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Annunciation to Abraham in the Qur’an and the Bible

Annunciation to Abraham in the Qur’an and the Bible November 20, 2021

My previous post was about annunciation to Mary, mother of Jesus. Here, the verses from the Qur’an and the Bible (the book of Genesis from the Hebrew Bible) are compared.

Annunciation to Abraham in the Qur’an

The annunciation appears at least in 4 different chapters (Surahs). In some places, the son/s are names, while in others his wife (Sarah- not mentioned by name) laughs and is surprised. In some of the passages, the angels then go on to the people of Lot.

1.Chapter 11: The son is named- Isaac (as well as Jacob), and Sarah laughs

There came Our messengers (angels) to Abraham with glad tidings. They said, “Peace!” He answered, “Peace!” and hastened to entertain them with a roasted calf. 11:69

But when he saw their hands went not towards the (meal), he felt some mistrust of them, and conceived a fear of them. They said: “Fear not: We have been sent against the people of Lot.” 11:70

And his wife was standing (by), and she laughed: Then (when) We gave her glad tidings of Isaac, and after him, of Jacob. 11:71

She said: O wonder! shall I bear a son when I am an extremely old woman and this my husband an extremely old man? Most surely this is a wonderful thing. 11:72

They said: “Do you wonder at Allah’s decree? The grace of Allah and His blessings on you, o you people of the house! for He is indeed worthy of all praise, full of all glory!” 11:73

So when fear had gone away from Ibrahim and good news came to him, he began to plead with Us for Lot’s people. 11:74

2. Chapter 15: Son is not named. Sarah is not mentioned. Abraham is the one wondering about his old age, but as in chapter 11 and 51, the angles are heading to the people of Lot, so the son mentioned must be Isaac.

Tell them about the guests of Abraham. 15:51

When they entered his presence and said, “Peace!” He said, “We feel afraid of you!” 15:52

They said: “Fear not! We give you glad tidings of a son endowed with wisdom.” 15:53

He said: “Do you give me glad tidings that old age has seized me? Of what, then, is your good news?” 15:54

They said: “We give thee glad tidings in truth: be not then in despair!” 15:55

He said: And who despairs of the mercy of his Lord but the erring ones? 15:56

He said: What is your business then, O messengers? 15:57

They said: Surely we are sent towards a guilty people, 15:58

3. Chapter 37: First the news of Ishmael (v101, 100-111), then of Isaac(v 112 vv 112-113). Ishmael is not mentioned by name, Isaac is. The glad tidings are from God, not through an angel/s.

“O my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)!” 37:100

So We gave him the glad tidings of a boy, possessing forbearance. 37:101

This is then followed by describing Abraham’s dream of sacrificing his son, considered to be Ishmael, not Isaac by Muslims, as you will see in the following passages. The glad tidings of Ishmael is not in the setting of the visiting angles.

And when he attained to working with him, he said: O my son! surely I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you; consider then what you see. He said: O my father! do what you are commanded; if Allah please, you will find me of the patient ones. 37:102
So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for

We called out to him “O Abraham! 37:104

You have indeed shown the truth of the vision; surely thus do We reward the doers of good: 37:105

Most surely this is a manifest trial. 37:106

And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice. 37:107

And We perpetuated (praise) to him among the later generations. 37:108

“Peace and salutation to Abraham!” 37:109

Thus do We reward the doers of good. 37:110

Surely he was one of Our believing servants.37:111

The next verse then talks about the glad tidings of Isaac, mentioning him by name, thus confirming that the son in preceding verses was Ishmael.

And We gave him the glad tidings of Isaac, a prophet among the good ones. 37:112

And We showered Our blessings on him and on Isaac; and of their offspring are the doers of good, and (also) those who are clearly unjust to their own souls. 37:113

This set of verses then go on to talk about Moses and Aaron, and do not mention the angels heading to the people of Lot.

4. Chapter 51: Like chapter 15, son is not named. But as in chapter 11, Wife (Sarah) is astonished and the angels go on to tell Abraham that they are on the way to the people of Lot (in Sodom and Gomorrah). Therefore both chapter 11 and 51 are about Isaac.

Has the story reached you, of the honored guests of Abraham? 51:24

Behold, they entered his presence, and said: “Peace!” He said, “Peace!” (and thought, “These seem) unusual people.” 51:25

Then he turned quickly to his household, brought out a fatted calf. 51:26

So he brought it near them. He said: What! will you not eat? 51:27

(When they did not eat), He conceived a fear of them. They said, “Fear not,” and they gave him glad tidings of a son endowed with knowledge. 51:28

But his wife came forward (laughing) aloud: she smote her forehead and said: “A barren old woman!” 51:29}

They said: Thus says your Lord: Surely He is the Wise, the Knowing. 51:30

He (Abraham) said: What is your affair then, O messengers! 51:31

They said: Surely we are sent to a guilty people. 51:32

Annunciation to Abraham in the Bible

Genesis Charters 17 and 18 concern the annunciation to Abraham. The glad tidings here are for Isaac.Even though Ishmael is mentioned subsequently, it is to foretell about a great nation from him, but not glad tidings about his birth.

Then God said to Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah.

And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants.”

Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought. “And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?”

So Abraham said to God, “May Ishmael live under your special blessing!”

But God replied, “No—Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac, and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant.

As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked. I will make him extremely fruitful and multiply his descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.

But my covenant will be confirmed with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah about this time next year.”

When God had finished speaking, he left Abraham.

Genesis 17:15-22

It is of note that Prophet Muhammad is from the progeny of Ishmael and the ‘great nation’ is very likely a reference to the people of Muhammad (Muslims).

Chapter 18- Sarah laughs, son is not named. Afterwards, the angles go on to Sodom.

The Lord appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre while he sat at the entrance of his tent in the day’s heat. He looked up and suddenly saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them, he ran from his tent entrance to greet them and bowed deeply. He said, “Sirs, if you would be so kind, don’t just pass by your servant.  Let a little water be brought so you may wash your feet and refresh yourselves under the tree.  Let me offer you a little bread so you will feel stronger, and after that you may leave your servant and go on your way—since you have visited your servant.”

They responded, “Fine. Do just as you have said.”

So Abraham hurried to Sarah at his tent and said, “Hurry! Knead three seahs of the finest flour and make some baked goods!” Abraham ran to the cattle, took a healthy young calf, and gave it to a young servant, who prepared it quickly. Then Abraham took butter, milk, and the calf that had been prepared, put the food in front of them, and stood under the tree near them as they ate.

They said to him, “Where’s your wife Sarah?”

And he said, “Right here in the tent.”

Then one of the men said, “I will definitely return to you about this time next year. Then your wife Sarah will have a son!”

Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were both very old. Sarah was no longer menstruating. So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, I’m no longer able to have children and my husband’s old.

The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Me give birth? At my age?’  Is anything too difficult for the Lord? When I return to you about this time next year, Sarah will have a son.”

Sarah lied and said, “I didn’t laugh,” because she was frightened.

But he said, “No, you laughed.”

Genesis 18:1-15

 

And as in the Qur’an’s chapters 11 and 51, Sarah laughs and mentions her old age, and as in chapter 11, 15 and 51 of the Qur’an, Verse 16 of Genesis 18 then goes on to mention the angels heading to Sodom and Gomorrah.

In both the Qur’an and the Bible, Abraham prepares a feast for the guests (the angles) but unlike the Qur’an, the story in Bible describes these “men” eating the food prepared. In both Scriptures, Abraham pleads to save the people of Lot from God’s punishment. The Qur’an also mentions the glad tidings of Ishmael, and Jacob (when announcing the birth of Isaac).

 


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