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Ishmael is a figure in the Hebrew Bible, and later referenced in the Qur'an. Jews, Christians and Muslims believe Ishmael is Abraham's eldest son and first born. Ishmael is born of Sarah's handmaiden Hagar (Genesis 16:3). Although born of Hagar, according to Mesopotamian law, Ishmael was credited as Sarah's son; a legal heir through marriage. (Genesis 16:2. According to the Genesis account, he died at the age of 137 (Genesis 25:17). Islamic traditions consider Ishmael as the ancestor of northern Arab people, while Jewish traditions are split ####between those who consider Ishmael their ancestor and those, like Maimonides, who believe that the northern Arabs are descended from the sons of Keturah, whom Abraham married after Sarah's death. Judaism has generally viewed Ishmael as wicked though repentant. Judaism maintains that Isaac (the father of the Jewish people) rather than Ishmael was the true heir of Abraham. The New Testament contains few references to Ishmael. In some Christian biblical interpretations, Ishmael is used to symbolize the older—now rejected—Judaic tradition; Isaac symbolizes the new tradition of Christianity. Islamic tradition, however, has a very positive view of Ishmael, giving him a larger and more significant role. The Qur'an views him as an Islamic prophet. According to the contextual interpretation of some early Islamic theologians (whose view prevailed later), Ishmael was the actual son that Abraham was called on to sacrifice, as opposed to Isaac. Ishmael ( Ismā'īl) is a prophet in Islam. The Qur'an considers him to be a son of Abraham. His name appears twelve times in the Qur'an mostly in lists with other prophets "as part of a litany of remembrances in which the pre-Islamic prophets are praised for their resolute steadfastness and obedience to God, often in the face of adversity. Abraham and Ishmael are said to have built the foundations of the Kaaba ("They were raising the foundations of the House", Qur'an 2:127). Islamic traditions hold that the Kaaba was first built by the first man, Adam. Abraham and Ishmael rebuilt the Kaaba on the old foundations.
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