Literal translation: to lean/incline, or something which is straight and direct. 

Ḥanīf refers to a religion that adheres to human nature and innate belief in God, specifically the religion revealed by all the Abrahamic prophets, from Prophet Adam (‘a) to Prophet Muhammad (ṣ). Being “Ḥanīf” is also a quality of the divine religion that is straightforward and has no innovations, and it also means a Muslim who submits to God.

 An alternative meaning for Ḥanīf is the title given to followers of Prophet Ibrahim’s (Abraham’s)  monotheistic religion in Arabia during the era of Jahiliyya (ignorance), before the arrival of Islam. A hanif would have performed Hajj, circumcised their sons, and made ghusl (ritual wash) after impurity.