I had a small discussion with my friend Marc (here), and I thought of asking this in a separate question.

Notice that I am asking in context of Islam, as the definition of religion is broad.

In Quran, there is this verse (Quran 45:23):

Have you seen he who has taken as his god his [own] desire, and Allah has sent him astray due to knowledge and has set a seal upon his hearing and his heart and put over his vision a veil? So who will guide him after Allah ? Then will you not be reminded?

What I understood from it is that you don't need to have a God to be in a religion, and that even by not having God, you are still in the religion of desire. Where am I wrong?

Besides, is there any discussions or any verses that mention this topic?

2 Answers 2


Deen doesnt mean just religion, rather more so "way of life". So if somebody is a polythiest he has a different deen/way of life than a someone who is a monothiest. In the same way, someone who is athiest has a different deen than a muslim as it is obviously a seperate way of life from islam. A religion is sometimes a way of life (and for us muslims our religion is definitely a way of life) and that said the words are used interchangeably in alot of cases. Athiesm is obviously the absense of religion and that in itself is a way of life.

Suraht al kafiroon 109/6

لَکُمۡ دِیۡنُکُمۡ وَلِیَ دِیۡنِ

Lakum deenikum wa liya deeni

Yusuf Ali translation- "To you be your Way, and to me mine."

Sahih International- "For you is your religion, and for me is my religion."

  • Is there any clear consensus or discussion of this matter among scholars? Just to be more sure about it.
    – Ghasan
    Feb 25, 2014 at 1:03
  • @Ghasan there is no superior then the Holy Quran Jam has explained very well...
    – Arshad Ali
    Feb 27, 2014 at 6:27
  • It is good to mention that the surah starts with telling about those who believes in Islam, and those who don't (regardless of what they call themselves), and that they have they religion (way of life). This logically means, in context of Islam, that anything else is still a religion including Atheism.
    – Ghasan
    Feb 27, 2014 at 10:08

No, In Islam only Islam is considered as a realign. although atheism includes a collection of beliefs and is an ideology but Islam does not consider it a religion.

In Islam there is only one religion and it is called Islam. in Islam view previous divine religions have been uncompleted versions of Islam. although Quran uses the terms Christian and Jews, but these are not the names of any religion. but they are the names for followers and not the name of religion itself. but does not have any name for their religion. because in view of Quran there is only one original religion sent by God that is step by step perfected by prophets during history.

Indeed, 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. http://tanzil.net/#3:19

So according to Quran atheism is not considered a religion.

Also Quran calls the prophet Ibrahim a.s. a Muslim before even birth of prophet Muhammad SAWW. so this means that Quran considers only one religion and it is Islam.

Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah]. And he was not of the polytheists. http://tanzil.net/#3:67

  • Interesting answer indeed, but what would you call Christianity, Judaism and so? Besides, how would that consolidate with Surat Al Kafiroon?
    – Ghasan
    Mar 7, 2014 at 11:24
  • Christianity, Judaism were older versions of Islam that by coming current version of Islam were expired and banned to follow. Quran calls past prophets Muslim. Mar 7, 2014 at 11:39
  • Yeah, but still, you need to call them a name, and they are now distinct from Islam. Besides, I mentioned that before that Surat Al Kafiroon quran.com/109/6.
    – Ghasan
    Mar 7, 2014 at 15:14

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