Friday, April 27, 2012

Follow Up: Mohammed - Abraham's Lapse of Faith and its Consequence

When this blog was still new, I had posted on something that had been on my mind for several years. It had to do with the biblical account of Abraham and his descendants. The events that led up to his fathering of Ishmael and Isaac and the later banishment of Ishmael (And the deprivation of Abraham's inheritance) brought me to the main point of the post; Ishmael's birth was the result of a lapse of faith on Abraham's part, and Ishmael became the ancestor (Of course I am not talking about hard DNA evidence here) of Mohammed. This man is the founder of a religion that has, from its beginning until today, gone after Jews and Christians with a real vengeance. 

Abraham appears to have doubted God's promise that Sarai (Sarah) would give birth to a son and agreed to Sarai's suggestion that he father a child with her servant Hagar. The post (Link at bottom) contains the summarized account of Abraham and my thoughts. 

At the end of the post, I noted that I would not be surprised if, since many Arabs believed that they were descendants of Abraham's firstborn son (The fact that Isaac was born of Abraham's wife does not matter in Islamic thought); they would hold a grudge against the Jews for being deprived of Abraham's inheritance. The Old Testament notes that the actual father of the Hebrew Tribes (Not to be called Jews until later), Abraham’s grandson Jacob, even went farther by employing trickery to obtain Isaac's inheritance and blessing at the expense of his (Just slightly) older brother, Esau. This almost resulted in a clan war between the two brothers and their families. Later, the Edomite Kingdom, descended from Esau, remembered this slight all too well when the Hebrews wanted to cross through Edom into Canaan. The Edomites refused them passage. Like the culture of blood-feuds that some peoples in the West took a long time to excise, such as the Hatfields and the McCoys and the feuds that plagued Southern Italy and Sicily, the peoples of the Middle Eastern world had very long memories.

A few weeks ago, I was looking up accounts of  encounters between Jews and Alexander the Great prior to the Macedonian King's departure from the coast to attack Darius II. Alexander had spent an appreciable amount of time in the region while subduing the Phoenician city of Tyre. He had needed to get their fleet under his control. While he was away from Macedon and Greece, Alexander could not leave the Tyrian fleet free to operate in the Mediterranean as they had been employed as allies of the Persians. He also successfully laid siege to Gaza.

Well, while doing so, I came across this account summarized from the Talmud:
Emphasis is mine.

"(Sanh. 91a, Gen. R. l.c.).
"The Arabs accuse the Jews of illegally withholding the heritage of their ancestor Ishmael; the Canaanites complain of having been wrongly deprived of their territory; and the Egyptians claim indemnity for the vessels that the Israelites had taken from them on leaving their country. Gebi'ah meets all these charges with great success: against the Egyptians he proves that it is they that are indebted to the Jews, whom they had exploited without paying them for their work, and Alexander was fully satisfied with the refutation"

This is the full citation. It is a lot to digest:
"On another occasion the Ishmaelites and the Ketureans23 came for a lawsuit against the Jews before Alexander of Macedon. They pleaded thus: 'Canaan belongs jointly to all of us, for it is written, Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son;24 and it is [further] written, And these are the generations of Isaac,' Abraham's son.'25 Thereupon Gebiha b. Pesisa said to the Sages: 'Give me permission to go and plead against them before Alexander of Macedon. Should they defeat me then say, "Ye have defeated one of our ignorant men;" whilst if I defeat them, say, "The Law of Moses has defeated you."' So they gave him permission, and he went and pleaded against them. 'Whence do ye adduce your proof?' asked he. 'From the Torah,' they replied. 'Then I too,' said he, 'will bring you proof only from the Torah, for it is written, And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts:26 if a father made a bequest to his children in his lifetime and sent them away from each other, has one any claim upon the other?"

I certainly would not cite the Talmud as proof positive that Arabs, or at least those Arabs who held that they were descended from Ishmael, not only did in fact hold a grudge but felt so strong about it to appeal to the Macedonian King. I will though, assert that there is a very good chance that there were some hard feelings in the collective memory of some Arabs and that Jewish people were fully aware of this animosity. If the Ishmaelites (My personal belief is that these were specifically northern Arabs such as the Nabataeans) did approach Alexander seeking relief and were rebuffed, that would likely add to their grudge against the Jews.

The existence of the incredible amount of anti-Semitic (And anti-Christian) references in the Koran* and the Haddiths** (Saying and accounts of Mohammed) make even more sense when one takes into account the possibility that, under the exterior of the Ishmael-descended Arab, there seethed an envy that could only be satisfied by the eventual subjugation of the Jews and Christians (Who also seemed to have gotten a better deal from of the Ishmael/Isaac saga) and the subjection of these peoples into the second-class citizen Dhimmi status.

Original post here:


  1. As I am quiet new in Jewish, looking around for some Jewish information> Got something important here. Nice to get it.
    Have you seen this video ? It helped me get over my internal anger.