Faith, Obedience and Reason in the Sacrifice of Isaac/ Ishmael

The Bible in Genesis narrates the story of Abraham receiving a shocking injunction from God to sacrifice Isaac, his beloved son.

A similar narrative exists in the Quran, but the name of the child is not mentioned.

Muslims accepted that the child in question as Ishmael. This is because the Quran only mentioned Isaac after the sacrifice. {Droge p 297 footnote 48, sura 37:112}

A 2nd difference is that in Genesis Abraham received a specific command from God to sacrifice. But in the Quran Abraham had a dream ‘ My son, Surely I saw in a dream that I am going to sacrifice you.’ {sura 37:102}.

The 3rd difference is that in the Quran Abraham discussed the dream with his son and their joint interpretation was to sacrifice the son. {Ibn Arabi a Sufi master from Spain argued that this was a wrong interpretation, and that God rescued Abraham from his misapprehension. (NYT 22 Aug 2018, Mustafa Akyol). In Genesis, Abraham did not discuss at all with Isaac. In fact, Abraham did not reveal to Isaac God’s command to sacrifice!

A 4th difference is that in Genesis 22: 13 God at the last minute provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice. The Quran is silent and merely states ” And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice.” {sura 37:107}.

Here are 3 useful commentaries on the Bible and Quran.

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