While Prophet Abraham was not the first prophet on earth, he was the first prophet whose descendants were the Jewish Prophets who came to Banu Israel over a period of 1500 years from Prophet Issac to Prophet Jesus.
As the Qur’an states: “Say: we believe in God and in what has been revealed to us, and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma’il: Isaac, Jacob and The Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus and the Prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another, among them, and to God do we bow our will.” (3:84)
Judaism was the religion designed by God for Banu Israel-the Jewish People- and Islam was the religion designed by God for all the earth’s polytheists. As the Qur’an states: “Indeed, the believers, Jews, Christians, and Sabians—whoever truly believes in God and the Last Day and does good will have their reward with their Lord. And there will be no fear for them, nor will they grieve.” (Quran 2:62)
Since Judaism was the religion designed by God for Banu Israel-the Jewish People- many of the 70 names for God, especially those used in the Hebrew Bible, connect God with Banu Israel, who were the only ongoing monotheistic religious community in the world during Biblical times.
For example: The Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 1:4, 5:19), and The Shepherd of Israel (Psalm 80:2) and God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob (Exodus 3:15).
The Zabur of David added more ‘personal experience’ names for God like: Elohai Yishi = the God of my redemption (Psalm 27:9), Elohei chasdi = the God of my mercy (Psalm 59:11), Elohim misgabi = God, my high tower (Psalm 59:17), Elohei Yisheinu = God of our salvation (Psalm 65:6), and Elohei Tehilati = the God of my praise (Psalm 109:1).
The Rabbis, who created most of the synagogue prayers after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70CE also used names like: Guardian of Israel (Shomer Yisrael), Shield of Abraham (Magein Avraham), and Rock of Isaac (Tsur Yitschak).
But the rabbis also used less specific to Judaism names of God such as: HaRahaman-The Merciful One, Shemayim-The Heavenly One, and Oshe HaShalom- The Peacemaker, that are similar to some of the 99 names of Allah in the Islamic tradition.
One Biblical name for God that is not yet part of either of the traditional 70 or 99 names of God is the name used by Prophet Abraham’s Egyptian wife Hagar, the mother of Prophet Ishmael. It is a special ‘personal experience’ name for God that she alone used when the God of Prophet Abraham responded to her and her son Prophet Ismail’s need: El-Ro’ee.
El Ro’ee means A Self-reflecting God or A God Who Sees (literally mirrors) Me. “Then she (Hagar) called the name of YHVH, who spoke to her, ‘El Ro’ee’, ‘You are a God who sees me’; for she said, ‘Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?’ Therefore the well was called Beer-laHai-roee; the well of the Living One (Al-Hayy in Arabic) who sees me.” (Genesis 16:13-14)
Neither Sarah nor Hagar/Ha-jar are mentioned by name in the Qur’an, but the story of Hagar’s exile from Abraham’s home is traditionally understood to be referred to in a line from Prophet Ibrāhīm’s prayer in the Qur’an (14:37): “I have settled some of my family in a barren valley near your Sacred House.”
Muslim tradition relates that when Hā-jar ran out of water, and Ismāil her child, began to die; Hā-jar panicked and ran between two nearby hills, Al-Safa and Al-Marwah repeatedly searching for water.
After her seventh run, Ismā’īl hit the ground with his heel and caused a miraculous well to spring out of the ground called the Zamzum Well. It is located a few meters from the Kaaba in Mecca.
Perhaps this previously unique Torah name of God, El Ro’ee or Hai Ro’ee; which are Hagar’s ‘personal experience’ names for God, meaning A Self-reflecting God or A Living God Who Sees Me, and the name for the well ‘Beer-laHai-ro’ee’ the well of the Self-reflecting living God; can help bring Christians, Jews and Muslims to see themselves in the eyes of each other better, and thus come closer together in the future.
Allen S. Maller is an ordained Reform Rabbi who retired in 2006 after 39 years as the Rabbi of Temple Akiba in Culver City, California. His web site is: www.rabbimaller.com. He blogs on the Times of Israel.