Islam and the People of the Book
In the Qur'an and Hadith, the term People of the Book (أهل الكتاب ′Ahl al-Kitāb) is used to refer to followers of certain monotheistic faiths which pre-date the advent of Islam. In particular, it refers to the Christian, Jewish, and Sabian faiths. This page contains summaries of articles discussing the relationship between Islam and the People of the Book.
- 1 Revealed Scriptures
- 2 The incompatibility of Islam with Previous Revelations
- 3 Biblical and Islamic Figures
- 4 Under Islamic Rule
- 5 Miscellaneous Articles
- 6 See Also
- 7 External Links
- 8 References
Revelation is the medium by which Allah claims to have communicated his words to his prophets so that they may inform the people of his will, what he wants from them and what they must do for him in order to be saved from eternal damnation.
The Torah/Old Testament
The Qur'an talks of the Taurat/Tawrah ( توراة ) referring to the Torah - the first five books of the Jewish Bible; found in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. Some Muslims and scholars believe it refers to the entire Old Testament, but this view is not widely held.
The Zabur mentioned in the Qur'an refers to the Psalms of the Old Testament. The Qur'an asserts that the Zabur is one of the 3 Previous Revelations of Allah. Although they are only mentioned three times in the Qur'an, Allah tells us that he revealed them to David.
The New Testament/Four Gospels
The Qur'an talks of the Injil (إنجيل) referring to the New Testament of the Bible (usually the four Gospels), which it claims was given to Jesus, rather than being written by his followers.
The Qur'ān (القرآن) is the central religious text of Islam. Muslims believe the Qur'an to be the book of divine guidance and direction for mankind. The best-known chapter of the Qur'an is al-Fatiha ‘The Opening’. This surah is recited as part of all the mandatory daily prayers and repeated within each prayer. A faithful Muslim who said all their prayers would recite this surah at least seventeen times a day, and over five thousand times a year.
The hadith literature make negative references to the Jews and Christians in connection with this surah. Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan and Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali incorporate this within their translation. Ayah 6-7 thus reads; "Guide us to the Straight Way. The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians)."
It is remarkable that the daily prayers of every Muslim, part of the core of Islam, include a rejection of Christians and Jews as misguided and objects of Allah’s wrath.
The incompatibility of Islam with Previous Revelations
Does Qur'an 2:79 prove corruption of the previous scriptures?
It is a common belief among Muslims that the Qur'an states that the previous scriptures (the Taurat and Injil) have been physically corrupted by those who were charged with safeguarding it (the Jews and Christians). Thus, the Qur'an is the 'return' to the true message of the God of the Bible. When asked to provide evidence that the Qur'an says the previous scriptures have been corrupted, Muslims will proudly present verse 2:79 as evidence.
This article will examine What the Qur'an really says about the Taurat and Injil; and examine verse 2:79 in its own context, as well as against the aforementioned verses to see if the belief of physical scriptural corruption is valid.
Contradictions in Qur'anic Christology
There are already many articles on Wiki-Islam about contradictions and errors in the Qur'an concerning logic, history, mathematics, cosmology and many more subjects. In this article, however, we would like to describe a quite different kind of weakness of the Qur'an which we would like to refer to as lack of theological professionalism. Even if we overlook the errors in the Qur'an, it is still surprising that the author of this holy book in some cases looks like somebody who cannot make the right use of quotations from Christian literature for his own argumentation. We want to show this by the example of the Christology in the Qur'an.
In this approach, the Qur'an, the Bible and any other text mentioned are regarded as texts written by human beings, not by God. Also, our intention is not to decide which of the opinions concerning the nature of Jesus are true or untrue. Instead we would like to focus on the quality of the arguments rendered in the Qur'an. From this viewpoint, we would like to elaborate the Christological opinions of the Qur'an compared to the Bible and show how they are expressed.
Parallelism Between the Qur'an and Judeo-Christian Scriptures
The similarities between the Qur'an and previous scriptures has been noted since the advent of Islam. However, the Judeo-Christian tales and their Qur'anic counterparts do not always match. There are three explanations for this:
- The original Judeo-Christian scriptures have been corrupted (as Muslims like to claim).
- Muhammad imperfectly borrowed from the Judeo-Christian scriptures.
- The Qur'an has been corrupted.
It is an epistemological matter as to which of the three is correct. The Qur'an’s assertion that the Judeo-Christian scriptures have been corrupted is mere accusation devoid of evidence. This thirteen-page long in-depth study looks at the following parallelisms between the Qur'an and Judeo-Christian Scriptures:
The People of the Book: Do they qualify as believers or disbelievers?
This is a fundamentally important question in Islam. If the People of the Book are indeed believers, then Islam is not necessary to avoid eternal torment in hell. However, if the People of the Book are disbelievers, then Allah has a lot to answer for, namely why did he allow for so many people to be led astray by books they themselves did not corrupt? A typical Islamic response would be: "It is a test." But if that's the case, why would any omniscient (all-knowing) being require a test to know the hearts of men? And why create an eternal torture chamber to punish those humans who failed the test when he knew they were going to fail before he even created them? Allah is therefore either a sadist or he is ignorant.
Biblical and Islamic Figures
According to Islam, Allāh is the Creator of the Universe. Allah does not mean 'God' but rather 'the God'  and is thus one of the remnants of Islam's polytheistic origins. In the pre-Islamic era, Allah was the supreme creator god of the Arabs, a moon god who lived in a rock located in the Ka'aba.  Yet he was still only one god among the many others they believed in. The goddesses; Allāt (the feminine form of “Allah”, meaning 'the goddess' ), Manat, and al-Uzza were Allah's daughters.
In Islam, Isa al-Masih (عيسى المسي usually translated as Jesus Christ) is not believed to be the Son of God, but simply a 'messenger', inferior in status to Muhammad. While Muslims will claim they "love Jesus", it is clearly evident that they do not love Yasū‘ (يسوع the actual Arabic term for Jesus, which is used by Arab Christians), but love the Islamic Isa who, when studied, shares little in common with the founder of Christianity.
The Virgin Mary
The Qur'anic verses 21:91 and 66:12 in conjunction with the tafsir's, tell us the angel Jibreel was sent to breathe Allah's spirit into Maryam's (مريم Mary's) vagina. Quran 5:116 tells us the Trinity consists of three separate gods, which are the Father (God), the Mother (Virgin Mary) and the Son (Jesus), and due to this abysmal ignorance of the Trinity doctrine, Muslims consider all Trinitarian Christians to be polytheists. Also according to Muhammad, Mary will be one of his wives in paradise.
The Angel Gabriel
According to Islamic scriptures, Jibreel (جبريل Gabriel) is the angel who first appeared to Muhammad in the cave of Hijra and taught Muhammad the Qur'an. The initial experience frightened Muhammad, and originally thinking he was possessed by a demon, the Islamic prophet became suicidal.
Under Islamic Rule
The term Dhimmitude is derived from Dhimmi, which means a non-Muslim living in an Islamic country. Robert Spencer has defined it as "the status that Islamic law, the Sharia, mandates for non-Muslims, primarily Jews and Christians". According to orthodox Islamic law, those who are qualified for the second-class Dhimmi status within the Muslim society are the free (i.e non-slave) Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians, who agree to pay the jizyah. Adherents of other religions, as well as those without religion, are asked to convert to Islam; if they refuse, they are to be forced to convert.
According to the Qur'an and hadith, Jizyah or jizya (جزْي) is the extra tax imposed on non-Muslims (Dhimmis) who live under Muslim rule. It is paid as a sign of submission and gives dhimmis some legal protection in return. Under dhimmitude (the status that Islamic law, the Sharia, mandates for non-Muslims) Dhimmis usually are not allowed to carry arms to protect themselves, serve in the army or government, display symbols of their faith, build or repair places of worship etc. If the conquered do not wish to pay or convert, their fate may very well be slavery (under which, rape is permitted) or (as evidenced in the quotes above) death.
This article simply provides information about the Islamic use of forced conversion and forced submission or expulsion as evidenced by Islamic scripture and historical and contemporary writings. For example, According to the respected scholar, Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, jihad should be waged against Jews and Christians because they are guilty of committing shirk (one of the gravest sins in Islam), their beliefs about the Day of Judgement are not Islamic, and they do not follow the laws of Islam revealed to Muhammad.
The Destruction of Non-Muslim Worship Places
Throughout history, Muslims have destroyed worship places (churches, synagogues, temples) of other religions or converted them into mosques. In fact, the Ka'aba (the holiest shrine in Islam) was originally a pagan place of worship, used by the polytheist Arabs before Muhammad subsequently removed and destroyed everything considered idolatrous.
The Pact of Umar
Much has been said of the Pact of Umar, and much of it distinctly positive. Its non-Muslim admirers gleefully compare its contents to the treatment of religious minorities in Medieval Europe, while ignoring its influence and conformity with Islamic scriptural sources which still govern the treatment of minorities in the East today. Some non-Muslim scholars of early Islam doubt the pact's authenticity, highlighting the fact that the Islamic traditions surrounding the writing of the pact are a few hundred years removed from the actual events described, and that no contemporary sources refers to it at all. Sophronius' (560 - 638 AD) authentic extant writings also refer to the Muslim conquerors in a very negative way, putting further doubts on the Muslim recollections of events. Nevertheless, this article will accept its authenticity and analyse the rights and limitations placed on the Syrians, to see just how free non-Muslims really were under the Rightly-guided Caliph.
The Genocide of Banu Qurayza
Hijra year 5 (627 AD), Almost nine hundred Jews (including children) of a Medinan tribe named Banu Qurayza were massacred by Muslims in one day. Muhammad was the lead spectator of this atrocious butchery which began early in the day, ending in torchlight. Those who escaped death were taken captive by Muslims and sold in slave markets. This genocide is known in history as the Banu Qurayza incident.
Are Judaism and Christianity as Violent as Islam?
"There is far more violence in the Bible than in the Qur'an; the idea that Islam imposed itself by the sword is a Western fiction, fabricated during the time of the crusades when, in fact, it was Western Christians who were fighting brutal holy wars against Islam." So announces former nun and self-professed "freelance monotheist," Karen Armstrong. This quote sums up the single most influential argument currently serving to deflect the accusation that Islam is inherently violent and intolerant: All monotheistic religions, proponents of such an argument say, and not just Islam, have their fair share of violent and intolerant scriptures, as well as bloody histories. Thus, whenever Islam's sacred scriptures—the Qur'an first, followed by the reports on the words and deeds of Muhammad (the Hadith)— are highlighted as demonstrating the religion's innate bellicosity, the immediate rejoinder is that other scriptures, specifically those of Judeo-Christianity, are as riddled with violent passages.
But is that really the case? Does Hebrew violence in the ancient era, and Christian violence in the medieval era compare to, explain away or even legitimize the tenacity of Muslim violence in the modern era?
Pedophilia and the Tu Quoque Defense
This article refutes the claim that Joseph, the husband of Mary (the mother of Jesus Christ), was a pedophile, a popular yet erroneous tu quoque argument used to defend Prophet Muhammad's pedophilic marriage to Aisha. Upon reading the non-canonical apocrypha, the Christian equivalent of da`if (weak) or maudu (fabricated) hadith, we find it does not say Mary married Joseph when she was aged only 12. It in fact says she was possibly 17 years of age at the time the marriage was eventually consummated, if ever (Mary's perpetual virginity, the belief that Mary remained a virgin her entire life, is an essential article of faith for the majority of the world's Christians). The most decisive argument against the claim that Joseph was a pedophile is the fact that the same non-canonical writings which are used to gather information on Joseph and Mary's age, also confirm Mary's status as "ever virgin" (in The History of Joseph the Carpenter, Jesus says on Joseph's death "my mother, virgin undefiled").
What Islamic scripture and scholars say about the People of the Book
Islamic scripture and scholars have much to say in regards to Jews and Christians.
Antisemitism in Islam
Anti-Semitism is rampant among followers of Islam. This intense hatred of Jews is deeply rooted within Islamic scripture, and upon reading these texts, there is little wonder why Mein Kampf, written by Adolf Hitler, is a best-seller in the Arab and Muslim World including; Egypt, Palestine, "moderate" Turkey, and is selling well in London areas with a large Arab population. It is often sold along-side religious literature and strangely enough, Mein Kampf can be translated as "My Jihad" in Arabic. The book is also selling as well as Dan Brown's latest novel in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where sales soar towards Eid, as it is bought by many as gifts, and other anti-Semitic literature like Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a 19th-century anti-Semitic tract are also hugely popular.
Muhammad's personal hatred for Jews led him to declare that the Final Hour will not come until Muslims slaughter Jews, and even the rocks and trees will betray the Jews hiding behind them.
Misquoting Jesus and Others in the Qur'an
"O Jesus son of Mary!" said the disciples, or so claims the Qur'an in surah 5:112. On the surface this quote from one of Jesus' (Isa's) disciples may seem unextraordinary, but there is a subtle error here that few ever notice. However, once it is noticed, few will ever forget. This article will show beyond a doubt that Muhammad was putting words into other people's mouths and fabricating quotes so that he could artificially create reinforcement and confirmation of the points he was trying to make, which is that Jesus was not the Son of God and Muhammad is Allah's prophesied final Messenger. It was by Muhammad's good fortune that he was such a great military leader, for as a playwright he would have been sorely lacking.
Was Muhammad a Lesser Prophet than Moses or Jesus?
When Royalty assign a task to someone in person, it is often denoted as a great privilege and is considered as an honor to whom it is the Royal addressed. Conversely, when a subject is deemed unfit to associate with in a personal manner, the undesirable task may be assigned to a servant. With this in mind, it is surprising to learn that, according to the Qur'an, Musa and Isa (commonly identified with the Judeo-Christian Moses and Jesus) received revelations directly from Allah while Muhammad did not.
- People of the Book (Translations of Arabic/Islamic Media)
- Disbelievers - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Disbelievers
- Antisemitism - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Antisemitism
Other Core Articles
Core articles contain an overview of other articles related to a specific issue, and serve as a starting point for anyone wishing to learn about Islam:
- Islam and Apostasy
- Islam and Homosexuality
- Islam and Miracles
- Islam and Pedophilia
- Islam and Propaganda
- Islam and Science
- Islam and Scripture
- Islam and Violence
- Islam and Women
- Rebuttals to Muslim Polemics against Christianity - Answering Islam
- Is Muhammad Foretold in the Bible? - by John Gilchrist
- "...Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians..." - Quran 2:62
- "Allah" - Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online; Accessed June 15, 2007.
- "Moon God"- Allah - the Moon God.
- Arne A. Ambros, and Stephan Procházka - A Concise Dictionary of Koranic Arabic (p. 306) - Weisbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 2004, ISBN 3895004006
- Isa (name) - Etymology
- (Ibn Kathir, Qisas al-Anbiya [Cairo: Dar al-Kutub, 1968/1388], p. 381- as cited in Aliah Schleifer's Mary The Blessed Virgin of Islam [Fons Vitae; ISBN: 1887752021; July 1, 1998], p. 64;
- Al-Tabari, The History of al-Tabari (Ta'rikh al rusul wa'l-muluk), vol. 12: The Battle of Qadissiyah and the Conquest of Syria and Palestine, trans. Yohanan Friedman (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992), p. 167.
- Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an (Quran 9:29, Footnotes 26 & 27)
- Paul Halsall - The Status of Non-Muslims Under Muslim Rule- Medieval Sourcebook, January, 1996
- Robert Hoyland, Seeing Islam as Others Saw It (Princeton, 1996) p. 69-71
- Andrea Bistrich, "Discovering the common grounds of world religions," interview with Karen Armstrong, Share International, Sept. 2007, pp. 19-22.
- Sean O'Neill and John Steele - Mein Kampf for sale, in Arabic - The Telegraph - 19 March, 2002
- Robert Spencer - Mein Kampf becomes bestseller in Turkey -Jihad Watch - 19 March, 2005
- Antisemitism in the Turkish Media - MEMRI - April 28, 2005
- Alastair Lawson - Mein Kampf a hit on Dhaka streets - BBC News - 27 November, 2009