Isaac as the Persians’ Ishmael: Pride and the Pre-Islamic Past in Medieval Islam

Document Type



For many ninth and tenth-century Persian Muslims, Isaac fulfilled a role as the Persians’ Ishmael. Abraham was their grandfather just as he was the Arabs’. Claims to Isaac as the Persians’ father occurred amidst dozens of other attempts in the ninth and tenth centuries to link Persians to prophetic lines. When Persians identified Isaac as a father, there was an overwhelming concern to establish through prophetic genealogy a better place for Persians in Islamic society. The attempts were sometimes met with fierce resistance. How exactly the Persians descended from Isaac was generally left unsaid.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Comparative Islamic Studies

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