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Upon hearing a command from God to leave behind his life and he would be blessed, Abraham set out from the city of Ur in ancient mesopotamia around 1500 BC without comprehending that he would eventually become the patriarch of three monotheistic faiths - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. He is revered today by three billion people - half the world's population. Sadly many of whom, both have and freely express, contempt and hatred for one another - how disheartened and dissapointed would he be (or is he) today?

The exact date that Abraham set out is still debated, but many scholars agree, based on biblical history and archaeological evidence, that it was in the period 2000 to 1500 BC. As Genesis says, he set out with family members from Ur of the Chaldees towards the land of Canaan. Ur was a major commercial centre at that time, in the metropolis of Mesopotamia, which was a port on the Euphrates and very close to the Persian Gulf (which has since retreated about 100 miles). The Mesopotamians were a very creative people who had invented cuneiform writing. They chronicled life in those olden times on clay tablets many of which are still around today which allows us peer into and provide a connection to the life of Abraham.

Some scholars however place the time of Abraham much later, perhaps around 700 BC. This is based on archaeological evidence that camels (which are the mode of transport used by Abraham) were not used for transport in this area until 700 BC. Also, Genesis refers to the city of Ur as 'Ur of Chaldees'. But the Chaldean dynasty did not appear in Mesopotamia until about 500 BC. But other scholars think these inconsistancies are due to later additions by biblical writers.

The prophet Muhammad and his disciples believed that Abraham was the founder of their religion. The Koran refers to Abraham in 25 of its 114 chapters. Abraham and his first son Ishmael are regarded as perfect models of godliness by Muslims. The Kaaba in Mecca is Islam's holiest shrine. It contains the Black Stone, Islams most sacred object, which Islamic tradition says dates back to the time of Adam and Eve, and was later found by Abraham, who instructed Ishmael to rebuild a temple which would contain this stone in the old foundations that Adam had previously used.

What inspired Abraham to travel such distances? What was he searching for? What was missing in his life? Was it his faith in a single God that drove him on? The first leg of his journey took him up the Euphrates valley to Haran. It was here that he was addressed by God who told him to go forth which he did to the land of Canaan. After Canaan he moved to Egypt and then back to Hebron where he seemed to spend much of his time. All throughout his journey he han numerous visitations from God. At some later stage he went to Mecca with his first born son, Ishmael, who rebuilt a temple which became central to the birth of Islam.