What is religion? Define Deen? Also, what is the difference between deen and religion? if there is a difference between Deen and religion, then is Islam Deen ? or is Islam religion? this blog will clear some common misconceptions and questions about Islam. next time if anyone asks you about the difference between deen and religion, you wouldn’t stay quiet!
Word Religion or “Mahzab” comes from the root “zahab” which means to go, pass by or walk. literal meanings of religion are faith, belief, and mannerisms. Being a Latin word, religion means binding together (from verb religion meaning to bind together). Religion is a bond between a religious devotee and his God. This devotion is all about rituals and faiths.
Whereas Deen is a complete system, which in the case of Islam means accepting absolute sovereignty of ALLAH. It is about the absolute submission of man to an absolute sovereign. it encompasses reward, a complete code of life with an applicable social, economical, political, and religious system. Deen is divine and dynamic as well. it is a collection of institutions, social order, practices, and beliefs.
Islam is a Deen, not just a religion.
إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ الْإِسْلَامُ (Surah Al-imran : 19)
Truly, the religion with ALLAH is Islam.
Difference between Deen and Religion:
The first difference between deen and religion is a concept. The frame of reference for both is different. Religion is an individual matter, but deen is a collective matter. Religion is specifically focused on the rights of ALLAH. In fact, the center of religion is ALLAH and its worship, but the center of Islam as a Deen is a HUMAN being. So, deen has a broader canvas than religion.
Deen has been approved of and favored by ALLAH subhana hu wa taala, and is also complete in all dimensions.
“Today, I have completed your Deen, and have completed my bliss upon you and accepted for you Islam as a Deen.“ (Al-Mai’da 5:3)
Deen is Pure
“Unquestionably, for Allah is the pure religion.” (Az-Zumar 39:3)
Islam is a deen not just religion:
A question arises here from the claim that Islam is a deen not just religion.
Islam has its own unique economic system which is neither capitalistic nor communistic. Unlike the modern interest-based banking system, Islam promotes “ishteraak”. This thought can put an end to the on and off wars between the two ideologies and frequent economic recession.
Similarly, Islam also provides complete guidelines on governance and administration. it provides a system of governance which is in mid of monarchy and democracy, eliminating flaws of both systems and adding some of the unique Islamic concepts. Clear guidelines on public administration. It even teaches about the rules of war! how to treat noncombatants, military strategies.
Unlike the system of the west which is based on “Freedom”. Islam gives a social system based on “brotherhood“. Just as Ibn-i-khuldoon identifies that Al-Asabiya, social solidarity is a necessary component for the health and evolution of a society, Islam has also emphasized social solidarity in form of the concept of brotherhood. Where individual actions can have a collective effect.
Islam is a Magnificent Deen:
Since the epicenter of Deen is human, Islam is such a magnificent deen that it guides the existence of other religions under its dominance. And these guidelines are not hypothetical. In fact, their demonstration was shown by prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) and the rightly guided caliphs in the state of Madina. The concept of jizya tells a peaceful co-existence of multiple religions under a greater dominant system of Islam as a deen.
Sadly today, this magnificent complete code of life for HUMANITY has been shrunken to religion for Muslims only. We, unfortunately, have disturbed the ingredients of the recipe, miss, out the majority of them, and then complain about tasteless dessert. Any protocol, when implemented in a partial and restricted form would not bring about optimum results claimed by the author of the protocol. So is the protocol faulty ? or the person who performs it is?
In other words, if today Muslim nation-states ( remember we are divided into nation-state now, we no more act as an ummah which was devised by Islam) face difficulties and experience terrible internally and externally sponsored violence, Dose the fault lies in the Islam? Has Islam failed ? or we have failed as Muslims?