Genesis 21:11-17 (NIV)
11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12 But God said to him, �Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. 13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.�14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba. 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, �I cannot watch the boy die.� And as she sat there, she began to sob. 17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, �What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.
This is the promise of Ishmael becoming a great nation, as he fathered the nomadic Arab nations.
In the Old Testament Abraham cannot have a child with his wife, Sarah. So, she gives him her handmaiden Hagar. With Hagar Abraham has a child, a son, Ishmael.
Eventually, though, in her old age Sarah conceives of a child with divine help. That child is Isaac. After the birth of her son, Sarah forces Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away from their home. Although, in the Qur�an, it is Allah who tells Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael into the desert.
While some Jews and Christians believe they are descendents of Isaac, Muslims believe they are the inheritors of Ishmael�s legacy � that they, along with Jews and Christians, are the �children of Abraham�.
And they believe it was Ishmael, not Isaac, Abraham almost sacrificed to God. The sparing of Ishmael�s life is celebrated with the festival Eid ul-Adha. When God spared Ishmael, the boy was replaced with a ram � it is because of this Muslims make animal sacrifices during the festival.
Ishmael is highly regarded in Islam for his goodness and wisdom. After wandering in the desert with his mother � Hagar�s search for water is reenacted during the Hajj each year � they settled in Mecca. There it is believed Ishmael built the Ka�aba with Abraham. [http://muslimvoices.org/ishmael-islam/; Muslim Voices; Ishmael and Islam; by Rosemary Pennington; December 10, 2008]
Abraham had two sons. Ishmael was born by his slave Hagar. The second son Issac was later born to the wife of Abraham. While Ishmael did not found Islam, those who were descendants of Ishmael followed the teachings of Muhammad. Today there are struggles of two great nations, Christians and Muslims, which began long ago due to Abraham and Sarah not listening closely to God. A generation of family problems has lasted for thousands of years..
Pray that healing for the family of Abraham can take place so there may be peace across the world. We are the �children of Abraham�, may God bring peace back into the family.