Worship (dīn), monotheism (islām), and the Qurʾān’s cultic Decalogue


Goudarzi, Mohsen

Date of creation
2023 Gregorian
Preferred title
Worship (dīn), monotheism (islām), and the Qurʾān’s cultic Decalogue English
Work type
Single work
Work manifested
Work genre
Textual work

Adult, serious


The first part of this study presents evidence from the Qurʾān and early Arabic writings to argue that dīn in the Qurʾān often means “worship” instead of “religion” and that islām means exclusive worship of the One God rather than “submission” to Him. Specifically, I show that the noun dīn and the verb dāna frequently convey the ideas of “service” and “servitude” in early Arabic texts, a usage that underlies the qurʾānic meaning of dīn as “service” or “worship” offered to God. Moreover, in line with strong indications from the Qur’an, several early works of exegesis and lexicography understand islām as exclusive devotion to and monotheistic worship of God instead of submission to His will. In the second part, the study reinterprets the three verses that use the terms dīn and islām (Q 3:19, 3:85, and 5:3). It focuses on Q 5:3, which prohibits ten animal food items, announces the completion of the Believers’ dīn, and identifies this dīn as islām. As I argue, the new food restrictions of this verse are not simply dietary but also cultic, as their goal is to distinguish the Believers’ way of worship from that of the mushrikūn (“pagans”). In particular, the “cultic decalogue” of Q 5:3 bans the meat of animals that die violently (during hunting or otherwise), in order to ensure that the Believers eat meat only from animals that are slaughtered properly. Such slaughter involves the explicit and exclusive invocation of Allāh’s name, an act that showcases and safeguards the Believers’ adherence to monotheistic worship, namely, islām.

Edition in English
Worship (dīn), monotheism (islām), and the Qurʾān’s cultic Decalogue
Call number
41-842 8 (2023) 1