Islam's Judaic roots
Meaning no disrespect for the Muslim religion, I have always been puzzled by the way Islam has appropriated Jewish history. Yet so many Islamic political leaders and clerics continue to denigrate the Jewish people, even to the point where they deny the Jewish historic link to what is now Israel and Palestine.
According to the generally accepted version of Biblical history, Abraham, the Jews' first patriarch, probably lived about 1,500 BC. That was more than 2,000 years before the birth of the prophet Mohammed (570-632 AD), Islam's founder. Until the birth of Mohammed in what is now Saudi Arabia, there is no evidence that the Arabs were even aware that the historic figures of Abraham and his two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, existed.
The Arabs were then primarily pagan nomads. It is highly unlikely that they possessed any sacred scripture until the creation of the Koran during the life of Mohammed. There were Jewish tribes, mentioned in the Koran, living in the Arabian peninsula. Mohammed and his followers presumably became familiar with their Jewish neighbors' Five Books of Moses--the Jewish Bible--and were inspired to abandon their pagan gods and to seek the monotheistic divine figure worshipped by the Jews.
It was only after the creation of the Koran and the introduction of the worship of Allah that Abraham and his sons, Jacob and Ishmael, who had originated in the Jewish Bible so many centuries earlier, were introduced into Arab and Muslim tradition.
In contrast to the Jewish belief that God ordered Abraham to sacrifice Jacob, his younger son born to his wife Sarah, Muslims believe that Abraham was to sacrifice his older son Ishmael, whose mother was Abraham's servant Hagar. This is in accord with the Islamic tradition that Ishmael is the ancestor of the Arab people and that Isaac was the ancestor of the Jewish people. In all candor, I cannot understand how the Arabs can trace their origins to Ishmael since he lived more than 2,000 years before his existence is revealed in the Koran.
It is unfortunate that, while they acknowledge their common Abrahamic ancestral origins with the Jewish people, the Arabs and the Muslim world at large continue to regard the Jews as enemies and refuse to recognize the Jewish historic connection to the Holy Land.