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Islam & Iman


Dīn (دين, also anglicized as Deen) is an Arabic word usually translated as "religion" but also as "way of life", especially referring to Islam, known as ad-dīn "the deen", or dīn al-haqq "the true deen" (e.g. ayat 48:27, 9:33 = 61:9). It is, however, not exclusive to Islam, as Arab Christians also use it to refer to their religion and religion in general. The Arab Christians also use the word Allah to refer to God. The word for God in Arabic is Allah.



The term's etymology is uncertain. There are three possibilities:

  • Hebrew-Aramaic דין dīn, meaning "law, justice", in Al-Fatiha appearing as يَوْم الدين yaum ad-dīn "Judgement Day"
  • Arabic dāna "debt, obligation"
  • Middle Persian dēn "revelation, religion"

It should be noted that Modern Persian "dīn" does in fact come from the Middle Persian equivalent, which itself comes from Avestan "daena".

Meaning and usage of dīn in Islam

The word appears in as many as 79 verses, and it is often translated as religion for convenience since there is no equivalent single satisfactory English word. In the Qur'an, Islam is always referred to as Dīn. It is the sum total of a Muslim's faith and the code and conduct necessary to submit to Allah's laws. Of the many Muslim Scholars of Islam who have written and tried to explain Islam as Din, the words of a few from the recent to not so recent past are given below to explain the concept in terms of ideas more familiar in the English speaking world.

The core meaning of din is obedience. As a Quranic technical term, din refers to the way of life and the system of conduct based on recognizing God as one's sovereign and committing oneself to obey him. According to Islam, true din consists of living in total submission to God, and the way to do so is to accept as binding the guidance communicated through the Prophets. [1]

In Lugh’at-ul-Quran (Dictionary of the words and concepts of the Quran - Four Volumes, 1941, Tolu-e-Islam Trust 25-B, Gulberg-2, Lahore-11, Pakistan) Allama Ghulam Ahmed Parwez writes This word has been used in various forms and meanings, e.g., power, supremacy, ascendancy, sovereignty or lordship, dominion, law, constitution, mastery, government, realm, decision, definite outcome, reward and punishment. On the other hand, this word is also used in the sense of obedience, submission and allegiance (Taj / Moheet).

According to Abu Ala Maududi (Let us be muslims, U.K.I.M. Dawah Center, Lahore Pakistan, 1960) "There are several meanings of Deen. One meaning is honour, government, empire, monarchy and rulership. The second meaning is quite opposite to it, i.e. subordination, obedience, slavery, servitude and subjection. Third meaning is to account, to give judgment, and dispense reward and punishment of actions. The word Deen has been used in the Qur'an in all these three meanings."

According to a Khutuba delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianoinie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, N.C., on December 27, 1996 [2] the word Din is used in Arabic for the following:

  • Subjugation, Authority, Ruling and Having Charge
  • Obedience and Submission due to Subjugation
  • The Method and the Habit
  • Punishment, Reward and Judgement.

Inam Khawaja writing in a newspaper article [3] in July 2005 states: "In the Quran, Islam is always referred to as Din and not as Muzdhab, the Arabic word for religion. Deen means a complete code of life and is inclusive of religion (Muzdhab)."

Allama Ghulam Ahmed Parwez continues: "These Laws of Allah in their final and complete form are given in the Quran, and are called Ad-Deen."

Abu Ala Maududi (Four Basic Quranic Terms, translated by Abu Asad, Islamic Publications, Lahore, 1979) quotes from the Quran 64:65, 39:2,3,11,14,17, 16:52, 3:83, 98:5 to assert that "the word has been employed to signify the vesting of the Supereme authority in Allah alone,... that there should not be even the slightest element of association and treatment of anyone else have(ing) sovereignty or authority and being entitled to obedience and submission of independent right."

The verses (Quran 3:19) and (Quran 3:85), Maududi declares, state that only Allah's Laws and religion are acceptable. The third verse proclaims that "it was the primary purpose of the Prophet's mission that he should make this Deen prevail in their stead and triumph over all other ways of life". And in the fourth verse "the believers have been ordered to fight all non-believers until every system of thought, belief, and action which is not based on recognition of Allah as the Supreme Authority—and which therefore will perpetually remain the source of all strife and unrest—has been wiped out, and the entire humanity adopts the approved way of life, Allah's Deen."

In Do you know this man? (The Revival, Official newsletter of muslim youth league (UK), July/August 1998) the editors state: "The Prophet gave mankind the idea of an all embracing Deen. The Prophet did not give mankind a religion but the Deen of Islam. If he had given a religion then there would have been spiritual guidance from the religion of Islam and secular guidance from other sources. The Prophet managed to combine both secularism and politics in an all-embracing Deen. In the West, the Church deals with religion and the secular guidelines come from the state. Religion only deals with the life hereafter, acts of faith, spiritual rituals, worship and morality. Deen deals with religion, law, culture, civilisation, politics, economics, international affairs, war and peace, individual to international, these are all dealt with in the Deen of Islam."

Sadruddin Islahi (The obligation of Iqaamat-ul-deen, translated by Obeydullah Choudry) [4] casts a very broad net for deen: "The linguistic meaning of deen is obedience (itaa'ah)."

Imam Mohamed Baianoinie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, N.C. continues in his Khutba: "These four linguistic meanings constitute the concept of the word deen in the Qur’an where it implies a comprehensive system of life that is composed of four parts:

  • The rulership and the authority belong to Allah.
  • The obedience and submission to this rulership and authority by those who embraced this deen.
  • The comprehensive system (intellectual and practical) established by this authority (Allah).
  • The reward given by this authority (Allah) to those that followed the system and submitted to it and the punishment inflicted upon those who rebel against it and disobey it.

As used by Sufis

Some sufis, [5] and [6] have used the Sahih Bukhari Hadiath Vol.1 Book 2. Number 47, to state din "is composed of the three fundamentals mentioned in the hadith: Islam, or external compliance with what Allah asks of us; Iman, or the belief in the unseen that the prophets have informed us of; and Ihsan, or to worship Allah as though one sees Him."

This was also stated by Ibn Taymiyyah (Al-'Uboodiyyah, translated by Abdallah M. Mekkaoui) as: Therefore, all of Ad-Deen is included in Al-'Ibaadah.

Also, it has been confirmed in As-Saheeh (Al-Jaami'As-Saheeh of Imaam Muslim bin Al-Hajjaaj) that when Jibreel came to the Prophet in the guise of a bedouin to ask him about al-Islaam, he said: "Al-Islaam is that you testify that there is none worthy of being worshiped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and you establish As-Salaat, pay Az-Zakaat, observe the fast of Ramadhaan, and perform the Pilgrimage to the House if you are able to bear the journey." He said: "What is then Al-Eemaan?" Rasool Allah replied: "That you affirm your faith in Allah, in His Angels, in His Books, in His Messengers, in the Day of Judgement, and you affirm your faith in the Divine Decree to good and evil." He (Jibreel) said: "What is then Al-Ihsaan?" Rasool Allah replied: "That you worship Allah as if you see Him, for though you do not see Him, verily, He sees you." Rasool-Allah remarked at the end of the Hadeeth: "This was Jibreel. He came to instruct you in your Deen." Thus, he made all of this part of Ad-Deen.

See also

External links

DIN or Din or din can have several meanings:

  • A din is a loud noise.
  • Dīn, an Arabic term meaning "religion" or "way of life".
  • Din (Kabbalah) is one of the ten aspects of the Ein Sof in Kabbalah (more commonly known as "Gevurah").
  • DIN is the abbreviated name of the Deutsches Institut für Normung (German Institute for Standardization) and is used in the names of its standards, like:
    • DIN 476, as for example DIN A4, is a scale for paper sizes.
    • DIN connector, one of a number of electrical (audio/video/keyboard) connectors following DIN standards.
    • DIN fitting, a type of high-pressure air or gas connection used in some modern very high-pressure scuba gear.
    • DIN ISO 7736, size standard for car audio head units.
    • DIN rail, a common system for mounting circuit breakers and industrial control equipment inside equipment racks.
    • DIN Panel cutout size, a standard for cutouts for industrial panel mount equipment.
    • DIN ski binding scale, scale to ensure ski bindings release under the same force at all skiing destinations worldwide.
    • DIN 1451, German Standard Committee chosen typeface from 1936.
    • DIN 72552 is a standard for automobile electric terminal numbers
    • FF DIN, 1995 digital font
  • A unit for film speed
  • Din, Guinea
  • Drug Identification Number - a unique number given to all drugs sold in Canada.
  • Din, a character in The Legend of Zelda series
  • Serbian dinar, a local abbreviation
  • In the Indian language Hindi it can also mean a "day" or "morning".

In music:


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