Sunday, August 29, 2010

Meaning of the word DEEn

In the Name of Allah, Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem

Meanings of the word ‘Deen’

According to Arabic Dictionaries, the word DEEN has the following meanings

(depending upon the context):

Obedience (to some authority)

State of abasement and submissiveness (to some authority)


a particular law

a statute

an ordinance



way or system of life

a way, course, mode, or manner of acting or conduct

management, conduct or regulation of affairs

state, condition or case









‘Deen’ as Obedience

When the preposition “la” or “laam” is used with the word DEEN, it mostly

means “obedience”. According to the Qur’an, obedience is only to Allah -

“ …lahu ad-deen…{Ad-Deen (i.e. the obedience) is only to Him (Allah)}”

[7:29, 10:22, 16:52, 29:65, 31:32, 39:2, 39:11, 40:14, 40:65, 98:5].

7:29 Say (O Messenger), "My Lord enjoins justice and moderation; and set upright your

faces at every MASJID and call on Him, being sincere to Him in obedience; as He

brought you forth in the beginning, so shall you also return”.

39:2 Surely, We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, therefore serve Allah,

being sincere to Him in obedience.

39:11 Say (O Messenger): “I am commanded that I should serve Allah, being sincere to

Him in obedience”.

98:5 And they were not enjoined anything except that they should serve Allah, being

sincere to Him in obedience, upright, and establish As-SALAT and provide Az-ZAKAT,

and that is the perfect DEEN (Way or System of Life).

40:14 Therefore call upon Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience, though the

unbelievers are averse

40/65 He is the Ever-Living, there is no god but He, therefore call on Him alone, being

sincere to Him in obedience; (all) praise, glory and thanks is due to Allah, the

Guardian-Lord of the worlds.

39:3 Now, surely, sincere obedience is due to Allah (alone) and (as for) those who take

guardians besides Him, (saying), we do not serve them except that they may make us

nearer to Allah, surely Allah will judge between them in that in which they differ; surely

Allah does not guide him aright who is a liar, ungrateful.

4:146 Except those who repent and amend and hold fast to Allah and are sincere in

their obedience to Allah, these are them who are (numbered) with the believers, and

Allah will soon grant the believers a reward of immense value.

As can be seen from the above given verses, the obedience (Ad-Deen) is

only to Allah. Ad-Deen or obedience to Allah in the above verses has been

associated with the following:

Ibadat to Allah alone (10:104, 39:2, 39:11, 98:5) by establishing a

Way or System of life according to His revealed Book (39:2)

calling upon Allah alone [Du’a] (7:29, 40:14, 40:65)

not taking any guardians besides Allah considering them as an

approach to Allah or a means of getting near to Allah (39:3);

establishing As-SALAT and providing Az-ZAKAT (98:5)

‘Deen’ as Law

The word DEEN also means law, as in 12:76 and 24:2. Also in 5:3, after

giving some laws, Allah says that He has perfected your DEEN i.e. Law for

you and has approved for you Al-Islam as a Way or System of Life.

12:76 They were brought before Joseph for the search. He began with the bags of his

half-brothers before the bag of his brother (Benjamin). And finally extracted the cup

out of his brother’s bag. We thus perfected the plan for Joseph. He could not have

detained his brother under the King's law [Deen-il-Malik]. But that was the Will of Allah.

We raise people in ranks according to Our Laws. And above every person of

knowledge there is One who knows all.

24:2 The adulteress and the adulterer, flog each one of them with a hundred stripes.

And let not compassion sway you in their case from carrying out Allah’s Law [Deen-e-

Allah], if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a group of believers witness the


5:3 Forbidden for you (for dietary consumption) are: Any Animal that dies of itself;

Blood; The flesh of swine; And anything (not just meat) that has been dedicated to any

other than Allah (such as an idol, grave or saint); Any Animal that has been strangled

to death, Beaten to death, Dies by falling from height, Gored to death by horns;

Animal eaten by a wild animal unless you are able to slaughter it while it is still alive;

That which is sacrificed on altars (devotional stones or blocks in shrines considered

sacred). Also forbidden is dividing the meat through raffling and games of chance.

This Day, the rejecting opponents have given up the hope of eradicating your DEEN,

System of Life. Clear distinction in matters of the Lawful and the Unlawful draws a

tangible line between their ways and your way. Fear them not but fear Me. This Day, I

have perfected your Law /DEEN for you, completed My favor upon you, and chosen for

you Al-Islam as the System of Life.

In the above verse (5:3), after mentioning some of the rules and laws about

dietary consumption, Allah says that He has perfected the Islamic Law [the

word Deen seems here to have been used to mean Law, as it has been used

to mean law in 12:6, since it comes after mentioning some laws about dietary

consumption. The second occurrence of the word Deen in 5:3 seems to have

been used to mean 'the System of Life', as the context shows]

‘Deen’ as a Way or System of Li fe

Al-Islam has been termed as Ad-Deen in the Qur’an. Please see the


3:19 Indeed Ad-Deen (i.e the Way or System of Life) approved by Allah is Al-Islam

(Submission to His Laws and Commands). The people of the Scripture differed for

nothing but selfish envy among themselves, after the Knowledge has come to them.

One who rejects Allah's Revelations will find that His Law of Requital is swift in


Ad-Deen as a Way or System of life has been expounded in 10:104-109:

10:104 Say (O Messenger), "O Mankind! If you have any doubt about my System or

Way of life [deeni] (that I am trying to establish) then (know that), I worship not and

obey not those whom you worship and obey instead of Allah. But I obey Allah Who

causes you to die (and Who controls the Laws of life and death of individuals and

nations). I have been commanded to be of the believers.”

10:105 And that you set your purpose resolutely for the Upright System of life

[lilddeeni haneefan] and do not be of those who associate anyone with Allah in any


10:106 Do not ever call upon anyone besides Allah. They have no control over your

harm or benefit. If you did that, you will be among the wrongdoers.

10:107 If Allah should afflict you with harm (according to His Laws), there is none who

can remove it (contrary to His Laws). And if He intends good to you, there is none to

hinder His Grace. He brings it upon His servants according to His Laws of Universal

Causation. And He is Forgiving, Merciful.

10:108 Say (O Messenger), "O Mankind! Now has come to you the Truth from your

Lord. So whoever chooses to follow the right path, follows it for his own “Self”. And

whoever chooses to go astray, goes astray to his own hurt. And I am not a guardian

over you."

10:109 (O Messenger), Follow what is revealed to you and be steadfast in adversity

until Allah issues His Judgment. And He is the Best of judges.

As can be seen in the verses 10:104-109 given above, some fundamentals of

Ad-Deen as a way of life are given as follows:

Ibadat to Allah alone [10:104]

Becoming a believer [10:104]

Setting one’s purpose resolutely for the Upright System of Life [Ad-

Deen] [10:105]

Not committing Shirk (by associating anyone with Allah in any form)


Not calling upon anyone besides Allah [10:106-107]

Following Allah’s Guidance in His revealed Book [10:108-109]

Further elaboration of Ad-Deen and Ibadat is given in 12:40:

12:40 "Those whom you worship and obey besides Him, are but names that you have

named, you and your forefathers. Allah has revealed no authority for them. All ruling or

command [Al-Hukm] belongs to Allah alone. [And there is no Hakim or Judge but He.]

He has commanded that you serve none but Him. That is the Right Way or System of

Life [alddeenu alqayyimu]. But most people are not aware of this fact (or disregard it in


As can be seen in 12:40, Ibadat is associated with Al-Hukm suggesting that

rendering Ibadat to Allah means abiding by His Al-Hukm or command in all

aspects of life, which is the Right Way of Life [Ad-Deen].

Al -Islam is Ad-Deen – It is not a Madhhab.

The word Madhhab does not occur in the Qur’an at all. Literally, the word

Madhhab means ‘a place to which one goes’. From that, a place to which one

goes for the purpose of satisfying the want of nature, is also sometimes called

Madhhab. Then the word also became to be used to mean: a way, course,

mode or manner of acting or conduct or the like; a way of believing, opining,

thinking, or judging; a belief, a creed, a persuasion, a doctrine, an opinion, a

tenet or a body of tenets or beliefs. In Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh), it stands

for ‘school of thought’. For example, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafiee and Hambli are

considered four schools of thought. It must be stressed that Al-Islam is not

Madhhab but Ad-DEEN i.e. a Way or System of life in which the obedience is

only to Allah’s Laws and Commands.

Establ ishment of Ad-Deen

In 42:13, Allah enjoins to establish Ad-Deen, i.e. the System of life in which

the obedience is only to Allah’s Laws or Commands. Please see the following:

42:13 He has ordained for you all, the same System of Life that He enjoined upon Noah

- And We have revealed to you (O Prophet) the same Message as We enjoined upon

Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: "Establish the Divine System of Life (in which the

obedience is only to Allah’s Law or Command) and make no sects in it.” Hard it is upon

the idolaters (those who worship false 'authorities') the unity you call to. Allah draws

unto Himself everyone who is willing, and guides unto Himself everyone who turns

unto Him.”

Ad-Deen as a System of life can only be established firmly after gaining power

or rule in the land. Without power or rule, a ritualistic religion can survive but

establishment of Ad-Deen as a System of life that encompasses all aspects of

life is not possible, as the following verse suggests:

24:55 Allah has promised that those of you peoples who will believe in the Divine Laws

and work properly and efficaciously, He will surely make them rulers in the earth - Just

as He granted rule to the previous nations (28:5-6), (33:27). He will surely establish for

them the System of life (DEEN) that He has approved for them, and will replace their

fear with peace and security. (All this because) they serve Me alone. They ascribe no

partner to Me. But all who, after this, deny these Laws will drift out (of the community

of living nations).

The ‘belief’ in the above verse does not pertain to any dogmas and tenets, but

to the realization and conviction that the entire Universe is operating under the

unchangeable Physical Laws of One Supreme Authority, thus providing the

basis for all Science and Technology. ‘Aamaal-e-Saliha’ refer to such deeds

that are just and proper according to Allah’s Laws and efficacious for the

intended purpose.

The verse 22:41 further makes it clear that the power and establishment in the

land is a pre-requisite for establishing the key elements of Ad-Deen such as

As-Salat and Az-Zakat.

22:41 Those who, if We give them power in the land, establish As-Salat - the Divine

System - set up the Just Economic Order of Az-Zakat (in which wealth circulates freely

to nourish every member of the society, and the basic needs of all individuals are

taken care of). Their rule ensures that the Divine Moral Values are promoted, and what

the Qur’an forbids, is discouraged. And in their governance all affairs are decided

according to Allah's Laws and Commands (in the Qur'an (5:44)).

48:28 He it is Who has sent His Messenger with the Guidance and the True System of

life (DEEN) that He may cause it to prevail over all other systems of life. And Allah is

Sufficient as Witness (to this Pronouncement).

61:9 He it is Who has sent forth His Messenger with the Guidance, and the True System

of life (DEEN), that He may make it prevail over all other systems of life however hateful

this may be to those who ascribe partners to Him.

Sectarianism, parties or groupings of al l kinds is

forbidden in Deen

6:159 (O Messenger!) Those who break the unity of their DEEN and become sects, you

have nothing to do with them whatsoever. Behold, their case will go to Allah and He

will tell them what they had been doing.

30:31-32 Turn unto Him alone then, and be mindful of Him, and establish As-Salat and

be not of the MUSHRIKEEN; those who split up their DEEN, and become sects - each

sect delighting in whatever beliefs they have. ((3:104), (6:160), (23:52-53), (42:13).

Sectarianism is invariably based upon taking humans as ‘authorities’).

According to 30:31-32, dividing DEEN into sects is tantamount to SHIRK.

There is no compulsion in Ad-Deen

2:256 There is absolutely no compulsion or coercion in AD-DEEN. The Right has been

made distinct from Wrong (3:4). Whoever rejects false gods (of all sorts), and attains

conviction in Allah (and His Word), has grasped the Unbreakable Support. This

assurance comes from Allah, the Hearer the Knower.

There is absolutely no compulsion in adopting Ad-Deen, the True System of

Life approved by Allah. One has full choice whether to adopt this or not but

once one has opted for it, it becomes compulsory and obligatory to abide by

all the Laws, Commands, Rules and Regulations therein. When the Islamic

Authority will establish Ad-Deen, it will make sure that those who have opted

for Ad-Deen abide by its Rules and Regulations.

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