Actually Magians are a sect (subsect?) of Zoroastrians.
Unfortunately a long read: The Magians
Note this ayat:
YUSUFALI: Those who believe (in the Qur'an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians, Christians, Magians, and Polytheists,- Allah will judge between them on the Day of Judgment: for Allah is witness of all things.
PICKTHAL: Lo! those who believe (this revelation), and those who are Jews, and the Sabaeans and the Christians and the Magians and the idolaters - Lo! Allah will decide between them on the Day of Resurrection. Lo! Allah is Witness over all things.
SHAKIR: Surely those who believe and those who are Jews and the Sabeans and the Christians and the Magians and those who associate (others with Allah)-- surely Allah will decide between them on the day of resurrection; surely Allah is a witness over all things.
The Mushriks are considered seperate from the Zoroastrians by the Quran
Well, first, it's not accurate to say that Magians = Zoroastrians. The religion the Magian priests preached was, like Zoroastrianism, a Zervan(sp?) religion with roots in the same mythology. But Zoroaster himself was a Magi (or a follower of the Magi) who was killed by the Magians for his heresy (which centered around Ahura Mazda, fire, etc). However, Magians eventually sort of went along to go along with Zoroastrianism, so the distinctions are kind of fuzzy.
So let's accept that Magians=Zoroastrians for the sake of argument, Even having established that,
a) This verse does not establish that the Zoroastrians are not themselves mushrikeen
Even if they are not mushrikeen, does that establish the permissibility of marriage with them?
Just 'cause they worship in front of fire doesn't mean they are worshipping the fire. Just like our praying in front of or towards a qiblah, doesn't mean we're worshipping that qiblah.
It's not "just like" - see my post to TrentReznor858.
This is the actual substance of the argument. Semantics and all the fun & games aside, why do we pray toward the kaaba for salah, and why is fire a necessary piece of their prayer ritual?
Fire and light are venerated in the Zoroastrian religion. Fire is referred to throughout the Yasna as the 'son' of Ahura Mazda. They consider it an earthly manifestation of Ahura Mazda, or more accurately, his divine energy. This is why they pray before fire; because they consider it necessary for them to establish a direct connection to Ahura Mazda.
This is a completely different understanding from what the Muslims have of the Kaaba, and mirrors the Bhakti Hindu understanding of their own form of idolatry. This is why Hindus are said to be idol worshippers, even though by their belief, they are not worshipping the idols directly.
Further, AFAIK it's only a relatively recent understanding of the Avesta (which came about as a result of the critiques of Muslim & Christian scholars) that makes a distinction when it comes to worshipping the fire itself.
From the Yasna itself:
[b]7. Yea, we worship thee, the Fire, Ahura Mazda's son! the holy lord of the ritual order; and we worship all the Fires...
The Zend Avesta, Part III (SBE31): The Yasna: Yasna XXV
It'd seem the "Fires" are a reference to the "undying" (now dead) fires in the "Great Temples," but I don't know if to make that claim would be historically accurate.
Hence, the Prophet (SAW)'s own reference to them as "majoosis." Which alone should be enough to end the debate.
Funny thing is I ran into him yesterday not long after I posted that I'd ask him next time I see him. So... I asked him, and we ended up talking about it for quite a bit. He has some interesting views on the issue.
He said it's not a majority opinion, but a few of the more irfani marjas have made that argument, essentially saying that they see tawhid in a lot of Eastern traditions and it's possible that they were Divinely Revealed (but if you want to make the argument that Buddha, Lao-tzu, et al were Prophets, that's something you're saying, 'cause the Qur'an doesn't say it). Allamah Tabatabaei, for one?
But he also said these are arguments on a metaphysical plane and not a theological one.
Which "irfani" marjas? There is no Tawhid within Hinduism whatsoever, though it may have some similarities or elements of monotheism.
a) Tabatabai never made the argument that Hindus were Ahle Kitab
Tabatabai never argued that the Hindu view of multiple gods answering to and forming part of one overall god was 'tawhid,' and he specifically criticized Hindu polytheism and idolatry.
I don't think it's completely outside the realm of possibility. Hinduism pre-dates any of the Abrahamic religions and Judaism wasn't meant to spread; do you think Allah just left everybody in the East be without guidance?
What about the indigenous Americans? Are they Ahle Kitab now too, based on this kind of conjecture? Why did Allah SWT leave them without guidance?
You can't assign the label of Ahle Kitab to religious groups based on speculation or conjecture.
You can see monotheism in Hinduism.
1. Does monotheist = Ahle Kitab?
2. What you quoted does not establish monotheism. Pantheism, maybe.
Also, if you're gonna say that Zoroastrians aren't monotheistic because of their dualism (another argument that's raised against them), then... umm... Christians are Trinitarian. And the Christians of the Prophet's time were too.
They had Scripture at one point, but look how they've corrupted it.
Trinitarianism & even Hindu pantheism/panentheism are very different from Zoroastrian dualism. Zoroastrian dualism holds that Angra/Ahriman is uncreated as Ahura Mazda is, and is not an element of Ahura Mazda.
And I've heard a hadith about the Prophet SAW smelling an Easterly breeze (came across the Indian ocean, presumably) and he said something to the effect of how he smells tawheed on that breeze, meaning that there was tawheed in India at that point (and all there were over there then were Hindus
). Is it true anybody?
Yeah, I've heard a hadith that says the Prophet (SAW) said "I am not of the Hind, but the Hind is of me." From my parents. Turns out it was made up.