Responses to Akbarally Meherally's site

Examining An Epistle of Paul

Mr. Meherally begins:

In his Epistle to the Galatians, Paul writes;

For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a free woman. But he {who was} of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman {was} by promise Gal. 4:21/22

1. The phrases "For it is written" and "was born after the flesh" insinuate that the Holy Scriptures do mention, there was a kind of unscrupulous desire of the fleshes within the relationship between the prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), and his wife Hagar. And, that had resulted into the birth of the prophet Ishmael (peace be upon him).

No, that is not what Paul meant. The phrase "born after the flesh" indicates that Ishmael was conceived and born according to the usual course of nature. Isaac was born "by virtue of the promise" of God. Please remember that Sarah was old and became pregnant out of the course of nature (Romans 4:19). God wanted Abraham to set aside all confidence in the flesh (after which Ishmael was born), and to live by faith alone in the promise (according to which Isaac was miraculously born completely contrary to all calculations of flesh and blood).

2. The Bible indicates no such relationship or licentious corporeal desire on the part of the prophet or his wife Hagar. The passage quoted below reveals that it was a "prayer" from Sarah (the prophet's wife), that joined Ishmael's parents in holy matrimony. The prophet "hearkened to" the supplication of Sarah - the so called "free woman", and Hagar - the so called "bondmaid", was given as "his wife".

Nor did Paul imply any licentious or corporeal desire on the part of the Abraham or his maid Hagar.

Note: In the following verse, prophet Abraham is called "Abram" and Sarah as "Sarai".

Note: Genesis 17:5 tells us : No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. Abram means exalted father while Abraham means father of many. Genesis 17:15-16 God also said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her."

Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children and she had an handmaid an Egyptian, whose name {was} Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. Genesis 16:1-3

Instead of building the bridges between the descendants of Ishmael and Isaac, Paul widens the gap when he records the event of a domestic quarrel, within the family of the prophet Abraham, with a twist:

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him {that was born} after the Spirit, even so {it is} now. Gal. 4:28/29

Genesis 21:8-10 The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, "Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac."

Paul's words were not intended to create animosity between the children of Isaac and Ishmael. Ishmael's mocking was most likely directed against Isaac's piety and faith in God's promises. He was the older son, by natural birth, and wrongly believed that he was above Isaac who was born by promise the promise of God. When Paul said "even so it is now", he was referring to the Jews who were persecuting him.

So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman Gal. 4:31

Paul is telling us that we are not "cast out" as Ishmael, but accepted as sons and heirs of the Kingdom of God.

1. Paul claims: the descendants of Isaac were "brethren" and "the children of promise".

True, they are the children of promise. The Bible is very clear about this: "My covenant I will establish with Isaac" (Genesis 17:21); "In Isaac your seed shall be called" (Genesis 21:12); and, Isaac is the child of the promise (Genesis 17:7). Incidentally Mr. Meherally, you might want to ponder Sura 29:27 "And we bestowed on him Isaac and Jacob, and we established the prophethood and the scripture among his seed".

2. Paul also claims: the birth of Isaac was "after the spirit". The Bible speaks of "the promise" but makes no mention of "the spirit". Isaac was born from the flesh like his brother Ishmael. There are many in the Bible whose births were promised by God e.g. John the Baptist. As a matter of fact, God had promised Abraham twelve sons (princes) from Ishmael (Gen. 17:20). The only birth "after the spirit" or "through the spirit" recorded in the Bible is that of Jesus Christ. Paul, a zealous Pharisee, has in his Epistle tried to place Isaac and the descendants of Isaac - "his brethren" - on a lofty pedestal.

To repeat what I wrote earlier, Ishmael was born of the flesh meaning that he came to the world in the usual way. Isaac was born "by virtue of the promise" of God because his mother (Sarah) was post-menopausal. The birth of Isaac was a miracle of the spirit of faith in God and God's promise.

3. Paul's racist tendency becomes obvious when he writes, Ishmael "persecuted" Isaac. No where else in the Bible it is recorded that Ishmael "persecuted" Isaac. Finding his younger brother suckling his mother, Ishmael mocked at him which angered Sarah. (Gen. 21:9). Surprisingly, Paul himself in the ensuing verse tells us that the persecution came from Sarah, who asked Abraham to "cast out" Ishmael and his mother.

Nevertheless what saith the scripture "Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman." Galatians 4:30

What saith the scripture? In Genesis 21:10, Sarah says: and she said to Abraham, "Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac."

The Scripture quoted above by Paul does not correspond with the text recorded in the Book of Genesis and reproduced below:

Wherefore she (Sarah) said unto Abraham "Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, {even} with Isaac." Genesis 21:10

Oh yes it does! Paul quoted this passage correctly and he WAS NOT a racist.

The above speech by Sarah, which is in the first person direct (my son), has been converted into an indirect third person speech. This willful conversion is an attempt to indicate that the quoted text of Galatians 4:30, was a Divine Command made by the Almighty God Himself. The truth is, the "quoted demand" for the persecution was made by Sarah.

Sarah demanded the persecution in both passages. Whether first or third person, Sarah was referring to her son Isaac.


One may be inclined to mention that the texts of Paul's Epistles were inspired by God Himself or by God's Spirit. In the following two verses quoted as examples Paul admits he was not inspired. He had "given his (personal) opinion" and had expressed what he personally "thought to be good".

Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord; but I give my opinion.....

I think then that this is good for the present distress, {I say}, that {it is} good for a man to remain as he is. 1 Corin. 7:25/26

Paul had every right to his own opinion and he honestly distinguished between what Jesus told him and his own thoughts.


Without enumerating the political fall outs, which could be many, let us examine one particular historical influence of religious consequence by the placing of Isaac and his descendants on a lofty Spiritual pedestal and simultaneously casting out of Ishmael and his descendants with an alleged Scriptural Dispensation, by apostle Paul.

God said to Abraham, the father of Ishmael and Isaac:

And said, By Myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only {son}: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which {is} upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed My Voice. Gen. 22:16/18

Since the above promise was for a "seed" (singular), only one descendant of "One" of the two sons of Abraham, was qualified to receive this extra ordinary singular honor. In Galatians 3:16, Paul gives this Glory to Jesus Christ, a descendant of Isaac.

(KJV) Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

Paul was absolutely right.

The Bible records that the God had Bestowed this significant favor upon prophet Abraham when he had obeyed His Voice.

The questions that follow are:

What was that Voice or Command that prophet Abraham had obeyed? When and how was it obeyed by prophet Abraham?

Genesis 17:1-2 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty ; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers."

Was Isaac born when this "Voice of God" came to Abraham

Yes. Genesis 17:17-19 : Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?" And Abraham said to God, "If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!" Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

To whom is this Glory given, by the Qur'an?

As a Christian (who has studied and pondered the message of the Qur'an), I do not believe that the Qur'an is God's word. However, Sura 29:27 tells us "And we bestowed on him Isaac and Jacob, and we established the prophethood and the scripture among his seed".

Andrew Vargo

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