According to Jewish Law, both Jews and non-Jews were forbidden to worship idols, a category which also includes certain forms of polytheism. This prohibition is required as part of the Seven Laws of Noah. Once the doctrine of the Trinity became known to the Rabbis, it was generally regarded as polytheism, although with some exceptions.<ref>See Jacob Katz, Halachah ve-Kabbalah (Jerusalem, 1986), pp. 291-310.</ref> In the last few hundred years with the Christian reformation, the emergance of non-trinitarian movements, and appearance for the first time of "Noahides" has inspired a great deal of responsa in this matter. Partly this is to a closer examination of theological issues, and partly this had to do with dealing with the diversity of thought that had sprung up within Christian and former Christian groups. Under the laws of avodah zara, idolaters are potentially subject to the death penalty. The general concensus of halacha was that while Christianity was similar to avodah zara, it was something less and never qualified for capital punishment.<ref>For a recent discussion, see Louis Jacobs, "Attitudes Toward Christianity in the Halachah," in Ze'ev W. Falk, ed., Gevuroth Haromah (Jerusalem, 1987), pp. xvii-xxxi. The standard treatment of Jewish attitudes towards Christianity remains Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance (Oxford, 1961).</ref> Early authorities characterized Islam as idolatrous, based on early rulings concerning Christianity and whatever information was available concerning of the emerging faith.
There was a widespread perception that an idol was to be found in the Kaaba. For example ''Midrash Lekah Tov'' regarded Mecca as the name of an Islamic idol<ref>Midrash Lekah Tov (Jerusalem, 1960), Vol. 2, p. 250</ref> Based on this this R. Menahem Meiri, R. Abraham Sofer (son of the Hatam Sofer) and Sefer ha-Eshkol rule that it was forbidden to drink or even obtain benefit from wine handled by a Muslim. According to them, there was no difference in the halachic status of wine handled by a Muslim or an idolater.<ref>See R. Menahem Meiri, Bet ha-Behirah: Avodah Zarah, Abraham Sofer, ed. (Jerusalem, 1964), p. 214 (quoting R. Joseph ibn Migash), and Sefer ha-Eshkol, Z.B. Auerbach, ed. (Halberstadt, 1865), section 3, p. 150.</ref> See also Simhah Assaf,<ref>Simhah Assaf, ed., Teshuvot ha-Geonim (Jerusalem, 1929), no. 266,</ref> rules that wine handled by a Muslim is forbidden for use as if it was touched by a Christian. However, from the reason given in this responsum, one cannot conclude that a Muslim was viewed as an idolater. Nahmanides made a distinction between Muslim wine and Jewish wine which was touched by a Muslim. Some achronim like the Birkei Yosef<ref>R. Hayyim Joseph David Azulai, Birkei Yosef: Shiyure Berachah (Jerusalem, no date), Yoreh Deah 122: 1.</ref> and She'elot u-Teshuvot Tashbez<ref>R. Simeon ben Zemah Duran, She'elot u-Teshuvot Tashbez (Lemberg, 1891), vol. 2, no. 48</ref> ruled that the practice was not to receive any benefit from wine handled by a Muslim.