In religious parlance you often hear two words and use them also. One is Deen and the other is Shari`ah
. But there are very few among you who would be knowing of the meaning of Deen and Shari`ah. The illiterate ones are, of course, incap*able of understanding the nuance but fairly educated people, too, even many Maulvis, do not know the exact purport of these two words and the difference between their meanings.
Due to this ignorance, Deen and Shari`ah are often mixed up with each other and this creates lot of confusion.
Today I explain to you their meaning in very simple words.
Meaning of' Deen'
There are several meanings of Deen.
One meaning is honour, government, empire, monarchy and rulership.
The second meaning is quite opposite to it, i.e. subordination, obedience, slavery, servitude and subjection.
Third meaning is to account, to give judgment, and dispense reward and punishment of actions. The word Deen has been used in the Quran in all these three meanings.
Deen with Allah is al-Islam. (3 19)
This means that
with Allah Deen is only that creed which make man recognize Allah alone as Possessor of Dignity and which does not allow him to bow himself before anybody save Allah. Man must regard only Allah as Master, Lord and Sovereign and must not be slave, servant and subservient to anybody except Him. He must consider Allah only as the Giver of reward and punishment, and must never be afraid of being accountable to anybody else except Him, must not be covetous of receiving reward from anybody else nor be afraid of punishment from anybody else.
The name of this very Deen is Islam.
If contrary to this, man considered some one else as possessor of real dignity, as a real ruler and master and as a real giver of reward and punishment, and bowed his head before him in humiliation, became servile to him, obeyed his orders, became eager for his reward and fearful of his punish*ment, then this will be false Deen,
Allah never accepts this kind of Deen because it is totally contrary to reality.
No other being except God is the Possessor of honour and dignity in this whole universe nor does there exist anybody else's sovereignty and kingdom.
Man has not been created to be a servant and slave of anybody else nor is there anyone else except that real Master. Who is capable of giving reward and punishment.
This very fact has been pointed out thus in two verses:
(3:85) And whoever seeks a way other than this way a submission (Islam),
will find that it will not be accepted from him and in the Life to come he will be among the losers.
That is to say that
whosoever, disregarding the sovereignty and kingship of God, acknowledges someone else as his master and ruler, and becomes his servant and slave, and considers that being as a giver of reward and punishment, God will never accept his Deen, because
(98:5) Yet all that they had been commanded was that they serve Allah, with utter sincerity, devoting themselves exclusively to Him, and that they establish Prayer and pay Zakah. That is the Right Faith.
God has actually made human being His own slave and has not at all ordered them to be servile to anyone except Himself. It is, therefore, incumbent upon them to turn away from all directions and rivet their attention to their Deen, i.e. obedience and servitude, for Allah only. They should\ devote themselves to His service with single-mindedness, and be afraid of being accountable to Him alone.
(3:83) Do they now seek a religion other than prescribed by Allah even though all that is in the heavens and the earth is in submission to Him - willing or unwillingly - and to Him all shall return?
Does man want to be servile and subser*vient to someone other than God although all those things that are in the earth and the heavens are slaves and obedient
himself in contravention the entire universe comprising earth and heavens
(61:9) He it is Who has sent forth the Messenger with the Guidance and the True Religion that He may make it prevail over all religion, however those that associate aught with Allah in His Divinity might dislike this.
that Allah has sent His Messenger with the true Deen for the purpose that should end the sovereignty of all false authorities and make man so emancipated that he should become servant of none except that of the Lord of the universe no matter what hue and cry the unbelievers and polytheists may raise against it because of their ignorance.
(8:39) And fight against them until the mischief ends and the way prescribed by Allah - the whole of it prevail. Then, if they give up mischief, surely Allah sees what they do.
This means that you wage war so that the evil of the sovereignty of beings other than Allah is wiped out, and only the Law of God operates in the world, the sovereignty of God alone is acknowledged and man becomes slave exclusively that of God.
From this elucidation you must have understood the meaning of Deen
To acknowledge God as Lord, Master and Ruler.
To obey and serve only God.
To be afraid of accountability to God, to fear His punishment and to be greedy of His reward.
Since the commandments of God have been vouchsafed to human beings only through His Book and His Messenger, therefore, to recognise the Messenger as God's Messenger and the Book as God's Book and obey their injunctions is also the essential part of Deen as has been said in the Quran:—
(7:35) Children of Adam! If Messengers come to you from amongst yourselves who rehearse to you My signs, then those who shun disobedience and mend their ways shall have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve.
From this it is clear that Allah does not send His com*mandments direct to every person but through the medium of His Messengers. Therefore, one who acknowledges Allah as Ruler can be taken as obedient to Him only when he becomes obedient to His Messengers and carries out the orders received through the Messengers. This is exactly what Deen implies.