By Robert Morey
The Arabs’ claim to the land of Israel rest entirely on three false assumptions:
- All Arabs are the descendants of Abraham through Ishmael.
- Ishmael and his descendants were included in the covenant God made with Abraham.
- Since the Abrahamic convenant included the land of Israel, the Arabs have a legitimate claim to it.
Ten Historical Facts that refute these Arab claims:
- According to the Torah, when Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees, he went West to what is now called Israel (Gen. 12 ff.). He became a dweller in tents in that land. It was in Israel that God made a covenant with him for the land in which he was living at that time. It was in Israel that he fathered Isaac, Ishmael, and many other sons and daughters. Isaac was the only son of Abraham chosen by God to be the heir of the covenant. Abraham took Isaac to Mt. Moriah to be offered up as a sacrifice to God.
- The Torah is contradicted by Qur’an at nearly every point. According to Surah 2:119-121, Abraham and Ishmael did not dwell in tents in Israel but in the city of Mecca in Arabia. Together they rebuilt the Kabah and placed the black stone in the wall. It was Abraham who started the tradition of an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, throwing stones at the devil, etc. Abraham took Ishmael (not Isaac) to nearby Mt. Mina to offer as a sacrifice to God.
- Ishmael’s twelve sons were named Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. (Gen. 12:11-16) They intermarried with the local population in North Arabia and produced several nomadic tribes know as the “Ishmaelites.”
- It was prophesied in the Torah that Ishmael and his family would “live to the East of all his brothers.” (Gen. 16:12) “And they settled from Havilah to Shur which is east of Egypt as one goes toward Assyria.” (Gen 25:18) This broad area is the desert section East of Egypt in Northern Arabia toward the kingdom of the Assyrians.
- The Ishmaelites are mentioned as a distinct tribe in the Assyrian records. They later intermarried with and were absorbed by the Midianites and other local tribes. In Gen. 37:25-28; 39:1, the Ishmaelites are called the Midianites and in Judges 8:22-24 cf. 7:1f, the Midianites are called the Ishmaelites. The identification cannot be made any stronger.
- Arabia was already populated by the descendants of Cush and Shem long before Abraham or Ishmael were born (Gen. 10:7). Their cities and temples have been well documented by archeologists.
- If all the Arab people descended from Ishmael as Muhammad claimed, where did all the original Arabs go? What happened to them? Who did Ishmael marry if the Arabs did not already exist? If Arabia was unpopulated, who built Mecca? Since he lived there, obviously it existed before he was born. The facts speak for themselves. The Arab people existed before, during, and after Ishmael moved started roaming the wilderness of North Arabia.
- The descendants of Ishmael were scattered in Northern Arabia from the wilderness of Shur to the ancient city of Havilah. They were absorbed by the local tribes such as the Midianites (Gen. 37:25-28; 39:1; Judges 8:24). There is no historical or archeological evidence that Ishmael went south to Mecca and became the “Father” of the Arab race. Some modern Arab scholars admit that before Muhammad, Qahtan was said to be the “Father” of the Arab people, not Ishmael.
- The Abrahamic Covenant was given only to Isaac and to his descendants. Ishmael and the other sons of Abraham were explicitly excluded by God from having any part of the covenant made with Abraham. (Gen. 18:18-21)
- Therefore the descendants of Ishmael and the other sons of Abraham do not have any claim to the land of Israel because they are not included in the covenant God made with Abraham. Only the Jews have any claim to the land of Israel.