Hebrew name (ישמעאל) meaning - "God (El) has heard; God has hearkened; name of the Lord". Arabic form - Ismail. Cognate with Samuel.
Ishmael - is a figure in the Hebrew Bible, and later referenced in the Qur'an. Jews, Christians and Muslims believe Ishmael is Abraham`s eldest son and first born. Ishmael is born of Sarah's handmaiden Hagar. Although born of Hagar, according to Mesopotamian law, Ishmael was credited as Sarah's son; a legal heir through marriage. According to the Genesis account, he died at the age of 137.
Islamic traditions consider Ishmael as the ancestor of Arab people, while Jewish traditions are split between those who consider Ishmael the northern Arab ancestor and those, like Maimonides, who believe that the northern Arabs are descended from the sons of Keturah, whom Abraham married after Sarah`s death.
Judaism has generally viewed Ishmael as wicked though repentant. Judaism maintains that Isaac (the father of the Jewish people) rather than Ishmael was the true heir of Abraham. The New Testament contains few references to Ishmael. In some Christian biblical interpretations, Ishmael is used to symbolize the older-now rejected-Judaic tradition; Isaac symbolizes the new tradition of Christianity. Islamic tradition, however, has a very positive view of Ishmael, giving him a larger and more significant role. The Qur'an views him as a prophet. According to the contextual interpretation of some early Islamic theologians, Ishmael was the actual son that Abraham was called on to sacrifice, as opposed to Isaac.