Qur'an on the People of the Book

Sura 3:113-115
  Not all of them are alike: 
  Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (For the right): 
  They rehearse the Signs of Allah all night long, 
  and they prostrate themselves in adoration. 

  They believe in Allah and the Last Day; 
  they enjoin what is right, 
  and forbid what is wrong; 
  and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: 
  They are in the ranks of the righteous. 

  Of the good that they do, nothing will be rejected of them; 
  for Allah knoweth well those that do right.

Verses like these have been told to me as examples of the great
tolerance of the Islam towards all who do good. Allah / Islam is
not narrow minded. The people of the Book are acceptable to God
when they do good. See how superior Islam is to Christianity
which sends all to hell who do not accept their dogmas?

Does that sound familiar? I have heard it many times. 
I am sure, many of you have too.

Imagine my surprise when today I reach this passage 
in the Sirat, pages 262-263:

  When Abdullah b. Salam, Tha`laba b. Sa`ya, and Usayd b. Sa`ya, 
  and Asad b. `Ubayd and other Jews became Muslims and believed 
  and were earnest and firm in Islam, the rabbis who disbelieved 
  said that it was only the bad Jews who believed in Muhammad and
  followed him. Had they been good men they would not have forsaken
  the religion of their fathers and adopted another. So God sent 
  down concerning what they had said: `They are not (all) alike: 
  of the scripture folk there is an upright community who read 
  God's verses in the night season prostrating themselves. 
  They believe in God and the last day and enjoing good conduct 
  and forbid evil and vie with one another in good works. Those 
  are the righteous.'               

  Some Muslims remained friends with the Jews because of the ties
  which had subsisted between them, so God sent down concerning 
  them and forbidding them to take them as intimate friends: 
  `O you who believe, do not choose those outside your community 
  as intimate friends. They will spare no pains to corrupt you 
  longing for your ruin. From their mouths hatred has already 
  shown itself and what their breasts conceal is greater. We have 
  made the signs plain to you if you will understand. Behold you 
  love them but they love not you and you believe in the book -- 
  all of it,' i.e. you believe in their book and in the books that 
  were before that while they deny your book, so that you have more 
  right to hate them than they to hate you. `And when they meet you 
  they say, We believe and when they go apart they bite their 
  fingers against you in rage. Say, Die in your rage', &c.

This last part is also from Sura 3, just a few verses down from 
the first quotation.

Sura 3:118-119

  O ye who believe! Take not into your intimacy 
  those outside your ranks: 
  They will not fail to corrupt you. 
  They only desire your ruin: 
  Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths: 
  What their hearts conceal is far worse. 
  We have made plain to you the Signs, if ye have wisdom. 

  Ah! ye are those who love them, but they love you not,- 
  though ye believe in the whole of the Book.
  When they meet you, they say, "We believe": 
  But when they are alone, 
  they bite off the very tips of their fingers at you in their rage. 
  Say: "Perish in you rage; Allah knoweth well all the secrets of the heart." 


The good people of the Book are those who have converted to Islam.
It did not refer to those who stay Jewish or Christian in their
faith, it refers to those of the Jews who accepted Muhammad.


And for the others, ... they are cursed, and this is justified by 
claiming that the prophets before them supposedly did the same...

Sura 5:78 

  Curses were pronounced on those among the Children of Israel 
  who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary: 
  because they disobeyed and persisted in excesses. 

I am collecting more passages such passages now, 
but the Sirat is full of cursing. As I said, 
it is a very educational book. And I am getting a
very different image now, when reading the sources 
from what I have been told by Muslims on SRI, MCD, 
and personal encounters. 

I wonder how many Muslims have read their own sources
and know what Islam really was like in those early days
of Muhammad and the companions?

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