Okay, I'm not sure why, but I happened to notice a post on Facebook where one friend wished some other friends a happy "Eid Al Adha"... not being something I see everyday...I just had to ask myself...what IS Eid Al Adha?
Well, it turns out, according to Wikipedia, that Eid Al Adha marks the anniversary of the day that Abraham showed his faith in God by showing himself willing to sacrifice his (at the time) only son...Ishmael. Yes, you read that right, Ishmael.
Anyone who remembers Sunday school will remember that Abraham and Sarah were very old and had no children, God said they WOULD have children, but, being very old they didn't have a lot of faith, and so Sarah "told" Abraham to go and sleep with Hagar, the servant. He did, and she beget Ishmael... and God was Angry and told Abraham to cast her out...so he took her to the desert and...for Christians (I'm not sure about Jews) that's pretty much the end of the story. Hagar and Ishmael are driven off into the desert and we never hear another word about them until Ismael's angry, angry grand-kids come out of the desert one day about two thousand years later, take over Spain, kick the Christians out of Jerusalem and eventually work their way up to 9/11.
But if wikipedia has it right, then according to Islamic tradition...Abraham later went back to the place where he left Ishmael and Hagar and built them a well. When he got there, he had a dream...he was to sacrifice Ishmael to God...
Hold the phone, say us Sunday School graduates....that's EXACTLY what he did to his LEGITIMATE son, ISSAC... In both stories, Abraham is about to plunge in the knife when God intervenes and sticks a sheep in a thorn bush...allowing Abraham to kill THAT instead...
Which all leaves me wondering about the three major religions of the West.
See, I have to admit, I had no real trouble swallowing the Issac story as a kid...it all turned out ok in the end: God got a display of loyalty, the kid didn't die, the sheep was good with mustard and everything worked out for the best...(except for the sheep, but who cares?)
...but now, I read that THIS WASN'T the FIRST TIME IT HAPPENED...Turns out this nasty old sleep-with-the-maid-leave-the-kid-in-the-desert man was fond of running around sticking knives in ALL of his kids... Father's Day must have been quite the trip!
Humm...as you look at the modern family of Middle Eastern Monotheistic Religions...Judaism, Christianity and Islam...is is any wonder we have such a bitter family dynamic and can't get along? I think not. Father Abraham was apparently some kind of a nut!