Biblical answers to the questions of your heart

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I grew up hearing that all Arabs are descendants of Ishmael and that majority of them are Muslims. In fact, when I hear Middle East, what comes to mind is someone dressed like an Arab man and a veiled woman.

While in class, I got into a discussion on Islam and I said that Ishmael is the father of Arabs. My lecturer told me it is not true, she said Arabs were in existence before Ishmael was born. That was strange to me. She told me to conduct my research. In my research findings, I discovered that Ishmael was of the Bedhouin stock but that lineage was Arabized later. That is, they imbibed the culture of Arabs.

We need to debunk the idea of associating Islam with Ishmael. ISHMAEL DID NOT PRACTICE ISLAM. The religion called Islam started with Mohammed(Pbuh) in Mecca and Medina after angel Jibril(Gabriel) gave certain revelations to him. Islam is a 7th century religion, 600 years after Christianity. Trying to portray Islam as a religion practiced before Christ and the Apostles is a great historical damage.

Islamic theology tries to rewrite history by saying the following:

  1. Abraham and Ismail(Ishmael) visited Mecca yearly for pilgrimage.
  2. Abraham and Ismail built the Kaaba (that black box you see in Mecca).
  3. Abraham wanted to sacrifice Ismail not Ishak(Isaac).

The theological implication of these false assertions are:

  1. Abraham(Ibrahim) was a Muslim likewise his son-Ismail. That was why they visited Mecca, built Kaaba and instituted a form of Islam worship.
  2. The bible misrepresented the event on Mt. Moriah by replacing Ishmael (Ismail) with Ishak (Isaac).

In pre-Islamic times, there were three distinct groups of Arabs

  1. The Ba’ida
  2. Ariba
  3. Musta’riba


The Ba’ida were the “legendary Arabs of the past,” their progenitor is Joktan (Genesis 10:26-29), a desert dweller.


The Ariba were the “Southern Arabs”. These are the sons/descendant of Keturah, Abraham’s second wife, (Genesis 25:1-4) and finally the sons of Esau (Genesis 36:1-19), all descendants of Abraham (also Semitic).


Ishmael’s descendants became the Northern Arabs known as the Musta’riba or the ‘Arabized Arabs’ – the 12 sons of Ishmael (Gen. 25:13-16).The Musta’riba were originally ‘Bedhouins’ but described as Arabized since it is believed Ishmael learned Arabic language when he married from the Arabic tribe of Jurhum.


Mohammed was not the progenitor of Arabs. The Arabs of Joktan clan have been existing before Abraham after the flood. They have Semitic origin like the Jews. The whole world can be traced to the three sons of Noah called Shem, Ham and Japheth – even Africans.

In Arabic and Hebrew the term Arab means ‘nomad’ (synonymous with Bedouin), and originally referred only to the nomadic people who roamed the Arabian Peninsula. Later, it was used to designate all the inhabitants of the peninsula–both nomads and town-dwellers. According to the Old Testament, the earliest inhabitants of the peninsula descended from Joktan (Genesis 10:26-29), a descendent of Shem (whence the term Semite). Later, the area was also settled by Abraham’s sons through Keturah (Genesis 25:1-4), and the sons of Esau (Genesis 36:1-19), all descendants of Abraham (also Semitic).

Clearly, Ishmael’s offspring represent just a small fraction of the Arab peoples in the genetic pool.

But there is another reason it is incorrect to say that the Arab nation descended from Ishmael. Following the Arab conquest of the Middle East and North Africa (7th C), many of the conquered countries eventually adopted Arabic as their mother tongue, as well as Islam. There was also a certain amount of intermarriage between conquerors and conquered. So that today, the term “Arab” has a strictly cultural and linguistic connotation.

To conclude, while some Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula may be descendants of Ishmael, most Arabs of the rest of the ‘Arab World’ have no blood relationship to Ishmael at all.


His real ancestry is doubtful. Most Muslims claim he is from the lineage of Ishmael, others traced it to Nebaoith or Kedar. Islam is fond of inventing stories and genealogies so I doubt his ancestral connection with Ishmael.


Although Sunni and Shiite Muslims are both sects of the Islamic faith, the differences between these two groups stem from conflicting religious beliefs.

Political conflict separates the groups as well Saudi Arabia, a Sunni nation, and Shiite Iran continue to compete for regional influence in the Arab world. Amidst anti-government protests and car bombings, Sunni leaders in Saudi Arabia have accused their Shiite populations of loyalty to Iran.

One things that Sunnis and Shiites have in common is that they are the two largest denominations of the Islamic faith . Additionally, both Sunnis and Shiites believe that the Prophet Muhammad established the Islam religion during the seventh century.

The schism between the two sects began after the death of Muhammad in 632 A.D, at which point a dispute over the identity of Muhammad’s religious successor caused the followers of Islam to divide into Sunnis and Shiites.

The Sunnis believe that Muhammad had no rightful heir and that a religious leader should be elected through a vote among the Islamic community’s people. They believe that Muhammad’s followers chose Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s close friend and advisor, as his successor.

Shiites believe that only Allah, the God of the Islam faith, can select religious leaders, and that therefore, all successors must be direct descendants of Muhammad’s family. They maintain that Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, was the rightful heir to the leadership of the Islam religion after Muhammad’s death.

Another contentious religious difference between Shiite and Sunni Muslims concerns the Mahdi, which is Arabic for “guided one.” Both groups perceive the Mahdi as the sole ruler of the Islamic community. But while the Sunnis hold that the Mahdi has not yet been born and anticipate his arrival, the Shiites believe that the Mahdi was born in 869 A.D. and will return to Earth under Allah’s orders.

Most Muslims are Sunnis. Of the entire Muslim population in the Islamic world, only 10 percent are Shiite, according to The only countries that have a Shiite majority in the Middle East are Iran, Iraq and the Gulf island state of Bahrain.