What does the Bible say about Islam?
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Question: What does the Bible say about Islam? Why did God promise great nations to BOTH of Abraham's sons? Is the "great nation" of Ishmael in the Bible?
Answer: Part of your confusion regarding Islam is probably a result of how you define "nation." It is true that God promised great nations to both Isaac and Ishmael, but what is a "nation"? In all but five instances in the Old Testament where the word "nation" is used, it is the Hebrew word goy, Strong's Concordance #1471, and means a Gentile or heathen nation or people.
Genesis 17 predicts two great nations coming from Abraham and Sarah in their old age. The first great nation sprang from Issac, the only child born to Abraham and Sarah. The second nation would come from Ishmael, Abraham's first child through Hagar (Sarah's servant).
20 I have heard your request about Ishmael, so I will bless him and give him many children and many descendants. He will be the father of twelve princes, and I will make a great nation of his descendants. (Genesis 17:20)
The twenty-fifth chapter of Genesis names the twelve princes of Ishmael and where they dwelt. They were, in alphabetical order, Adbeel, Dumah, Hadar, Jetur, Kedar, Kedemah Massa, Mibsam, Mishma, Naphish, Nebajoth and Tema. The Bible states that they lived in Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt (see Genesis 25:12-18).
Smith's Dictionary of the Bible has the following to say about Ishmael.
"The sons of Ishmael peopled the north and west of the Arabian peninsula and eventually formed the chief element of the Arab nation, the wandering Bedouin tribes."