‘Religion’ or ‘Deen’?

A good friend of mine asked me what is my view on “religion” vs “Deen”.

“Do they seek, other than Deenul Allah, even though to Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and on earth, which surrenders itself, willingly or unwillingly to Him, since to Him all must return?” (Surah Imran: 3:83)

“If anyone seek a deen (normal translation of deen is religion) other than than self-surrender to Allah, it will never be accepted from him, and in the life to come he shall be among the lost.” (Surah Imran 3:85)

Islam is known as a “Way of Life”. It is also known as “Deenul Islam”, “Deenul Haq” etc. English translation of the Qur’an translate “deen” as “religion”. This is done to simplify things BUT in reality “as a way of Life” Islam is far more comprehensive, all-encompassing that just religion. Becoming a Muslim is not a change of name and dress but it is a whole overhaul of thinking, attitude and approach to life that takes into account both mundane and spiritual life. Unlike the Bible which takes you now a sightseeing trip concerning Jesus’s life, the Qur’an deals with every aspect of life from the day you were created to your final destination, which depends on the “prescribed way of life ordained by Allah and put into practice by the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). As a ‘religion’ it is confined to faith and beliefs only.

English translations of the Qur’an have led many Muslims to believe that the “Injil” is the Gospel or New Testament. None of these books (Zabur, Tawrat, Injil etc) exist today. The Qur’an clearly states that these books have been replaced by the Qur’an. Indirectly Muslims have acknowledged what is believed to be wrong. Added to this is the word “Christianity”. The word “Nasara” represents Nazareens – Jesus of Nazareth. The Nasara were a sect of Judaism NOT Christians BUT we have come to accept the word Christianity. Jesus was a Jew. He circumcised, observed the Sabbath, went to a synagogue! NONE of this exist in modern day Christianity.

Another common fruitless technical debate is whether you are a “revert” or “convert” to Islam. The Qur’an provides us with a classic example. When the desert Arabs came to the Prophet (s.a.w.) and said: “We have believed.” The Prophet was command by Allah to reply, “You have not (yet) believed; but say (instead}, ‘We have submitted,’ for faith has not yet entered your hearts. And if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not deprive you from your deeds of anything. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Surah Hujurat 49:14).

People who go on like this on an intellectual basis to prove how learned they are, remain so throughout their lives with a ‘L Driving Licence’. They cannot transcend to Ainul Yaqeen or Haqul Yaqeen because they have yet to ‘experience’ the ‘word of Allah’. However, when one is asked concerning such matters, out of politeness one is required to answer for Allah’s sake. All this dogmatic, ritualistic, intellectual and theoretical debate has been the cause for the demise of Islam.

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