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, Islam, in the Bible?
Answer: Your confusion 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 both nations coming from Abraham and Sarah in their old age:
"Then God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah (princess) shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be from her. ‘Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said is his heart, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’ And Abraham said to God, 'Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!'
"Then God said, ‘No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.' “(Genesis 17:15-20, NKJV throughout).
The twenty-fifth chapter of Genesis names the twelve princes of Ishmael and where they dwelt:
"Now this is the genealogy of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s maidservant, bore to Abraham. And these were the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations:
"The firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; then Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadar, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These were the sons of Ishmael and these were their names, by their towns and their settlements, TWELVE PRINCES according to their nations. These were the years of the life of Ishmael: one hundred and thirty-seven years; and he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people. (They dwelt from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt as you go toward Assyria). He died in the presence of all his brethren." (Genesis 25:12-18)
Smith's Dictionary of the Bible has the following to say:
"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."
Most of the Arab Bedouins recognize Muhammad (571 to 632 A.D.), who originated Islam, as their spiritual leader. This is why there is no mention of it in the Bible. Most references refer to them as Moslems, Mohammedans, or Islam.
Genesis 25:20-24 tells us that Isaac and Rebekah married, that Rebekah conceived and verse 23 says,
"And the Lord said to her: 'Two nations are in your womb. Two peoples shall be separated from your body. One people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.' " (Genesis 25:23)
The two nations in Rebekah's womb were the Edomites (through Esau, the older brother) and the Israelites (through Jacob, the younger brother). Most Christians in the world today are Israelites. If you study Islam, do it only as a means of comparison. There are vast differences in the two belief systems despite what you might hear to the contrary.
Facts about Islam
The word Islam means 'submission to God.' Adherents are known as Muslims.
Although Islam believes that Jesus was a prophet, it does NOT believe Jesus was the very SON OF GOD who came to earth to die for the world's sins.
Most Muslims belong to one of two denominations: Sunni (80-90%) or Shia (10-20%).
The largest Muslim country is Indonesia, where 13% of all Muslims in the world live.
Islam is the world's second largest religion. There are around 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, with roughly 2.5 million adherents in the United States of America. Those practicing the religion comprise about 22% of the world's population.
Written by: Tommy West