Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis

By Reuven Firestone | Go to book overview

Chapter 6

BEERSHEBA

The Beersheba story is a minor tale that parallels the story of Genesis 21:25-31 and occurs only five times in our sources. Because it has no direct connection to any qur'ānic reference, it is not played out in the Qur'ān commentaries and occurs in only half of the histories or story collections that cover Abraham's adventures in Syria. 1 Four renditions consist of full narratives. Ibn Sa'd gives another in the form of a simple reference: 2 "Abraham returned to Syria and stayed at Saba', a land in the vicinity of Jerusalem 3 and Palestine. There he dug a well and built a place of prayer (masjid). But some of the inhabitants wronged him so he withdrew from them and settled in a place between Ramle and Jerusalem."

The narrative renditions of al-Ṭabarī, al-Tha'labī, and Ibn al-Athīr are identical in all essentials. That of Mujīr al-Dīn follows the same plot but adds more detail. None of the renditions are attributed to any traditionist or carry a chain of authorities (isnād).

According to the legend, Abraham settles in al-Saba', which is in the land of Palestine. He digs a well there, builds a place of prayer, and finds the water of the well is good and pure. But the people of al-Saba' wrong him in some unspecified manner, so he leaves them and moves to Qit or Qat, also in Palestine.

As soon as Abraham departs, the water of the well dries up. The residents of al-Saba' pursue him and repent of their wrong, asking him to return and live with them again, but Abraham refuses and notes that he will not return to a place from which he was expelled. The people then complain that the well has gone dry. Abraham thereupon takes seven goats and gives them to the people, explaining that when the seven goats are brought to the well, plenty of fresh water will appear for them and everyone will be able to use it. But they must not allow any menstruating woman to draw near or ladle water from the well.

The people do as Abraham instructs them, and abundant water appears when the goats are brough near. The system works well until a menstruating

-48-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Transliterations xiii
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Chapter 1 - Biblicists and Arabs 3
  • Chapter 2 - The Nature of the Literature Islamic Interpretive Literature 11
  • Part Two - The Syrian Prologue 23
  • Chapter 3 - Abraham's Emmigration 25
  • Chapter 4 - The Tyrant 31
  • Chapter 5 - The Birth of Ishmael 39
  • Chapter 6 - Beersheba 48
  • Chapter 7 - The Angels Visit 52
  • Part Three - The Meccan Sequence 61
  • Chapter 8 - The Transfer to Mecca 63
  • Chapter 9 - The Jurhum 72
  • Chapter 10 - Abraham's Visits 76
  • Chapter 11 - Building the Ka'Ba 80
  • Chapter 12 - The Pilgrimage 94
  • Part Four - The Sacrifice 105
  • Chapter 13 - Prelude to Sacrifice 107
  • Chapter 14 - The Sacrificial Act 116
  • Chapter 15 - The Redemption 129
  • Chapter 16 - Isaac or Ishmael? 135
  • Conclusion 153
  • Part Five - Appendices 161
  • Appendix 1 - The Exegetes and Their Sources Ibn Sa'D, KitĀb Al-TabaqĀt Al-KabĪr 163
  • Appendix 2 - Traditionists Naming Isaac or Ishmael as the Intended Sacrificial Victim 170
  • Notes 179
  • Selected Bibliography 245
  • Index 259
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 265

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.