As is well known, Islam arose in Arabia, which, alongside the pagan Communities, had a large number of tribes and groups which professed Judaism and Christianity. So far as we know, the relations between the Jews and Christians and their Arab neighbours in pre-Islamic times were cordial, or were not at any rate adversely affected by differences of faith. In its self-view Islam represented both a continuation and a supersession of the two earlier Semitic faiths. The Jewish Gospel as well as the New Testament had originally represented divine messages, and so those who follow them were ‘People of the Book’, to be distinguished from the ‘Infidels’. But the Gospel texts, the Quran itself had claimed, had suffered from unauthorized deletions and insertions; and this claim, of course, created a fundamental point of disagreement between the Muslims, on the one hand, and the Jews and Christians on the other. Nonetheless, early Muslims seemed fairly well familiar with both the earlier Semitic religions.