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Abraham: Father of Three Faiths

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• Part 2: Christianity and Islam

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Part 1: Judaism

The man commonly known as Abraham is unique in the history of religions in that he is claimed as the father of three of them--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Abraham it was who was the first to practicethe worship of one God. Abraham was so steadfast in his faith in Yahweh, the holy Jewish texts tell us, that he was willing to give up his only son, Isaac, because Yahweh commanded it. (He didn't have to, of course, since Yahweh was satisfied with Abraham's devotion and withdrew the request for sacrifice.)

One of the stories found in sacred Jewish texts is that of Abram asking his father why he worshiped idols if they had no life or power. Abram had smashed all of the idols that his father worshiped in order to show that Yahweh was the one God to worship.

Abraham it was, the story continues, who took up and moved, from Ur to Canaan, the land promised him by Yahweh. He changed his name from Abram to Abraham. He brought with him his wife, Sara, and his nephew Lot. Abraham had worshiped other gods before, but he heard the commandment of Yahweh, the holy books tell us, and agreed to worship Yahweh only and go to Canaan in search of a place to raise many descendants who would make up a great nation. This was part of a series of 10 tests set out for Abram by Yahweh.

Thus it was that Abram the city-dweller became Abraham the nomad. He moved from place to place, settling in Canaan. He was later buried in Hebron, alongside his wife, Sara.

Abraham and Sara were very old when Isaac was born. They were older than most people who had children. The holy books tell us that Abraham was 100 and that Sara was 90.

Isaac had a son eventually, named Jacob. Jacob it was who founded the nation of Israel.

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