.

So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place which God had told him.

Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.’

So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.

But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’

And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” And the two of them went together.

Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an alter there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the alter, upon the wood.

And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”

And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horn. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.

A majority of contemporary scholars think that he lived in approximately the eighteenth-century before the Christian Era.

In the Jewish tradition, he is the father of the Jews and Judaism.

God’s covenant with Abraham is expressed in the rite of circumcision (Genesis 17) and male Jewish children, to this day are, for the most part circumcised.

This act is called ‘entry into the covenant of Abraham our father’, and the name of the rite itself is the ‘berit’; the ‘covenant’.

Abraham is also considered the spiritual father of anyone who converts to Judaism. At a Jewish conversion ceremony, a convert is given a Hebrew name and is called a ‘child of Abraham our father’.

(Learn more: The Shared Golden Age of Jews and Muslims)

3. Christianity

It is through the central figure of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) that Prophet Abraham is given prominence in the Christian tradition.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia Volume 1 (1999, Kevin Knight, online version), in the New Testament, the generation of Jesus Christ is traced back to Abraham by St. Matthew.

Similarly, as the New Testament traces Prophet Jesus’ descent of Jesus to Prophet Abraham, it does the same of all Jews in terms of “carnal” descent.

However, in the New Testament, it is not this carnal descent from Abraham to which importance is attached but importance is placed on practicing the virtues attributed to Abraham in Genesis. Thus in John, 8, the Jews say (33): “We are the seed of Abraham”, and Jesus replies (39): “If ye be the children of Abraham, do the works of Abraham”.

The Catholic Encyclopedia also notes that Prophet Abraham may be considered the source of Old Testament religion. From the days of Prophet Abraham, men were accustomed to speaking of God as the God of Abraham, while Prophet Abraham is not found referring in a similar way to anyone preceding him.
According to the A Concise Encyclopedia of Christianity by Geoffrey Parrinder (Oneworld Publications 1998), Abraham is a great Hebrew patriarch and is considered the common spiritual father of the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Paul wrote of all those who have faith being children of Abraham (Gal. 3:7). Prophet Abraham’s faith and example is cited by many Christian authors.

According to Luke 16:22, Jesus spoke of Abraham’s bosom as a symbol of Paradise (Luke 16:22).

Christians believe God first gave Abraham a son through a bond woman named Hagar. This son was named Ishmael. God gave him a second son from his barren wife Sarah. He was named Isaac.

According to Christian tradition, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac “to prove that he was ‘worthy of becoming the father of a mighty nation, which would be as numerous as the stars in the sky or the grains of sand on the seashore’”

From “A History of God, the 4,000-year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam” by Karen Armstrong published by Alfred A. Knopf, 1993.


  1. Keamber Nelson says:

    wow I am slow

  2. Anonymous says:

    Adam forfeits the Earth's righteousness through sin and disbelief. His seed were born sinners and cut off from God. Abraham restores that righteousness through belief, and becomes the father of faith, and of those who have it. What faith. Empty rituals could never appease the justice of God. Only a righteous sacrifice could do that. Jesus, the lamb of God came to "undo" the damages caused by Adam and satan. All who believe that Jesus is the Christ are adopted into the universal family of God, and are born again children and seed of Abraham. Abstaining from meats and other empty Jewish, Christian and Islamic rituals could never cause a pure Being to associate Himself with what is impure. The true contamination that keeps us from a knowing God, comes from the evil within the heart. Adam, the first son, contaminated humanity. Jesus; THE LAMB OF GOD, THE ONE; THE SECOND SON, comes and offers His righteous life as a ransom for many. But don't take my word for it, instead of a rebuttal, ask JESUS HIMSELF to show you if these words are true. Or you can keep believing that a perfect, righteous Being accepts as righteousness, empty human rituals offered by those with defiled hearts.

  3. Mary Beth Beeber says:

    Abraham was " chosen " by God, followed the Torah, and circumsized his children because of his covenant with God. Therefore, he must be the father of the Jewish people. Ishmael must have been considered Jewish. Maybe not since his mother was a concubine ( some say second wife ). Maybe I am wrong but I believe he was circumsized. Neither his wife nor his concubine had mutilated genitalia. I just don't get how things got so divided when we all came from the same father. We are a house divided.

  4. Victoria Zavaleta says:

    God created us full of mystery, which means potential for continuous growth, both as a species and as individuals. We are capable of both good and evil. When we grow in goodness, righteousness, and love we become more like what God intended human goodness to be. When we abuse our freedom and do harm to other people, ourselves, and the environment it means that we are going against God's plans as we become evil-doers. Each person is capable, with God's help, to turn away from evil, repent, and do good. We owe God our devotion, glorification, and obedience.

  5. Khalil Maher says:

    how can in abraham time, one be able to know abaham first wife was jewish and second wife be muslim, and then if the second wife had the first child how can the jews say that they god chosen people if they werent born first. cause they where the first to adopt religion? how can they be the first if hagar was muslim and second wife to abraham, and have children before sarah. Then how can this statement be completely true, that since the jews are god chosen people that he promised them a land called israel, how can God prescribe them a specific land when in that time there where no labeled lands, is like the jews came and chose Palestine and said this is the land that will be called israel and this is what "our god" promised us. lol they couldve done that with any land. how sure could they be when back then countries had no labels.And then how come islam is only 1400 years if muslim children are from hagar since abraham time. this is what im thinking, im thinking if these 2peoples are from the same family brothers then cousins, i think the jews corrupted the religion, by inventing christianity and then the true jews came out with islam to cure corruption. and now in present time the corrupted jews called jews are trying to corrupt ISLAM OR MUSLIMS, USING ISIS, TO GET BACK ON THE OFFICIAL JEWS WHO CREATED ISLAM FROM GOD TO CURE CORRUPTED JEWS IF TAT SOMEHOW MAKES SENSE, CAUSE TO ME IT DOESNT MAKE SENSE JEWS AND MUSLIMS FIGHTING WITH EACH OTHER WHEN ABRAHAM IS THE FATHER OF THESE 2 HALF BROTHERS RELIGIONS.

  6. If you look at the time line , Muhammad stole most of the storys from the Jews , he lived 570 years after Christ and the Jewish bible goes back 1300 years before Christ.

  7. islam as we know it today, is not the Religion of god, we can reveal the religion of god from the quran only, and then we can be sure that the religion is one since Abraham.

  8. Hagar was not Abraham's wife she was the servant of his wife Sarah. Whom Sarah asked for Abraham to have a child with to fulfill God's word, Impatience always ruins God's plan. God did not say Abraham and Hagar would have a child, he said Abraham and Sarah would. Genesis 17: 15-22 15 Then God said to Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah.[c] 16 And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants.”

    17 Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought. “And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?” 18 So Abraham said to God, “May Ishmael live under your special blessing!”

    19 But God replied, “No—Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac,[d] and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant. 20 As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked. I will make him extremely fruitful and multiply his descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But my covenant will be confirmed with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah about this time next year.” 22 When God had finished speaking, he left Abraham.

  9. Khalil Maher says:

    Terry Wielgoz how can Muhammad have stolen most of the stories of the jews, when he was ileteret, he didnt know how to read or write, learn about the man then come talk, you must be a jew obviously, dude #1go and hear what neil armstrong( the first astranaut to land on the moon) has to say about islam, and why he converted to islam. #2 in the bible it is said that the light comes from the sun, in the muslim holy book it said the the light is a a reflection from the moon, and scientists proved it in the 1960s go ask the famous canadian scientist what he thinks about this statement in the muslim holy book, go go do your homework, your homework is read the auraan like I read the bible and the old testament and the toraf, u have questions the answers are in the quraan!

  10. Khalil Maher says:

    Sylvia Sue Darling, ok u no wat I meant, the main point here is hagar had a child before sarah, and that was wat started the muslim family tree, now go from here, if abraham first children wher muslims, then the "land" suppose to be for them and not the jews. This cant be that difficult that region has always been for arabs/muslims! The jews cry they say 28arab countries let us have at least 1, well if not meant to be, then wat force it, and kill palestinians, or arabs to have wat u want, here wat kills me is this so called land that never had a label thousands of years ago, before any religion was sent, so how can they just make that land sound like that location is supposely "israel" specially when the majority in that region are arabs, aka as sumerians, if u look this word up today without doing extensive research u will think sumerians are jews who spike hebrew only because even that they edited. 5years ago that word online only said it was arab people whom spoke the first universal language in the world, this was the first civilized people spoke, but since jews always want a piece of history want to be unique in everything, that term has been distorted in the wiki. Jews wana feel like they the first people in the world, and since they almost run all media, and control google, they put wat they want to put, and sometimes they add words to thow the reader off, a good example of this is when they dont want to mention the country of PALESTINE, they say narrow strip of land next to jordan under lebanon, and mind you they writing in english, but then say the word Palestine in arabic, about its people so u the reader get thrown off again, they mention them as the filisteens, or philisteens, which means the Palestinians, but they dont mention it in this way so that they dont contradict themselves, cause their defense is ther was never a Palestine, so if not how come they recognise a palestinan people as philisteens, aka palestinians? The jews want everything not just Palestine, jesus, etc etc, they are so mad cause jesus was a palestinian!

  11. WOW! A Rabbi points out the similarities between Judaism & Islam! Watch and share

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