The Ahnaf

                                          By Dr. Rafat Amari

 

Ahnaf is a pagan Arabian religious group which began at the time of Mohammed. It had nothing to do with the faith of Abraham.


Islamic tradition claims that at the time of Mohammed, there was a group of people who refused to be either Jews or Christians, but instead, they claimed to be of the “faith of Abraham,” which, according to Islam, would mean they were the true followers of Abraham,
and continued throughout  history. They called themselves “Ahnaf “ orHonafa.“

This claim is blatantly false.
 Nowhere in the pages of history was there a religion of Abraham called Hanifa”. Abraham was never called “Hanifa” nor did Abraham ever call himself “Hanif,”  nor did he establish a religion. Faith in the God of the Bible did not begin with Abraham nor did it begin in his lifetime. Before Abraham, the Bible presented men such as Enoch and Noah with whom God spoke and fellowshipped.

But Abraham was called to leave Ur in Mesopotamia, to become the  one of the forefathers in the genealogy of the promised Messiah. Since humanity fell into sin, God planned to send Christ into the world , so that He might redeem humanity by dying on the cross.

Abraham knew that the Savior would come from his offspring. This knowledge was given to Abraham when God led Abraham to Mount Moriah near Jerusalem to present his son Isaac as a sacrifice. 
Moriah is the range of mountains around Jerusalem, where God the Father- 2000 thousands later - sacrificed His son as atonement for mankind's sins.  Abraham was part of God’s prophetical statement when he prepared to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, after he sent away Hagar and her son ,Ishmael, and remained with Isaac whom he much loved. God did this so Abraham could experience and reflects on the pain which God, the Father experienced when He sacrificed His only eternal Son.

 
  The term " son of God" does not mean that Christ was born to the Father, like and earthly son is born to a human father. He is the Son of God because He is the object of God’s eternal love, concern and glory. The Bible speaks of Christ in Colossians 1:13 as “the Son of His love ”, in  Hebrews1:2. He is the heir of all things. He declared in John 16:15, “all the things that belong to the Father are mine.” And again in John 1:3.all things were made by Him and without Him nothing was made that has been made.”

Abraham, as you may remember,  placed Isaac on the wood stacked high on the altar, and he prepared to kill him. God stopped Abraham by providing a ram caught in the thicket. Isaac could never be the redeemer for mankind himself because he was born in sin like all human beings.  God was showing him that the redeemer must come from heaven. The ram Abraham saw symbolized Jesus,  the Lamb of God who carried away the sins of the world.

Abraham was never given a law to be considered as a founder of a religion. The Law in the Old Testament was given to Moses. He never was inspired to write a book, like many other prophets of the Old Testament. To assert that Abraham founded a religion is inconceivable. One can’t single out one event in the Bible and make a “religion” from it. All the revelations of the Old and New Testaments are the providence’s of the same true God. The revelations of the Old Testament pointed to the coming of Christ, His death and resurrection from the dead, in order to bring man to fellowship with God.

Yet, Mohammed in the Qu’ran speaks about the religion of Abraham as Hanif. And calls Muslims to be neither Jews nor Christians but to be Hanifas as we read in Surah Al Baqarah 2:135. This verse contradicts the truth which all the prophets announced. It opposes the main subject around which their prophecies revolve, which is that Christ is the Eternal Son of God,  and took on a human form, died on the Cross and was resurrected from the dead.
 

 
Islamic claims about Honafa’ or  Ahnaf

There are no mention of Ahnaf in the Jahilieh period  before Islam. This fact is recognizable by Islamic scholars themselves. Jawad Ali, an Iraqi Islamic scholar, says, “There is nothing about Ahnaf in Arabian sources before Islam. most the information that Islamic authors provide is obscure and a fabrication.
  [i]  Jawad Ali goes on to say, “We have no mention of Ahnaf in the Jahilieh nor in the classical writings of the Greeks and Romans. Therefore, our knowledge about them was only through Islamic literature.”[ii]

Here we see clearly that the idea of a religion in Arabia called Hanafieh which claims an affiliation with the faith of Abraham is not based on history. If this religion had existed, it would have been practiced, not in Arabia, but in Israel, where Abraham lived most of his life. But neither Israelite nor Greek nor Roman historians ever mention a religion called Hanifieh built on Abraham. It’s implausible that this kind of religion would be unknown to the historians  and still be practiced at the time of Mohammed in the desert of Mecca. No one has heard of it since the time of Abraham.

The Ahnaf, negative in behavior and conduct

 However , Mohammed did have a connection with a group of people the Islamic tradition calls “Ahnaf.” The first biography of the
life of Mohammed was written during the 8th century A.D. by Ibn Ishack and edited by Ibn Hisham. In it we read that the Honafa’ was a small group "started when four persons at Mecca agreed. Those four were Zyed bin Amru bin Nafil, Waraqa bin Nofil, Obeid allah bin Jahsh, and Othman bin Al-Howerieth.
They died as Sabians .[iii]

The four founders of Ahnaf were all related to Mohammed. They  were descendants of Loui, one of Mohammed ancestors. Furthermore, Waraqa bin Nofel and Othman Ben Al-Huwereth were cousins of Khadijah. We know this from Mohammed’s genealogy presented by Ibn Hisham.[iv] Khadijah was  the first wife of Mohammed. She played a major role in convincing Mohammed that he was a prophet, using Waraqa to achieve her goal.

Obeid Allah Ben Jahish was a maternal cousin to Mohammed. Mohammed married his widow, Um Habibeh. All this reveals the close connection between Mohammed and the founders of the group .

This group was unknown outside Mecca but Ummieh bin Abi Al Salet, a maternal cousin of Mohammed, who influenced the group by his poems, and is considered by some to be a member of the group,
came to live in the city of Taif.  
We know many people joined them. They belonged to different religions, and thus had various doctrines. Each religion  contained forms of polytheism, paganism and occultism. This makes them the most unlikely group in history to claim they espoused the faith that Abraham and other prophets in the Old Testament professed and preached. It’s ridiculous that Muslims would believe that this pagan group represented the true and devout faith.

The myths which they believed and incorporated into their poetry were also written into the Qu’ran because Mohammed belonged to the group from the time he was a youth. He boasted that he believed in their creed and he was known to have connections with many members of this group. He was influenced by their teachings, as well as by the  immoral concepts which I’ll discuss later.  All this reflects the group’s deep affiliation with the pagan mythological sects of the Middle East at the time of Mohammed.  We encounter the same myths In their books.

 
It was not known if this group called themselves Honafa  or Ahnaf, or they were called this by the society as such. Especially if we know that the terminology had a negative meaning and reflected negative behavior. The word hanif means “Astrictive, confined, awry, biased and errant.” The Arabic word comes from the verb hanafa which means to become Astrictive.[v] Although the Qu’ran would convey a positive meaning to the term hanif today, it was not so at the time of Mohammed.

Jawad Ali, the Iraqi scholar I referred to earlier, says, “The Hanaf is straying from the right way.” Jawad Ali quotes many old Islamic authors who maintained this was the meaning of hanif at the time of Mohammed[vi].  According to Jawad Ali,  the word also is derived from an Aramaic word that means "atheist, guileful, hypocrite, infidel or perverted."[vii]

No matter how you look at it, the term hanif was a negative one at the time of Mohammed as we see it in the Arabic and  Aramaic languages.  This suggests that group members did not call themselves by that name, but they were given that name by the people of Mecca, the community in which they lived. Evidently, the Meccans observed their immoral conduct and the perversions which they practiced. 

  
The immoral reputation of Ahnaf and its impact on Mohammed

Their immoral behavior is seen in their poems, such as the poem composed by Waraqa Ben Nofel, one of the four founders of the group. He boasted of his own experience raping a girl in her home and enjoying sex with her. In his poem he encourages others to enjoy experiences like this[viii].

  Waraqa's immoral ideas left a special impact on Mohammed who learned under him. Waraqa was a cousin of Mohammed’s first wife, Khadejeh. She used Waraqa to convince Mohammed that he was a prophet. This was after Mohammed had negative experiences with a spirit who choked him three times in order to subjugate him to an oracle he wanted to use Mohammed to spread. Mohammed returned from his cave to his wife shaking, quavering and trembling. He alluded to having been possessed by a devil, and invaded by a spirit of Kahhaneh. This divination was used by the devils of Arabia to summons their priests which they called Kuhhan.

Without doubt, the example of Waraqa, as we saw through his poem, left a special impact on Mohammed's behavior . During his campaigns he waged against the non-Muslim tribes and cities in Arabia. He allowed his followers to have sex with all the females they captured after they had killed the husbands and the fathers of those poor victims. The practiced sex openly in the fields after most of their campaigns. Sometimes two or more Muslims shared a girl or woman together, as in the case of Thabit Bin Quis  who  shared one girl with his cousin whom they made as concubine. The girl they captured in an Islamic campaign against her city was Burrah Bint Al Hareth.  Afterward,  Thabit wanted to marry her, so he  gave his cousin several date trees he had, in exchange for his cousins' part in the girl.

Later Burrah wanted to get advice from Mohammed. When Aisheh, the youngest wife of Mohammed, saw the girl was very beautiful, she hated to see that Burrah was meeting with Mohammed, because she knew Mohammed would take her from her husband Thabit and keep her for himself. This was a something Mohammed had done before with the most beautiful women captured in the campaigns
,  even though some of his followers may have had the woman before Mohammed. The prediction of Aisheh came true. Mohammed called Thabit and asked him to give him the girl. Thabit said, “She is for you, Oh prophet of Allah,” and Mohammed took the girl and changed her name into Jwerieh.[ix]

Thabit turned her over to Mohammed with those words, because Mohammed granted rights to himself to have any female even those who were married to his followers. No one could oppose Mohammed in any thing. He married Aisheh when she was only six years old and Mohammed was 54. Abu Baker, the father of Aisheh, dared not oppose Mohammed’s desire to take Abu Baker's child[x]

 
 Many soldiers followed Mohammed in his campaigns for the express purpose of capturing concubines, and enjoying free sex with the females of conquered tribes and cities. When he recruited followers for his army, Mohammed used slogans that promised sex with the women of the tribe or city he invaded. He told people, “follow me and you can enjoy sex with the daughters and wives of the tribe or city.”  For example, when he wanted to attack the Byzantine district of South Jordan, Mohammed  said, “follow me and I will let you enjoy the daughters of the blonde.”[xi]

Um Salmeh, a wife of Mohammed, said, “Mohammed came to me while a eunuch was in my house. I heard Mohammed say to Abed Allah Bin Ummieh who came with him, “Oh Abed, if Allah gives us victory tomorrow over the city of Taif, be careful
to have the daughter of Gilan for she is very beautiful.”[xii]

His slogans struck a responsive chord among many who were looking for sexual experiences, and an easy way to obtain many concubines. It was said that a man named Al Maghirah Bin Shaabah captured one thousand concubines by following Mohammed in his campaigns[xiii]

We find the literature of Ahnaf, filled with descriptions of paradise, full of women and free sexual experiences. This attracted Arabians who were deprived of spiritual knowledge. They were not interested in finding true spirituality and morality that comes from a relationship with the true God as presented in the New Testament.

There were many Gnostic sects around Mecca who promoted and promised to each of their adherents a sexy paradise filled with beautiful women. This left its impact on  the Ahnaf who were in contact with those Gnostic and heretical sects of Mecca. Among the Ahnaf who promoted a paradise of sex and indulgence was Ummieh Ben Abi Salat,  a maternal cousin of Mohammed. Ummieh claimed to be a prophet before Mohammed.   

Mohammed used to sit with Fariah, the sister of Ummieh, because he was fond of her beauty. She recited the poems of her brother Ummeih to Mohammed. That’s why in the Qu’ran we find many of the myths and poems that Ummieh composed. Among the things Mohammed borrowed from Ummieh was his description of  the women of the paradise. Ummieh also  wrote about  the rivers of honey and wine in paradise. The women never see the sun. They sleep on beds opposite each other, and were at the disposal of the one who enters paradise[xiv].

These thoughts are still reflected today in Islam among suicide bombers who are promised young virgins if the die in battle.
 
We find all these thoughts when we read the Qu’ran, which reveals the thoughts of Mohammed about paradise  were what Ummieh and the Ahnaf promoted to attract immoral people to their group.
Without the truth of the Bible which tells us about eternal spiritual joy and happiness which the Christian experiences in heaven,
Ahnaf made sex as main and eternal goal and end for their religion . This was reflected clearly in the Qur’an. The Ahnaf easily fell into sin. In heaven, rather than reveling in sexual gratification, true believers in God find happiness in the glorified spiritual nature which they enjoy

 
The idea of the sex was portrayed in the Ahnaf’s paradise. The
adherents were promised free sexual experiences on heaven ,
the thing that made free sex experiences to be their main goal and the highest achievement of their lives in earth. In the suburbs of Medina was a place where Khazrej and Oas, along with the followers of Mohammed who emigrated with him from Mecca, practiced sex with the females they captured as soon as they arrived the city after some of their campaigns. The place was called “Thaniyat Al Waddaa  ËäíÇÊ ÇáæÏÇÚ .” We understand from the book of Halabieh, one of Mohammed’s biographers, that Muslims enjoyed sex in Thaniyat Al Waddaa' with the females of the city of Kheiber when they returned to Medina[xv].

Khazrej and Oas,  the two Arabian tribes of Medina,  followed Mohammed from the beginning, and  became Muslims in return for the enjoyment of the daughters and wives of the Arabian and Jewish tribes they conquered.
  Mohammed fulfilled his promise to them, making sex open, common and first priority to  them.

Mohammed’s behavior in Medina set an example which encouraged such practices. Al Buchari quoted the words of Ans bin Malek, a close companion of Mohammed’s. He said “any women in the Medina could put her hand in the hand of the prophet of Allah, and take him where she wanted.”[xvi]

He encouraged Muslim women to offer themselves to him according to the 50th and 51st  verses in Surah 33, called Al Ahzab, “Oh prophet, we made it lawful to you to take the wives for which you have paid their dowry. What your hand possesses from the prisoners of war that Allah gave you, and the daughters of your uncles and the daughters of your aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and aunts, those who migrated with you, and any believing woman that gives herself to the prophet, if he wants to wed her, he may. These privileges are only for you and not for the believers at large. We know what we have appointed for them as to their wives and the females whom they captured in the wars. We established this so no embarrassment would come you. You have the prerogative to turn of any one you want  and to lodge with any woman you want, and if you desire any woman you sent away, it’s not sin for you.”

This statement about taking back someone previously sent away came from the Zoroastrian law which Mohammed adapted for the Qu’ran. It said a Muslim could divorce his wife for any reason, but he couldn’t return to her unless she first slept with another man for a period of time. So in Surah 33, Mohammed gave himself exceptional privileges. He  could have a relationship with any woman he sent away without the conditions he put on his followers. These verses intimate there is no law that limits
Mohammed from having any woman he desires.


Aisheh said, “I was jealous when the women offered themselves to  the prophet of Allah, and I used to say, ‘Can a woman offer herself?,  when a verse of the Qur’an came that says, ‘You have the prerogative to turn of anyone you want,  and to have to lodge  with you  any woman you want, and if you want any woman who in the past you have sent away, you have not sinned.’ I said to Mohammed,  ‘what I see is what your god
anticipated– quickly satisfying your fleshly desires.’”[xvii]

Mohammed extended sexual pleasure to those in his armies. Jaber Bin Abed Allah and Salmeh Bin Al Akwah  said, "We were with the army when Mohammed came and said to us, ‘it is allowable to you to enjoy sex so enjoy it’.”[xviii]

If free sex in paradise is the ultimate goal Mohammed promised to his adherents
as  their enjoyment of eternity, free sex on earth carries the same message.  It's the essence of what is considered
in their religion as the highest goal they were promised they would experience in eternity .  Therefore, it became something that they should seek to achieve on earth.

 

This is a trick of the  devil, the enemy of the soul. He replaced the holiness of heaven with the immorality of the Ahnaf's paradise. He replaced the holiness that Christ offers through His Spirit to those who believe in Him, with a search of profligacy, licentiousness, libertinism and immorality.

 

Next edition, I will continue on the subject.

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[i] Jawad Ali, Al Mufassal Fi Tariq al Arab Khabl al Islam, part vi, page 455

[ii] Jawad Ali, Al Mufassal Fi Tariq al Arab Khabl al Islam, part vi, page 450

[iii] Ibn Hisham, I, page 242

[iv] Ibn Hisham, I, page 63

[v] Al-Munjed ,Arabic dictionary, page 158

[vi] Jawad Ali, Al Mufassal Fi Tariq al Arab Khabl al Islam, part vi, page 451

[vii] Jawad Ali, Al Mufassal Fi Tariq al Arab Khabl al Islam, part vi, page 454

[viii] Al Asfahani, Al-Agani 3, page 118

[ix] Halabieh, II, pages 586 and 587

[x] Sahih Muslim, 9, pages 206-208;Bukhari,  6, page 134

[xi] Asbab al Nuzul, page 142

[xii]Bukhari, 5, page 102

[xiii] Halabieh, II, page 699

[xiv] Diwan Ummieh bin Abi al Salt, 49-53 cited by Jawad Ali, Al Mufassal Fi Tariq al Arab Khabl al Islam, part vi, page 489

[xv] Halabieh, II, page 235

[xvi]Bukhari, 7, page 90

[xvii]Bukhari, 6, page 24; Sahih Muslim 10, page 48

[xviii]Bukhari, 6, page 129