Please read verses 2:62 and 5:69 carefully. Many people draw incorrect conclusions from them. TASREEF (looking at the Message from different vantage points in the Qur'an) is an extremely important duty on us for proper understanding.
2:62 (That was a glimpse of the past.) Those who believe (in the Qur’an and call themselves Muslims), and those who are Jews, and Christians and the Sabians; whoever truly believes in God and the Last Day and does works that benefit humanity, 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 related verses, is more crucial than in the understanding of this verse. Some great commentators have misinterpreted this verse for missing related verses such as these:
Those who attain belief and call themselves Muslims and those who are Jews, and the Sabians, and Christians - whoever believes in God and the Last Day, and does works that benefit humanity, for them shall be no fear from without, nor shall grief touch them from within. [5:69]
It is inconceivable that the opponents of the truth, whether they are the People of the Book, or the idolaters, could get out of error until 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 manmade 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 (Ibrahim), 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 God and the revelation that has been conveyed to us, and in what was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael (Ismail), Isaac (Ishaq), Jacob (Ya’qoob), as well as the tribal Israelite Prophets - and in what was given to Moses (Musa) and Jesus (‘Isa) 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 God will be Sufficient for you against them. He is the Hearer, the Knower. [2:137]
[O You who have chosen to be graced with belief = O You who acknowledge the Qur’an. Reflecting on the above verses makes it clear that the belief in God and the Last Day must be in accordance 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. Sabians = Once a small Monotheistic community that started merging with their environment. In the Judeo-Christian milieu they preferred to announce themselves as ‘Followers of John the Baptist’. They sometimes claimed to follow a way between Judaism and Christianity. In Persia, they subscribed to many views of Zoroastrianism. In Arabia, they joined hands with the ‘nature-worshipers’ or ‘Star-worshipers’. Mostly living in Arabia, Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Persia, they modified their beliefs most suited to their environment. In some ways, their attitude resembled the modern Agnostics]