27 Monthly Renaissance September 2020 Faith & Beliefs Essence of Polytheism (3) Amin Ahsan Islahi Polytheism of People of the Book The two groups of People of the Book mentioned in the Qur’ ā n are the Jews and Christians. They accepted all basics which the Qur’ ā n invited them to believe in, including that of belief in the Oneness of God that was common between them and the Muslims, except the prophethood of the Prophet (sws). These people were neither deniers of the Oneness of God in principle, nor was it possible to refute it in presence of clarifications in the Torah and Bible. However, despite their belief in this principle, they were involved in many practices and beliefs that were liable to shirk and kufr. Treating this as the basis for debate, the Qur’ ā n demanded that they cleanse their deeds and beliefs of such errors: they were to either refute taw ḥī d , thus relieving themselves of the responsibilities of accepting its requirements and stumble along, or accept its demands and requirements, and in its light, assess all of their actions and remove the mistakes and innovations, in contradiction of taw ḥī d , that had crept in them. The debate with the Arabs had started on the question that when the creator of the heavens and earth, inventor of strengths and capabilities, originator of the earth and sky was God, and if they did not deny these principles, why did they believe in things that shredded these principles? In the same manner, taking one step forward and using belief in taw ḥī d to be the basis, the debate with People of the Book was initiated. If this belief was common between the Muslims and People of the Book, they should assess its validity on its basis. The Qur’ ā n said: Say: “O People of the Book! come to common terms as