Also Known As: Abram, Avraham, Avram,Ibrahim
Born Country: Israel
Born in: Ur Kaśdim, Mesopotamia
Famous as: Religious Leader
Spiritual & Religious Leaders
Spouse/Ex-: Hagar, Keturah, Sarah
siblings: Haran, Nahor
children: Adnan, Isaac, Ishbak, Ishmael, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Shebuel, Shuah, son of Abraham, Zimran
place of death: Hebron
Who is Abraham?
Abraham is the patriarch of the three monotheistic religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. In Christianity, he is considered the "father of faith" and the "ancestor of Israelites". In Judaism, he is the pioneer who founded the 'covenant of the pieces', an event wherein God declared to Abraham that his progeny would inherit the Land of Israel. In Islam, he is considered to be the prophet and messenger of God. In the 'Book of Genesis,' it is stated that he left his home on God's command and settled in the land originally given to Canaan, later promised to him and his descendants. He is also regarded as the founding father of many nations. With his wife Sarah, Abraham preached about the existence of one God. According to the books, he once almost sacrificed his son Isaac on God's command, proving his unwavering faith in God. The story of Abraham has not been dated accurately. According to a common consensus reached among scholars, the story is believed to have been composed around the late 6th century BCE, during the Persian period.
Childhood & Early Life
Abraham, also known as "Abram", "Avraham", "Avram", and "Ibrahim," was born to Terah, who was the ninth in descent from Noah. Terah fathered three children, Abram, Nahor, and Haran. He and his entire family, including his grandchildren, lived in Ur of the Chaldees in lower Mesopotamia.
Midrash has mentioned that as a young man, Abraham worked in his father's idol shop. He was married to Sarah or Sarai. Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac was born to Sarah, and Ishmael was born to Hagar. Terah, along with Abraham, Sarah, and his nephew Lot, left for Canaan but instead settled in Haran.
According to the 'Book of Genesis', God commanded Abraham to leave his home and go to a land that he showed him. He promised Abraham that he would make his name great. Abraham then took Sarah and Lot and journeyed to Shechem in Canaan.
When they arrived in Canaan, they encountered severe famine; they then decided to go to Egypt. Genesis says as they entered the land, he asked Sarah to introduce herself as his sister. When the Pharaoh heard of Sarah's beauty, they took her to the palace and in return, adorned Abraham with gifts.
God punished the Pharaoh and plagued his household. Soon, the Pharaoh realized that Sarah was a married woman and demanded them to leave.
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Birth of Ishmael
Ishmael was the first son born to Abraham and Sarah's handmaiden, Hagar. Unable to bear any children, Sarah had offered her handmaiden so that Abraham could further his lineage. His age was 86 when his son Ishmael was born.
Ishmael was fourteen years old when Isaac was born to Sarah. Once Sarah found Ishmael teasing Isaac, and she told Abraham to do away with both Hagar and Ishmael.
Sarah proclaimed that Ishmael was not to be a part of Abraham's inheritance. When he heard this, he was put amid a great conundrum. He sought advice from God, and God guided him to do as he was told by Sarah.
God dispelled him of his fears by saying, "In Isaac shall seed be called to thee." He also stated Ishmael would make him a nation, "Because he is thy seed". The next morning, Abraham sent for Hagar and Ishmael. He gave them bread and water and asked them to leave.
The mother and son wandered in the wasteland of Beersheba while they emptied their waterskin. In utter anguish, Hagar burst into tears. God heard Ishmael's voice, and an Angel of Lord appeared and told Hagar that he would make a nation and would "live on his sword." Just then, a well appeared, and Ishmael went on to become a proficient archer in the desert of Paran. He later married an Egyptian woman of his mother's choosing.
Birth of Isaac
As prophesized, Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah when he was 100 years old. She became pregnant on the anniversary of the 'covenant of circumcision,' and Isaac was circumcised when he was eight days old.
Sarah and Abraham laughed in disbelief and announced, "God hath made me to laugh, so that all who hear will laugh with me." Isaac’s name means 'he will laugh,' pertaining to the amusement caused by Sarah’s geriatric pregnancy. However, Isaac was born healthy and grew quickly.
On the day of his weaning, Abraham hosted a lavish feast to celebrate the event.
According to Jewish traditions, Abraham is called 'Avraham Avinu' which denotes "our father Abraham," stating that he is both the biological forefather of the Jews and also the father of Judaism.
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In Jewish sagas, it is mentioned that heaven and earth were made by God for the goodness of Abraham. After the flood, Abraham was the one who remained pious and kept his faith in God and swore never to forsake him. He deliberated in the house of Shem and Noah and learned about the "Ways of God."
When he was still in his father's land, he broke the idols of the Chaldeans into pieces. Following that, he was saved from the fire of Nimrod miraculously.
During his short stay in Canaan, he often invited travellers in, provided them with food and shelter, and taught people about God and his kindness.
Apart from Jacob and Isaac, his name also appears in relation with God in several holy books. In Judaism, God is called "Elohei Abraham, Elohei Yitzchaq ve Elohei Ya'aqob," which translates to "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob."
Abraham does not emerge in Christianity as he does in Islam and Judaism. Jesus is the Jewish messiah and thus separates Christianity from Islam and Judaism.
In the Eucharistic prayers, the Roman Catholic Church identifies Abraham as "Our Father in Faith."
He is memorialized in the calendars of saints of many Christian denominations like The Maronite Church on 20 August, the Coptic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East on 28 August , and the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church on 9 October.
William Caxton, an English merchant, diplomat, and writer, in his translation of the “Golden Legend,” mentioned that Abraham's life was discussed in church on Quinquagesima Sunday.
The Eastern Orthodox Church regards him as the "Righteous Forefather Abraham" and has included two feast days in their calendar. The first is on the 9th of October or the22nd of October, depending on what calendar is followed.
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The second is celebrated is on the "Sunday of the Forefathers" when he is memorialized with the ancestors of Jesus.
In Islam, Abraham is regarded as a connection in the line of prophets that began with Adam and ended with Muhammad. Other than Moses, he is the most mentioned personage in the passages of the Quran.
He is often called a hanif (monotheist) and also a Muslim (one who submits). Followers of Islam view him as the perfect embodiment of a Muslim and adulate him as the reformer of Kaaba in Mecca.
He is also considered the first 'Pioneer of Islam’ (or 'millat Ibrahim,' the "religion of Abraham.") His purpose was to profess and propagate the 'Oneness of God.'
Among the major prophets, Abraham holds a particular superior position and is known as "Ibrahim Khalilullah," which means "Abraham the Beloved of Allah."
In the Quran, he is regarded as the "Father of Muslims" and considered to be the perfect image of a man in the sight of God, an example to the community.
When Abraham's wife Sarah died, he buried her in the Cave of the Patriarch, near Hebron. After Sarah’s death, he took another wife, a concubine named Keturah, and fathered six children, namely Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.
The Bible says that his name "Abraham" means "father of many nations," as he is believed to be the father of many nations like the Ishmaelites, Edomites, Amalekites, Kenizzites, Midianites, Assyrians, and also the Moabites and Ammonites.
Abraham died at the age of 175 after he bore witness to the marriage of his son to Rebekah and the birth of his twin grandsons Esau and Jacob. His sons Ishmael and Isaac buried him in the cave Machpelah after his death.