Will you give information about the evaluations made related to the concept of religion?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,


    The first point to be emphasized about religion is related to the source of religion. Although there are various views on the origin of religion, according to Muslim scholars, there is no doubt that the origin of religion is divine. The definition of religion by Sayyid Sharif al-Jurjani (1340-1413) is a good example in this regard. According to that definition, “Religion is a divine law that invites sane people to adopt the truths informed by the prophet”.1

     Muhammad Hamdi Yazır, on the other hand, takes into consideration the classical definitions related to religion and defines it as follows: “A divine, sharia and nation that lead sane people to good deeds and blessings with their own choices, a way, law and spiritual motive that enables the voluntary acts of human beings to lead to the purpose of goodness and happiness”.2

In the following definition, Açıkgenç summarizes the views regarding the issue in an inclusive manner:

     From the Quranic perspective, the source of divine religions is Allah. He is the only authority to send religion. Religions are not a product of humanity that were fabricated by humans and that developed and reached the present day. On the contrary, they were sent through people who were chosen by Allah from the divine source and whom we call prophets but who are called messengers in the Quran.3

     As it is understood from the definition, although religion is not based on mind, it is not contrary to mind; it is not irrational. Hence, “contrary to what philosophers like Freud, Durkheim and Marx say, religion is not an institution developed by human beings with the intervention of social, psychological, rational and similar factors”.4

     According to Açıkgenç, who analyzes the concept of religion in the Quranic concept, it is possible to mention three kinds of religions: 

Revealed religion: Religion that is pure revelation and that has not been interpreted.

Institutionalized religion: Interpretation of revealed religion through correct ijtihads and its use by the community.

Distorted religion: Interpretation of the first two types of religion wrongly and their practices that emerge with changes based on the desires, wishes and interests of human beings.5

     Conflicts and problems related to the relationship between religion and science are mostly related to the interpretations in the last two types. As it can be seen from the classification above, “we cannot intervene in religion, in the first sense, that is, in the way since it came through revelation and without having been interpreted by human beings, with our minds since timeless and divine. However, we try to understand it with our minds.”

     Religion, in the second sense, has a social context because it is developed by ijtihads and it has historical features. There is no problem in interpreting it and rejecting it when necessary.

1.Tümer, Günay, (1994). “Din”, Istanbul:TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi, Vol. 9: 312-320.
2.Tümer, 1994.
3.Açıkgenç, A. (2006). İslam Medeniyetinde Bilgi veBilim, Istanbul: İSAM. p. 13
4.Açıkgenç, ibid, 13
5.Açıkgenç, ibid p. 18.

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