Gordon Nickel

in Islamic Studies

ISBN: 9780195390155
Published online August 2012 | | DOI:


Abraham is one of the most important characters in Islamic faith and life. There is more about Abraham in the Qurʾan than about any figure except Moses—more than 240 verses in 25 of the Qurʾan’s 114 suras. In the first two centuries of Islam, the figure of Abraham became very important for Muslim identity, especially the identification of Abraham in Muslim tradition with the lineage of Muhammad and Muslims, as the founder of the Kaaba in Mecca and as first observer of the Muslim pilgrimage. The Qurʾan makes the polemical claim that Abraham was a Muslim, rather than a Jew or Christian, and after an early period of indicating the “son of intended sacrifice” as Isaac, Muslim scholarship began to settle on Ishmael. Since the Qurʾanic materials on Abraham are allusive and elliptical, a variety of Muslim genres filled in the lacunae from a range of sources. Some Muslim materials seem to relate to no known source, such as the journey of Abraham to Mecca with Ishmael. This has raised the question of the historicity of the materials on Abraham in Arabia and has prompted a search for a pre-Islamic monotheism in Arabia that was separate from Judaism and Christianity. In Western scholarship the Islamic Abraham has been an important theme for research and has become at times both a flashpoint of scholarly controversy and a focus of interfaith discourse. After identifying a couple of general resource types, the sections of the bibliography are organized roughly according to concentric circles moving out from the material on Abraham in the Muslim scripture.

Article.  8560 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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