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(2:135) The Religion of Abraham the True

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They say: “Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (To salvation).” Say thou: “Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with Allah.”

Hanîf is derived from hanafa , َwhich means to lean,
incline, turn away from error to guidance, incline to the right religion,
stand firmly on one side, leave a false religion or turn to what is right.
In pre-Islamic times, this term had a clearly monotheistic connotation
and was used to describe a person who turned away from sin,
worldliness and dubious beliefs, especially idol worship. Before the
advent of Islam, there was a school of thought known as hanîf who openly avowed Unitarianism as their faith, which they professed the religion taught by Abraham. These few earnest people were averse to
idolatry and were believers in One God. They did not find solace and
satisfaction in Christianity or Judaism. At the time of the Holy
Prophet (pbuh), they included Zaid Ibn Amr bin Nufail, ‘Umar’s
uncle, a renowned poet and the chief of Taif. Many instances of the
use of this term can be found in the works of pre-Islamic poets such as
Umayyah ibn Abî Salt and Jarîr al-Aud. The word hanîf is of Arabic
origin, and is not derived from the Canaanite or Aramaic word hanpa
or hanfa whose literary meaning is “one who turns away” (Lane; Tâj;
Râghib; Zamakhsharî). The Holy Quran: Commentary and Reflections, p. 379-380)

References:

NOORUDDÎN ,ALLÂMAH. (2015). Exegesis of The Holy Qur’ân Commentary and Reflections. (p. 379-380). http://www.islamicweblibrary.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Exegesis-of-the-Holy-Quran-Commentary-and-Reflections.pdf

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