(Part 6 of a multi-part series on The Moral Triumph of Western Civilization.)
It is widely known in Judeo-Christian teachings that Abraham (with his wife, Sarah) was the father of Isaac (who, in turn, was the father of Jacob who fathered twelve sons that became the twelve tribes of Israel). Many don’t realize that Abraham is the ancestral father of the Islamic world as well.
14 years before Isaac was born, an aging Abraham didn’t trust that God would ever give him a son with elderly Sarah, so he fathered a boy with Sarah’s servant, Hagar. An angel told Hagar to name her son, Ishmael, and said to her: (Gen. 16:12. “…his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward[b] all his brothers.”
God didn’t want the birth of his nation of Israel created by an extramarital relationship. He told Abraham (Gen. 17:16) that it was Sarah who had to be “the mother of nations,” not Hagar — completely leaving Ishmael out of this legacy. But after hearing Abraham’s pleas to bless his son, Ishmael, God said (Gen. 17:20), “I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.”
It clearly happened. Both Jewish and Muslim histories agrees that Ishmael is the father of the Arab nations.