Latest Posts

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Quranic Concept of Deen - Part 1

Salaam alaikum.

The word "dayn" comes from the root Daal-Ya-Nun which in 2/282 is used to mean a transaction:

2/282: O you who believe! when you TRANSACT(taDaYaNtum) A TRANSACTION/DEBT(DaYN) for a fixed time, write it down; ...

The word "deen" also comes from the same root and, in the same manner, is also transacted:
9/29: Fight those who believe not in God, nor in the Last Day, nor hold as unlawful what God and HIS Messenger have declared to be unlawful, nor TRANSACT(yaDEENoona) the DEENIL HAQQ, until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled.

Therefore the nature of 'deen' is also that of a transaction or debt. And indeed, there is a LIFE-TRANSACTION between Allah and the believers
9/111: God Has PURCHASED from the believers their very lives/selves and their wealth, with that they will have Jannat/Paradise....

To understand what deen is, what it is based upon, we have to understand what basically changes with a change of deen. The Quran tells us that Firaun/Pharaoh was afraid of a change of the people's deen:

40/26: And Pharaoh said: "Leave me to kill Moses, and let him call upon his Nourisher. I fear that he may CHANGE YOUR DEEN, or that he will cause chaos to appear in the land."

But what was Firaun afraid would change with the change in their deen? Was he afraid that bani Israeel(Children of Israeel) would start regarding Allah as their ilah(the ultimate reference point/authority/one's "god") and rabb(nourisher/developer/lord)? No, because bani israeel already regarded Allah as their ilah and rabb:

God/Allah, bani Israeel's ilah and rabb:

10/86: So they(Bani Isra'eel) said, 'in God we put our trust; our RABB, do not make us a temptation for the oppressing people;

10/90: ... he(Firaun, while he was drowning) said, 'I believe that there is no ILAH except Him in whom the Children of Israeel believe, and I am of the Submissive Servants/al-muslimeen'.

This dispels the misconception of deen being 'religion' or 'system of beliefs'. But then what would have changed with the change in bani Israeel's deen that Firaun was afraid of? The answer is: 

Firaun's position as their:

(a) MALIK(King/Dominator/Owner/Controller) and 
(b) MA'BOOD(receiver of ibadah/service, one who is served):

43/51: And Pharaoh proclaimed among his people: "O my people, is it not that I possess the Mulk/Power/Ownership/Kingdom of Egypt (i.e. 'am I not the MALIK of Egypt), and these rivers flow below me? Do you not see?"

23/47: So they(Pharaoh and his chiefs) said "Should we believe two mere humans like ourselves, while their people are AABIDOON/SERVANTS to us?" (i.e. we are their MA'BOOD)

Therefore, despite their faith in Allah/God alone as their ilah and rabb, Firaun occupied the position of their malik and ma'bood, i.e. their SERVICE/IBADAH was being DOMINATED/CONTROLLED/MADE 'MAMLUK' by him

Such a person is described in 16/75 as "ABDAN MAMLUK(servant dominated), not having ability over anything".

This shows deen's irrelevance to religious beliefs, that despite having "religious freedom", bani Israeel's IBADAH(SERVICE) was being CONTROLLED by Firaun because of their participation in his DEEN. That despite having professed "LA ILAHA ILL ALLAH", they had not entered deenillah/al-islam
. Again, this shows that the Quranic concept of deen is not that of a religion, or a set of beliefs, but of:

A transaction/debt to do with:

(a)MULK/power/dominance/ownership and 

This is also confirmed by the following verses:

The Day of the DEEN(yaumaddeen) is described as the day when no soul will have MULK/POWER for another soul:

82/17: And what will make you understand what the yaumiddeen/Day of the Deen is?
82/18: Again, what will make you understand what the yaumiddeen/Day of the Deen is
82/19: The day when no soul will have any MULK/POWER over any other soul, and the Command on that day is for God.

And in 10/104, the believers' DEEN/POWER TRANSACTION is described as giving their IBADAH/SERVICE to Allah alone:
10/104: Say: "O People, if you are in doubt as to what my deen/Power Transaction is, then (let it be clear to you that) I do not give my 'IBADAH/SERVICE to those other than God to whom you give yours instead, I give mine to God, Who causes you to die, and I have been commanded to be of Believers."

Ad-deen/deenillah therefore is the life-transaction, power relation, and/or power transaction between God and the believers, the relation between the Malik/Ma'bood and the abd/mamluk.

More later, inshaallah.


Fahad Ali Khan

My main inspiration for studying this topic was the following lecture by Dr Syed Mustafa Ali - Part 1, Part 2


  1. Salaamun 'ala man ibtida al huda (peace unto those who follow right guidance)

    Maa'sha'Allah, a sound piece of Qur'anic scholarship, young brother.

    Fi amaan illah wa bi khayr

  2. Wa alaikum salaam.

    Thank you brother. This was initially written more than a year ago, along with some other yet to be published pieces, with help from your study circles of course:

  3. quran is the ward of success for the Muslims we just need guidance from it and reliza i hope we do that