Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān

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Polytheism and Atheism
(2,537 words)

The worship of many gods; the belief in no god. Although the concept of atheism was unknown to the qurʾānic audience, the human tendency to ascribe divine tendencies to something other than the one, true God was not. The qurʾānic allusions to “polytheism” have been variously understood: idolatry on the part of pre-Islamic Arabian tribes; the pre-Islamic Arabs' ascription of divine attributes to lesser beings, perhaps even within a monotheistic framework;…

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Mir, Mustansir, “Polytheism and Atheism”, in: Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Georgetown University, Washington DC. Consulted online on 18 January 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1875-3922_q3_EQCOM_00151>

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