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Din (Arabic)

  (Redirected from Deen (Arabic term))

Dīn (Arabic: دين‎, translit. Dīn, also anglicized as Deen) is an Arabic word that roughly means "creed" or "religion". It is used in the Islamic, Baha'i and Arab Christian religions. In Islam, the word refers to the way of life Muslims must adopt to comply with divine law, and to the divine judgment or recompense individuals will receive before Allah.



The term Dīn gained popularity in Arabia and the Greater Middle East after the advent of Islam. The term has Semitic cognates including the Hebrew "dīn" (דין), Aramaic dīnā (דִּינָא), Amharic dañä (ዳኘ) and Ugaritic dyn (𐎄𐎊𐎐). It may be the root of the common Semitic word Madīnah (city), and of Midian, a geographical place and a people mentioned in the Bible and in the Qur'an.

The Hebrew term "דין", transliterated as "dīn", means either "law" or "judgement". In the Kabbalah of Judaism, the term can, alongside "Gevurah" (cognate to the Arabic "Jabaarah"), refer to "power" and "judgement".[1] In ancient Israel, the term featured heavily in administrative and legal proceedings i.e. Bet Din, literally "the house of judgement," the ancient building block of the Jewish legal system.[2][3] Thus, Dīn does not simply mean "religion" or "faith", but may in a broad sense refer to "Governance".

Its use in modern Persian may have either resulted from the Muslim conquest of Persia or may alternatively derive from the Zoroastrian concept of Daena, as it is called in the ancient Eastern Iranian Avestan language, which represents "insight" and "revelation", and from this "conscience" and "religion". Daena is the Eternal Law, which was revealed to humanity through the Mathra-Spenta ("Holy Words").

Dīn as used in IslamEdit

Inscription of Allah in the Hagia Sophia.

It has been said that the word Dīn appears in as many as 79 verses in the Qur'an,[4] but because there is no exact English translation of the term, its precise definition has been the subject of some misunderstanding and disagreement. For instance, the term is often translated in parts of the Qur'an as "religion".[5] However, in the Qur'an itself, the act of submission to God is always referred to as Dīn rather than as Madhhab (مذهب), which is the Arabic word for "religion"[citation needed].

Some Qur'anic scholars have translated Dīn in places as "faith"[6] Others suggest that the term "has been used in various forms and meanings, e.g., system, 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".[7]

In addition to the two broad usages referred to so far, of sovereignty on the one hand and submission on the other, others have noted[8] that the term Dīn is also widely used in translations of the Qur'an in a third sense. Most famously in its opening chapter, al-Fātiḥah, the term is translated in almost all English translations as "judgment":

The well-known Islamic scholar, Fazlur Rahman Malik, suggested that Dīn is best considered as "the way-to-be-followed". In that interpretation, Dīn is the exact correlate of Shari'a: "whereas Shari'a is the ordaining of the Way and its proper subject is God, Dīn is the following of that Way, and its subject is man".[9] Thus, "if we abstract from the Divine and the human points of reference, Shari'a and Dīn would be identical as far as the 'Way' and its content are concerned".[10]

In many hadith, the din has been described as a midway lifestyle:

Narrated Abu Huraira, the Prophet said, "Religion (Dīn) is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded; and gain strength by worshipping in the mornings, the nights."

— Sahih al-Bukhari, 1:2:38, (Fath-ul-Bari, Page 102, Vol 1)

Dīn as used in JudaismEdit

In Judaism, the word Dīn (Hebrew: דִּין) appears in the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible), which occurs 24 times. It often means "to judge", "execute judgment" and "to vindicate". The intransitive usage of the verb loosely means "to be obedient, submissive". The transitive verb usage denotes "requite, compensate, rule, govern, obedience, abasement, recompense, requiter, governor".

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ Fox, Tamar "The Bet Din" 9/5/2016
  3. ^ Rabbi Jonathan Reiss Winter 1999
  4. ^ Gulam Ahmed Parwez, "Exposition of the Qur'an", p. 12, Tolu-E-Islam Trust
  5. ^ For instance, translations of the Qur'an by Marmaduke Pickthall, Shakir, and others
  6. ^ For instance, the translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, 60:9
  7. ^ Lugh’at-ul-Quran, Ghulam Ahmed Parwez, Tolu-e-Islam Trust, 1941
  8. ^ "Let Us Be Muslims, Abu Ala Maududi U.K.I.M. Dawah Center, 1960
  9. ^ Rahman F, Islam, p. 100, University of Chicago Press, 1979
  10. ^ Rahman F, Islam, p. 100, University of Chicago Press, 1979

External linksEdit