By Roy Oksnevad
Lately I have been in mosques and heard their presentations. Over the years I have noticed that mosque presentations are being done by converts or second generation Muslims who know how to present a friendlier and gentler version of Islam to the public. It is always difficult to know just how to respond as a Christian, and you don’t want to turn the time into a debate. As one who holds to the veracity of the Bible, when statements are made by the presenter about the Abrahamic faiths that do not correspond to what the Bible clearly has taught for over 4,000 years, you just can’t remain silent.
One thing that has struck me is the emphasis these presenters make on Islam being in the Abrahamic tradition. Islamic teaching states that the religion of Islam doesn’t begin with Muhammad but is presented as the original faith, beginning with Adam and Eve and sweeping prophets into Islam that are familiar to both Jews and Christians. However, it wasn’t until the time of Muhammad that the Abrahamic tradition shifted from a Jewish orientation to a uniquely Arab/Islamic flavor. Instead of civilization coming out of the Fertile Crescent, now Adam is reputed as the first prophet declaring the tenants of Islam and building the Kaaba in Mecca. When Adam and Eve were cast down to earth from paradise, Adam fell on the island of Ceylon, or Sarandib, and Eve upon Mount ‘Arafat near Mecca. Islamic tradition states that wherever Adam’s foot was placed a town afterwards arose. After a separation of two hundred years, Adam finally was rejoined with Eve at ‘Arafat and settled together on the island of Ceylon.
The story of Noah is another belief in which the Islamic Abrahamic tradition diverges from the biblical Abrahamic tradition. Noah in the biblical tradition in Gensis 6 found favor in the eyes of the LORD for he was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time. God’s judgment was coming on the people for their wickedness (Gen. 6:9-22). He was not a prophet proclaiming the oneness of God. However, the Islamic Abrahamic tradition has Noah preaching the message of Islam. It states that one of the sons of Noah, Canaan, left to get some water and was left behind. He was drowned (Surah 11:25-49). The ark was divided into three floors. The first floor was for animals, the second for humans, and the third for birds. The humans were divided between male and female by the body of Adam who was 60 cubits in height.
The Abrahamic traditions state that Elohim (God) personally established an everlasting covenant with Abraham but Islam’s Abrahamic tradition declares Abraham as being an Imam to the nations (Surah 2:124) and to whom twenty portions of Scripture are given. Abraham is described as one who submitted to God, making him a Muslim (Surah 2:67). Islam as a religion was given as the restoration of “the religion of Abraham” (Surah 2:135), with the implication that Judaism and Christianity have long distorted and misinterpreted the true religion.
Instead of Abraham’s travels taking him from Ur of the Chaldeans to Canaan (often referred to as the Promised Land), traveling to Egypt during a famine and back again to the land of Canaan, Islamic Abrahamic tradition adds yearly trips to Mecca. Instead of Isaac as the son through whom the promise God gave to Abraham, Ishmael becomes the heir apparent.
The Bible states that Abraham sent away Hagar and Ishmael, and they went into the Desert of Beersheba. Ishmael’s life is described, “He [Ishmael] lived in the desert and became an archer. While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt” (Gen. 21:20-21). Islamic Abrahamic tradition adds a very Arabian twist, stating that Abraham was ordered to go Mecca whereupon he was commanded by Allah to abandon his second wife, Hagar, and his first-born son Ishmael in this barren, rocky, uninhabited valley (Surah 14.37). He is then ordered by Allah to place the Black stone in the eastern corner of the Kaaba and circumambulate the Kaaba. Then each year Abraham is reputed to return to Mecca to perform the Hajj.
In the Abrahamic tradition, Abraham never goes to Mecca, but in the Islamic Abrahamic tradition, the rites of the Hajj becomes a historic marker for the life of Abraham. Abraham’s absolute and total submission to the will of Allah is described when Abraham, on one of his visits to see Hagar and Ishmael, builds the Kaaba with the help of his son Ishmael. Running seven times between the two hills of Safa and Marwah outside of Mecca is the new rendition of Genesis 21 when Hagar wandered in the Desert of Beersheba and put Ishmael under a bush, crying for her son since she didn’t have any more water. The well in the Abrahamic tradition is a well in the desert of Beersheba, but in the Islamic Abrahamic tradition it becomes the waters of Zamzam just outside of Mecca.
When these presenters ask the question as to who was the first prophet, I am tempted to ask this question, “According to the Abrahamic traditions or Islamic tradition?” In our Bible studies with former Muslims, it is important to help clarify what is the true Abrahamic tradition and what is the Islamic tradition. It was when we went through a Walk-through-the-Bible type or chronological Bible study that things began to make sense to the new believers.
 In order to make sense of this statement, Islamic tradition states that Adam was 60 cubits or 90 feet or 27.4 meters tall.
 Islamic tradition also teaches that that the middle floor of Noah’s ark was for men and women and the giant body of Adam was used to separate the men from the women. (see http://www.answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/60cubits.htm)
 The Abrahamic covenant was first given in Genesis 12:1-3; 15:18-21; amplified in Genesis 17:6 and expanded in the Davidic Covenant of 2Samuel 7:12-16. The New Covenant was given in Jeremiah 31:31-34. The covenant was reaffirmed to Isaac (Genesis 21:12; 26:3-4) and Jacob (Genesis 28:14-15).
 For an in-depth comparative article on Abraham of the Bible and Ibraham in Islam see http://www.answering-islam.org/Index/A/abraham.html.
 The Islamic Abrahamic tradition is taken from the official Saudi Arabian website The Prophet Ibrahim builds the Kaaba and performs Hajj (1)
 Estimates of the distance between Jerusalem and Mecca run from 765 miles (1,232 km) to 931 miles (about 1,500 km). A round-trip is between 1,464 (2,464 km) and 1,862 miles (3,000 km) round-trip. These are modern estimates, with hills and valleys leveled for modern travel, not overland as during the time of Abraham. Abraham is over 100 years old at this time and a trip every year at that age would be impossible.
 Information on the waters of Zamzam can be found at http://www.hajinformation.com/main/f0102.htm.