Dr. Saleh As-Saleh
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We hear nowadays a strange call by organized groups involving some Christians, Jews, and “Muslim” intellectuals calling for “wihdatul adyaan”. They claim that these three religions stand for the same belief that there is One God and should unite in their call for the implementation of great moral values. Some of those involved call for the establishment of centers containing churches, synagogues, and massaajid side by side, and printing the Qur’an, the Bible, and the Torah in one binding, etc.
In the name of defending Islam against political and media distortions in the West, some organizations are compromising the basics of the Islamic creed through what is called “Bridging the Faiths.”  This is a very dangerous call because it mixes the truth with falsehood and thus practically implies the elimination of the truth perfected in the deen of Islam. The Christians and Jews want the Muslims to be like them. That is why they support this deceptive call for “unity”. Allah spoke of their attempts and called the Muslims to be aware of them:
وَدُّواْ لَوۡ تَكۡفُرُونَ كَمَا كَفَرُواْ فَتَكُونُونَ سَوَآءً۬ۖ فَلَا تَتَّخِذُواْ مِنۡہُمۡ أَوۡلِيَآءَ حَتَّىٰ يُہَاجِرُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِۚ فَإِن تَوَلَّوۡاْ فَخُذُوهُمۡ وَٱقۡتُلُوهُمۡ حَيۡثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمۡۖ وَلَا تَتَّخِذُواْ مِنۡہُمۡ وَلِيًّ۬ا وَلَا نَصِيرًا
They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another). So take not Auliyâ’ (protectors or friends) from them, till they emigrate in the Way of Allâh (to Muhammad SAW). But if they turn back (from Islâm), take (hold of) them and kill them wherever you find them, and take neither Auliyâ’ (protectors or friends) nor helpers from them. [Qur’an, Surat an-Nisaa’ 4:89]
One of the fundamental beliefs in Islam is the kufr (unbelief) of the Christians and Jews because they reject the Qur’an and the Message of Muhammad (PBUH) to them. They have also altered their books in such a way that it permits or even enjoins worship of other than Allah and (or) the association of partners with Him in worship. Any Muslim who doubts their kufr is a kaafir himself.
Some Muslims who do not understand certain texts from the Qur’an and (or) authentic Sunnah and may be easily deceived by the call for “unity of religions”. It is important to know that if certain texts are not clear to some, they are clear to others from those who are firm in the knowledge of the deen.  Consequently, nothing stays unclear for those who are seeking the truth and not just following vain desires.
For example, some may understand that the following text is evidence that the Jews and Christians are not kuffaar:
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَٱلَّذِينَ هَادُواْ وَٱلنَّصَـٰرَىٰ وَٱلصَّـٰبِـِٔينَ مَنۡ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَـٰلِحً۬ا فَلَهُمۡ أَجۡرُهُمۡ عِندَ رَبِّهِمۡ وَلَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَيۡہِمۡ وَلَا هُمۡ يَحۡزَنُونَ
Verily! Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allâh and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. [Qur’an, Soorat Al-Baqarah (2:62)].
Ibn Taymeeyah said: “The aayah (above) tells about the followers of these four unaltered milal (Paths) before abrogation [by the advent of Prophet Muhammad’(PBUH) complete message].”  It, therefore, addresses those who believed in tawheed and followed the Path of Allah as was known to them. Those who continued on this belief and did not alter the Scriptures must follow the Qur’an and the Message of Islam as explained by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Furthermore, the order of the above ayah, as Ibn ‘Abbaas explained, was canceled by ayah 3:85, which states:
وَمَن يَبۡتَغِ غَيۡرَ ٱلۡإِسۡلَـٰمِ دِينً۬ا فَلَن يُقۡبَلَ مِنۡهُ وَهُوَ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ مِنَ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرِينَ
And whoever seeks a religion other than Islâm, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers. [Qur’an, Surat Aal-’Imraan 3: 85]
Following the alterations in their religion, most of the People of the Book turned kuffaar and few remained on the original teachings of the Torah and the Gospel. This is clear in the Qur’anic texts where Allah, the Most High, says:
كُنتُمۡ خَيۡرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخۡرِجَتۡ لِلنَّاسِ تَأۡمُرُونَ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ وَتَنۡهَوۡنَ عَنِ ٱلۡمُنڪَرِ وَتُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِۗ وَلَوۡ ءَامَنَ أَهۡلُ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبِ لَكَانَ خَيۡرً۬ا لَّهُمۚ مِّنۡهُمُ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ وَأَڪۡثَرُهُمُ ٱلۡفَـٰسِقُونَ
You [true believers in Islâmic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad SAW and his Sunnah] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma’rûf (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism and all that Islâm has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islâm has forbidden), and you believe in Allâh. And had the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) believed, it would have been better for them; among them are some who have faith, but most of them are Al-Fâsiqûn (disobedient to Allâh – and rebellious against Allâh’s Command). [Qur’aan, Soorat Aal-’Imraan 3:110]
Following the above description, Allah (SWT) said:
لَيۡسُواْ سَوَآءً۬ۗ مِّنۡ أَهۡلِ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ أُمَّةٌ۬ قَآٮِٕمَةٌ۬ يَتۡلُونَ ءَايَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ ءَانَآءَ ٱلَّيۡلِ وَهُمۡ يَسۡجُدُونَ – يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ وَيَأۡمُرُونَ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ وَيَنۡهَوۡنَ عَنِ ٱلۡمُنكَرِ وَيُسَـٰرِعُونَ فِى ٱلۡخَيۡرَٲتِ وَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ
Not all of them are alike; a party of the people of the Scripture stand for the right, they recite the Verses of Allâh during the hours of the night, prostrating themselves in prayer. (113) They believe in Allâh and the Last Day; they enjoin Al-Ma’rûf (Islâmic Monotheism, and following Prophet Muhammad SAW) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and opposing Prophet Muhammad SAW); and they hasten in (all) good works; and they are among the righteous. (114) [Qur’an, Surat Aal-’Imraan 3:113-114]
This party includes those who held to the original Scriptures before they were abrogated by Qur’an and Sunnah. They were on the right religion enjoining tawheed and forbidding shirk, just as Allah described the believing followers of Musa:
وَمِن قَوۡمِ مُوسَىٰٓ أُمَّةٌ۬ يَہۡدُونَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَبِهِۦ يَعۡدِلُونَ
And of the people of Mûsa (Moses) there is a community who lead (the men) with truth and establish justice therewith (i.e. judge among men with truth and justice). [Qur’an, Surat Al-A’raaf 7:159].
Whoever held to these qualities amongst them (i.e. to the true revelations), prior to the advent of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a believer. The believers from the People of the Book who accepted the Prophet’s (PBUH) Message of Islam will receive a double reward:
وَٱلَّذِينَ يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡكَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ مِن قَبۡلِكَ وَبِٱلۡأَخِرَةِ هُمۡ يُوقِنُونَ
And who believe in (the Qurân and the Sunnah) which has been sent down (revealed) to you (Muhammad Peace be upon him ) and in that which we sent down before [the Taurât (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel), etc.] and they believe with certainty in the Hereafter. (Resurrection, recompense of their good and bad deeds, Paradise and Hell,) [Qur’an, Soorat Al-Baqarah 2:4]
وَإِنَّ مِنۡ أَهۡلِ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبِ لَمَن يُؤۡمِنُ بِٱللَّهِ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡكُمۡ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡہِمۡ خَـٰشِعِينَ لِلَّهِ لَا يَشۡتَرُونَ بِـَٔايَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ ثَمَنً۬ا قَلِيلاًۗ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ لَهُمۡ أَجۡرُهُمۡ عِندَ رَبِّهِمۡۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَرِيعُ ٱلۡحِسَابِ
And there are, certainly, among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), those who believe in Allâh and in that which has been revealed to you, and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before Allâh. They do not sell the Verses of Allâh for a little price, for them is a reward with their Lord. Surely, Allâh is Swift in account. [Qur’an, Soorat Aal-’Imraan 3:199]
 In a testimony before a U.S. House sub-committee on National Security, International Affairs and Criminal Justice, Atif Harden, the Executive Director of the American Muslim Council (AMC) said, “I am weary of hearing and seeing Islam and Muslims portrayed as foreign and different. We are cousins of Jews and Christians. We worship the same God, follow the teachings of the same Prophets, and believe in the same books. We are all followers of Abraham.” [The full text was published by the Saudi Gazette (an English Daily), Monday the 15th of October, 1998, p.9]. This concept is in direct opposition to the teachings of the Qur’an and authentic Sunnah. Those who associate partners with Allah in worship and (or) worship Prophets are not believers in Allah. The books of the Jews and Christians contain alterations and are completely abrogated by the Qur’an. The Jews and Christians are not followers of the faith of tawheed of Ibrahim for Ibrahim was neither a Christian nor a Jew, he was a pure Muslim, as Allah I says:
مَا كَانَ إِبۡرَٲهِيمُ يَہُودِيًّ۬ا وَلَا نَصۡرَانِيًّ۬ا وَلَـٰكِن كَانَ حَنِيفً۬ا مُّسۡلِمً۬ا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ
Ibrâhim (Abraham) was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Muslim Hanifa (Islâmic Monotheism – to worship none but Allâh Alone) and he was not of Al-Mushrikûn (See V.2:105). [Qur’an, Surat Aal-’Imraan 3:67]
Had they been true followers of their Prophets, the Jews and Christians would believe in the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his message of Islam. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“By Him (Allah) in Whose Hand Muhammad’s soul is, there is none from amongst the Jews and the Christians (of these present nations) who hears about me and then dies without believing in the Message with which I have been sent (i.e. tawheed), but he will be from the dwellers of the (Hell) Fire.” [Reported by Imam Muslim in his Saheeh (English Translation), vol. 1, no. 284]
The belief in the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the attestation with full acceptance and submission, not just mere attestation, that what he brought forth is the truth. That is why Abu Taalib (the uncle of the Prophet (PBUH)) did not become a believer in the Messenger (PBUH) despite his attestation to what the Prophet (PBUH) brought forth and his witness that it is the best of religions.
 Allah says:
وَإِذَا جَآءَهُمۡ أَمۡرٌ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡأَمۡنِ أَوِ ٱلۡخَوۡفِ أَذَاعُواْ بِهِۦۖ وَلَوۡ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى ٱلرَّسُولِ وَإِلَىٰٓ أُوْلِى ٱلۡأَمۡرِ مِنۡہُمۡ لَعَلِمَهُ ٱلَّذِينَ يَسۡتَنۢبِطُونَهُ ۥ مِنۡہُمۡۗ وَلَوۡلَا فَضۡلُ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ وَرَحۡمَتُهُ ۥ لَٱتَّبَعۡتُمُ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنَ إِلَّا قَلِيلاً۬
When there comes to them some matter touching (public) safety or fear, they make it known (among the people), if only they had referred it to the Messenger or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have understood it from them (directly). Had it not been for the Grace and Mercy of Allâh upon you, you would have followed Shaitân (Satan), save a few of you. [Qur’an, Surat An-Nisaa’ 4:83]
It was the norm for the sahaabah to ask the Prophet (PBUH) in his life of what they did not know. Then after his death they asked the learned amongst them, and so did those who followed their path in righteousness. Asking the learned scholars, therefore, was the way of the salaf especially if something doubtful arose.
 A past nation who used to live in al-Mawsil (‘Iraq) and said, “La Ilaaha Illallaah.” They were neither Jews nor Christians.
 Ibn Taymeeyah in Al-Jawaabus-Saheeh Liman Baddala Deenal-Maseeh (The Correct Response for those who Altered the Religion of ‘Eessa) [Riyadh, KSA: Daarul ‘Aasimah, 1414/1993] vol. 2, pp. 212-213. As to whether Jews and Christians of our times are from the People of the Book or not, one first should understand what the term “People of the Book” means. It means that original Books were revealed to their prophets, Mûsa and ‘Eessa, respectively. When they held to the beliefs of ‘Eessa and Mûsa, they were not kuffaar. However, when they continued to believe in the altered and abrogated forms of these Books and commit shirk, they became kuffaar, even though they are still referred to as “People of the Book”. Allah knew they would alter the Books and warned them against that. He I still refers to them in the Qur’an as “People of The Book,” and clearly states that they have committed kufr and deviated from the path of tawheed which their prophets called them to adhere to.
 Like the belief of Muslims who accepted the Message of Muhammad (PBUH).
 Includes those amongst them who had faith before Muhammad (PBUH) was sent to mankind. The believers whom Allah described:
ثُمَّ قَفَّيۡنَا عَلَىٰٓ ءَاثَـٰرِهِم بِرُسُلِنَا وَقَفَّيۡنَا بِعِيسَى ٱبۡنِ مَرۡيَمَ وَءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُ ٱلۡإِنجِيلَ وَجَعَلۡنَا فِى قُلُوبِ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّبَعُوهُ رَأۡفَةً۬ وَرَحۡمَةً۬ وَرَهۡبَانِيَّةً ٱبۡتَدَعُوهَا مَا كَتَبۡنَـٰهَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ إِلَّا ٱبۡتِغَآءَ رِضۡوَٲنِ ٱللَّهِ فَمَا رَعَوۡهَا حَقَّ رِعَايَتِهَاۖ فَـَٔاتَيۡنَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مِنۡہُمۡ أَجۡرَهُمۡۖ وَكَثِيرٌ۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ فَـٰسِقُونَ
Then, We sent after them, Our Messengers, and We sent ‘Īsā (Jesus) son of Maryam (Mary), and gave him the Injeel (Gospel). And We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him, compassion and mercy. But the monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them, but (they sought it) only to please Allâh therewith, but they did not observe it with the right observance. So We gave those among them who believed, their (due) reward, but many of them are Fâsiqûn (rebellious, disobedient to Allâh). [Qur’an, Surat Al-Hadeed 57:27]
 The revelation includes the Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah.
 Ibn Taymeeyah explained that some of the sahaabah (e.g. Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullaah, ibn ‘Abbaas, and Anas ibn Maalik as well as most of the scholars mentioned that the aayah (Qur’an 3:199), was revealed concerning the faith of an-Najaashi, the king of Abasseenyah known as “as-hamah” (‘Atiyyah, in Arabic), who knew that the Message of Muhammad (PBUH) was the truth confirming that of ‘Eessa before him. He accepted Islam but was unable to migrate to daarul-Islaam (where Islam is the apparent and practiced deen), nor he was able to declare it amongst his Christian nation. After the Prophet (PBUH) knew of his death, he called upon the sahaabah and performed the funeral prayers in absentia on an-Najaashi, thus confirming his belief in Islam. The aayah, therefore, may apply to anyone from the People of the Book or the mushrikeen who lives in daarul-harb (a land in which the kuffaar are prevailing, or land of the kuffaar between whom and the Muslims there is no peace) and who believes in Allah and in Muhammad (PBUH) as Allah’s Final Messenger, yet unable to declare his faith openly or unable to migrate to any Muslim country. He does what he is able to do from the acts of worship and as he knows them. [See ibn Taymeeyah’s Al-Jawaabus-Saheeh], pp. 202-210.