The Holy Qur’an and the Hadith present Deen Islam as a full life provision. We may observe the word Deen (دین) in Islam to mean religion although this word has multiple meanings in the Holy Quran and Hadith. So, let’s know the meanings of the word Deen according to The Concept of Islam.
Meanings of the Word ‘Deen’
Islam associates more closely with the Arabic word Deen (دین). Although many people translate Deen as “Religion”, In the Qur’an, the main Islamic scripture, the term refers to a complete system of life for a righteous Muslim. The teachings, norms, and instructions from the Qur’an and Hadith guide and direct this system. According to some Muslims, the scope of application of the word Deen is only the religious life of Muslims. Again, according to some Muslims, the application of religion as a whole can apply to all branches of life. So, realizing the proper concept of this word plays an important role to lead our life according to the teaching of Islam.
The word Deen reflects different meanings throughout the Qur’an. In this case, we can understand the meanings of the word from the full sentence. Therefore, there is no way to understand the meaning of a word in isolation from the sentence in which it is used. Some of the meanings of the word ‘Deen’ in the Qur’an we can clearly understand. So, we will now have a look at the following meanings of Deen from the Qur’an.
Religion is one of the several meanings of the word Deen. We usually understand religion by Deen. Several verses of the Holy Qur’an refer to religion by this word. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has also interpreted religion as the meaning of Deen in many Hadiths.
إِنَّ ٱلدِّينَ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلْإِسْلَٰمُۗ “Truly, the only religion (Deen) with Allah is Islam”. Al Imran:19
هُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُۥ بِٱلْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ ٱلْحَقِّ “He is the One Who has sent His Messenger with ˹true˺ guidance and the religion (Deen) of truth” – As Saf:09
Way of life
Islam is the complete code of life. This way of life consists of the true and exact guidance of the Almighty Creator. The word Deen in this case subsumes Islam as a way or structure of life. In several verses of the Holy Qur’an, we can understand the way of our life by this word. So, the way of life is also another meaning of the word Deen in the concept of Islam.
وَمَن يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ ٱلْإِسْلَٰمِ دِينًا فَلَن يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِى ٱلْءَاخِرَةِ مِنَ ٱلْخَٰسِرِينَ = whoever seeks a Deen (way of life) without Islam, it will never be accepted from him and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter.” -Sura Ale Imran 03:75
أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُم = ‘I have fulfilled your way of life (Deen) for you. -Surah Maida 05:03
Every soul in this world is perishable. Injustice, lawlessness, oppression, and tyranny against lives will be judged properly in the afterlife. After death, every person has to face the judgment of Allah the Almighty. And for that is appointed a final day. To indicate that judgment, the Qur’an has applied the word Deen in several verses.
مَٰلِكِ يَوْمِ ٱلدِّينِ “Owner of Judgment (Deen) Day”. –Al Fatiha:04
Reward or Punishment
As we know, the concept of Islam is mainly composed of Tawheed, Risalah, and Akhirah. So, we all will witness the result of these worldly deeds in the hereafter. we will get our rewards for the good deeds of this worldly life in the hereafter. On the other hand, we all have to face the punishment of our Lord Allah for our evil or sinful deeds. The Almighty Allah Ta’ala has attached the word Deen in several verses of the Holy Qur’an to mean reward or punishment of the hereafter.
يَوْمَئِذٍ يُوَفِّيهِمُ اللَّهُ دِينَهُمُ الْحَقَّ = On that day Allah will give them their due reward (Deen). – Surah An-Noor, verse 25
Retribution or Karma is undoubtedly one of the meanings of Deen in Islam. In the hereafter, everyone will get the karma or results of his deeds. We will get our retribution according to our worldly actions. Therefore, the word Deen has been used in several verses in the Holy Qur’an to denote the retribution or result of all these worldly actions.
كَلَّا بَلْ تُكَذِّبُونَ بِٱلدِّينِ “No, not that, but you thought the retribution (Deen) was a lie”. Al Infitar:09
لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِىَ دِينِ “To you be your Deen (karma) and to me my karma (Deen)” – Al Kafirun:08
To obey orders
Obedience is one of the many meanings of Deen in Islam. Essentially, the perfection of the perfect Muslim lies in the single obedience of the Great Lord Allah. only by obeying Him, we can find the direction of the right way in our life. In several verses of the Holy Qur’an Allah, the Almighty has explained the word Deen to mean to obey His orders.
فَٱعْبُدِ ٱللَّهَ مُخْلِصًا لَّهُ ٱلدِّينَ “So worship Allah, being Deen (obedient) to Him.”– Az-Zumar:02
وَقَٰتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّىٰ لَا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ ٱلدِّينُ لِلَّهِۖ “And fight them until the fitnah is over and the deen (obedience of all kinds) is reserved for Allah” – Al Baqarah:193
Law or the rule of the state
In the Islamic concept, the term Deen also refers to the laws enacted by a state or ruler. So, the Holy Qur’an has expressed the word Deen to mean the body of man-made polity, laws, rules, and regulations. In the 78th verse of Surah Al Yusuf, Almighty Allah explained these laws or rules with the word Deen.
مَا كَانَ لِيَأْخُذَ أَخَاهُ فِى دِينِ ٱلْمَلِكِ إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُۚ ‘His brother cannot be caught by the Deen (king’s law) without the will of Allah.’ –Al Yusuf:78
Therefore, these are the probable meanings of Deen according to the research of many scholars. Now, we can clearly understand the meanings of the word Deen considering all the above verses from the Holy Qur’an. We all should try our best to follow Deen Islam as our full life guidance. May Allah grant us the ability. (Ameen)