Understanding The Concept Of “The People Of The Book” In Qur’an

Allah Almighty has furnished this world with a great variety of people having different casts, colors, and creeds. This adds great color and diversity to the wholesomeness of this world and people with pure and exalted souls are to acknowledge this fact and establish the will of Lord of the whole universe, i.e. Allah (SWT), by acknowledging His might and strength.

Allah Almighty’s purpose of variation in human beings

The following verse should explain this to us:

“Oh humankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored among you in the sight of Allah is the who is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)” (49:13).

Human shortcoming in appropriate realization

However, to their own dismay, human race has always seem to fallen short in taking advantage of this diversified blessing of Allah by making this difference a cause of hatred, bloodshed, and decimation of their own race in different means. In simple words, majority of human beings had failed in realizing the true purpose of this difference in color and creed by Allah, which He Himself mentions in Quran as:

  • {Allah calls to the Abode of Peace and He guides whom He wills to a straight path.} (Yunus 10: 25)

And

  • {O You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace. Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He is an outright enemy to you.} (Al-Baqarah 2: 208)

We need to realize that Allah Almighty is the most peaceful and just of all creators and wants to see His creatures (humans) living in peace, harmony, and tranquility with each other, as mentioned in the verses above.

Islam’s concept of “The People of the Book”

This is the term mentioned in Qur’an for followers of all divine religions prior to Islam, prompting Muslims to offer due respect and honor to them as well. This term is not made specific for followers of any one Prophet of Allah Almighty, but it is a generalized reference of Quran to people having faith in Allah and following instructions of Prophets (those who were bestowed with a Holy Scripture to follow) of their times.

In fact, Islam is nothing new but continuation and refinement of the same message of realization and acknowledgement of oneness of Allah Almighty, following His instructions to live life with peace, harmony, and tranquility while thanking Him for all His blessings. The verse mentioned below is just one description of what Islam teaches its followers about People of the Book:

Ash-Shura [42:13] The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah–that which We have sent by inspiration to thee–and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him).

Conclusion

The fact is that Qur’an is the finest manuscript to follow for living a life that pleases our Creator Allah Almighty, so that we not only get the best of life in this world for our faithfulness and obedience to Allah (SWT), but also get rewarded with best in the life hereafter. That entails all human beings (particularly the Muslims) to learn Quran and understand its true message. In fact, this has been made much convenient in modern times by online Quran learning; an innovative concept that enables anyone from any part of the world to learn more about Islam and Quran through internet as a medium.

Remember, this life is awarded to humans for seeking accord of Allah Almighty to be awarded by unbelievably good rewards in the life hereafter and learning Quran could be the best guide to us for that. May Allah help us all to work for that!

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