The Ori­en­tal­ists and the Han­i­fs : The Jef­fery-Bell Theory

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Excerpt­ed from Sir­at Al-Nabi and the Ori­en­tal­ists : With Spe­cial Ref­er­ence to the Writ­ings of William Muir, D.S. Mar­go­liouth and W. Mont­gomery Watt , Vol. IA (1st ed., 1997), Chap­ter XIV, pp. 335 – 354. Com­piled by Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi


One con­stant endeav­our of the ori­en­tal­ists has been to relate the rise of Islam to the con­tem­po­rary sit­u­a­tion and to show that Muham­mad (P) received infor­ma­tion and ideas from var­i­ous sources.The sub­ject of the han?fs has there­fore nat­u­ral­ly attract­ed a good deal of the ori­en­tal­ists’ atten­tion. Writ­ing in the mid­dle of the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry Aloy Sprenger sug­gest­ed that there was in pre-Islam­ic Ara­bia a wide­spread reli­gious move­ment ini­ti­at­ed by a sect” of han?fs and that Muham­mad (P) placed him­self at the head of the move­ment, orga­nized and direct­ed it and uti­lized it for his own ends.[1] Such extreme views were, how­ev­er, quick­ly called in ques­tion, main­ly by Ignaz Goldz­i­her, who point­ed out Sprenger’s errors and stat­ed that the han?fs did not form any orga­nized group but were a few iso­lat­ed individuals.[2]

By the end of the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry and dur­ing the ear­ly years of the twen­ti­eth a num­ber of schol­ars addressed them­selves to the sub­ject, con­cen­trat­ing on the ety­mol­o­gy of han?f.[3] The view that pre­vailed for some time was that the word han?f might be con­nect­ed with the Hebrew h?n?f mean­ing pro­fane”. There was no notice­able depar­ture from the gen­er­al the­sis, how­ev­er, that what­ev­er might have been the ori­gin of the word, Muhammad(P) was influ­enced by the han?fs. Writ­ing in 1907 the pre­vail­ing view was reflect­ed by R.A. Nichol­son when he said : No doubt Muham­mad, with whom most of them [the han?fs] were con­tem­po­rary, came under their influ­ence, and may have received his first stim­u­lus from this quarter.”[4]

The ety­mo­log­i­cal aspect of the ques­tion received fur­ther atten­tion in Arthur Jef­fer­y’s the­sis on The For­eign Vocab­u­lary of the Qur’?n.[5] He sug­gest­ed that the word han?f was derived from the Syr­i­ac hanp ? mean­ing hea­then”. He fur­ther stat­ed that the term han?f is applied in the Qur’?n main­ly to Ibr?h?m who came to play an impor­tant part at a cer­tain stage in Muham­mad’s (P) career, name­ly, when he was claim­ing that his teach­ings went back to a rev­e­la­tion ear­li­er than either Judaism or Chris­tian­i­ty, mil­lat Ibr?h?m, which he was restor­ing and republishing.[6]

On perus­ing this the­sis before its pub­li­ca­tion Richard Bell came for­ward with a the­o­ry in the pages of The Moslem World[7] , build­ing main­ly upon Jef­fer­y’s hint about what he calls Ibr?h?m’s part at a cer­tain stage in Muham­mad’s (P) life. There in a nut­shell, it seems to me”, remarked Bell, we have the whole secret.”[8] The secret” which he unfold­ed was as fol­lows. He first some­what mod­i­fied Jef­fer­y’s view about the ori­gin of the word say­ing that the long vow­el of the sec­ond syl­la­ble of han?f is fatal to its deriva­tion from Syr­i­ac hanp ? in its sin­gu­lar form” but that the Ara­bic plur­al form, hunaf?’, is a close repro­duc­tion of the Syr­i­ac plur­al haneph?. There­fore, Bell said, the word was bor­rowed in its plur­al form and from it the sin­gu­lar form han?f was made accord­ing to the rules of Ara­bic gram­mar, but in a reverse order. He fur­ther said that the Syr­i­ac-speak­ing Chris­tians used the word haneph ? to mean the uncon­vert­ed Arabs. Hence hunaf?’ were the Arabs who were nei­ther Jews nor Chris­tians, but who con­tin­ued to fol­low the ancient native religion.”[9]

Thus explain­ing the ori­gin and mean­ing of the term Bell stat­ed that Muhammad(P) used it to con­vey the very antithess of poly­the­ist” and, indeed, to make Mak­ka, the town which had reject­ed him” and against which he was plan­ning revenge”, the cen­tre of his reli­gion because of his dif­fer­ences with the Jews. Bell argued that though the Prophet had ear­li­er bor­rowed a cer­tain amount of pos­i­tive teach­ing” from Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty, when he came to Mad­i­na dif­fer­ences devel­oped between him and the Jews for cer­tain rea­sons. [10] There­fore he start­ed break­ing away from both these reli­gions, begin­ning with the change of qibla from Jerusalem to Mak­ka and then giv­ing out that God’s rev­e­la­tion had orig­i­nal­ly been the same, but in course of time the Jews and Chris­tians had both depart­ed from the puri­ty of the faith and had gone their own ways.”[11] Hav­ing said this Bell added that Muham­mad (P) had to do with anoth­er reli­gion ? the reli­gion of the Arabs, or in the lan­guage of those from whom he had hith­er­to tak­en his infor­ma­tion on reli­gious mat­ters, the hunaf?’.” That must also be a degen­er­a­tion of the pris­tine pure reli­gion. And as Abra­ham (Ibr?h?m) through Ish­mael (Ism?’?l) was the prog­en­i­tor of the Arabs, Muham­mad (P) took him to be the founder of the reli­gion of the hunaf?’, but was care­ful to add that he was not one of the poly­the­ists” and that the ” han?f reli­gion” which he found­ed was, like all oth­er revealed reli­gions, a pure monothe­ism. Thus argu­ing, Bell says that as Abra­ham was ear­li­er in time than both Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty, his reli­gion was pur­er than either of them had ever been…This was the reli­gion, then, which Muham­mad now con­ceived him­self as com­mi­sioned to restore. His face is hence­forth set, not towards Judaism or Chris­tian­i­ty, but towards the assumed pure orig­i­nal of the Arab reli­gion.” The han?f s were thus, con­cludes Bell, the fol­low­ers of the ide­al orig­i­nal of Arab reli­gion. They were no sect or par­ty of his­tor­i­cal peo­ple, but the prod­uct of Muham­mad’s unrest­ing mind.” [12]

Thus, start­ing from the cli­max that the han?fs were an organ­ised sect” who ini­ti­at­ed a move­ment” towards monothe­ism, an anti­cli­max was reached after about a cen­tu­ry of con­jec­tures and assump­tions and it was stat­ed that the han?f s were no sect or par­ty of his­tor­i­cal peo­ple” but mere­ly the imag­i­nary fol­low­ers of the ide­al orig­i­nal of Arab reli­gion”, the prod­uct of Muham­mad’s unrest­ing mind”. Apart from this assump­tion, Bel­l’s main sug­ges­tions are : (a) that the word han?f was tak­en over from the Syr­i­ac plur­al form of haneph?, (b) that the Syr­i­ac-speak­ing Chris­tians meant by that term the Arabs who fol­lowed the ancient native reli­gion”; (c) that Muhammad(P) , when he broke away from the Jews at Mad­i­na, adopt­ed this term, put the sense of antithe­sis of poly­the­ist” on it and iden­ti­fied his teach­ings with this assumped orig­i­nal of Arab reli­gion, which he also iden­ti­fied with the reli­gion of Abra­ham, the prog­en­i­tor” of the Arabs through Ism?’?l, stress­ing fur­ther that God’s rev­e­la­tion had orig­i­nal­ly been the same to all the pre­vi­ous prophets. It is main­ly on this Jef­fery-Bell for­mu­la­tion that Watt has based his remarks about the han?fs. Before pass­ing on to that it would be worth­while to exam­ine the Jef­fery-Bell posi­tion a lit­tle more closely.


To begin with, it may be not­ed that the state­ments about the word han?f are based sole­ly on son­ic sim­i­lar­i­ties and are thus obvi­ous­ly con­jec­tur­al and only ten­ta­tive. In fact, not very long after Bell had giv­en his sup­port to Jef­fer­y’s sug­ges­tion, two schol­ars put forth a joint-arti­cle dis­cussing the pre-Islam­ic use of the word and sug­gest­ing Ara­ma­ic-Nabataean ori­gin for it.[13] Since then schol­ar­ly opin­ions have alter­nat­ed between the Syr­i­ac and Nabataean hypotheses.[14]

The ori­gin of the word, how­ev­er, seems to have very lit­tle direct bear­ing on the point at issue ; for it is well-known that the mean­ing of a word often changes with the change of time and place. A very instruc­tive instance in our own time is the word demo­c­ra­t­ic” which is often used in the Com­mu­nist Bloc” to denote a social­ist total­i­tar­i­an sys­tem, but in the West­ern Bloc” it is the very antithe­sis of total­i­tar­i­an­ism. Hence, even if it is shown that the Syr­i­ac-speak­ing Chris­tians used the word hanp ? to mean hea­then” or the Arabs who fol­lowed their ancient native reli­gion, it does not nec­ces­sar­i­ly fol­low that the Ara­bic word han?f, which is only sup­posed to be a descen­dent of hanp?, was also used by the Arabs in the same sense.

Sec­ond­ly, the the­o­ry of deriva­tion from a for­eign lan­guage rais­es the ques­tion : when did this bor­row­ing take place ? The sug­ges­tion seems to be gen­er­al­ly that it took place long before Muham­mad’s (P) appear­ance on the scene. In that case the word had been in use in Ara­bia and it had ref­er­ence to a par­tic­u­lar class of peo­ple. This being the case, is it rea­son­able to assume that Muham­mad (P) would us the expres­sion in a total­ly dof­fer­ent, rather oppo­site sense of a monothe­ist just for the sake of break­ing with the Jews and Chris­tians ? Fur­ther, would not such a nov­el use of the term evoke the oppo­si­tion and crit­i­cism of his own peo­ple, not to speak of the very Jews and Chris­tians against whom he was sup­pos­ed­ly tak­ing the step ? But Bell seems to sug­gest that the word was used for the first time in the Qur’?n and that also in a sense oppo­site to that put on it by the Syr­i­ac-speak­ing Chris­tians ; for he states that Muhammad(P) adopt­ed the term from the lan­guage of those from whom he had hith­er­to tak­en his infor­ma­tion”. Now, is it at all rea­son­able that he should still be adopt­ingthe expres­sion of the Jews and Chris­tians when he was break­ing with them, if it had not been in use and under­stood by the Arabs ?

The fact is that the word han?f was obvi­ous­ly in use in Ara­bia at the time in the sense of a monothe­ist. This seems to be a corol­lary even of Bel­l’s own argu­ment ; for, if the Syr­i­ac-speak­ing Chris­tians used the term to denote the Arabs who fol­lowed their ancient native reli­gion and if, as Bell admits, Abra­ham was the prog­en­i­tor” of the Arabs, their ancient and native reli­gion could not have been any­thing else than monothe­ism. That nat­u­ral­ly was the ancient and native reli­gion of the Arabs. This mean­ing of the term han?f appears to have been in a way admit­ted late­ly by Bel­l’s close dis­ci­ple, Watt, who rec­og­nizes that in some Ara­maean cir­cles the pri­ma­ry” mean­ing of the term as hea­then” or pagans” was over­shad­owed by sec­ondary con­no­ta­tions”, such as philo­soph­i­cal­ly-mind­ed per­sons who were essen­tial­ly monothe­is­tic”. He fur­ther says that the Qur’?nic usage neglect­ed the pri­ma­ry mean­ing and devel­oped some of the sec­ondary con­no­ta­tions, a semit­ic process not unknown elsewhere.…”[15] It may be point­ed out that the Qur’?n did not neglect what is called the pri­ma­ry mean­ing”, nor did it devel­op some of the sec­ondary con­no­ta­tions” of the word. It sim­ply used the expres­sion in the sense in which the Arabs had been using and under­stand­ing it since time immemorial.

Apart from th ques­tion of the ori­gin and con­no­ta­tions of the word, how­ev­er, the main theme of the Jef­fery-Bell the­sis, name­ly, that the Prophet relat­ed his teach­ings to the Abra­ham­ic tra­di­tion and to the han?fiyyah after his migra­tion to Mad­i­na, par­tic­u­lar­ly after the dif­fer­ences had devel­oped between him and the Jews of that place, is total­ly wrong. The under­ly­ing premise of the the­o­ry, it may be point­ed out, is that the Qur’?n is the Prophet’s own pro­duc­tion, a view which is not at all cor­rect. It is also not cor­rect, as shown before, that the Prophet devel­oped his doc­trines at Mak­ka by draw­ing infor­ma­tion from the Jews and Chris­tians. Nei­ther did he bor­row infor­ma­tion from them at Mak­ka, nor did he fall back to the Abra­ham­ic tra­di­tion and han?fiyyah at Mad­i­na in order to break away from them.

Three broad facts in the Qur’?n con­tra­dict this lat­ter assump­tion. In the first place, the ref­er­ence to and dec­la­ra­tion of iden­ti­ty with the mes­sage of Ibr?h?m, and indeed with the mes­sage of all the pre­vi­ous Prophets, were made for the first time not at Mad­i­na but much ear­li­er at Mak­ka. A num­ber of the Makkan pas­sages of the Qur’?n bear an elo­quent tes­ti­mo­ny to this fact. It was also at Mak­ka that the Prophet empha­sized the com­mon ori­gin and the essen­tial iden­ti­ty of the mes­sages deliv­ered by all the Prophets, includ­ing those who came before Ibr?h?m, such as N?h and Adam. This is very sig­nif­i­cant ; for there is clear­ly an ele­ment of incon­sis­ten­cy in rec­og­niz­ing, as Bell seems to do, that Muham­mad (P) claimed that God’s rev­e­la­tion had orig­i­nal­ly been the same to all the Prophets and then to allege that he traced the ori­gin of his mes­sage to Ibr?h?m with a view to claim­ing prece­dence and greater puri­ty for his monothe­ism. Sec­ond­ly it was also at Mak­ka, long before the migra­tion to Mad­i­na, that depar­tures from the fun­da­men­tal doc­trines of both Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty had been made. Third­ly, it was in the Makkan pas­sages of the Qur’?n that ref­er­ence to the han?fs occurs first. A look at the ref­er­ences to Ibr?h?m as a han?f in the Mad­i­nan s?rahs makes it clear that there is no indi­ca­tion what­so­ev­er of an inten­tion to dis­re­gard the mes­sages of Moses and Jesus, nor is there the slight­est depar­ture from the empha­sis on the uni­ty and iden­ti­ty of the mes­sages of all the Prophets.

Before illus­trat­ing the above men­tioned facts by some of the rel­e­vant state­ments of the Qur’?n, it is necce­sary to refer briefly to the ques­tion of the change of qibla (direc­tion for prayer) from Jerusalem to Mak­ka which Bell men­tions as an instance of the Prophet’s changed atti­tude towards the Jews. The refix­ing of the qibla of course took place after his arrival at Mad­i­na, but this hap­pened some six­teen or sev­en­teen months after his arrival there [16] , in mid-Rajab of the sec­ond year of hijrah. This means that it had tak­en place more than two clear months before the bat­tle of Badr which occured in Ramad?n of that year. It is well-known that dif­fer­ences with the Jews began to devel­op some­time after the bat­tle. Hence, what­ev­er might have been the rea­son for the change of qibla it can­not be his­tor­i­cal­ly sus­tained that the mea­sure was an upshot of the dif­fer­ences with the Jews. If it had been in any way a result of the Prophet’s own deci­sion he would have timed it more oppor­tune­ly, and not when, by all accounts, his posi­tion at Mad­i­na was not yet sta­bilised and when, far from doing any­thing which was like­ly to alien­ate the Jews, he was attempt­ing to secure their sup­port and adhe­sion to the new­ly estab­lished body-politic. It is also some­what anti­thet­i­cal to sug­gest, as Bell does, that the Prophet intend­ed to make Mak­ka the cen­tre of his reli­gion when, at the same time, he is said to have been plan­ning revenge” against that town.


The ref­er­ence to the mes­sage of Ibr?h?m, indeed to that of all the pre­vi­ous Prophets, was made repeat­ed­ly at Mak­ka. It was also there that the fun­da­men­tal uni­ty and con­tin­u­al­i­ty of the mes­sages deliv­ered by all the Prophets was unmis­tak­ably empha­sized. Through­out the Makkan peri­od one con­stant item of per­sua­sion direct­ed to the Quraysh unbe­liev­ers was that there had gone by gen­er­a­tions before them on whom God’s wrath had fall­en on account of their rejec­tion of the mes­sage deliv­ered to them by the Prophets sent to them. It was also clear­ly point­ed out that all those Prophets came with the sam mes­sage of monothe­ism. One of the ear­li­est pas­sages of the Qur’?n empha­sizes this fact and makes spe­cif­ic men­tion of both Ibr?h?m and M?s ? (Moses) as bear­ers of the same mes­sage. It runs as :

Ver­i­ly this (the Qur’?nic message)is in the ear­ly scrip­tures, the scrip­tures of Ibr?h?m and M?s?.” (87:18 – 19

Anoth­er Makkan pas­sage asserts :

Not a Mes­sen­ger did We send before you except that We revealed to him that there is no God but I. So wor­ship Me.” (21:25)

Indeed, the instances of the pre­vi­ous Prophets, the monothe­ism of every­one of them and the uni­ty and con­ti­nu­ity of the same mes­sage through gen­er­a­tions are detailed in a num­ber of Makkan passages.[17] Also spe­cial empha­sis is some­times laid on Ibr?h?m, M?s ? and c?s ? (Jesus) if only because the imme­di­ate audi­ence to whom the Qur’?n was addressed espe­cial­ly cherised the mem­o­ries of those Prophts and claimed to fol­low their exam­ples and tra­di­tions. But there nev­er was a sug­ges­tion that the mes­sage and teach­ings of any one of them were pur­er” than those of any oth­er Prophet.

One of the pas­sages which illus­trates this point very force­ful­ly is 6:83 – 90 which, after describ­ing Ibr?h?m’s strug­gle to bring home the theme of monothe­ism to his peo­ple, men­tions all the well-known Prophets and con­cludes by cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly ask­ing the lis­ten­ers to adopt and fol­low the guid­ance which those Prophets rep­re­sent­ed. The pas­sage runs as follows :

That was Our evi­dence (proof/​writ) We gave Ibr?h?m as against his peo­ple. We ele­vate in ranks whom We will. Sure­ly your Lord is All-Wise, All-Know­ing. And We gave him Ish?q (Isaac) and Ya’q?b (Jacob); each We guid­ed. And N?h (Noah) We have guid­ed before ; and of his prog­e­ny, D?’?d (David), Sulaym?n (Solomon), Ayy?b (Job), Y?suf (Joseph), M?s ? (Moses) and H?r?n (Aaron); and thus do We reward those who do good deeds. And Zakariyy ? and Yahy ? (John), and ‘?s ? (Jesus) and Ily?s (Elias) ? all were right­eous ; and Ism?’?l and Elisha and Y?nus (Jona) and L?t (Lot ) and all of them We select­ed among the cre­ations ; and of their fathers, their prog­e­ny and their broth­ers ; and We select­ed them and guid­ed them to a straight path. This is God’s guid­ance. He guides therewish whom he pleas­es of His ser­vants. Had they (those Prophets) asso­ci­at­ed oth­er gods with Him, all that they used to do would have gone in vain. Those are they to whom We gave the Book, the author­i­ty and prophet­hood. Then if these (ther descen­dents) reject them, we shall entrust them (the Book, prophet­hood, etc.) to a peo­ple who do not reject them. Those were they whom God gave guid­ance. So fol­low the guid­ance they had…” (6:83 – 90). 

To the same effect is the rather long pas­sage, 21:71 – 92. It also comes after a descrip­tion of Ibr?h?m’s efforts to con­vert his peo­ple to monothe­ism (‘?yahs 53 – 70) and refers briefly to the same mis­sion of the dif­fer­ent Prophets like Ish?q (Isaac), Ya’q?b (Jacob), L?t, N?h, D?’?d, Sulaym?n,‘Ayy?b, Ism?’?l, Idr?s, Dh ? al-Kifli, Dh ? al‑N?n (Y?nus), Zakariyy ? and con­cludes by mak­ing this very sig­nif­i­cant and unequiv­o­cal state­ment in ‘?yah 92 that all these Prophets con­sti­tute a com­mu­ni­ty of the same faith. The ‘?yah runs as :

Ver­i­ly this com­mu­ni­ty (of faith, reli­gion) of yours is the same com­mu­ni­ty ; and I am your Lord. There­fore wor­ship Me.” (21:92)

Thus the ref­er­ence to Ibr?h?m, along with the oth­er Prophets, was made repeat­ed­ly at Mak­ka. No dis­tinc­tion was made in favour of any one of them. It was also at Mak­ka that all the fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ences that exist between Islam on one hand and Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty on the oth­er were enun­ci­at­ed. Thus the Jews’ view that Jesus was not a Prophet but an imposter and the Chris­tians’ belief that he was not a man but an incar­na­tion of God were simul­ta­ne­ous­ly and equal­ly strong­ly denied. Again, the con­cept of a son or sons for God, held by both the Jews and Chris­tians, was reject­ed in no unmis­tak­able terms. Fur­ther, the Jews’ out­ra­geous insin­u­a­tion against Mary was cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly dis­missed. It was also point­ed out, con­trary to the views of both the Jews and the Chris­tians, that on the Day of Judge­ment every per­son would be respon­si­ble for his own acts, that he would be singly and indi­vid­u­al­ly account­able to God aand that nei­ther race, nor ances­try nor any gen­er­al atone­ment by any being would be of any avail.[18] In all these respects what fol­lowed at Mad­i­na was only an elab­o­ra­tion of these points.


Sim­i­lar­ly the term han?f occurs first in the Makkan pas­sages of the Qur’?n. As Bell notes, it is used 12 times in the Qur’?n, 10 times in the sin­gu­lar form and 2 times in the plur­al ; but he seems to con­vey an impres­sion that all these 12 men­tions of the word are in the Mad­i­nan pas­sages. This is not at all the case. In fact, out of the 12 times, exact­ly its half, i.e. six times, we find it men­tioned in the Makkan s?rahs. These are :

    1:105 (s?rat Y?nus)
    16:120 (s?rat al-Nahl)
    16:123 (s?rat al-Nahl)
    30:30 (s?rat al‑R?m)
    6:79 (s?rat al-An’?m)
    6:161 (s?rat al-An’?m)

Chrono­log­i­cal­ly, the ear­li­est men­tion of the term seems to be in 30:30 (s?rat al‑R?m) where it is clear­ly set against shirk or poly­the­ism. For, in the pre­vi­ous ‘?yah s 20 – 29 the instances of the cre­ation of man, of sex­es and of var­i­ous nat­ur­al phe­nom­e­na by God are cit­ed to bring home the theme of His exis­tence and absolute uni­ty and the need for wor­ship­ping Him alone. Then a direct exhor­ta­tion is made to do so in 30:30 as follows :

So set your coune­nance for the d?n (faith) as a han?f ? the orig­i­nal nature on which Allah cre­at­ed man.” (30:30)

The orig­i­nal state (fitrah) spo­ken of here clear­ly refers not to what is often called nat­ur­al reli­gion”, but to the puri­ty of mind and heart at birth, unaf­fect­ed by exter­nal influ­ences or acquired habits and thoughts ? unadul­ter­at­ed devo­tion and res­ig­na­tion to Allah alone. The mean­ing is made fur­ther clear in the ‘?yah s that imme­di­ate­ly fol­low where man is asked to turn to God alone, to seek His pro­tec­tion, pray to Him and not to asso­ciate any part­ner with Him.

Sim­i­lar­ly the state­ment in 10:105 is very ear­ly. Here again the term is used as an antonym of poly­the­ism. The ear­ly date of the pas­sage is indi­cat­ed by the con­text as well as by the imme­di­ate­ly pre­ced­ing and suc­ceed­ing ‘?yah s. Thus in 10:104 Prophet Muhammad(P) is asked to clar­i­fy the nature of his faith. This is done obvi­ous­ly in response to the doubts and enquiries of the Makkan poly­the­ists. And in ‘?yah 106 the mean­ing of han?f is elu­ci­dat­ed. The pas­sage, 10:104 – 106, runs as follows :

Say O men, if you are in doubt about my faith (d?n), then (note that) I do not wor­ship those whom you wor­ship instead of Allah ; but I wor­ship Allah Who caus­es you to die ; and I have been com­mand­ed that I should be of the believ­ers ; and that you set your coun­te­nance for the d?n as a han?f and in no wise be of the poly­the­ists. And do not call, apart from Allah, on that which nei­ther ben­e­fits nor harms you. If you do, you will cer­tain­ly be of the wrong­do­ers.” (10:104 – 106

The ref­er­ence to those objects of wor­ship, i.e. the idols, that had no pow­er to do good or evil is anoth­er inter­nal evi­dence of the Makkan sit­u­a­tion in which the pas­sage was revealed.

In the same sense and in a sim­i­lar con­text the term is used in 6:79. Indeed this sec­tion of the s?rah starts with its ‘?yah 71 which is an inter­ro­ga­tion sig­ni­fy­ing denial : Shall we call, besides Allah, on oth­ers that can do us nei­ther good nor harm?” The suc­ceed­ing ‘?yahs then nar­rate Ibr?h?m’s rejec­tion of the unre­al gods lead­ing to his dec­la­ra­tion, in ‘?yah 79 as follows :

I have turned my face to Him Who brought into being the heav­ens and the earth, as a han?f, and I am not a poly­the­ist.” (6:79)

The term occurs again at a lat­er stage of the s?rah in its ‘?yah 161. Here also the con­text sig­ni­fies that the pas­sage was revealed at Mak­ka. The pre­ced­ing ‘?yahs 156 – 158 spe­cial­ly address the Arabs, or rather the Makkans, telling them that they should accept the guid­ance because they could no longer plead that where­as the Jews and Chris­tians had each been giv­en a book, none had been giv­en to them (the Arabs), adding that now that they had been giv­en a Book (Qur’?n), should they still be wait­ing for fur­ther signs” or angels or God Him­self to descend to them ? This is fol­lowed, in ‘?yahs 159 – 160, by the state­ment that the Prophet had noth­ing to do with those who cre­at­ed divi­sions in their reli­gion and became sects” and that every­one would get just reward for what he did. ?yah 161 then asks the Prophet to declare :

Say : As for me, my Lord has guid­ed me to a straight path ? a cor­rect d?n, the way of Ibr?h?m as a han?f and he was not a poly­the­ist.” (6:161)

The allu­sion to those who cre­ate divi­sions in their reli­gion” etc. may mean, as the com­men­ta­tors point out[19] , the Jews and Chris­tians who had each received a Book, or it may mean gen­er­al­ly those who cause divi­sions in their reli­gion by mak­ing inno­va­tions or in oth­er ways. But even if the allu­sion is tak­en to be to the Jews and Chris­tians, it would not be a depar­ture from the con­text ; for the Makkan oppo­si­tion had been alleg­ing that the Prophet was giv­ing out what he was being prompt­ed by some of his Chris­t­ian and Jew­ish con­fi­dants. It would there­fore be very appro­pri­ate to point out that he had noth­ing to do with them.

The oth­er two Makkan men­tions of the term han?f occur in 16:120 and 16:123. In fact all the four ‘?yah s of this pas­sage form a dis­tinct unit in which, again, the empha­sis is on monothe­ism and rejec­tion of all shades of poly­the­ism. The pas­sage runs as follows :

Ibr?h?m was indeed a mod­el, devout­ly obe­di­ent to Allah as a han?f , and was not a poly­the­ist ? thank­ful for His favours. He (Allah) chose him (as His Prophet) and guid­ed him to a straight way. And We gave him good in this world ; and in the here­after he will be (in the ranks) of the right­eous. Then We revealed to you that you fol­low the reli­gion of Ibr?h?m, as a han?f, and he was not a poly­the­ist.” (16:120 – 123

Before pass­ing on to the Mad­i­nan pas­sages the points illus­trat­ed by the Makkan pas­sages may be reca­pit­u­lat­ed. First and fore­most, it is clear that the ref­er­ence to han?f as well as to the mes­sage of Ibr?h?m was made at Mak­ka, long before the migra­tion to Mad­i­na. Sec­ond, in all the six instances of its use in the Makkan s?rah s the term han?f has been used in the sense of an absolute monothe­ist who reject­ed all shades of poly­the­ism. Third, in at least two of these six places, i.e. in 30:30 and 10:105, the word has been used with­out any ref­er­ence to Ibr?h?m. This means that the word has been used in a gener­ic sense of a monothe­ist, and, obvi­ous­ly, in the sense in which it was gen­er­al­ly under­stood by the audi­ence. There is thus no ques­tion of the Qur’?n’s, and there­fore of Muhammad’s(P) putting a new and unusu­al sense on the word. Fourth, though in the four oth­er places Ibr?h?m has been cit­ed as a mod­el monothe­ist, there has been no attempt what­so­ev­er to rel­e­gate any oth­er Prophet to a sec­ondary posi­tion, nor is there any sug­ges­tion that their teach­ings dif­fered in any essen­tial respect from those of Ibr?h?m. While empha­sis has been laid on Ibr?h?m under­stand­ably because his mem­o­ries were spe­cial­ly cher­ished by the imme­di­ate lis­ten­ers, the Arabs, the Jews and Chris­tians, the iden­ti­ty and con­ti­nu­ity of the messeges of all the Prophets have been unmis­tak­ably point­ed out at the same time, as it is evi­denced by 6:83 – 90 which comes imme­di­ate­ly after a ref­er­ence to Ibr?h?m as a han?f and which has been men­tioned above.


What fol­lowed at Mad­i­na was only an elab­o­ra­tion of these points and prin­ci­ples. The Mad­i­nan state­ments are of course made more often in the con­text of the posi­tion of the Jews and the Chris­tians ; but the same empha­sis on absolute monothe­ism, the same reit­er­a­tion of the iden­ti­ty and con­ti­nu­ity of the mes­sages of all the Prophets and the same gener­ic use of the term han?f are as clear here as in the Makkan s?rahs. As in the case of the Makkan pas­sages so also in those of the Mad­i­nan, in two out of six places the term han?f has been used in a gener­ic sense and in the plur­al with­out any ref­er­ence to Ibr?h?m.

One such use is in 22:30 – 31 which runs as follows :

…Hence steer clear of the filth of idols (poly­the­ism) and shun telling false­hood (about Allah) ? being hunaf?’ for Allah, with­out asso­ci­at­ing oth­ers with Him.” 

The gener­ic use of the term as well as the empha­sis on monothe­ism are unmis­tak­able here. It is also note­wor­thy that the con­clud­ing phrase with­out asso­ci­at­ing oth­ers with Him” is an elu­ci­da­tion of and in appo­si­tion to the expres­sion hunaf?’ lill?h .

The oth­er gener­ic use of the term with­out any ref­er­ence to Ibr?h?m is in 98:5 which runs as follows :

And they had not been com­mand­ed except to wor­ship Allah, being sin­cere­ly and exclu­sive­ly devot­ed to Him as hunaf?’…”

Here again the term hunaf?’ is in appo­si­tion to the expres­sion : being sin­cere­ly and exclu­sive­ly devot­ed to Him.”

In the remain­ing four Mad­i­nan pas­sages the term is of course used in con­nec­tion with Ibr?h?m ; but the same sense of an absolute monothe­ist and the same uncom­pro­mis­ing rejec­tion of poly­the­ism are explic­it through­out. At these four places the state­ments are made in the con­text of dia­logues with the Peo­ple of the Book”, more par­tic­u­lar­ly the Jews. The most note­wor­thy point in these pas­sages is that Ibr?h?m is cit­ed not for the pur­pose of claim­ing the Arab’s exclu­sive affin­i­ty with him nor for assert­ing any prece­dence or supe­ri­or­i­ty over the teach­ings of Moses and Jesus, but for illus­trat­ing, first, the incon­sis­ten­cy of the claims of the Jews and Chris­tians them­selves that they were bear­ers of the true Abra­ham­ic tra­di­tion and, sec­ond­ly, to con­tra­dict their asser­tions that Ibr?h?m him­self was a Jew” or Chris­t­ian” and that none would attain sal­va­tion and enter par­adise except those who became Jews or Christians.[20] As against such claims it was point­ed out that while they called upon the oth­ers to become either Jews or Chris­tians, they them­selves were irrec­on­cil­ably divid­ed, the Jews alleg­ing that the Chris­tians had noth­ing to stand upon, and the Chris­tians claim­ing that the Jews had noth­ing to stand upon, though they both stud­ied the Book. It is also made very plain that the under­ly­ing issue is monothe­ism and the iden­ti­ty and con­ti­nu­ity of the mes­sages of all the Prophets of God. A look at the pas­sages makes these very clear.

The state­ment at 2:135 runs as follows :

And they say : Be Jews or Chris­tians, you will get guid­ance. Say (to them, fol­low): Rather the reli­gion of Ibr?h?m, the han?f ; and he was none of a poly­the­ist.” (2:135)

This state­ment comes as a sequel to a rather detailed account of Moses and his efforts to bring home the theme of monothe­ism to the Chil­dren of Israel (‘?yahs 47 – 134) In the course of this long account four points are spe­cial­ly stressed. First, it is made very clear that the argu­ment is direct­ed not against the Jews and Chris­tians in gen­er­al nor as their being fol­low­ers of Moses and Jesus, but against par­tic­u­lar notions and prac­tices that were adopt­ed in the names of those Prophets. Hence it is stat­ed unequiv­o­ca­bly : Those among the Jews and Chris­tians who sin­cere­ly believe in God and in the Day of Judge­ment, and do good deeds, they would have their rewards from their Lord and would have noth­ing to fear nor any cause to grieve” (‘?yah 2:62). Sec­ond, it is point­ed out that it was only a sec­tion of the Jews who con­scious­ly and know­ing­ly tam­pered with the Scrip­ture, while the unin­formed sec­tion of them mere­ly fol­lowed their desires and whims with­out being real­ly aware of what the Scrip­ture teach­es (‘?yah 2:75,78). Third, it is stat­ed in the same strain that the mes­sage con­tained in the Book of Moses did not stop with him, for God fol­lowed it up by send­ing oth­er Prophets includ­ing Jesus ; but nonethe­less the Jews, when they found that the divine mes­sage was not in accord with their likes and dis­likes, they belied some of the Prophets and killed some oth­ers (‘?yah 2:87). In this con­nec­tion the error in the claim that none but a Jew or a Chris­t­ian would enter par­adise is point­ed out and it is reit­er­at­ed that only he who sub­mits whole­heart­ed­ly to God and does good deeds will receive His rewards (‘?yah 2:111 – 112). Also the notion of God’s son, com­mon to both the Jews and Chris­tians, is strong­ly rebutted (‘?yahs 2:116 – 117). Final­ly, refer­ring specif­i­cal­ly to Ibr?h?m and Ya’q?b, with whom the Jews and Chris­tians declared their affin­i­ty, it was point­ed out that they both had enjoined upon their prog­e­ny and suc­ces­sors to wor­ship the One Only God and to sub­mit to Him whole­heart­ed­ly (‘?yahs 2:132 – 133). And in con­tin­u­a­tion of this argu­ment ‘?yah 135 states : They say, be Jews or Chris­tians, you will get guid­ance. Say : Rather the reli­gion of Ibr?h?m, the han?f ; and he was none of a polytheist.”

The whole dis­cus­sion here, as else­where, revolves round the ques­tion of monothe­ism. There is no claim to affin­i­ty with Ibr?h?m sole­ly and exclu­sive­ly for the Arabs or for the fol­low­ers of the Prophet Muhammad(P). On the con­trary, the bur­den of the whole dis­cus­sion is that, since the Jews and the Chris­tians them­selves claim affin­i­ty with Ibr?h?m, it only behoved them to adhere strict­ly to the monothe­ism he taught and typ­i­fied. That is why when­ev­er he is described as a han?f it is empha­sized that he was no poly­the­ist. There is no pre­ten­sion to pri­or­i­ty or supe­ri­or­i­ty, nor any low­er­ing of the Prophets of the Jews and the Chris­tians, nor any sug­ges­tion that the teach­ings of one Prophet dif­fered from those of anoth­er. The iden­ti­ty and con­ti­nu­ity of the mes­sages of all the Prophets are thus empha­sized in the imme­di­ate­ly suc­ceed­ing ‘?yah 2:136 as follows :

Say ye : We believe in Allah and in what has been sent down to us and in what was sent down to Ibr?h?m, Ism?’?l, Ish?q and Ya’q?b and the Tribes, and in that giv­en to M?s ? and ‘?s ? and that giv­en to (all) the Prophets from their Lord. We make no dis­tinc­tion between one and anoth­er of them ; and to Him we sur­ren­der (com­plete­ly).” (2:136)

That the ref­er­ence to Ibrahim as a han?f was made in order to illus­trate the incon­sis­ten­cy of the Jews’ and Chris­tians’ claim of affin­i­ty with him, because of their obvi­ous non-com­pli­ance with true monothe­ism, is fur­ther evi­dent from the two oth­er uses of the term at 3:67 and 3:95. In this s?rah the argu­ment is devel­oped from ‘?yah 33 where­in men­tion is first made of ‘?dam, N?h and Ibr?h?m and the fam­i­ly of Imr?n as the recepi­ents of Allah’s spe­cial favours. This is fol­lowed by an account, in ‘?yahs 35 through 62, of the birth and mis­sion of ‘?s?, in the course of which it is spe­cial­ly stressed that he had declared : It is Allah Who is my Lord and your Lord ; so wor­ship Him. This is a way that is straight.”[21] It is fur­ther empha­sized that the cre­ation of ‘?s ? was like the cre­ation of ‘?dam as an evi­dence of Allah’s will and omnipotence.[22] There­fore the unusu­al birth of ‘?s ? should be no rea­son for deify­ing him. This is fol­lowed by a fer­vent appeal to both the Chris­tians and the Jews in ‘?yah 3:64 as follows :

Say : O Peo­ple of the Book, come to com­mon terms as between us and you ; that we wor­ship none but Allah ; that we asso­ciate no part­ners with Him and that we take not from among our­selves Lords and Patrons leav­ing aside Allah.…” (3:64)

Next the unrea­son­able­ness of the claim that Ibr?h?m wa a Jew or Chris­t­ian is point­ed out by draw­ing atten­tion to the sim­ple fact that the Torah and the Inj?l which the Jews and Chris­tians claim to be the sources of their beliefs were not revealed till long after Ibr?h?m (‘?yahs 3:65,66). Hence if they real­ly mean to iden­ti­fy them­selves with him, they could con­sis­tent­ly do so by con­form­ing to absolute monothe­ism ; for, declares ‘?yah 3:67,

Ibr?h?m was not a Jew, nor a Chris­t­ian, but a han?f (a per­son of true and upright faith in Allah), a Mus­lim (one who sur­ren­ders him­self com­plete­ly to Allah alone); and he was none of a poly­the­ist.” (3:67)

The argu­ment is con­tin­ued in the suc­ceed­ing ‘?yah as follows :

The most deserv­ing of men to claim iden­ti­ty with Ibr?h?m are indeed those who fol­low him (tru­ly).…” (3:68)

The same theme of monothe­ism and the same empha­sis on the need to fol­low the way of Ibr?h?m, if one real­ly meant to iden­ti­fy one­self with him, are the sub­ject mat­ter of the ‘?yahs that fol­low the one quot­ed above till ‘?yah 3:95 which states :

Say : Allah speaks the truth, Hence fol­low the reli­gion of Ibr?h?m, the han?f, and he was none of a poly­the­ist.” (3:95)

In all the three above-not­ed pas­sages (i.e., 2:135 ; 3:67 and 3:95) the ref­er­ence to Ibr?h?m as a han?f has been made in response to the claims of the Peo­ple of the Book” them­selves that it was they who belonged to the com­mu­ni­ty of Ibr?h?m. They are there­fore called upon to fol­low strict­ly the way (mil­lat) of Ibr?h?m if they real­ly meant to be true to their claim. No pre­ten­sion to pri­or­i­ty over or supe­ri­or­i­ty to the mes­sage of M?s ? and ‘?s ? is made in any place, nor is there any sug­ges­tion that the right to claim iden­ti­ty with Ibr?h?m belonged exclu­sive­ly to the Arabs. Fur­ther, the equal­i­ty of all the Prophets and the iden­ti­ty of their teach­ings have been empha­sized all along.

The oth­er men­tion of the word han?f occurs in 4:125 (s?rat al-Nis?’). Here also the theme is monothe­ism and the empha­sis is on total rejec­tion of all shades of poly­the­ism. This theme starts specif­i­cal­ly with ‘?yah 116 of the s?rah which states : Allah for­gives not the sin of join­ing oth­ers with Him. He may for­give the oth­er sins of any­one whom He pleas­es. Who­ev­er asso­ciates oth­ers with Allah strays far away indeed.”[23] Then ‘?yahs 117:120 state that it is the dev­il who dupes many into poly­the­ism and caus­es them to enter­tain vain hopes and base­lesss expec­ta­tions. The hopes and expec­ta­tions allud­ed to here were clear­ly under­stood by the audi­ence and are indeed spelt out else­where in the Qur’?n. These were the pagan Arabs’ claim that they would not be res­ur­rect­ed after death for final judgement[24] and that their deities would in any case inter­cede with Allah on their behalf[25], and the claims of the Peo­ple of the Book” that they were the sons and loved ones of Allah”[26] , that they would not in any case suf­fer hell-fire except for a lim­it­ed num­ber of days[27], and that none would enter par­adise except a Jew or a Christian.[28] It is with ref­er­ence to such notions that ‘?yahs 121 – 124 of the s?rah state, address­ing the pagan Arabs as well as the Peo­ple of the Book, that nei­ther your desires nor those of the Peo­ple of the Book would be of any avail”.[29] At the same time the prin­ci­ple of indi­vid­ual respon­si­bil­i­ty and account­abil­i­ty is stressed by say­ing that who­ev­er does a good deed and has faith will get his reward and who­ev­er does any­thing wong will be dul­ly requit­ted by Allah.[30] Hence, states ‘?yah 4:125, the best way is to sur­ren­der one’s whole self to Allah, to do good deeds and to fol­low the way of Ibr?h?m, as a han?f. The ‘?yah runs as follows :

Who can be bet­ter in reli­gion than the one who sub­mits his coun­te­nance (one’s whole self) to Allah, per­form good deeds and fol­low the reli­gion of Ibr?h?m, as a han?f?.…” (4:125)

Thus an analy­sis of the twelve Qur’?nic pas­sages (six Makkan and six Mad­i­nan) where­in the term han?f occurs deci­sive­ly demon­strates the unten­abil­i­ty of the Jef­fery-Bell the­o­ry which says that the Prophet had recourse to the expres­sion han?f, put a new sense of monothe­ist upon it and relat­ed it to the Abra­ham­ic reli­gion only when dif­fer­ences devel­oped between him and the Jews after his migra­tion to Mad­i­na and with a view to break­ing away from both Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty and to win­ning over to his cause the pagan Arabs who cherised Ibr?h?m’s mem­o­ries. It has been seen that the use of the term han?f and the ref­er­ence to Ibr?h?m’s mes­sage were made at Mak­ka, at a very ear­ly stage of the Prophet’s mis­sion and long before the migra­tion to Mad­i­na. It was also at Mak­ka that the depar­ture from the fun­da­men­tal and cen­tral doc­trines of Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty were made. The main point at issue was monothe­ism. It was on this issue that the doc­trines of the Trin­i­ty, of son-ship of God and of incar­na­tion and divin­i­ty of ‘?s ? were dis­card­ed right from the begin­ning and the rejec­tion was reit­er­at­ed through­out the Makkan and Mad­i­nan peri­ods. Indeed it was in the sense of a strict and uncom­pro­mis­ing monothe­ist that the term han?f has been used through the Makkan and the Mad­i­nan peri­ods. Bel­l’s sug­ges­tion that the Prophet put a new sense of the very antithe­sis of poly­the­ist” upon the term is an indi­rect admis­sion that it has been used every­where in the Qur’?n in the sense of an absolute monothe­ist. That no uncom­mon and strange sense was put upon it is shown by its gener­ic use, with­out any ref­er­ence to Ibr?h?m, in both the Makkan and Mad­i­nan pas­sages. It is also quite unrea­son­able to assume that the Prophet put a new mean­ing on the term just for the sake of break­ing away from the Jews and the Chris­tians and for win­ning over the pagan Arabs to his cause ; for such an unusu­al appli­ca­tion of the word was more like­ly to cre­ate con­fu­sion and evoke crit­i­cism and mis­un­der­stand­ing by the Prophet’s oppo­nents. Yet, nei­ther the Quraysh oppo­nents nor those from the Peo­ple of the Book appear to have tak­en any objec­tion to the use made of the word in the Qur’?n. And imag­ine the sit­u­a­tion if some­one in Eng­land sud­den­ly ven­tured to use the word fool” in its direct­ly oppo­site sense of wise”, apply­ing it to an Eng­lish his­tor­i­cal fig­ure and call­ing upon Eng­lish-men to take from him that mean­ing for the word in respect of that nation­al hero !

The fact is that nei­ther was the term han?f used in the Qur’?n in a nov­el sense direct­ly oppo­site to the mean­ing in which it had hith­er­to been under­stood by the Arabs, nor was ref­er­ence to the Abra­ham­ic tra­di­tion made with a view to break­ing away from Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty. The Mad­i­nan ref­er­ence to Ibr?h?m as a han?f was in response to the claims of affin­i­ty with him made by the Peo­ple of the Book” them­selves. It was plain­ly point­ed out tha far from being a Jew or a Chris­t­ian, Ibr?h?m was a han?f, an absolute monothe­ist, and not a poly­the­ist. Hence they were asked to adhere to the mil­lat of Ibr?h?m, if they were true to their claims. This is very sig­nif­i­cant. It means that the Qur’?n, and there­fore Muhammad(P), viewed the beliefs and prac­tices of the Jews and Chris­tians of the time as anti­thet­i­cal to monothe­ism and as man­i­fest depar­tures from the teach­ings of Ibr?h?m and the oth­er Prophets. It also means that the posi­tion was just the reverse of what the Jef­fery-Bell the­o­ry sug­gests. The Qur’?nic evi­dence does in no way show that Muhammad(P), with a view to avoid­ing the crit­i­cism that he had bor­rowed the con­cept of monothe­ism and oth­er ideas from Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty, traced his teach­ings to an ear­li­er” source, the teach­ings of Ibr?h?m. On the con­trary, the evi­dence is that, so far as the Jews and the Chris­tians were con­cerned, the ref­er­ence to Ibr?h?m as a han?f was made in response to their claim of affin­i­ty with him and in view of the obvi­ous incon­sis­ten­cies of their beliefs and prac­tices with monothe­ism and the teach­ings of Ibr?h?m. That is why it was repeat­ed­ly point­ed out that he was none of a poly­the­ist, that he was nei­ther a Jew nor a Chris­t­ian. This, togeth­er with the open call made to the Peo­ple of the Book” to fol­low the mil­lat of Ibr?h?m or, at least, to agree to a com­mon” for­mu­la, name­ly, to wor­ship Allah alone and not to set any part­ner with Him, indis­putably demon­strate that the issue was not between an ear­li­er” and, so to say, a pur­er” or first-class monothe­ism on the one had, and a lat­er or sec­ond-class monothe­ism on the oth­er. The issue was clear­ly between monothe­ism and a nega­tion of it. In its resort to the expres­sion han?f and to the Abra­ham­ic tra­di­tion at Mad­i­na the Qur’?n was not at all adopt­ing any defen­sive stance as against the Jews’ and Chris­tians’ crit­i­cism of Islam ; it was sim­ply lead­ing the onslaught on them on account of their claims of iden­ti­ty with Ibr?h?m and, there­fore, on the incon­sis­ten­cy of that claim with the obvi­ous nega­tion of monothe­ism in their beliefs and practices.


[1] A Sprenger, Das Leben und die Lehre des Mohammed, I., Berlin, 1861, pp. 45 – 134.

[2] I. Goldz­i­her, Muham­madanis­che Stu­di­en, I, Halle, 1888, pp. 1 – 39.

[3] See J. Well­hausen, Reste Ara­bis­cen Hei­den­tums , sec­ond edn., Berlin, 1897, p. 238 ; D.S. Mar­go­liouth, J.R.A.S., 1903, pp. 467 – 493 ; Sir Charles Lyall, ibid ., pp. 771 – 784 and L. Cae­tani, Annal­li dell’ Islam, I, Milan, 1905, pp. 181 – 192.

[4] R.A. Nichol­son, A Lit­er­ary His­torv of the Arabs (1st edn. 1907), 1988 reprint, p. 150. See also P.K. Hit­ti, His­to­ry of the Arabs (1st. edn. 1937), 10th edn., reprint­ed 1986, pp. 107 – 108.

[5] Pub­lished at Bar­o­da for the first time in 1938.

[6] A. Jef­fery, op. cit., 112 – 115

[7] R. Bell, Who Were The Han­i­fs”, The Moslem World, 1930, pp. 120 – 124. Bell acknowl­edged his debt to Jef­fery thus : The sug­ges­tion came to me from read­ing a dis­cus­sion of the word han?f in a the­sis by Dr. Arthur Jef­fery, of Cairo, on The For­eign Vocab­u­lary of the Koran ? a valu­able work which it is hoped may soon find a pub­lish­er.” — Ibid., p. 120.

[8] Ibid., p. 121

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid., 122 – 123

[11] Ibid., 123 – 124

[12] Ibid., 124.

[13] N.A. Faris and H.W. Glid­den, The devel­op­ment of the mean­ing of the Koran­ic Hanif”, Jour­nal of Pales­tine Ori­en­tal Soci­ety , XIX, 1939, pp. 1 – 13

[14] See for instance Hit­ti, op. cit., 108 ; Watt, M. at M. , 162 – 163 and E.I. , III, 166. See also below, text.

[15] E.I. , III166.

[16] Bukh?r?, no. 399 (Fath al‑B?r ?, I., 598, Kit?b al- Sal?t, B?b 31); Azraq?, Akhb?r Mak­ka, II., 19. There is also a report to the effect that the event took place only two months after the hijrah (see Ibn M?jah, no. 1010, Vol. I., 322, Kit?b 5, B?b 56), but this does not seem to be correct.

[17] See for instance Q. 6:74 – 90 ; 7:59 – 93 ; 7:103 – 129 ; 10:13 ; 10:47 ; 10:71 – 92 ; 16:36 ; 16:43 – 44 ; 16:120 – 123 ; 19:1 – 58 ; 20:9 – 99 ; 21:25 ; 21:51 – 93 ; 23:23 – 50 ; 26 : 10 – 191

[18] See s?rah 112 and 19:16 – 35, 80, 88 – 93;99:6 – 8 ; 101:6 – 11

[19] See for instance Al-Qur­tub?, Tafs?r, VII, 149 – 150.

[20] Q. 2:111

[21] Q. 3:51

[22] Q. 3:59

[23] Q. 4:116

[24] Q. 16:38 which states : They swear by their strongest oaths by God that God shall not ressurect those who die”. See also Q 72:7.

[25] See for instance 6:94 ; 10:18 and 39:43.

[26] Q. 5:80 — The Jews and the Chris­tians said : We are sons of God and His loved ones”.

[27] Q. 2:80 & 3:24 which run respec­tive­ly as : And they said : The fire shall not touch us but for a num­ber of days”.

[28] Q : 211 — And they said : None shall enter par­adise unless he be a Jew or a Christian”.

[29] Q. 4:123

[30] Q. 4:122 – 124Endmark

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