2:62 (That was a glimpse of the past.) Behold, those who believe (in the Qur'an and call themselves Muslims), and those who are Jews, and Christians and the Agnostics - whoever truly believes in Allah and the Last Day and does work that benefits humanity - surely their reward is with their Lord. For them shall be no fear from without, nor shall grief touch them from within.
[Note: The author of this rendition is not aware of any instance in the Qur’an where the use of TASREEF, that is, looking at the Qur’an in its Big Picture, is more crucial than in the understanding of this verse. Some great commentators have misinterpreted this verse for missing out related verses such as these:
- Those who attain belief and call themselves Muslims and those who are Jews, and the Agnostics, and Christians - whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, and does work that benefits humanity, for them shall be no fear from without, nor shall grief touch them from within. (5:69)
- It is inconceivable that those who deny the Truth, whether they are the People of the Book or the idolaters, could get out of error till the Clear Proof, Al-Qur’an, comes to them. (98:1-3)
- The non-Israelite Prophet liberates the People of the Book from the shackles of their man-made dogmas and brings them from darkness to Light. (7:157)
- They say, “Be Jews or Christians, then you will be rightly guided.” Say, “Nay, we follow the way of Abraham, the upright. He associated no partner with the One True God.” (2:135)
- O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Say, “We believe in Allah and the Revelation that has been conveyed to us, and in what was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob as well as the tribal Israelite Prophets - and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to other Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction among them since all of them were one in Purpose and they got their Guidance from the One True God. And for Him, we are Muslims.” (2:136)
- Thus, if they come to believe as you believe, then they are rightly guided. But if they turn away, they will be falling into opposition and Allah will be Sufficient for you against them. He is the Hearer, the Knower. 2:137. ('You believe' = You who acknowledge the Qur'an.)
Reflecting on the above verses makes it clear that the belief in Allah and the Last Day must be in accordance and conformity with the Qur’an. Verses 2:62 and 5:69 emphasize that mere giving of a name to one’s religion or creed carries no importance.
Now the SABIANS: Historically, Sabians were small groups of people who used to merge with their respective locales and environment. When residing along with idolaters they called themselves ‘Nature-worshipers’ or ‘Star-worshipers’. Among Judeo-Christian milieu they preferred to announce themselves as ‘Followers of John the Baptist’. In the ancient Persian Empire they identified themselves as 'Sun-worshipers'. This brief analysis indicates that the term SABIANS can be best understood as the 'Agnostics' of all times]