Sabians

The Sabians (/ˈsbiənz/; Arabic: الصابئة al-Ṣābiʼah or الصابئون al-Ṣābiʼūn) of Middle Eastern tradition are a religious group mentioned three times in the Quran as a People of the Book, along with the Jews and the Christians.[1] In the hadith, they were described simply as converts to Islam.[2] Their identity has been called an "unsolved Quranic issue".[3]

Interest in the identity and history of the group increased over time. Discussions and investigations of the Sabians began to appear in later Islamic literature. Early historians identified the Sabians with the ancient Jewish Christian group the Elcesaites, and with Gnostic groups such as the Hermeticists and the Mandaeans.[4][5] Modern-day Islamic historians commonly identify Sabians with the Mandaeans,[6][7] and by some others with the followers of Noah. Similarly, the Mandaeans claim direct descent from Noah.[8] According to Daniel Chwolson's exhaustive survey of Islamic and other sources (1856), they appear to have gravitated around the original pro-Jewish Hanputa of the Elcesaites, from which the prophet Mani seceded. These Hanip Sabians are later identified as the pro-Torah Sampsaeans.[9] Modern scholars such as Charles Häberl, Şinasi Gündüz and others identify the Sabians with the Mandaeans.[10][11]