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1. Orientations
a. Figures
2. Koran
3. Theology
4. Concept of divine
5. Sharia
6. Muhammad
7. Cult and Festivals
8. Mecca
9. Cultic personalities
10. Caliph
11. Structures
12. Popular religion
13. Others
14. Calendar

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Islam / Theology /
Ahl al-Kitab
Arabic: 'al-jizya

In Islam, a term for religions that are based upon the same scriptural background as Islam itself. The definitions of Ahl al-Kitab is directly from the Koran.
The religions involved are Christianity, Judaism and Sabaeans. The latter group has never been identified, and there are several theories who the Sabians were.
Koran sura 22: The Pilgrimage
17 Verily, those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Sabaeans, and the Christians, and the Magians, and those who join other gods with God, verily, God will decide between them on the resurrection day; verily, God is witness over all.
Ahl al-Kitab is a definition of these religions as authentic, as good, and partly true. Effectively, all other religions are wrong, perhaps even evil. Islam is unique in this declaration of other religions as authentic.
Conditions for the Ahl al-Kitab living in a Muslim state, is regulated by dhimmi regulations, dhimmi being the term for non-Muslims. Those of an Ahl al-Kitab religion are dhimmis, and the regulations involves several elements of discrimination. Still, people belonging to Ahl al-Kitab cannot be forced to convert to Islam; whereas every else must convert to Islam, or they will be killed.
It is a central part of Muslim learning that messengers had been sent to other peoples before Muhammad brought his message forth among the Arabs. These are what Islam defines as survivors, though imperfect, of such messages. The imperfection of the Ahl al-Kitab religions is often seen as so dramatic that little of the original truth is preserved.
Possibly, also the Zoroastrians belong to the Ahl al-Kitab, judging from Koran 22:17, where the Magians are mentioned, Magians being another designation for Zoroastrians.

By Tore Kjeilen