Who Was Abraham?

Abra­ham (Hebrew: אַבְרָהָם‎‎ / Ara­bic: إبراهيم) was a patri­arch fig­ure well-known in the three major Abra­ham­ic reli­gions: Judaism, Chris­tian­i­ty and Islam.

For Jews, Abra­ham (with his wife, Sarah) is the found­ing patri­arch of the chil­dren of Israel. God promised Abra­ham: “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you.“Gen. 12:2 With Abra­ham, God entered into “an ever­last­ing covenant through­out the ages to be God to you and to your off­spring to come.“Gen. 17:7 This covenant makes Abra­ham and his descen­dants chil­dren of the covenant. Sim­i­lar­ly, con­verts, who join the covenant, are all iden­ti­fied as sons and daugh­ters of Abra­ham (and Sarah).

Tomb of Abraham

Chris­tians view Abra­ham as an impor­tant exem­plar of faith and a spir­i­tu­al, as well as phys­i­cal, ances­tor of Jesus. For Chris­tians, Abra­ham is a spir­i­tu­al fore­bear as well as/rather than a direct ances­tor depend­ing on the indi­vid­u­al’s inter­pre­ta­tion of Paul the Apos­tle,Rom. 4:9–12 with the Abra­ham­ic covenant “rein­ter­pret­ed to be defined by faith in Christ rather than bio­log­i­cal descent” or both by faith as well as a direct ances­tor; in any case, the empha­sis is placed on faith being the only require­ment for the Abra­ham­ic Covenant to apply. In Chris­t­ian belief, Abra­ham is a role mod­el of faith.Heb. 11:8–10 His obe­di­ence to God by offer­ing Isaac is seen as a fore­shad­ow­ing of God’s offer­ing of his son Jesus.Rom. 8:32

For Mus­lims, Abra­ham is a prophet, the “mes­sen­ger of God” who stands in the line from Adam to Muham­mad, to whom God gave rev­e­la­tions Qur’an 4:163, who “raised the foun­da­tions of the House” (i.e., the Ka’abah)Qur’an 2:127 with his first son, Isma’il, a sym­bol of which is every mosque. Ibrahim (Abra­ham) is the first in the geneal­o­gy of Muham­mad. Islam con­sid­ers Abra­ham to be “one of the first Mus­lims” Qur’an 3:67 — the first monothe­ist in a world where monothe­ism was lost, and the com­mu­ni­ty of those faith­ful to God, thus being referred to as ابونا ابراهيم or “Our Father Abra­ham”, as well as Ibrahim al-Hanif or “Abra­ham the Monothe­ist”. Islam holds that it was Ish­mael, (Isma’il, Muham­mad’s ances­tor) rather than Isaac, whom Ibrahim was instruct­ed to sac­ri­fice. Qur’an 37:99–109 Also, the same as Judaism, Islam believes that Abra­ham reject­ed idol­a­try through log­i­cal rea­son­ing. Abra­ham is also recalled in cer­tain details of the annu­al Hajj pil­grim­age.