اَلدِّيْنُ ألنَّصِيْحَة (رواه مسلم)

This one is awkward to translate. “The deen is the naseehah.” But to translate that as “the religion is the advice” just doesn’t really grab the meaning of the phrase in Arabic.

دين (deen) comes from the root دان (daana) which means “to borrow, take a loan, be a debtor, be indebted, to owe”, and it can also mean “to profess, to adhere to one’s customs”. So while deen means “to profess a religion”, it also means the spiritual debts one piles up in this world. For example, Surah al Fatiha calls Allah ta’ala as مٰلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِيْنِ which means “Master of the Day of Deen”, often translated as “Master of the Day of Judgement” or “Master of the Day of Recompense”. Why exactly is the Day of Judgement also called the Day of the Deen? This is the Day when everyone will profess that they knew prior to entering this world that Allah ta’ala was their Creator, and it will be the Day when all the debts from this world fall due.

نصيحة (naseehah) means “sincere advice, friendly admonition, friendly reminder”. Therefore we can see that to give naseehah is not to do so in a haughty or ego-driven manner. Naseehah is to give advice in a sincere and friendly way, meaning that one should avoid giving advice in an overly strict or heavy manner, but to speak the truth simply with the aim of guiding the one being advised to a more perfect Islam. (Obviously one should advise himself first before advising his friends!)

Put these two together and you can see that the debt you want on the Day of Judgement is a long list of you advising and bettering yourself and others (or at least the intention of that). This is one of the basic levels of Islam that many of us do not have, and I believe we are lacking this because we focus so much on the correctness of rituals that are applied in such a way that they do not touch our hearts. We have made the deen such an intellectual pursuit that we forget the vast majority of sahaba were not great scholars but ordinary men and women who had pure imaan (as a group and, obviously, excluding the munafiqeen), and therefore their deeds were not as corrupted. Furthermore, I know many of us who would sit back and laugh at others who are not as educated in Islam as we are, but perhaps their simple understanding of the basics, when combined with sincerity, will cause them to surpass us in the aakhira!

I ask Allah ta’ala to grant us all the wisdom to give naseehah as he intended and to reclaim our religion from this weird, secular partition our colonizers imposed upon us. We as an ummah need to wake up to the reality that Islam is a complete way of life and not a bunch of bizarre, detached rituals. I truly believe that this awakening is the only way the Muslims will ever reclaim our dignity and sovereignty again.

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