Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān

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(1,053 words)

A believer who is neither a polytheist ( mushrik) nor a Jew or a Christian (see polytheism and atheism; jews and judaism; christians and christianity). The Arabic root ḥ-n-f initially means “to incline,” so that ḥanīf (pl. ḥunafāʾ) is most probably understood in the Qurʾān as one who has abandoned the prevailing religions and has inclined to a religion of his own. It occurs once as a synonym of muslim ( q 3:67) and also in juxtaposition with the verb aslama ( q 4:125).

The qurʾānic prototype of the ideal ḥanīf is Abraham

Cite this page
Rubin, Uri, “Ḥanīf”, in: Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Georgetown University, Washington DC. Consulted online on 30 September 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1875-3922_q3_EQCOM_00080>

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