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The punishment of Christians

God’s glorious unity not be obscured or

confused. The Qur ) an offers a spectrum

of opinions of Christianity, from the

friendly – ‘nearest among them in love

to the believers will you find those who

say, ‘‘We are Christians’’’ (5.82); ‘those

who believe . . . and the . . . Christians

any who believe in Allah and the Last

Day and work righteousness on them

shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve’

(2.62; 5.69) – to the more hostile – ‘O

People of the Book, commit no excesses

. . . say not ‘‘three’’’ (4.171). The Qur

) an also portrays Christians

as fellow believers in Allah who will

receive an eschatological reward (2.62;

5.69). Alongside this is a verse describ-

ing them as people having ‘a portion of

the Book’ who are ‘invited to the [entire]

Book of Allah to settle their dispute’,

that is, to repent of their incomplete

lives and come to the fulfillment that is

Islam (3.23). ‘Come to common terms’,

3.64 exhorts, ‘as between us and you’,

terms of theological surrender, recogni-

tion that the Muslims worship Allah

rightly and are not guilty of shirk as are

the Christians. Some Christians and

Jews do exactly this (3.199), so that ‘not

all of them are alike: of the People of the

Book are a portion that stand [for the

right]’, having already embraced Islam

(3.113-114). It is not clear, however,

whether they are accepted as mono-

theists and broadly on the right path

while remaining Christians or whether

they have to take the step of actual

conversion to receive the ultimate

reward of heaven.