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In Surat Al-Baqarah ayah 62, Allah (The Glorified) says;

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Sahih International
Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans [before Prophet Muhammad] - those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness - will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.

Who were (or are?) the people called الصابئين according to this ayah, and what makes them relevant in the context of this ayah? How are they similar with Jews or Christians? I assume similarity because they were mentioned alongside Jews and Christians.

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The Sabians are one of the three pre-Islamic monotheistic Abrahamic faiths that the Qur'an describes as the People of the Book - alongside (obviously) Judaism and Christianity. The Qur'an declares this in three places (2:62, 5:69, 22:17), and it seems to relate to "Sābi'ūn", i.e. conversion by submersion. Very little is known about this religious group, with some sources (see wiki for full detail) suggesting they were broadly Christian in nature. This is, therefore, virtually nothing known about what separates them from Christianity in terms of naming. One could speculate that it was a sect of Christianity that had separated (willingly, or due to claims of heresy) from the main Christian branch of the time; Christianity is massively fractured, with tracking all the different sects incredibly difficult (especially the sects that were forcibly suppressed, with attempts made to erase them from records).

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  • Please note that the Quran does not really describe them as 'people of the book' anywhere. And actually there is disagreement among the Muslim scholars on whether they are people of the book, there being 3 different opinions on this matter.
    – UmH
    Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 13:40
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Sabeans are the followers of a religion who are mentioned within the Quran in verses Quran 2:62, Quran 5:69 and Quran 22:17.

There are different reports about what this religion's beliefs were. The following are some traditions that are recorded about them:

  • their religion was similar to Christianity. They were its sect or offshoot they just as the Samartians are an offshoot of Judaism.

  • their religion had similarity to Judaism and they observed the Sabbath

  • they adopted whatever they liked from various religions and hence their religion is a mixture of Judaism and Zoroastrianism, or a mixture of Judaism and Christianity, or a mixture of Christianity and Zoroastrianism etc.

  • some of them claimed to follow the teachings of some prophets such as Noah, Seth or John.

  • they recited the Zabur (psalms)

  • they worshiped angels

  • they worshiped the stars such as Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Saturn - similar to Greco-Roman religions.

  • they claimed to be monotheists but also revered the stars and like astrologers believed that the stars effected worldly affairs.

  • They claim to be monotheists but do not believe in any law, prophet or revelation

  • They are those who do not follow any religion.

It is possible that all of these claims had some truth in them, see e.g. Mandaeism. And it is also possible that the name was shared by different factions with diverse beliefs.

As for being mentioned alongside Jews and Christians then this does not necessarily imply similarity or really anything about their beliefs. Verse 2:62 and 5:69 only means that after they "believe in Allah" i.e. convert to Islam then they will have reward from Allah.

Ref: Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah

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  • Some of the descriptions sounds a lot like the Gnostics
    – Daniel
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 21:29
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Nobody really knows who the Sabeans are in the Holy Qur'an. There are many different theories. One thought is that it is a religion which took what they liked from all major world religions- including Islam. So, the Sabeans believed in the Torah, the New Testament, and the Qur'an. They didn't just read or memorize the Holy Our'an, but also the Old and New Testament. So, on the final day- the Sabean's have no fear of God because they are well prepared. Part of the Sabeans religion is realizing that you are born into your religion. Converts are not that common unless due to marriage. It is important you believe in God, read his word, and do good deeds. Your religion is not so important. Number one- if you were born into your religion and raised accordingly- you had no choice and therefore cannot know if you are worshiping the truth whether you are Muslim, Jewish, or Christian. Maybe there is no truth. Maybe people are just born into the religion they represent. All religions lead to God just as all roads lead to Rome. And all rivers lead to the Ocean.

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  • May you provide sources of what you just said?
    – user19208
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 6:07
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The Sabeans are Sabines, my surname. They come from the lower Saudi Arabian peninsula. Their name means "I know", which is not an assumption of wisdom, but rather, of someone who knows how to find an answer. There are many stories of Sabines who would rather find the answer from somewhere besides their own thoughts. I can assure you that this is accurate.

From some research, I have found that the Sabines most likely worshipped the moon as a goddess. However, the crescent moon became a symbol of male power to them as well, as the horns of a bull. They were against foreign beliefs. The female aspect of the moon travelled West, and the male aspect East, as seen in the Persian bull statues.

The Sabines are associated with the idyllic Queen of Sheba.

The Sabines associate themselves with King Lycurgus of Sparta.

The Sabines moved to Italy because of laws in Sparta relating to the treatment of women.

The Sabines allied with Rome against Carthage.

The Sabines are directly related to Germanicus, Caligula.

The Sabines were forced to leave Rome, and there is a story of a Sabine General living in a Gallic cave to avoid Roman capture.

The Sabines stayed in England during early English History after the Romans left.

In England the Sabines were become known to the English world as thieves and footpads.

In America the Sabines became known as travelling preachers of Christianity, albeit there is one case of a Sabine shooting a man in the back, for breaching an ammunition store during the American Civil War.

Modern history reports the Sabines living in Texas. One Sabine invented the oral vaccine for polio. Another Sabine, helped develop sonar, working for Colonel Fabian.

My father was nicknamed "Sonar" for his floppy ears and early warning knowledge of enemy indirect fire sounds during his service in Vietnam. He served in the 4th Army Artillery Division. He fought in Cambodia, not Vietnam.

From my research and personal experience, I can tell you that the Sabines are an extremely fierce mountainous people, and firstly concerned with knowledge of women and the stars. In the end, loyalty is the only thing that matters to Sabines. Sabines believe in cleanliness after sex, never eating male sex organs, and never shooting an enemy in the back. These are seen as unforgiveable, even in the modern day. I can assure you that this is accurate.

The Sabeans of today live in Yemen.

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    Welcome to Islam.SE! Answers here should be elaborate, and focused on addressing the question. Claims should be supported by evidence. Please visit our tour in the help center, and refer to how to answer questions. Can you please add references that support your research?
    – III-AK-III
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 10:06
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The Sabean are the first people to accept religion of Abraham and the first people to do Haj in Makkah, and they didn't accept Judea religion and they didn't accept Christianity. They kept their old Abraham religion doing Hai every year. The Sabean are Children and grandchildren of SABA and the Saba is the grandson of EBER ( Hud ) . The Sabean are the YEMEN people who populated the World , the human immigration started from Yemen not Mesopotamia as the scientist trying to hide the truth like they hide Eber and his Son Joktan in the Bible.

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  • It is highly recommended to add references to your answer. Alternately, your answer is nothing more than a personal commentary.
    – Ahmed
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 11:08
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There is not one but more than one Sabaens (Sabians), their ancestry goes back to David (Dawud a.s.), based on the telling of the Holy Quran (Neml, Enbiya, Bakara, Nisa).

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    The Quran quotes them without telling what or where they are from. So what every you say may come either from hadith or narrations (especially) the tafsir scholars have collected from people of the book.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 5:16

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