Oh dear; I had only been writing this blog for a short while and within days one of our unidentified genetic 'cousins' was angry with me. So angry that he/she hacked my writing and left in its place some obscene material.
You see how hard it is to keep unity in the family? That's pretty much been our history ever since Abraham thought he could keep several wives happy at the same time.
Depending on which one of our family you're talking to, the story goes something like this;
In brief, Sarah was Abraham's wife. Hagar was a concubine or 'secondary wife' given to Abraham by Sarah, since she was too old and seemingly unable to produce a child of her own.
Further complicating the story, in her old age Sarah unexpectedly produced a healthy son. After Sarah's death, Abraham took another "wife", Keturah, according to Genesis 25:1. (In a later record she is called a concubine).
To the sons of his 'secondary' wives Abraham gave gifts and sent them away from his son eldest Isaac.
Now, you don't have to be a Marriage Counsellor to see that right there, in the opening chapters of the Bible, we have a recipe for a soap opera of magnificent proportion. And so it proved to be, because least we take all this too lightly, the descendants of these three wives became founders of four great world religions; Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá'í Faith.
In this way it can really be claimed that Abraham fulfilled the prophecy of becoming the Father of Nations.
As a consequence of this convoluted past, the various family stories that have been recounted in the Torah, Bible, Quran and Kitab-i-Iqan have been creating confusion and disagreement ever since.
According to Biblical account, Christ is descended from Abraham through Sarah's son Isaac. Muhammad, prophet of Islam, is descended through Ishmael, born to Abraham's and Sarah's handmaiden Hagar, and He is viewed as the final prophet of God in all the main branches of Islam, although some modern denominations diverge from this belief.
Finally, Baha'u'llah's ancestry is traced through Abraham's wife Keturah , but He is also of the family of Zoroaster and of Jesse of the Tribe of Judah.
You can probably guess from the story so far that we did not live happily ever after. Well, not so far anyway, but more and more of us are coming together to work on it.
Polygamy is a very ancient practice among the majority of humanity. The introduction of monogamy has been only gradually accomplished by the Manifestations of God. Jesus, for example, did not prohibit polygamy, but abolished divorce except in the case of fornication; Muḥammad limited the number of wives to four, but making plurality of wives contingent on justice, and reintroducing permission for divorce; Bahá’u’lláh, Who was revealing His Teachings in the milieu of a Muslim society, introduced the question of monogamy gradually in accordance with the principles of wisdom and the progressive unfoldment of His purpose. ---Bahá’u’lláh, 89 The Kitáb-i-Aqdas
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