Zoroastrian / Avestan / Arabic Terminology: Deen / Daena

The Avestan word Daena and Arabic word Deen can both be translated as “religion,” “way of living,” or “recompense.” The Avestan word can also have two extra meanings. It can designate the Archangeless of Wisdom, who corresponds to the Greek Sophia. In Zoroastrian eschatology the word daena is also used to designate the maiden whom the deceased will meet after death. Unlike the houris described in the Qur’an, everyone will meet their daena shortly after death, before entering Paradise or Hell. The daena will only be good and beautiful for the righteous, whereas for the wicked they will be hideous and ugly. The daena of the righteous will meet them and guide them to a ladder that leads to the gardens of Paradise, whereas the the daena of the wicked will lead them to a sharp floor which they will refuse to cross, and then they will be frightened by a hideous beast (a different form of their daena) and will fall into Hell.

(A more detailed Zoroastrian account of Deen in the Hereafter can be found here or here. An overview of the word Daena in the Gathas of Zarathustra can be found here.)

******Note: In a previous version of this post I mistakenly claimed that Deen was an Avestan word. However, I have not found evidence of this, although Zoroastrians do use the word Deen.

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