Religion and Definition of Religion

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A. Definition of Religion

The term religion in other languages is also called Din and Religi. Some meanings of religion include :

1. Originating from two words, A which means not and gama which means to leave. Thus, agama means not leaving or staying in place and inherited through generations.

2. Agama means texts or holy scriptures, because in every religion there are texts, symbols, or books considered sacred by its followers.

3. Agama means guidance, because within religion there is guidance on how its followers should live.

Religion, also known as Din and Religi in other terms, also has several meanings. Din in Semitic languages means laws or regulations, while in Arabic it means to control, subdue, obey, debt, reward, and habit. As for the term Religi, it is derived from Latin which means to gather, to read, and to bind. [1]

According to Ahmad Asir, religion is a doctrine originating from God or the result of human contemplation contained in holy scriptures that are passed down from generation to generation with the aim of providing guidance and life principles for humans to achieve happiness in this world and the afterlife. It includes belief in supernatural powers which subsequently evoke emotional responses and the belief that happiness in life depends on having a good relationship with these supernatural powers. [2]

2. The Elements of Religion

In a religion, there are several elements, including:

1. Belief in the supernatural, which possesses power and authority. 

2. Belief that human well-being depends on their relationship with the supernatural. 

3. Emotional responses from humans. These responses develop into forms of worship, offering rituals, or others.

4. Belief in the existence of something sacred and holy, such as holy scriptures, sacred texts, or sacred symbols.

3. Types of Beliefs

Religion and belief are closely related. Religion is a set of values and principles for humans to establish a good relationship with God and other creatures, while belief is defined as a person's inner attitude towards the truth of their religious teachings. [3]

Some types of beliefs include :

1. Animism

Animism is the belief in the power of spirits, which are considered to have influence over human life, including ancestral spirits. The goal of those who believe in animism is to establish a good relationship with these spirits by offering food, drinks, sacrifices, and other offerings.

2. Dynamism

Dynamism is the belief in objects that are considered to possess supernatural powers, such as an old sword believed to bring rain, among others. People who believe in dynamism aim to collect these powerful objects, believing that the more they gather, the safer their lives will be.

3. Polytheism

Polytheism is the belief in the existence of multiple gods, each possessing specific powers. In polytheistic beliefs, people will strive to offer everything to the gods so that the gods can help improve their well-being.

4. Henotheism

Henotheism is the belief in one supreme god or deity while not denying the possibility of other gods or deities. This belief falls between polytheism and monotheism.

5. Monotheism

Monotheism is the belief that there is only one all-powerful god, and there is no other. Among the religions that hold monotheistic beliefs are Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. In monotheistic beliefs, the purpose of religion is to purify and sanctify the soul. For example, in Islam, a person is required to worship to purify their soul to enter paradise. A person who still has sins will enter hell first, and only after their sins are expiated will they enter paradise.

Islam Religion

Among many religions and beliefs, as a Muslim, we must believe wholeheartedly that Islam is the true one. Allah SWT says in Surah Ali Imran verse 19 :

اِنَّ الدِّيْنَ عِنْدَ اللّٰهِ الْاِسْلَامُ ۗ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ الَّذِيْنَ اُوْتُوا الْكِتٰبَ اِلَّا مِنْۢ بَعْدِ مَا جَاۤءَهُمُ الْعِلْمُ بَغْيًاۢ بَيْنَهُمْ ۗوَمَنْ يَّكْفُرْ بِاٰيٰتِ اللّٰهِ فَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ سَرِيْعُ الْحِسَابِ

"Certainly, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam. And those who were given the Scripture did not differ except after knowledge had come to them - out of jealous animosity between themselves. And whoever disbelieves in the verses of Allah, then indeed, Allah is swift in [taking] account."

About Islam, Allah SWT says in Surah An-Nisa verse 125 :

وَمَنْ اَحْسَنُ دِيْنًا مِّمَّنْ اَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهٗ لِلّٰهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ وَّاتَّبَعَ مِلَّةَ اِبْرٰهِيْمَ حَنِيْفًا ۗوَاتَّخَذَ اللّٰهُ اِبْرٰهِيْمَ خَلِيْلًا

"And who is better in faith than those who ˹fully˺ submit themselves to Allah, do good, and follow the Way of Abraham, the upright? Allah chose Abraham as a close friend."

The Islam religion taught by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is in accordance with the teachings brought by Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). In Surah Ali Imran verse 67, Allah says : 

مَاكَانَ اِبْرٰهِيْمُ يَهُوْدِيًّا وَّلَا نَصْرَانِيًّا وَّلٰكِنْ كَانَ حَنِيْفًا مُّسْلِمًاۗ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِيْنَ

"Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was upright, a Muslim, and he was not one of the polytheists."

Author : Mushpih Kawakibil Hijaj.
This text was translated from Indonesian to English using ChatGPT.

References :

[1] Harun Nasution, Islam Ditinjau dari Berbagai Aspeknya, Jakarta : Universitas Indonesia Publishing, 2020, page 1.
[2] Ahmad Asir, Agama dan Fungsinya dalam Kehidupan Umat Manusia,  in Jurnal Penelitian dan Pemikiran Keislaman, volume 1 no 1, Februari 2014, page 52.
[3] Muwaffiq Jufri, Potensi Penyetaraan Agama dengan Aliran Kepercayaan di Indonesia, in Jurnal Yudisial, volume 13 nomor 1, April 2020, page 26.