What is meant by the Saabi’ah (Sabaeans), who were mentioned in the Chapter of Al-Baqarah [Quran 2:60]? Do they follow a heavenly religion? Who is the messenger that was sent to them? Do they exist today?
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alyhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.
Imaam Al-Qurtubi mentioned, in the course of interpreting the above-mentioned verse, that scholars disagree about what is meant by the Saabi’ah:
Imaam Al-Qurtubi concluded that the Saabi’ah believe in monotheism, but they also believe in the influence of the stars and, therefore, scholars categorize them as disbelievers.
It was also said that the only existing sect of the Saabi’ah is called Al-Mindaa’iyyah. This sect considers its prophet to be Yahya (John) . The followers of this sect glorify the planets and the stars, and they turn to the North Pole in their prayers and practice baptism.
Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned that the Saabi’ah are of two kinds :
In conclusion, it appears that the Saabi’ah is a term that applies to several sects and groups:
As for where the existing sects of the Saabi’ah live today, they are mainly found in Iraq and Iran. In Iraq they are spread along the lower banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the area of Al- Ahwaar and Shatt Al-Arab. Their population is mainly centered in the following cities: Al-‘Imaarah, An-Naasiriyyah, Al-Basrah (Basra), Qal‘at Salih, Al-Halafaayah, Sooq Ash-Shuyookh and Al-Qarnah. In Iran they reside along the banks of the Karoon River and Ar-Rizz, in addition to the Iranian coastal cities.
Allaah Knows best.
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