Many Arabs today claim to be descendant of Ishmael Abraham's son. Is this true? McClintock and Strong's a well known Encyclopedia of Religion comments: "There is a prevalent notion that the Arabs, both of the south and the north, are descended from Ishmael; and the passage Gen 16:12...is often cited as if it were a prediction of that national independence which, upon the whole, the Arabs have maintained more than any other people. But this supposition ...is founded on a misconception of the original Hebrew...these prophecies found their accomplishment in the fact that the sons of Ishmael being located ...EAST OF THE OTHER DESCENDANTS OF ABRAHAM whether by Sarah or by Keturah. But the idea of the southern Arabs being of the posterity of Ishmael is ENTIRELY WITHOUT FOUNDATION, and it seems to have originated in the tradition invented by Arab vanity that they, as well as the Jews, are of the seed of Abraham-a vanity which besides disfiguring and falsifying the whole history of the patriarch and his son Ishmael, has transferred the scene of it from Palestine to Mecca...The vast tracts of the country known to us under the name Arabia gradually became peopled by a variety of Tribes in different lineage" (Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, I:339, emphasis mine).
Robert Morey writes: "Most standard reference works on Islam REJECT the Arab claim to Abrahamic descent. ...[The] Encyclopedia of Islam traces the Arabs to non-Abrahamic origins. Even the Dictionary of Islam questions the whole idea that the Arabs are descendants of Ishmael" (Islamic Invasion p.24, emphasis mine).
Warraq writes: "As for the Historian, the Arabs are NO MORE descendants of Abraham, then the French are of Francus, son of Hector" (Why...p.131, emphasis mine).
Where are the Real Ishmaelites?-The Ishmaelites with the Midianites "formed a tribal league" (cf Judges 8:22-24)" JFB, p.52 see also Holman's Bible Dictionary, p.961. They went away to "the east" and became "interrelated" with Midian and "their main homeland seems to be east of the Jordan and south of Edom" (Ibid., under "Midian" p.961). You notice in the Bible that Midianites and Ishmaelites are used interchangebley, see Gen 37:25, 28 and Judges 8:22-24. These people lived in the Land of Midian that was right up against the land of Palestine to the east.. These people dwelt in Syria, Midian and Moab, and are "clearly DISTINGUISHED FROM THE DESCENDANTS OF JOKTAN WHO PEOPLED THE ARABIAN PENINSULA" (The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, under "Ishamelites," p.749, emphasis mine). The Bible even shows that the Ishamelites, "...settled from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite of Egypt, in the direction of ASSYRIA..." (Gen 25:18 NRSV). Assyria was NORTHEAST, NOT IN THE SOUTH OF ARABIA!
This is also confirmed by secular History. The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible writes that when the Assyrians and the Babylonians conquered the Middle East they found the people of Ishmael North of Arabia dwelling near Assyria, see under articles "Ishmael and Kedar."
Josephus mentioned that one of Abraham's great-grandsons joined with the Assyrians. ("Antiquities", book I, ch. xv § 1.) His name was Asshur, the son of Dedan, the son of Jokshan. Jokshan was the son of Abraham. See Genesis 25:3. "And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim." From Sheba have come the Swabian Germans. From Letushim are descended the Lettish people along the Baltic. Is it any surprise that we find in Psalm 83:1-8 we find the Ishamelites with "Asshur" in a "confederacy," meaning the United States of EUROPE, the ten nation combine called the Beast?
The Midianites-Ishmaelites are the modern day peoples of "White Russians (Byelorussians)" (The Lost Races of
the Ancient World, Craig White).
One more note. How can the Arabs be descendants of Ishmael, for when Ishmael was born the ARABS ALREADY EXISTED!
The Arabians are actually the descendants of Joktan, and partly of Cush, see Gen 10:7, 26-30; 1 Chron 1:20-23.
"THE DESCENDANTS OF JOKTAN ARE WHO PEOPLED THE ARABIAN PENINSULA" (The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, under "Ishamelites," p.749, emphasis mine).
Unger's Bible Handbook says, Seba is connected with South Arabia and is mentioned in the Assyrian inscriptions in the 8th century B.C. Havilah was ancestor to a people in central and southern Arabia partly Cushite and partly Semitic Joktanite..." (pp.53, 56).
The New Bible Commentary Says: "In so far as they can be identified Joktan and his descendants seemed to have lived in southern Arabia" (p.68).
Morey writes: "Nowhere in the Koran does it state that Ishmael is the progenitor of the Arab race. Since it is not taught in the Koran, it cannot be a true Islamic belief...Arabian literature has its own version of prehistoric times, but its entirely legendary" (Britannica, vol. 2:176)..."
"The pure Arabs are those who claim to be descended from Joktan or Qahtan, whom the present Arabs regard as their principle founder...The 'Arabu 'l-Musta'ribah, the mixed Arabs, claim to be descended from Ishmael.. They boast as much as the Jews of being reckoned the children of Abraham. This circumstance will account for the preference with which they uniformly regard this branch of their pedigree, and for the many romantic legends they have grafted upon it...The Arabs, in their version of Ishmael's history, have mixed a great deal of romance with the narrative of Scripture."
(A Dictionary of Islam, pgs. 18-19)
The Bible plainly shows that the Arabs are the descendants of the Joktanites, and says of their location as well. Genesis the tenth chapter says, "And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah,
"And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah,
"And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba,
"And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan.
"And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east" (Gen 10:26-30). What is "Mesha"? R. Zacuth (s) "says, Mesha in the Arabic tongue is called Mecca; and it is a point agreed upon by the Arabs that Mesha was one of the most ancient names of Mecca; they believe that all the mountainous part of the region producing frankincense went in the earliest times by the name of Sephar; from whence Golius concludes this tract to be the Mount Zephar of Moses, a strong presumption of the truth of which is that Dhafar, the same with the modern Arabs as the ancient Saphar, is the name of a town in Shihr, the only province in Arabia bearing frankincense on the coast of the Indian ocean (In Juchasin, fol. 135. 2. (t) Universal History, vol. 18. p. 353., emphasis added) And "from Mecca till you come to the city of the eastern mountain, or (as in a manuscript) to the eastern city,'' meaning perhaps Medina, situate to the east; so that the sense is, according to this paraphrase, that the sons of Joktan had their dwelling from Mecca to Medina (In Pocock. Specimen Hist. Arab. p. 34. emphasis added). The Bible clearly identifies the people of Joktan dwelling in Mecca and Medina in the east, these are the Arabs today and NOT THE PEOPLE OF ISHMAEL.
"Muhammad was not informed about the family of Abraham."
(Encyclopedia of Islam) I:184. See also pages 544-546.
"There is a prevalent notion that the Arabs, both of the south and north, are descended from Ishmael; and the passage in Gen. xvi.12, "he (Ishmael) shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren," is often cited as if it were a prediction of that national independence which, upon the whole, the Arabs have maintained more than any other people. But this supposition is founded on a misconception of the original Hebrew, which runs literally, "he shall before the faces of all his brethren," i.e., (according to the idiom above explained, in which "before the face" denotes the east), the habitation of his posterity shall be "to the east" of the settlements of Abraham's' other descendants...These prophecies found their accomplishment in the fact of the sons of Ishmael being located, generally speaking to the east of the other descendants of Abraham, whether of Sara or of Ketuah. But the idea of the southern Arabs being of the posterity of Ishmael is entirely without foundation, and seems to have originated in the tradition invented by Arab vanity that they, as well as the Jews, are of the seed of Abraham--a vanity which, besides disfiguring and falsifying the whole history of the patriarch and his son Ishmael, has transferred the scene of it from Palestine to Mecca." (McClintock and Strong, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, (Vol. I:339)
This source also states that the Southern Arabs come from Qahtan, not Ishmael (The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, p. 48).
The Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol. 7, pg. 296 where the connection between the Midianites and the Ishamelites is noted.
The Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam, pgs. 178-179.
A Popular Dictionary of Islam, p. 127.