I am relating my question to Hashem and Arabs.

Offhand, I thought that Islam claims ties to Yisma'el. If true, I don't know how or why it makes that claim. If it's all Arabs, even non-Muslims, how do we know this claim is true? Is there Biblical, Talmudic or some other Judaic source that proves this?

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    There are various midrashim and commentaries that connect the biblical narrative's Ishmaelites with Arabs. I don't want to be championing consensus or anything, but I don't think there are any huge disputes over this claim today. Still, a very interesting question that deserves clarification (in the evidence of the claim) and citations.
    – rosenjcb
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 15:07
  • hebron.co.il/tora/tor9.html Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 15:13
  • @GershonGold - Very interesting article. Thanks. I agree with his point about Me'arat Hamachpela, but he may have missed something. Need to think it over. He doesn't directly answer my question, other than the 1st sentence which SORT of gets to the point, but not quite.
    – DanF
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 15:33
  • I did not put it as an answer as I did not feel it answered your question either. I feel this supplements and increases your question. Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 15:40
  • they can be extremely hospitable, which I assume comes from Abraham.
    – ray
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 18:16

2 Answers 2


The Rashi referenced in my answer there says in part:

אלו ערביים השוכנים באהלים במדברות ורועים מקנה כל ימיהם

These are the arabs that dwell in tents in the desert and pasture flocks all their lives.

So Rashi explicitly conflates the two.

Then again, arabs in Rashi's terminology might more mean desert dwellers rather than the modern definition of Arabs meaning a common cultural connection among a heterogeneous group of people that we think of today. Or perhaps Rashi means Arabians (people specifically from the Arabian peninsula).

So in modern terminology, Yishmoel's descendants may be Arabs today, but not all Arabs are descendants of Yishmoel - and given the degree that Islam in the area has pushed converts (by force or financial pressure), I would be surprised if they claimed real literal genetic decent from Yishmoel, rather than some sort of spiritual heritage.

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    "(by force or financial pressure)" Why is that at all relevant? What about the converts they got from being convincing?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 18:06
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    @DoubleAA, I'm not aware of a historical precedent of mass conversion caused by convincing. Perhaps convincing a monarch, who in turn applied the pressure, but I wouldn't call that "convincing" either. Large scale assimilation of other cultures requires pressure, AFAIK. The relevance is that when the Islamic Arabs themselves say they are from Yishmoel, I wonder if they mean genetically and all of them.
    – Yishai
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 18:18
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    The parenthetical doesn't seem to support what you claim is relevant. Just say "given the degree that Islam in the area has received converts, I would be surprised..."
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 18:21
  • @DoubleAA, large scale conversion would dilute a claim that the general population is genetically near-homogeneous.
    – Yishai
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 18:22
  • I agree. Why are you telling me this?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 18:40

I remember learning in school a Ramban which comments on the episode with Hagar being kicked out; if you want I can look for it and find the exact wording. Anyways, he writes basically that because Sarah kicked her out, this caused that the Arabs will continue to hate and attack us relentlessly until the times of Mashiach.

Also, there are sefarim kedoshim that mention that the very last part of Galut Edom will be Galut Yishmael, in which the Arabs will take over much of the world and try to wipe out the Jews. Interesting how the Arabs are already taking over Europe and we've had fierce wars with them for the past few decades

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    Hello Ariel Baradarian and welcome to mi.yodeya! Your answer would be greatly improved by citing and quoting your sources, which could make it subject to the analysis/disclaimer in Yishai's answer.
    – WAF
    Commented Dec 29, 2014 at 2:13
  • I guess this Ramban was referred: sefaria.org/Ramban_on_Genesis.16.6?vhe=On_Your_Way&lang=bi
    – Binyomin
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 4:43

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