Geographic Origins of the Abrahamic Faiths
Abraham lived during the Iron Age sometime after 2000 B.C.E.,
in the city of Ur in Mesopotamia. Accounts of his life vary
but all have two common threads:
Abraham (or Abram) was called by God to take his family
and migrate to another location.
Abraham was the ancestor of many peoples. Most
prominently were the Semitic people known as Jews and Arabs.
Some of the Jews later became Christians. The Semites are
named after the origin of their languages.
Among Abraham’s descendants are the major
of the monotheistic tradition. During the past four thousand
years, this tradition has brought about the three world
religions called Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The land where Abraham and his descendants settled became
known as the Holy Land. This region is where the prophets
described in the Biblical and Qur’anic scriptures lived,
traveled, and preached.
The region includes the eastern Mediterranean coast between
Mesopotamia and Egypt, and the desert toward its south.
Today, that land includes all or part of several modern-day
countries. They include: Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Saudi
Arabia, Yemen, and parts of Egypt, Iraq, and Syria.
The prophets mentioned in the Torah, Bible, and Qur’an were
born and lived in this region. Therefore, this geographic
space is holy to all of the Abrahamic faiths.
Over time, these lands have been the place of spiritual
journeys, settlements and cities, trade, colonies, wars, and
empires. They have been lands of human joy and sorrow,
conflict and cooperation, and great diversity of thoughts
Unfortunately, this shared space has also been the scene of
conflict. Beliefs about the land and its heritage differ
among the three faiths. There is especially conflict about
who can claim the right to govern the territory and possess