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8:35 Like the clapping of hands

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Their prayer at the House (of Allah) is nothing but whistling and clapping of hands: (Its only answer can be), “Taste ye the penalty because ye blasphemed.”

I.e., devoid of all spiritual contents. Some of the early authorities maintain that dancing
around the Ka’bah, accompanied by whistling and hand-clapping, was actually a ritual practiced
by the pre-Islamic Arabs. Although this explanation is quite plausible, it would appear from
the context that the expression “whistling and clapping of hands” is used here metaphorically,
to denote the spiritual emptiness of the religious rituals of people who are wont to attribute
a quasi-divine efficacy to all manner of circumstantial “forces” – like wealth, power,
social status, “luck”, etc.


Asad, Muhammad (1980). The Message of the Quran.

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