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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Is Islam a deen or a religion?

A religion is a set of beliefs and practices, often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature, and often codified as prayer, ritual, or religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and religious experience. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction.In the frame of European religious thought, religions present a common quality, the "hallmark of patriarchal religious thought": the division of the world in two comprehensive domains, one sacred, the other profane. Religion is often described as a communal system for the coherence of belief focusing on a system of thought, unseen being, person, or object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the highest truth. Moral codes, practices, values, institutions, tradition, rituals, and scriptures are often traditionally associated with the core belief, and these may have some overlap with concepts in secular philosophy. Religion is also often described as a "way of life" or a Life stance.The development of religion has taken many forms in various cultures. "Organized religion" generally refers to an organization of people supporting the exercise of some religion with a prescribed set of beliefs, often taking the form of a legal entity (see religion-supporting organization). Other religions believe in personal revelation. "Religion" is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system," but is more socially defined than that of personal convictions. Deen (Arabic: دين‎) is an Arabic word commonly translated as "religion", "way" or "path". Some, but not all, English-speaking Muslims do not accept the common-language translation of deen as "religion", seeing this as a human-made or ideological concept. They instead use the untranslated Arabic word to signify something above and beyond that concept, perhaps more approximating "faith" (or "way" or "path", as mentioned above), which cannot be translated to an exact equivalent, but only grasped through an understanding and application of Islamic principles. The argument is that Islam is a "Deen" which means it is not only a "religion" as the English word signifies, but it is a complete way of life. Thus, this post sums that Islam is not a religion but a deen, i.e. a complete code of life.

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