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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Racism: a spiritual disease: thoughts on the Alt-Right movement under the lense of the Qur'an

Introduction


The United States of America has been facing alot of soul-searching as of late. Barely six months into the rise of Donald Trump to the highest office in the land, a number of scandals, mostly political in nature, have emerged. These scandals, firings, accusations and disputes fueled by Mr.Trump's excessive use of Twitter have now played there way into yet another situation, the reinvigoration of the White Nationalist movement, commonly now called the Alt-Right! 


All of our readers are certainly aware of what has occured last week in Charlottesville, Virginia. The city's decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee had attracted the attention of both White Nationalists types [Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis and their likes] and those who are concerned about the emergence of the Alt-Right. Clashes erupted between the groups, and in one encounter, a supporter of the Alt-right ( James Fields, Jr)
drove his vehicle into a crowd of counter-protestors, injuring 19, and killing one young woman ( Heather Heyer).

As I was traveling last week, I didn't get a chance to share thoughts on this tragedy right away. The subsequent comments from Mr.Trump added more fuel to the fire, and the ultimate ending of the political drama remains to be seen, however there were a number of things I did notice, which-along with other reasons- have prompted me to have a fresh look at the Qur'an on certain topics, some of  which we share below.

Blood and Soil

The sincere and essentially good people who work and hope for the public good eventually earn the wrath of what scripture calls Hypocrites. It is seemingly a universal phenomenon, which would explain why we find hypocrisy and it's holders in the Qur'an, the Bible, and the  writings and stories associated with the great teachers and philosophers. 

One of the slogans shouted by the Alt-Right at their rallies is "Blood and Soil". It is a Nazi-era slogan. As disturbing as that is, it does tell us the thinking of these types of people, regardless of their skin color, religious label or political party [as there types appear in every group]. It tells us that they think everything of value is to be their property exclusively, that they oppose oppurtunities for others outside of their group, that they think their color or their family name or their passport is enough of a qualification for dominion! Thus, we find the same sorts of people in opposition to government programs meant to assist those with low or no income. They oppose positive reforms in the MEDICADE and health care, they oppose welfare and they oppose public housing! 


One of the statements in the Qur'an informs us "They [i.e. the hypocrites] say : Spend not for those with the Messenger of God [Muhammad] , until they leave.." ( Q 63:7).

The hyporites in Muhammad's time ( upon whom be peace) had the same mentality as the hypocrites today. They hoped to make their perceived opponent leave the town [in this case, Madinah], that way they can grab the power they believe is really theirs. 

It is a strange situation for a white nationalist movement to emerge. They have had power in this country, and much of the world, for generations. The African-American population is, at most, 15%. 

Despite this, the hypocrites see themselves as under threat, and they will turn to the language an rhetoric of race, color and nation in order to bring support to their lust for power. 

This is not restricted to one group of hypocrites, this seems to be a repeated pattern of behaviour, in both the bigger social realm and in more private, smaller arenas.

The Qur'an goes on to say " Yet, to God belongs the treasures of the Heavens and the Earth, however, the hypocrites do not understand this." ( Q 63:7). 

The operative term here is that they "do not understand this" (Laa Yafqahoon). This tells us that the hypocrites's thinking, their world view, is very limited. It is petty and small-minded! They think small.

Returning to the action of James Fields, Jr, which has received public praise from some in that movement. He was willing to kill many people, and perhaps himself sacrifice his freedom and his very life, for protecting a statue dedicated to a rebellion which lost the war over 152 years ago!

Similarly, Neo-Nazis in an American context  often wear Nazi- Germany era uniforms, armbands, and engage in Nazi military salutes, yet the only Nazi state in history [Under Adolph Hitler] lost the war, leading to the occupation and decimation of Germany, and it's main ideologue, Hitler, killed himself rather than live in a world in which he was defeated!

So these types are glorifying an evil past, a past that led to defeat and ruin. It reveals serious cognitive problems, and, from a religious perspective, souls which are deeply troubled, in need of repair.

Other characteristics mentioned in the Qur'an

* They have no firm or true commitments, they simply jump on the bandwagon they deem successful ( Q 9:42)
* They want credit for work they did not do, and are often well-spoken ( Q 9:44-47)
* Have a history of trouble making associated with them, and yet see themselves as clever ( 9:48-50)
*Often already have goodly amounts of money and power ( 9:55, 75, 77)
* Little or none spirituality in their lives, always complaining ( 9:78-79)
* Truly Narcissistic in their thinking ( 9:57-58)

Do not the above characteristics describe situation of those who are now using the language of race and nation?  It gives us glimpses into the hearts of such people, particularly among those with some amounts of power and authority.

You will not replace us

In connection to the situation faced by Prophet Muhammad, we read " They [i.e. the hypocrites] are saying: " If we return to the town, the most honorable [i.e. superior, Al-a'azzu] will expel the inferior [Adhilla] from it." [Q 63:8]

So the hypocrites see themselves as better than those outside of their own circle, be it a circle of race, nation, or ideology! They think only for their own collective glory. This seems to explain the other slogan chanted by the Alt-right in Charlottesville. They chanted "You will not replace us". 

Media commentators have said that this slogan was directed at the Jews, and, like the previously referenced cry, is a Nazi-era expression. 

Yet, in the Charlottesville clashes, we saw that perhaps a majority of people protesting against the Alt-right were themselves white! I think that this is a good sign that while the nation is no doubt in serious and trying times, a goodly number of people, of all races and backrounds, recognize that bowing down to the petty-minded and provincial racists will spell disaster for the future. Thus, it is the view of this writer that the true object of that slogan is not simply Jewish people, but rather the wider American public [who reject these bygone deadly ideas].

The hypocrites see themselves as deserving of glory, respect, honor and appreciation ['Izzah]. They desire, to use an analogy, the pay, respect, and title of an important figure, yet have neither done the work, study, or even have the genuine desire that is a natural association with authentic efforts! 

There is a difference between a medical doctor, trained to be a suregon, and a person who has done nothing more than search for a YOUTUBE video on surgeries! The latter cannot be respected as a suregon, simply because he has not conducted the necessary preliminaries to wear such a label.

God says " Honor [Al'Izzah] is the domain of God, His Messenger, and the people of faith, however, the hypocrites do not know this." ( Q 63:8)

Allah gives light and respect to whomsoever he wishes, but we see that His Sunnah [pattern] is to give to the deserving, the sincere and the hard-working. 

The rhetoric of inferiority and superiority, hatred and scapegoating, can only go so far. It has a limited shelf-life. 


Concluding thoughts

This has not been an attempt to gain converts to Islam or even to propagate the Qur'an, rather this composition is a very limited attempt on my part to record thoughts on the societal discussions currently taking place. I do hope that it inspires the reader to see the language of race as indicitive of spiritual diseases that need to be addressed. I also hope that the reader can ponder on those in their own circles, to see who and what is healthy to maintain in their own lives. Scripture warns us to stay away from both the characteristics which breed hypocrisy as well as those who are hypocrites. Yet, it is not all doom and gloom. The Qur'an itself ( 9:66) says that there is an oppurtunity to reform. 

People can change if God puts it into their hearts to change, and if they recognize that there is a problem and seek to rectify it.  I have been blessed to meet many such people, people who had terrible thinking and even terrible actions in their past life, whose encounter with something better directed them to reform. The most important issue to address is that of correct thinking. If our thinking, our worldview or life philosophy is largely correct and healthy, our actions will likewise be a reflection of that. Yes, we can and will make mistakes, even if our foundational roots are sound, however those mistakes would be turned into virtures, in the sense that we seek to learn from them. 

It can be said that we are speaking from a prejudiced viewpoint, with our exclusive references to the Qur'an as an authoritative source, but for those who don't believe in it as a text from The Divine Source, atleast consider that wisdom, guidance, help, can be found even in unexpected sources, thus, it is prudent to think about what it says.







Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Thinking properly: a view from the Qur'an

"Do you not see how God presents a parable : a wholesome concept (Kalimatan Tayyibatan) is like a wholesome/healthy  tree (Shajaratin Tayyibatin), firmly planted in its roots, yet it's branches reaches out to the sky. It brings forth its fruit at all times, by the permission of it's Lord. God sets forth parables (Amthaal) for people's [benefit] so that perhaps they will engage in thinking. And the parable of a repugnant concept [ Kalimatin Khabeethatin] is that of a repugnant tree, torn out of the land, having no stability." ( Qur'an 14:24-26)

The Importance of a Correct Foundation

The Qur'an has not come forth in order to make us blind or mindless followers, rather it has come in order to create a solid or positive foundation upon which to develop further. "Indeed, We (Allah) have made it a pure recitation, in order that perhaps you will use your minds." (Q 12:2).

Yet, what is that thinking supposed to be built upon? How are we supposed to identify what constitutes Kalimah Tayyibah, as mentioned in the above-mentioned Quranic text? The attributes of a wholesome concept is Firmness, Far Reaching and having a widely felt positive impact. Thus, Allah says "..firmly planted in its roots, yet branching out to the sky, it brings fruit at all times, by the permission of its Lord"

The Muffasiroon generally assert that the expression Kalimah Tayyibah in verse 14:24 is a reference to the confession of faith in the One and Only God and that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger. If we do adopt that view, the implication would be that when this Shahaadah becomes the core of the believer, that it belongs to you [as opposed to simply an inherited religious formula] your life and your thinking will get better and better.

A person who is firm upon the teaching that God alone deserves worship and that God has inserted his mercy and will into the collective life of man [by sending forth messengers, ending with the Quranic revelation to Muhammad, upon whom be peace] won't be stuck in incorrect thinking, If they are stuck in incorrect thinking, and yet  still claiming to be believers, than the implication is that they have serious deficiencies in their foundational roots, despite their claims to the contrary. The Qur'an informs us:  "They seek to deceive Allah, and those who hold to [real] faith, yet, they deceived themselves, but perceive not. In their hearts is an illness, and God has [as a consequence of their own acts] increased that illness, for them is a terrible penalty, for they are lying." { Q 2: 9-10}

Believers can sometimes make mistakes and hold onto wrong concepts, yet, like the flu, in time the sincere ones recover and head towards that which is correct. "And whosoever obeys Allah and his Messenger have achieved a mighty achievement" { Q 33:71}.

Yet, in all honesty, we are reading the term Kalimah Tayyibah as referring to more than the Shahaadah. We understand this to refer to the foundations of correct thinking, that wholesome concepts are identified by the attributes of stability, positive impact, and far reaching.

Look at the benefits trees bring. There are countless variety of trees worldwide, all of which having different types of benefit. Allah presents to us that lasting ideas are like those fruits that the healthy trees are producing!


We see this in both religious and non religious contexts. We see this in Prophet Jesus as well as Prophet Muhammad, peace be on them both, but also in the great social reformers and minds such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcolm X [Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz].
Repugnant concepts are not long-lasting

The parable continues by telling us of the  repugnant tree [Shajarah Khabeethah]. The Repugnant concept is compared to such a tree. It is a waste of soil. It produces nothing except headache and worry. It is always on the warpath.

Wrong thinking and wrong concepts are like that, even though initially it looks attractive. Consider Eugenics, as well as Fascism and Nazism. These three very related and intertwined pseudo-scientific ideologies attracted the love of millions, including highly educated people. They held political power in important nations [notably Germany under Adolph Hitler  and Italy under Benito Mussolini ] . Yet, the ultimate fruit from those ideas was racial hatred, wars, genocidal actions [perpetrated against the Jews in concentration camps, leading to the death of an estimated six million in those camps] and dictatorship. Today, even in the places where these destructive ideas were given birth, these ideas have, at best, followers on the fringes. They are, by and large, seen for what they were, terrible ideas that are best forgotten rather than remembered (ft.1) .


Believers have to always be on guard to protect their core

In light of the realities of confusion and misguidance, Muslims in particular, but people in general, have to be on guard to protect themselves from being upon or following repugnant concepts, regardless if the source of it's preaching is from the Imam's podium on Fridays or from the office of political leaders!

For Muslims, aids in protection include, but are not limited to, praying, fasting, regular Qur'an study, the company of goodly persons and strong family. For Non Muslims, the same formula can be applied.  For all their faults, both Dr King and Mahatma Gandhi  [Non Muslims]  were deeply spiritual people, dedicated to certain principles obtained largely from seeking out Divine guidance.This is a reality that should not be denied simply due to religious label!

In today's world, we see a rise of narcissism, of racism, scapegoating and stereotyping of peoples. Most disturbing, modern culture seems to glorify all the repugnant behavior that is ultimately destructive. Ignorance is not only tolerated, it is preached, and knowledge, even the seeking of knowledge, is seen as an oddity{ft.2}.

More than ever, we have to seek to be connected to God, we have to divorce ourselves, even if only in a limited way, from a destructive world, particularly from entertainment which is not wholesome, from people who seek to use and abuse, and from vices which can be used against us or work against us.

Wonderful ways of maintaining some levels of protection include simple things like going to the park, exercise, staying off one's mobile phone/computer sometimes, praying not only in the places of worship but also outside, goodly company on family and intimate level, and of course, travel.

Particularly for Americans, who traditionally have been reluctant to leave North America, it is important to see the world. Travel opens up one's mind to new and better things, to see how others live and think. The Qur'an speaks highly of travel { 12:105, 22:46, 45:3, among other places}.

I would dare say that traveling is embedded into the religious tapestry of Islam. After all, we are all obligated to make Hajj, where one sees the many nationalities and peoples created by Allah on this Earth.

Allah ends this particular exposition in these powerful words:


'Allah is establishing those with faith with the firmly established expression [Al Qawl Ath-Thaabit], in this life and the Hereafter: Allah lets stray the oppressive, and Allah does what He wills." { Q 14: 27}



Footnotes

[1] In many European nations, open support for Fascism and Nazism are deemed criminal offenses, even things such as doing Nazi salutes and the like.


[2] This writer has in mind many of the entertainment programs such as The Fox production It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The protagonists are narcissistic bar owners, drifting from one relationship to another, using people and seeking out a quick road to riches in the process. It glorifies, in many of it's episodes, ignorant behavior and thinking. However, this is not the only program which does this. This is found in much of entertainment today. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Common Christian Concerns regarding Islam (CCCI)

Introduction

We live in an age of false news and deliberate misrepresentations. So much information, facts and half-truths are in wide distribution via all media outlets regarding any possible subject of importance. With this in mind, we seek to address, in particular, the concerns that members of the Christian community have regarding Islamic beliefs, doctrines, and Muslims in general.

This brief article is not intended as a polemical device, nor is it sugar coating the facts. It is intended for educational purposes only, to foster proper understanding by sharing correct information. It is intended to form a basis for discussion between members of the two respective religious communities, and is composed with the supplication of Prophet Muhammad ( peace be upon him) in mind, in which he prays : "O God, show us truth as truth, and give us the ability to follow it, and show us falsehood (FT.1) as falsehood, and give us the ability to abstain from it."


What is Islam?

The term "Islam" itself is a word, a verbal noun, that means "submission to God". The one who does the act of "submission" is called a "Muslim". Notice that both of these terms are rather generic. These terms denote action, something which is far superior to a particular label. Labels have been associated with particular places and personalities, Christianity after the personage of Christ, Buddhism after the Buddha, Judaism after the Jewish tribes and so forth. Our argument, based upon the Qur'an itself, is that it is the action which is important to God. Thus, it says "Verily, the deen (Ft. 2) in God's sight is Islam" (Qur'an 3:18).


The Bible and the Qur'an

The term Bible means " a collection of books". It can also be rendered "a library". It is a collection of writings that were by and large never intended by their respective writers to be placed in a single text, and it is quite doubtful that they viewed their writings as "scripture". In any case, it has acquired a sacredness for Christians, highlighted by the text which reads "all scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." ( 2 Timothy 3:16, NIV).

The Qur'an is viewed by Muslims as God's own words. It is only God's words. The word Qur'an is a verbal noun, meaning "the recitation" or "the reading". One definition is "something that is to be repeatedly read". It was sent to Muhammad The Prophet over a twenty-three year period via the Angel Gabriel. It's texts are used in prayers (Ft.3) and is the main source of Islamic theology and practices.

In terms of how the Qur'an perceives the Bible, three points should be made [1] God did sent forth messages to various messengers. Among them are persons such as Jesus, Moses, Abraham, and the others, God's peace be on them all. The Qur'an says: " Say: We believe in God, in what has been sent to us, and in what has been sent to Abraham, Ishmael, Issac, Jacob and the tribes, in that given to Moses, Jesus and the Prophets from their Lord. We make no difference between them, and we belong to him as those submissive." (Q 3:84).   [2] While Muslims accept, on the basis of the above Quranic verse [as well as other verses] that God has sent teaching to these figures, and hold these persons in great reverence, the Qur'anic position is that interpolations, misunderstandings and outright misrepresentations have taken place, falsely attributed to the blessed personalities such as Jesus. Some of these things have been minor, and some quite major. This has also affected the Bible itself as a text. This is quite understandable when we consider that "Bible" itself is a collection of various writings, the authors often themselves being unknown. This is the overall conclusion of the scholars of Biblical textual criticism, and is increasingly being recognized by Christian religious leaders themselves. Even in the widely read English translation known as THE NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION STUDY BIBLE [NIV] we read, in the preface to the book of Numbers " It is not necessary ...to claim that Numbers came from Moses' hand complete and in final form. Portions of the book were probably added by scribes or editors from later periods of Israel's history."( Ft. 4). The same source tells us of another purported source of history, that being the book of Joshua, that it was not put into writing till 800 years after the events it is supposed to be recording. (pg.288, NIV, 2002 edition).

We have to ask ourselves how a text  written almost a millennium  after the event be seen as an authoritative source?

[3] The Quranic assessment is that in light of all of this confusion, the Qur'an comes along to address the most important of points of contention [Q 27:76].  For Muslims, the Qur'an is primary source, and whatever theological teachings that go against that, it is ultimately rejected, whereas whatever goes along with it, is accepted as the probable truth! Even with that said, one will find that in general, worldwide, Muslims will treat the Bible, should they encounter it, with respect. Indeed, many Muslims find Western Christian's treatment of their text as strange, things such as throwing the book around, leaving it on the floor, writing in it, even reading it in the bathrooms.


Jesus

Muslims revere Jesus as the Messiah, as one sent by God Almighty to correct certain attitudes that the Jews of his age had. This subject has been dealt with in greater detail by this writer at http://shamsuddinwaheed.blogspot.com/2008/01/jesus-in-islam.html . For the moment, we can summarize by saying that while Muslims accept Jesus, upon whom be peace, he is not seen as God incarnate! Moreover, the metaphorical language ascribed to Jesus in the Bible as "God's son", is not used by the Qur'an or by Muslims because we seek to avoid any language which can cause confusion on God concept.

Violence

The emergence of political insurgencies in various places within the Muslim world has created the image of Islam as an inherently violent religion, ready to explode at any moment. The issue of political rebellions and terrorist groups is something beyond this article, for the simple fact that each place has it's own unique set of circumstances and historical backround. In terms of Islam as a religion, the notion that it promotes murder and mayhem is totally false.

Thus, the Qur'an says:  "And do not kill the soul, which God has eternally forbidden [Harrama], except in justice. And whoso is killed unjustly, God has given his heirs authority, [yet even then], so do not be excessive in the retribution, as he [the heir] is assisted [legally]" [Q 17: 33]".
The issues of violence in the name of religion, as well as the related issues of Jihad, have been addressed in greater detail in the panel discussion Responses To Violence In The Abrahamic Traditions  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUjTm7infHI and more briefly in Spotlight On Religious Violence here.


Muhammad The Prophet



Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah, may peace be upon him,  was born in 570 C.E. in the city of Makkah, on the Arabian peninsula. Known for his exceptional honesty and trustworthiness, he received the revelation of Qur'an over a period of twenty-three years, beginning at the age of forty. He faced war, attempts on his life, the persecution of himself, family and followers. His teachings include things found revolutionary in Arabian society, such as the forbidding of female infanticide, that women are to have inheritance rights, that a life of discipline and abstinence from thing such as alcohol, intoxicants, gambling. He also was able to create a brotherhood between various peoples and classes. In his final speech, he said "There is no virtue of Arab over a Non Arab, or a white over a black, or a black over white. The only criterion for virtue is in reverence for God." 

The words of Muhammad are recorded in sources known as the literature of Hadeeth. It is important to note that they do not have the same value as the Qur'an, and that our scholars have long recognized that there are misunderstandings and fabrications in that genre that have to be pointed out. In addition to this, even accurately recorded reports in the hadeeth literature may not be always a full report, meaning that the context in which a statement was made or an action done may not be present in the particular report.

The broad details of The Prophet's life are well known and established in light of history. His battles, his marriages, his birth and death place, treaties, his particular mode of worship and the like. His merciful attitudes, his personality, all are well known. Theologically, he is seen as God's universal messenger, a Prophet who completes the process of Prophethood. He is also seen as a fulfillment of predictions made before his advent. The Bible itself reports Jesus as saying that one would come after him to "speak all truth" (John 14:26). Rather than seeing this as a vague  "holy spirit of inspiration", our reasoning is that Muhammad fits this description more than any other historical figure. Jesus's ministry was only three years, some say 6 1/2 years. He was never one who addressed political or military affairs, and barely -if we take the canonical Gospels as evidence- addressed social ills on a wide scale. Muhammad, however, did, and his successes are well recorded in the Qur'an and in historical memory.

The Qur'an depicts Muhammad as a mercy to mankind {Q 21:107} and all reports surrounding him need to be seen in that overall light. Moreover, the particular reports about particular incidents or statements, one needs to consult specialists in the subject. There is much about him and about what is attributed to him which is beyond this particular article, our suggestion would be to conduct a serious study on him. A wonderful work is The Life of Muhammad by Muhammad Husayn Haykal.


Who are Muslims ethnically?


Muslims currently make up 1/5th of the human population. The Arab world is only 20 % of the Muslim world population, so that would make Arab speakers a minority in the Muslim world. Indeed, the biggest population of Muslims in the African continent is not an Arabic-speaking nation, but rather Nigeria!

The world's largest Muslim population is Indonesia [261 million], located in South East Asia. Muslims are composed of many cultures, languages, and historical diversity.

Islam has- from it's primary sources, addressed racism in a firm way, which, in my view, has contributed to it's wide acceptance.

In an American context, it's a bit harder to quantify the number of Muslims. A 2016 estimate puts the number around 3 million [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_the_United_States], however there are also estimates that go as high as six or seven million Muslims in the United States. 

Ethnically, it is said that 25% of American Muslims are from Asia, typically the Indian Subcontinent [India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh], whereas 24% of American Muslims are said to be African-American, and Arabs constitute 18% of American Muslims. http://muslimgirl.com/25021/majority-race-muslim-community/

Islam in the black experience has a profound and fascinating history. Figures such as Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali need no introduction.


Basic values of Islam

The basic values of Islam are also those shared by the Christian and Jewish traditions. The Qur'an says:

 Your Lord has decreed: (i) Do not worship any but Him (ii) Be good to your parents; and should both or any one of them attain old age with you, do not say to them even "fie" neither chide them, but speak to them with respect,  and be humble and tender to them and say: "Lord, show mercy to them as they nurtured me when I was small." Your Lord is best aware of what is in your hearts. If you are righteous, He will indeed forgive those who relent and revert (to serving Allah).(iii) Give to the near of kin his due, and also to the needy and the wayfarer. (iv) Do not squander your wealth wastefully, for those who squander wastefully are Satan's brothers, and Satan is ever ungrateful to his Lord. And when you must turn away from them - (that is, from the destitute, the near of kin, the needy, and the wayfarer) - in pursuit of God's Mercy which you expect to receive, then speak to them kindly.Do not keep your hand fastened to your neck nor outspread it, altogether outspread, for you will be left sitting rebuked, destitute.Certainly Your Lord makes plentiful the provision of whomsoever He wills and straitens it for whomsoever He wills. He is well-aware and is fully observant of all that relates to His servants. ( Q 17:23-30)

Footnotes

[1] The word translated as "falsehood" here is الباطل   Baatil. It carries a wide shade of meaning, including that which is ridiculous or valueless.



[2] Deen is usually translated as 'religion', however the usage in Quranic language is much greater than our typical understanding of constitutes religion. It is with regret that modern Arabic uses deen as 'religion' [with the plural being adyaan, which never appears in the Qur'an]. It is interesting that Urdu, which has the word 'deen', nonetheless does not use this term, but rather the term mazhab
[Arabic :  madh-hab], a term which, even in it's original Arabic, seems to better fit the modern understanding of what constitutes 'religion'.

[3] The core text for Muslim worship is Soorah Al- Faatihah, the first chapter of the Qur'an.

[4] Zondervan, NIV STUDY BIBLE (Grand Rapids, 2000) page 185.