"Radical as this sounded, the Quran insisted that its message was simply a 'reminder' of truths that everybody knew. This was the primordial faith that had been preached to the whole of humanity by the prophets of the past. God had not left human beings in ignorance about the way they should live: he had sent messengers to every people on the face of the earth. Islamic tradition would later assert that there had been 124,000 such prophets, a symbolic number suggesting infinity. All had brought their people a divinely inspired scripture; they might express the truths of God's religion differently, but essentially the message was always the same. Now at last God has sent the Quraysh a prophet and a scripture. Constantly the Quran points out that Muhammad had not come to cancel the older religions, to contradict their prophets or to start a new faith. His message is the same as that of Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, or Jesus. The Quran mentions only those prophets who were known to the Arabs, but today Muslim scholars argue that had Muhammad known about the Buddhists or the Hindus, the Australian Aborigines or the Native Americans, the Quran would have endorsed their sages, too, because all rightly guided religion that submitted wholly to God, refused to worship man-made deities, and preached justice and equality came from the same divine source. Hence Muhammad never asked Jews or Christians to accept Islam, unless they particularly wished to do so, because they had received perfectly valid revelations of their own. The Quran insists strongly that 'there shall be no coercion in matters of faith,' and commands Muslims to respect the beliefs of Jews and Christians, whom the Quran calls ahl al-kitab, a phrase usually translated 'People of the Book' but which is more accurately rendered: 'people of an earlier revelation.' "