who is az-zabeh1
and where's the blessed land?
torah2 narrates the story when allah (swt)3 ordered prophet ibrahim (as)4 (abraham) to sacrifice his only son isma'il (as) (ishmael). however,the old testament mentions that this was his son ishaq (as) (isaac) not isma’il (as) (ishmael) in a desire to favour ishaq (as) over isma'il (as). this change in names entailed other changes in place and time as well. torah tells us “some time later god tested abraham. …
god said," oh, abraham" abraham replied, " here i am." and god said, take your son, your only son, isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of moriah5 . sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains i will tell you about. … abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. … when they reached the place god had told him about, abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. he bound his son isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. but the angel of the lord called out to him … do not do anything to him. now i know that you fear god, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son. abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. he went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. so abraham called that place "the lord will provide." and to this day it is said, "on the mountain of the lord it will be provided". (genesis 22 : 1-14)
the angel of the lord called to abraham from heaven a second time and said, i swear by myself, declares the lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, i will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (genesis 22: 1-18)6
the argument against that az-zabeh was ishaq (as) is that ibrahim (as) was promised benediction and offspring from him before his birth and that his offspring would be as numerous as stars. (genesis 17:16-21) therefore, being ordered to sacrifice him would not have been such an affliction because he knew there would be a blessed offspring from that son. this is exactly what prophet isa (as) (jesus) mentioned in the bible of barnabas:
“the disciples said: “o master, it is written in the book of moses, that the promise was made in isaac.” jesus answered with a groan: “it is so written, but moses did not write it, nor joshua, but rather our rabbins, who do not fear god! truly i say to you, that if you consider the words of the angel gabriel, you shall discover the malice of our scribes and doctors. for the angel said: “abraham, all the world shall know how god loves you; but how shall the world know the love that you bear to god? assuredly it is necessary that you do something for love of god.” abraham answered: ‘behold the servant of god, ready to do all that which god shall will.’ then spoke god, saying to abraham: “take your son, your firstborn ishmael, and come up the mountain to sacrifice him.” how is isaac firstborn, if when isaac was born ishmael was seven years old?”” (barnabas 44: 1-11)
it is also mentioned in the curent torah that ishmael is fourteen years older than ishaq. “abraham was eighty-six years old when hagar bore him ishmael.” (genesis 16:16) and “abraham was a hundred years old when his son isaac was born to him.” (genesis 21:5) lies cannot be maintained for long.
all this information surely indicates that az-zabeh was isma’il (as)8 , that allah’s mountain was in the land where he lived and that benediction in his offspring was kept after ibrahim obeyed allah’s orders. however, the people of the scriptures misstated the name of az-zabeh and also the name of the blessed location at which the story took place. sumerian torah calls it “the guided land” while hebraic torah calls it “moriah”9 and it could be a misstatement of the word "al maroua"; a name of a mountain located inside al masjed al haram ( the holy mosque) in makkah today, in the place where isma’il grew up. both texts call this place “god’s mountain”. because this term did not refer to a certain location at that time, jews differed dramatically in locating it. sumerians say it is gerizim10 while hebrews urge it was jerusalem mountain on which the temple was built centuries later.
the fact is that the whole story took place at the guided land that was the land of worship, that is, makkah or faran. their disagreement proves this propostiton, and their agreement about naming the place "god's mountain" is true, but they differed in locating it. they also connected it with names that emerged many centuries after the incident. they ignored that the same location contained the house of allah and that mountain was called the mountain of allah. this difference was among the most important ones between the sumerians and the hebrews, and it continued until the days of isa (as). one day a sumerian woman came to him to ask about the actual place prepared for worshipping. isa (as) told her this mountain was neither gerizim nor ebal 11 .
“the woman saith unto him, sir, i perceive that thou art a prophet. our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. jesus saith unto her, woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at jerusalem, worship the father. ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the jews. but the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the father in spirit and in truth: for the father seeketh such to worship him. god is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (john 4: 19-24)
then, who are the true worshippers who have a different qiblah12 from these of sumerians and hebrews?! they are the muslims who would come later and visit makkah in millions each year. isa’s (as) expression “the hour comes, and now is” indicates the approach not the presence of the said time. this is the same way he uses the word “now” in matthew: “jesus said to him, ‘you have said so. but i tell you, hereafter you will see the son of man seated at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.’” (matta 26:64) those whom he was addressing died long before they could see him coming on any cloud.
another example is when he says, “verily, verily, i say unto you, hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of god ascending and descending upon the son of man.” (john 1:51)
micah, the prophet, told about makkah, the sacred house and millions of hajjs13 at mount arafat14 : “in the last days the mountain of the lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. many nations will come and say, come, let us go up to the mountain of the lord.”
isaiah, the prophet, referred to makkah as “the barren” in another text and talked about the crowds that would come to it: “sing, o barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labour; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband, says the lord. enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. for you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. you will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. for your maker is your husband— the lord almighty is his name— the holy one of israel is your redeemer; he is called the god of all the earth. the lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit— a wife who married young, only to be rejected, says your god. for a brief moment i abandoned you, but with deep compassion i will bring you back. in a surge of anger i hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness i will have compassion on you, says the lord your redeemer. to me this is like the days of noah, when i swore that the waters of noah would never again cover the earth. so now i have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the lord, who has compassion on you. o afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, i will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. i will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. all your sons will be taught by the lord, and great will be your children's peace. in righteousness you will be established: tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. if anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you. see, it is i who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. and it is i who have created the destroyer to work havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. this is the heritage of the servants of the lord, and this is their vindication from me, declares the lord.” (isaiah 54:1-17)
in the above text, there is a comparison between makkah and jerusalem. makkah is described as “barren” because it had not had any prophet before muhammad (saws). this cannot be a description of jerusalem, the house of many prophets. as for the expression “because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband” it means that its visitors shall be more than those of jerusalem. “children of the desolate woman” are isma’il’s offspring.
psalms speak about the city of jesus where the house of allah lies and where good deeds proliferate. it calls it “baca”: “blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. as they pass through the valley of baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. they go from strength to strength, till each appears before god in zion. hear my prayer, o lord god almighty; listen to me, o god of jacob. look upon our shield, o god; look with favour on your anointed one. better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; i would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my god than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” (psalms 84: 4-10) the unique name “baca” is the old name of makkah as used in the holy qur’an where allah (swt) says what can be translated as “surely the first home laid down for mankind was indeed at bakkah, (another name of makkah) a blessed (place) and a guidance to the worlds.” (tmq15 3: 96)
in the above story there are many tidings of the coming of prophet muhammad (saws)7 . we can easily discern that the above text has been tampered with. the effects of distortion and racism are evident in an attempt to blot out all the said tidings through the insertion of ishaq’s name who was not at any time the only son of ibrahim (as). az-zabeh is described thrice as ‘only son’. it is historically proven that isma’il, and not ishaq, was the first son and the only son of ibrahim for fourteen years and that his primogeniture was well-established even if he was the son of hajar, sarah’s maid who became later his wife. the mother’s status was not to affect her son’s primogeniture or status. torah itself mentions that:
“if a man has two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated: then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: but he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.” (deuteronomy 21: 15-17)
1- literally, the “human sacrifice” or the “slaughtered man” in arabic.
2- ‘tawrah’ in arabic. the current torah is not for sure the original one revealed. this is also the case with gospels. refer to misquoting jesus: the story behind who changed the bible and why by bart d. ehrman (harpersanfrancisco, ny, 2005) as well as deedat’s books in this regard.
3- suhanahu wa ta'ala [glorified and exalted be he].
4-alayhe as-salam [all peace of allah be upon him].
5- “its position is doubtful, some thinking it to be mount moriah, others that moreh, near shechem, is meant.” (source: smith’s bible dictionary)
6- all references to the bible and the gospel are from the online source ( www.biblegateway.com ).
7- salla allah alayhe wa salam [all prayers and peace of allah be upon him].
8- smith’s bible dictionary mentions that isma’il “the son of abraham by hagar the egyptian his concubine; born when abraham was fourscore and six years old. (genesis 16:15,16) (b.c. 1910.) ishmael was the first-born of his father.”
9- it may be a distortion of the arabic word “marwa,” a mountain inside the sacred mosque in today’s makkah.
10- “a limestone mountain that is 2855 feet high from which the blessings were read to the israelites on entering canaan. according to the traditions of the samaritans it was here that abraham sacrificed isaac. gerizim is still to the samaritans what jerusalem is to the jews and mecca to the mohammedans.” (source: smith’s bible dictionary)
11- “a mount in the promised land, on which the israelites were to ‘put’ the curse which should fall upon them if they disobeyed the commandments of jehovah. the blessing consequent on obedience was to be similarly localized on mount gerizim. (11:26-29) ebal and gerizim are the mounts which form the sides of the fertile valley in which lies nablus, the ancient shechem-ebal on the north and gerizim on the south.” (source: smith’s bible dictionary)
12- the direction faced in prayer towards ka’ba.
13 pilgrims to makkah.
14- the mountain of allah.
15- translation of the meaning of the qur’an. this translation is for the realized meaning, so far, of the stated (surah: ayah) of the qur’an. reading the translated meaning of the qur’an can never replace reading it in arabic, the language in which it was revealed.