Historic and archaeologic evidences show that the ancient Arabian peoples did not leave any written testimony of themselves before they received the influence of Assyria, around the 8th-7th century b.c.e., and all what we know about them until then has been recorded by external sources and accounts of eyewitnesses. The peoples of
Concerning the two Arabian forefathers, we can say that Qahtan may be well identified with the Biblical Yoqtan, but Adnan seems to be rather legendary, and as allegedly is only one of Ishmaels' descendants -- not even one of his twelve sons -- he cannot be the ancestor of all the
The only existing written record concerning the person of Ishmael is found in the Bible, witnessing that he dwelled in the region of Paran, north of Midyan. This account was written by Mosheh, who spent half of his life in the very land where Ishmael lived and had undoubtedly more accurate information than the Arab writers that invented the tales about Avraham and Ishmael more than 2000 years after Mosheh. The Scriptures as well describe Avraham's movements in a very accurate way, from his departure from
The fact is that the name of Ishmael was unknown in Central Arabia in pre-Islamic times, and the Arabic form Isma'il, beginning with an aleph shows that it passed through the Greek and is not directly derived from the Semitic/Aramaic original name Yishmael, with an initial yod -- the change of a consonant/semivowel into a vowel is explained only if a Semitic name has been translated into a western language and then from the western form into another Semitic tongue, which is the case of Hebrew into Greek and then into Arabic. Indeed, there is no mention of Avraham or Ishmael in any ancient Arabian inscription, neither Sabean nor Minean, nor Safaitic, nor Lihyanite, nor Thamudic and not even Nabatean.
The Arabs got acquainted with the existence of Avraham and Ishmael only through the Jewish and Christian sources from which Islam drew its own scriptures. Therefore, according to overwhelming historic, archaeologic, scriptural and scientific evidence, neither Avraham nor Ishmael have ever been in
On the other side, the Semitic empires of the
Map showing the distribution of the Northern and Southern Arabian peoples: notice that