In many verses of the Qur'an, Allah speaks positively about the Ahl-al-kitab (i.e., People of the Book). For example, Muslims can eat their food and marry their women under certain conditions.

However, according to Quran 5:72-75, people who believe in the Trinity are disbelievers; this includes mainstream Christians (Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, etc.). This makes me think that Trinitarian Christians (i.e., those who believe in the Trinity) are not considered Ahl-al-kitab.

This motivates my question:

Question: Are Christians who believe in the Trinity considered People of the Book?

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    On the right of your Post there are plenty of similar posts... what is new in your question and why shouldn't it be closed? As all I read is already coverd many times! The Quran perspective is clearly stated in legacy.quran.com/5/5 (one of the last revealed verses). The Quran is totally clear about the trinity so this statemnt holds!
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 10:30
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    @curiosity All Christians and Jews after muhammad are kuffar according to all scholars I have ever seen commenting on this topic, since they all reject muhammad. There really is no disagreement about this as far as I can tell, and there is also no disagreement that I can discern that catholic women are eligible to marry.
    – G. Bach
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 11:15
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    I guess the real question is: If a christian believes in the trinity, should he/she be considered ahl-al-kitab? Maybe the only christians who fall in the ahl-al-kitab category are the ones who reject the trinity. If that's the case, we can't consider catholics as ahl-al-kitab.
    – user16329
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 13:13
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    From all your comments here: It seems you want to declare catholics as disbelievers and forget all the verses quoting that they are considered as ahl-al-kitab even if they are on the wrong path as they associate with Allah. Maybe you'll find somebody who'll agree with you and post an answer good luck!
    – Sassir
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 5:21
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    @G.Bach read my answer. That is from the Quran, and the Christians and Jews are NOT KAFFIR. If any scholar refuses Quran, then he can't be called a Muslim. Aside from that All scholars?! This is suppose to be an academic discussion...
    – Thaqalain
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 16:29

2 Answers 2


Ahl al-Kitab (people of the Book) is the name of the people who were given the scripture by Allah, regardless of what their current beliefs are.

There are believers among them, who accepted Islam:

وإن من أهل الكتاب لمن يؤمن بالله وما أنزل إليكم وما أنزل إليهم خاشعين لله لا يشترون بآيات الله ثمنا قليلا أولئك لهم أجرهم عند ربهم إن الله سريع الحساب

And indeed, among the People of the Scripture are those who believe in Allah and what was revealed to you and what was revealed to them, [being] humbly submissive to Allah . They do not exchange the verses of Allah for a small price. Those will have their reward with their Lord. Indeed, Allah is swift in account.

Quran 3:199

And there are disbelievers among them:

إن الذين كفروا من أهل الكتاب والمشركين في نار جهنم خالدين فيها

Indeed, they who disbelieved among the People of the scripture and the polytheists will be in the fire of Hell, abiding eternally therein.

Quran 98:6

Trinitarian christians are Ahl al-Kitab, because the Quran has addressed them as such:

يا أهل الكتاب لا تغلوا في دينكم ولا تقولوا على الله إلا الحق إنما المسيح عيسى ابن مريم رسول الله وكلمته ألقاها إلى مريم وروح منه فآمنوا بالله ورسله ولا تقولوا ثلاثة

O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, "Three";

Quran 4:171

Though they are obviously disbelievers because they reject the Messenger of Allah: Muhammad (ﷺ) and the Quran (4:150-151) and they do shirk (5:72).

According to the majority of the schools of thought, the permission of eating their food and marrying their women stands regardless of their disbelief, because 5:5 itself mentions their Kufr and fate and does not exclude them from the concession:

وطعام الذين أوتوا الكتاب حل لكم ... والمحصنات من الذين أوتوا الكتاب من قبلكم ... ومن يكفر بالإيمان فقد حبط عمله وهو في الآخرة من الخاسرين

The food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you ... [and lawful are] chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you ... And whoever denies the faith - his work has become worthless, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.

Quran 5:5

A discussion of this may be found in Tafsirs of 2:221 and 5:5, example Tafsir Qurtubi on 5:5 and 2:221 and Tafsir Jassas on 5:5 and 2:221.

  • This raises an interesting question. Are non-Jewish christians People of the Book since the book wasn't given for them.
    – The Z
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 17:31
  • @TheZ There actually is a view (I think among the Shafis) that says that non-Israelites and the people who accepted Christianity after the Prophet are not be included in the permission. The majority view is that they are the People of the Book, for several reasons for e.g. the Christian arab tribes.
    – UmH
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 17:35
  • That to me seems a more sensible opinion (but I am no scholar I guess).
    – The Z
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 17:40

These Christians do:

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.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَىٰ وَالصَّابِئِينَ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ Baqara, 62

If a Christian is never educated on the subject of trinity or other issues then:

Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity
لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ ‌Baqara, 286

But if the truth has been revealed (completely and clearly, which is a HUGE if) to them and they deny, then they can't really be categorized as Christians.

  • What exactly does it mean when the truth is revealed "completely and clearly"? Does this mean a sign in the form of a miracle? Or does it mean a sign that is so clear that the christian no longer has a reason not to believe in Islam? If a christian reads the entire Quran, he may think this is just a very well-written book. He may not be convinced by it. Would he still be categorized as a christian?
    – user16329
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 16:20
  • @curiosity we can never be complete and clear as our beloved prophet was. But we can be good practicing Muslims who are humble and kind and have knowledge of their book and know how to share. <-- heading to the direction of clear and complete.
    – Thaqalain
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 16:21
  • @curiosity Imagine a Muslim, who drinks wine, doesn't do prayers, behaves poorly, has very basic or possibly incorrect knowledge, is also known as a Muslim scholar, teacher. <-- antithesis of clear and complete. I may still expect the book of Quran to have an effect, but it would be much more difficult for the person to submit himself to Islam.
    – Thaqalain
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 16:24
  • @curiosity Having that said, Quran is an amazing book, It's alive. If one reflects on it, they will find something related to themselves, their problems. No one would say it's a well-written book. There is no book that admonished people in the same way that Quran does. Aside from that if a Christian isn't convinced then he needs to state why and be able to answer....
    – Thaqalain
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 16:25
  • My original intention was to know whether it's okay to marry a Catholic or not because I was suspecting that Catholics don't fall under the category of ahl-al-kitab (due to their belief in trinity). What are your thoughts on this?
    – user16329
    Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 6:02

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