Question of the week from my Islam Q & A series. Please share with family and friends especially kids. For more information and to browse questions on my website or sign up for my email list at:
Q: Does Islām consider Christians and Jews as Believers?
A: Jews and Christians are referred to in the Holy Qur’ān as the ‘People of the Book’ – meaning their origins lie in scripture revealed by God Almighty (Allah).
Contrary to the distorted popular believe today that says Christians and Jews are called Kufaar /infidels(non believers), Quran clearly calls them with their origin. Quran tells Muslims to learn from the history of both nations and clearly tells us how both these nations were blessed not only with Prophets but also with divine scriptures.
Here’s some history based on Quran:
Quran calls Jews as Yahood (children of Israel through the lineage of Prophet Ishaq(Isac) peace be upon him).
Yahood were blessed with Prophet Moses peace be upon him who was sent down with Torah as a reminder of the same message of guidance brought by Prophet Abraham (Ibraheem), Prophet Isac(Ishaq), Prophet Jacob (Yaqoob)peace and blessings be upon all of them. Jews were blessed with a whole series of Prophets coming to them.
Quran calls Christians as Nasara (the companions). It is believed that they are called Nasara either because they were the companions/ helpers of Prophet Jesus peace be upon him or because they’re the followers of the Holy Prophet Jesus son of Mary peace be upon him who belonged to a a place called Nasra (Nazereth).
Nasara were blessed with Prophet Jesus peace be upon him who was sent with Injeel (Bible) as the book of God Almighty (Allah) to guide them and remind them of the same message Prophet Moses peace be upon him brought to the very same nation.
As people of the book, Quran mentions that both of these nations were blessed with Prophets and books as reminders from God Almighty (Allah) and they are called upon the same divine message in Quran as well.
However, as the divine scriptures sent before the revelation of Quran (as the final book/ word of God Almighty (Allah) sent to the last messenger of God Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him) Injeel and Torah were not remained untouched by human insertions and have been changed several times. When each Prophet was sent, the people of that era were obliged to follow him and would be defined as people of the truth or simply ‘Muslims’(one who submits to God) – so when Moses peace be upon him came – people were obligated to follow him and these Jews were Believers. When Jesus son of Mary peace be upon him came, people were obligated to now accept him as the Prophet of God Almighty and not doing so would remove them from being defined as Believers or Muslims – even though they may have accepted Moses as a prophet. These Nasara (Christians) were now the Believers till the time the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was sent. After which any person claiming to submit to the will of God Almighty would have to accept the prophet hood of the last Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.