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Ishmael, known as Ismâ`îl in Arabic (Arabic: إسماعيل Ismā’īl) and Dhabih Ullah, is the figure known in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as Abraham’s (Ibrâhîm) son, born to Hagar (Hājar). In Islam, Ishmael is regarded as a prophet (nabi) and an ancestor to Muhammad. He also became associated with Mecca and the construction of the Kaaba, as well as equated with the term “Arab” by some. Stories of Ishmael are not only found in Jewish and Christian texts, such as the Bible and rabbinic Midrash, but also Islamic sources. These sources include the Quran, Quranic commentary (tafsir), hadith, historiographic collections like that of Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, and Isra’iliyat (Islamic texts about Biblical or ancient Israelite figures that originate from Jewish or Christian sources).
Ishmael was the first son of Abraham, whose mother was Hagar. The story of the birth of Ishmael is not considered particularly important in Islam, but rather is mostly mentioned as part of the narrative of Abraham. There are many versions of the story, some of which include a prophecy about Ishmael’s birth. One such example is from Ibn Kathir whose account states that an angel tells the pregnant Hagar to name her child Ishmael and prophecies that, “His hand would be over everyone, and the hand of everyone would be against him. His brethren would rule over all the lands.” Ibn Kathir comments that this foretells of Muhammad’s leadership.