What is the reason why the people of the book regard Islam and Muslim as enemies?

The Details of the Question

- ​ What is the reason why Jews and Christians, whom we call the People of the Book, regard Islam and Muslims as enemies?
- We also believe in the prophets they believe in; so, what is the reason for this enmity?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

There may be many reasons why the People of the Book nurture enmity towards Islam and Muslims. According to what is indicated in the Qur'an;

a) One of those reasons, perhaps the most important one, is envy.

As a nation with heavenly religions for many years and centuries, the People of the Book thought that the line of prophethood would continue with Sons of Israel, their own nation. Then the emergence of someone who was not one of them caused their envy and jealousy to increase.

"Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion..." (al-Baqara, 2/ 120)

That fact is indicated in the verse above.

“Or do they envy mankind for what Allah hath given them of his bounty? but We had already given the people of Abraham the Book and Wisdom, and conferred upon them a great kingdom.” (an-Nisa, 4/54)

That envy is clearly emphasized in the verse above.

b) Another reason is religious bigotry and racism.

"Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans..." (al-Maida, 5/82)

It is pointed out in the verse above that Jews, in particular, nurtured severe enmity toward the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), who was an Arab, against Islam, a new religion, and the believers who belonged to this religion since they combined the feeling of "religious bigotry and racism".

c) Some did not believe because they were very fond of their positions and ranks.

For example: People such as Abu Amir ar-Rahib, who was regarded as the chief of the Aws tribe, and Abdullah b. Ubay b. Salul, who was regarded as the chief of the Khazraj tribe, nurtured severe enmity toward Islam because they feared losing their position and leadership.

Although the people in the example above are not from the People of the Book, there were some people of Jewish origin like Huyay b. Akhtab among them.

d) To sum up, according to the following verse, the knowledge of the People of the Book that Muhammad (pbuh) is the true prophet is as strong as their knowledge about their own children “Those to whom We have given the Book know this as they know their own sons. Those who have lost their own souls refuse therefore to believe.” (al-Anam, 6/20)

It is known that there were great religious and scientific scholars from the People of the Book who believed in Muhammad (pbuh) based on that information.

However, the reason why there were unbelievers among them and their enmity toward Islam was not their ignorance.

In that case, as it is indicated in the Qur'an and hadiths, the reasons for that enmity can be listed as follows: "Envy, religious fanaticism, the tribe chiefs’ love of their positions and ranks, stubbornness, racism, economic, cultural and social incompatibility, etc."

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