AHL AL-KITÂB - أهل الكتاب
Literally: Ahl is a man's family. A household. A kindred. Friends. People. A nation. A man's family and descendants. A wife. The people of a place, condition, profession, religion or quality. A person or thing closely related to some particular thing mentioned.
Literally: Kitâb is a book. A letter. An epistle. A writing. The Sacred Scriptures. The Qur'an.
Ahl Al-Kitâb is a believer of the revealed books, as distinguished from pagans. The people of the book. The people who believe in the books sent by Allah (‘Azza wa jalla). Muslims, Jews and Christians. (The people who still believe in the real and true Christianity and Judaism.)
“In this is a sign that it is urging Ahl al-Kitâb to îmân [in Islam], for it is making it appear familiar to them, and easy. It is as though [the Qur'an] is saying: 'O Ahl al-Kitâb! You should not experience any difficulty in entering this [new] way, for you are not casting away your outer shell altogether, but only completing your beliefs and building on the fundamentals you already possess.' For the Qur'an does not establish any new fundamentals or aqâid; it equalizes and perfects existent ones; and it combines in itself the virtues of all the previous books and the essentials of all the previous Sharî’ahs. It only establishes new ordinances in secondary matters, which are subject to change due to differences in time and place. For just as with the change of seasons, food and dress and many other things are changed; so too the stages of a person's life warrants change in the manner of their education and tarbiyyah. Similarly, as necessitated by hikmah and need, religious ordinances concerning secondary matters change in accordance with the stages of mankind's development. For very many of these are beneficial at one time yet harmful at another, and very many medicines were efficacious in mankind's infancy yet ceased being remedies in its youth. This is the reason the Qur'an abrogated some of its secondary pronouncements. That is, it decreed that their time had finished and that the turn had come for other decrees.” Signs of Miraculousness ( 57 )