Rabbi Ishmael on the sons of Ishmael

It is worth to mention that some Jewish classical exegetical  text such as Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer פרקי דרבי אליעזר  which is attributed to a first century jewish sage, a well known tannaite Rabbi Ishmael Eliezer ben Elisha who went by the title Kohen ha-Gadol /the great high priest contains several references which prophesied the building of Temple by bnei Yishmael, (the sons of Ishmael),  in the Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer final chapter ie. 30 ¹, he list 15  things of what the son of Ishmael will do in the holy land at the End of Days, one is particularly interesting.

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 09.29.39.png

  Hamishsha ‘ashar devarim ‘atidin bney Yishmael la’asot be eretz be acharit hay-yamim…Veyegederu peretsot chumot beyt hamiqdash veyibenu banin biheykal

Rabbi Ishmael said:

The sons of Ishmael will do fifteen things at the end of days…. They will rebuild the breaks in the wall of the beyt hamikdash (Al Aqsa ² or bayt al maqdis) and build a building in the heiykal  (the central sanctuary of the Holy Temple)

Son of Ishmael refer to the Arabs in the Book of Genesis and in Islamic traditions too muslims see themselves as the progeny of  prophet Ishmael. Considering the 600 years gap between the era of Rabbi Ishmael Eliezer and Islamic era of the prophet Muhammad, I find this passage astonishing. Could the return and rebuilding of the third Temple in Jerusalem has actually been fulfilled by  the caliph Umar ibn Khatab on the Temple Mount (in 638 CE) by the building sanctuary to muslims  known as Masjid Al Aqsa or bayt al maqdis?. Of course  many do jews do not recognize it that’s why because of this some speculates that some of the writings in Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer was composed around the beginning of the 8th century CE not the 1st century.

Regardless I find the idea that bnei Yishmael ie the arabs/muslims were the ones who actually rebuilt the third Temple are fascinating, think about it for a moment the divine scenario on the building of beyt hamikdash or bayt al maqdis in Jerusalem, it’s amazing how everything​ fits together.

  1. The First Temple was built by Salomo ben David ham-Melech ‘aleyv has-shalom, from an Israelite, descendant of Yaʿqūb (Jacob) bin Isḥāq (Isaac) binʾIbrāhīm‎ (Avraham) in the 10th century B.C.E. until 597 BCE following the destruction by the Babylonians.
  2. The Second Temple was built by Herod, a bney Edom, descendant of Esau, the elder son of Isaachence Esau bin Isḥāq (Isaac) binʾIbrāhīm‎ (Avraham) in 20/19 B.C.E untilRoman Emperor Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 CE.
  3. The Third Temple was built by the caliph Umar ibn Khatab, RadhiAllahu’anhu, who himself was a bnei Yishmael (the sons of Ishmaelfrom Quraish tribe descendant of Qedar bin Ismā’īl (Ishmael) binʾIbrāhīm‎ (Avraham) in 692 C.E. and it will remain there until the end of days

God Knows Best.



pirkei de rabbi eliezer 30

Published by Jerusalem: Eshkol J. Weinfeld & Co


The sanctity of  of the holy sanctuary in Jerusalem is firmly established in the holy Qur’an 17:1. God says:

سُبْحَٰنَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَسْرَىٰ بِعَبْدِهِۦ لَيْلًۭا مِّنَ ٱلْمَسْجِدِ ٱلْحَرَامِ إِلَى ٱلْمَسْجِدِ ٱلْأَقْصَا ٱلَّذِى بَٰرَكْنَا حَوْلَهُۥ لِنُرِيَهُۥ مِنْ ءَايَٰتِنَآ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلْبَصِيرُ

Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (Sahih International)

Categories: History, Judaism


16 replies

  1. Good research Eric! If you stumble on more prophecies of Islam in rabbinic works please let us know.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jazak Allah khyran, Akhi Eric.
    Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brother Eric,
    Could you list the15 things all.


  4. Brother Eric, could you please list the other 14 things the arabs will do?

    May I ask where you learned Hebrew?


    • Based on the text in Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer פרקי דרבי אליעזר which is published by Jerusalem: Eshkol J. Weinfeld & Co here are the 15 prophecies 

      Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 15.15.46

      1).And they shall measure the land with ropes,
      2) they shall make the graveyard for a lodging of flocks and trash-heaps

      3) And they shall measure them, and by them on the tops of the mountains
      4) And the lie shall increase

      5) And the truth shall come

      6) And written law (חֹק) shall be far from Israel

      7) And sinfulness shall flourish in Israel

      8) (This is the most difficult to translate it literally means) “Two worm as wool” this may be some sort of metaphoric midrahsim poet, I still don’t yet understand what it means

      9) (This is also difficult to decipher, I tend to think that the hebrew קמל cognates with arabic stem ك م ل meaning to complete/perfected) so my translation is: “And the paper and pen shall complete” this could also be metaphorical
      10) And they shall (turn) rock (into) a majestic image

      11) And they shall build the ruined cities

      12) And the roads will be cleared (by them)

      13) And they will plant gardens and orchards
      14) And they will rebuild the breaks in the wall of the beyt hamikdash
      15) And they build a building in the heiykal  (the central sanctuary of the Holy Temple)


      //May I ask where you learned Hebrew?//

      I learned biblical Hebrew mostly through self-study also I belong to a small community regularly study jewish classical text together.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. what did Ishmael prophesy? who was he sent to and where is the record of this?


  6. Hey
    where does sura 17:1 say Jerusalem?


  7. Salamun alaikum,

    this text is indeed post-islamic. It contains some polemical stuff against Ishmael (as), Aisha(ra) and Fatima(ra). Or are these prophecies as well? I don’t think so


    • Even if it is post-Islamic , it shows how the Jews perceived the early Muslims.

      There are other Jewish writings dated to the early decades/centuries after the Prophet Muhammad that show that the Jews recognised the Prophet Muhammad’s mandate and regarded the advent of Islam as the beginning of God’s redemption plan.


  8. The second Temple was rebuilt in the days of Prophet Ezra and Nehemiah in the last two decades of the 6th century BCE. Herod only expanded it. I offer my understanding of the Arab part of a rebuilt third Temple . Beitullah, BeitEl, Bayt al-Maqdis and Beit HaMikdash; Holy Sanctuaries

    Rabbi Allen S. Maller

    A place is never holy through the choice of humans, but because it has been chosen by God, and revealed by God’s prophets. Believers in God’s Prophets can see the site’s holiness. Unbelievers are blind to it.

    But why does Islam have two sacred sites rather than one? Because even before he left the rejection of the idol-worshipping Arabs of Makkah, for the future promise of Medina, Prophet Muhammad had already visited the other holy site in Jerusalem (Qur’an 17:1-2), to personally experience Allah’s signs. Thus, both sacred scriptures use similar words to describe the two sanctuaries: Beitullah, BeitEl, Bayt al-Maqdis, and Beit HaMikdash to illustrate how they fit together like a pair of lungs or eyes.

    This narration, transmitted orally in both Arabic and Hebrew for many centuries, and finally written down in several different versions in the 19th century; explains what some say happened in the time of Adam, and others say happened in the year that Abraham was born.

    Two brothers who inherited a ‘valley to hilltop’ farm from their father, divided the land in half so each one could farm his own section. Over time, the older brother married and had four children, while the younger brother was still not married.

One year there was very little rain, and the crop was very meager. This was at the beginning of a long term draught that would turn the whole valley into an arid, treeless, desert where even grain did not grow, and all the springs dried up.

    The younger brother lay awake one night praying and thought. “My brother has a wife and four children to feed and I have no children. He needs more grain than I do; especially now when grain is scarce.”

    So that night the younger brother went to his barn, gathered a large sack of wheat, and left his wheat in his brother’s barn. Then he returned home, feeling pleased with himself.

    Earlier that very same night, the older brother was also lying awake praying for rain when he thought: “In my old age my wife and I will have our grown children to take care of us, as well as grandchildren to enjoy, while my brother may have no children. He should at least sell more grain from his fields now, so he can provide for himself in his old age


So that night, the older brother also gathered a large sack of wheat, and left it in his brother’s barn, and returned home, feeling pleased with himself.

The next morning, the younger brother, surprised to see the amount of grain in his barn seemed unchanged said “I did not take as much wheat as I thought. Tonight I’ll take more.” That same morning, the older brother standing in his barn, was thinking the same thoughts.

    After night fell, each brother gathered a greater amount of wheat from his barn and in the dark, secretly delivered it to his brother’s barn. The next morning, the brothers were again puzzled and perplexed. “How can I be mistaken?” each one thought. “There’s the same amount of grain here as there was before. This is impossible! Tonight I’ll make no mistake – I’ll take two large sacks.”

    The third night, more determined than ever, each brother gathered two large sacks of wheat from his barn, loaded them onto a cart, and slowly pulled his cart toward his brother’s barn. In the moonlight, each brother noticed a figure in the distance. When the two brothers got closer, each recognized the form of the other and the load he was pulling, and they both realized what had happened.

    Without a word, they dropped the ropes of their carts, ran to each other and embraced.

    Know that a place is never holy through the choice of humans, but because it has been chosen in Heaven. However, God can chose a place of brotherly love and concern; and make it holy for their descendants to build a center of worship in this valley and on that hill. Then, like one pair of lungs, the two places breath the spirit of God into the world’s atmosphere, that all humans may submit to the will and love of God.

    When all those, both near and far, who revere this place as a worldwide standard, and share it in love with everyone else who reveres it, then God does as Abraham requests: “Make this a land of Peace, and provide its people with the produce of of the land”. (Qur’an 2:126). Then will the children of Abraham live in Holiness, Peace and Prosperity.

    Jews believe the hill is Jerusalem. Muslims believe the valley is Makka

    Both Islamic and Jewish traditions teach that their holy sanctuary is at the center of the world. But how can the world possibly have more than one religious center?

    Because religious centers are not the same as geometric centers. After all, the qiblah is the central direction of worship in every mosque; although it is not at the geometric center of any of them.

    Maqam is a very blessed place for praying (Quran 2:125-6). Maqam Ibrahim is the place or station of Abraham. In order to complete the upper part of the walls of the Kaaba, Ibrahim stood upon a large stone block which he and his son moved along when each section was completed (2:127). When the Kaa’ba was finished, the large stone block was left outside the Kaa’ba, close to the eastern wall of the sanctuary. It became known as Maqam Ibrahim (the place/station of Ibrahim).

    Today, the Maqam Ibrahim, with the stone within, is located in front of the Kaa’ba’s door. The boulder stands today in the place where Ibrahim offered up his prayer. Tradition says that this is the nearest point to Allah.

    Islamic tradition says that there is no place in this entire earth where you get more reward for praying than this place. The stone has the footprint of Ibrahim when he stood over this stone to lay the corner stone – Hajr al-Aswad and begin to re-construct the Kaa’ba. (2:125-6).

    In the corner of the Kaa’ba opposite the southeast corner wall where al-Hajar al-Aswad- the black stone is, there is another stone called al-hajar as-sa’adah—the stone of felicity. It is the religious center (but not the geographical center) of the Ka’ba as it marks the direction of the qiblah, the focal point of Islamic prayer.

    In the Jewish tradition there is also a helpful midrash that describes Jerusalem’s central place in the world: Abba Hanan said in the name of Samuel the Small, “This world is like a person’s eyeball. The white of the eye is the ocean surrounding the world; the iris is the inhabited world; the pupil of the eye is Jerusalem; and the face [the reflection] in the pupil is the Holy Temple.” (Derekh Eretz Zuta 9, end) Of course, one person has two eyes; and therefore two pupils to reflect the One God’s holy light.

    God willing, someday both beliefs will be seen as correct.

    Rabbi Maller’s web site is: rabbimaller.com His new book ‘Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms: A Reform Rabbi’s Reflections on the Profound Connectedness of Islam and Judaism’ (a collection of 31 articles by Rabbi Maller previously published by Islamic web sites) is now for sale ($15) on Amazon and Morebooks.



  1. Rabbi Ishmael on the sons of Ishmael | kokicat

Please leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: