Deen is a process, not a state of being, and to get a feel for this we need to look at the root of deen (دين) which is the triliteral root د ي ن. Hamza Yusuf goes into the various other meanings of words taken from the root د ي ن and I’ve listed two of them here:
- The word deen is related to debt, and in Arabic Islam is called “ad Deen al Islam”. Literally you can translate it as the debt of submission. The idea is that we have been endowed, or given, blessings by The Creator and the debt that we owe is submission to The Creator;
- Another meaning is the Day of Judgement, “yeom ad deen”, the day the debts fall due, the day of reckoning, the day of hisaab.
So on the Day of Judgement, we’re going to answer to the ultimate reckoning of everything we’ve done on this earth. It doesn’t matter if you’re Muslim or not, we all go through this accounting, and we know this because of Surah al Kafiroon which says:
For you is your deen, and for me is my deen.