Since the time of Muhammad there have developed thousands of Christian=20
and Jewish sects. =20
Is anyone today who calls themselves a Christian or Jew considered to=20
be a person of the book or only those who now belong to a sect that=20
Yes. It has been problematic at times when the established religious author=
ities of other religions refused to recognise a sectarian division. Sometim=
es the Muslim aithorities would be indifferent, sometimes they would side w=
ith the authorities of the other religions, because of the long established=
mutually beneficial relationship or because the new movement was considere=
was in existence at the time of Muhammad?
Or are there any people of the book today at all?
Only rarely did a Muslim ruler take an interest in the sectarian affairs of=
other religions. When they did it was usually due to political consdierati=
ons, doctrinal considerations were rare. Muslim rulers who passed judgement=
on the doctrinal disputes of other religions are few.=20
The Qur'anic usage of "People of the Book" refers to Jews and Christians. H=
owever, the Qur'an says that divine revelation had been sent to all nations=
and that not all of these apostles of God are mentioned. Sabians (we don't=
know exactly to whom the Qur'an originally referd to) are mentioned as mon=
otheists and Zoroastrians are mentioned apart from polytheists. The Eventua=
lly all religions got protected status, except Arab polytheism. The Avesta =
was esatblished as a revealed book and so ws the Gniza of the Mandaeans (wh=
o were identified with the Sabians).
The Sikhs have a holy book the Guru Granth Sahib but since the=20
Sikh religion came about centuries after Muhammad they are not=20
considered people of the book are they?
It is indeed impossible for Muslims to consider Nanak, the founder of Sikhi=
sm, as a prophet because he came after Muhammad. Nevetheless Nanak and Sikh=
s had a close relationship with Sufi Islam (the relationship later deterior=
iated because of political reasons).=20