Ishmael, Arabism, and Islam

What is the current spread of Islam really about?

To understand what is happening in the world today we need to understand Islam, its history and teaching. To that end this series of newsletters has been an attempt to share something of what we have learned concerning these important topics. My last article on this topic dealt with the spirit of Ishmael, fighting and division, as being the dominant spirit over Islam. In this article I will explain more fully the connection between Ishmael and Islam.

Ishmael, similar to Isaac, was also the father of 12 families (Gen. 17:20;25:12-18) and those families are considered to be the beginning of the Arab tribes. According to Muhammad, Ishmael and his father Abraham built the Kabah in Mecca. Muhammad was himself of the Kuraysh tribe of Arabia and first tried to preach his message of Islam to his own people. He was initially rebuffed but eventually he conquered them by force and they surrendered to become Muslims after he killed several key tribal leaders including several of his personal enemies.

According to Islamic teaching, the Qur’an was originally with Allah in heaven, with some variations as to exactly the relationship between Allah and the Qur’an. For most Islamic scholars the Qur’an is considered to be a part of Allah. However, it is only the Qur’an in Arabic that has this status, not any translation of it. Once translated, the Qur’an is not the word of Allah in the same sense as it is in Arabic. It becomes more of a teaching tool or piece of marketing material, but more on that in another article.

The Qur’an is the Arab holy book and Muhammad is the Arab prophet. The importance of this arrises from the fact that at the time of Muhammad (7th century Arabia) the Arab people felt very disadvantaged because the Jews had a book (Old Testament) and they had a prophet, Moses. Also the Christians had a book (the gospels) and a prophet, Jesus. But the Arabs had no prophet and no holy book. Muhammad presented himself to his own tribe and to the Arabs generally as being their prophet and the Qur’an as being their holy book. But Muhammad was not only the Arab prophet, he is the seal of the prophets or the final prophet. The Qur’an is not only a holy book it corrects all other holy books (the Bible) and is the final holy book. Thus the heart of what Muhammad was about was Arab domination through the spread of Islam.

Some may object that there are far more Muslims who are not Arabs than are Arabs today and they are also spreading Islam. None the less, the Qur’an is only God’s word in Arabic, every Muslims is expected to learn Arabic and to pray in Arabic, Muslims of whatever nationality pray toward Mecca in Saudi Arabia 5 times daily, and are expected to go on a pilgrimage there at least once in their lifetime. Also, the heart of Islam, the confession (shahada) must be spoken in Arabic. But those spreading Islam today do not talk about Arabism because their teaching is that Islam is appointed by Allah to rule the world under Sharia Law and if it were presented as an issue of ethnic domination it would hinder or stop their progress. But again this is a matter of marketing. Islam has been about Arab domination of the world from its foundation until now.

Thus Ishmael is considered the father of the Arab peoples both by the scripture and by themselves. Arabism is the heart of Islam and Islamic teaching is dominated by Arabism. Thus the spirit of Ishmael as described in Gen 16:11-12 is important for us to understand as the dominating spiritual influence over Islam and begins to explain why Islam has never been a “religion of peace.” The next newsletter will discuss more fully the topic of whether Islam is in any way a “religion of peace” as some claim.

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