Abraham: Father of Three Faiths

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Part 2: Christianity and Islam

Isaac was the couple's first son. It is through Isaac that Jesus, the central figure of Christianity, can be traced back to Abraham. In the Bible, Christianity's holiest book, one of the New Testament's books, Matthew, lists all of the ancestors of Jesus, from his father, Joseph, all the way back to King David and then all the way to Abraham and Isaac. Thus, Abraham is the father of Christianity as well, since he is a distant ancestor of Jesus.

Abraham had another child, Ishmael (who was actually's Abraham's first). Father and son later built the Ka'aba, Islam's holiest shrine, in Mecca. Muslims, followers of Islam, believe that the worship of the one God, Allah, is a restoration of the faith in one God that Ibrahim began many years ago. Ibrahim is revered by Muslims as a most important prophet.

One of the stories found in the sacred Muslim texts is the story of Abraham being willing to sacrifice his son because his God commanded it. Muslim tradition holds that that son was Ishmael.

Muslim holy texts also include the story of Ibrahim smashing his father's idols. Islam holds that Ibrahim worshiped only one god, Allah.

Today, many Jews refer to themselves as the "sons of Abraham" and Muslims end each of their five repetitions of daily prayer with a reference to Abraham. Christianity also teaches, through the words of the Apostle Paul, that Abraham is an example of salvation by faith, meaning that he was willing to give his own son to God so God rewarded him with good things and many descendants.

Abraham (Abram/Ibrahim), then, can rightfully be called the Father of Three Faiths.

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David White