Basic Beliefs and Common Stories
Christians and Muslims believe that God made a covenant, or
agreement, with Abraham. It was to keep faith in One God and
to worship Him, and to teach the practice of worship to his
children down the generations.
In return, God would preserve, protect, and multiply the
children of Abraham. This covenant became the legacy, or
trust, for the children of Abraham to continue.
Abraham had two sons, Ishmael (son of Hagar) and Isaac (son
of Sarah). He settled them in different parts of the Arabian
Peninsula: Isaac near Jerusalem and Ishmael near Makkah.
According to the scriptures, Abraham's offspring would
become the fathers of great nations. The people of these
nations are now called Jews, Christians, and
are all monotheists, which means people who believe in one
God, or the Creator of all that is in the universe and on
The common core of Abraham’s story is his faith and
obedience to the call of God. Judaic and Christian
traditions convey this theme in the book of Genesis. God
calls to Abraham, and he replies "Here I am" (Genesis 1:22).
Likewise, the Qur’an states "When his Lord said to him:
'Surrender!', he said: 'I have surrendered to the Lord of
the Worlds'" (2:131).
In fact, when Muslim pilgrims say "Labaik! Allahuma labaik!"
as they approach the sanctuary at Makkah -- which they
believe Abraham built --
they are repeating, “Here I am,
Lord, at Your Command!”
is also another act belonging to the common core of
Abraham's story. In this story, God tells Abraham in a dream to sacrifice
Abraham and his son were prepared to obey this divine
command. But, instead, God redeemed the sacrifice with a
magnificent ram. This miracle meant that God does not
require human sacrifice, but only the willingness to obey.
While the story is the same among the monotheistic
traditions, it is interpreted slightly differently. The
Biblical account says the son to be sacrificed is Abraham
and Sarah’s son, Isaac, while the Qur’an states it is,
Ishmael, whose mother was Hagar. The lesson of obedience and
strength of faith, however, is the same.