Where and when did Islam originate? Did Ishmael, son of Abraham start this religion?

Question:

I want to know from when or which nation the Muslim religion started. Is it from Ishmael son of Abraham?

Answer;

Islam as a religion was established by Muhammad, a member of the Arabic Quraish tribe from the West-Central part of the Arabian Peninsula in the region of present-day Mecca.  Muhammad is a real person who lived from AD 570-632.  He claimed to receive a revelation from the archangel Gabriel in AD 610 to be a prophet to the Arabic peoples promoting monotheism and a belief in Allah.  His movement started slowly, but when he moved to Medina, it began to gain momentum.  Later, Muhammad returned and conquered Mecca.  By his death, his troops had conquered much of the Arabian Peninsula.  By physical force and persuasion Islam spread across North Africa and the Middle East, reaching India by about the 11th century.

The Old Testament claims that Ishmael, son of Abraham moved into the area we now call "Arabia."  It claims that the Arab peoples are the direct descendant of Ishmael.  Muslims agree that this is true.  They believe that the promised son of Abraham in Genesis is actually Ishmael, not Isaac.  They claim that Abraham traveled to Mecca with Ishmael and worshipped the one true God at the Kabba, a stone idol in Mecca.  There is not external verification of this claim and no evidence that Abraham made this journey.  What we can say for sure is that Ishmael definitely did not establish the religion Islam because he died over two thousand years before the religion was founded by Muhammad.  Muhammad himself definitely did not claim that Ishmael founded Islam, but he did claim that he was a prophet in the spirit of Abraham, Ishmael and Moses.

I have a power point on Islam at the web site.  Just go to the power point presentation section and click on the appropriate link.  It may prove helpful to you in your study of this religion.  I also suggest you read the Koran for yourself so that you can be prepared to answer your Mulsim friends as to why Jesus is indeed the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament.

By the way our organization Apologetics Research Society just sponsored a debate between a Jew (Rabbi Shmuley Boteach) a Muslim (Imam Shabir Ally) and Douglas Jacoby.  You might want to get a copy of the DVD.  It is very educational and inspirational.  It is available at www.ipibooks.com

John Oakes, PhD

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