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In Islam, dunyā (Arabic: دُنْيا[ˈdʊnjæː]) refers to the temporal world and its earthly concerns and possessions, as opposed to the hereafter (ʾākhirah).[citation needed] In the Qur'an, dunyā and ākhira are sometimes used dichotomously, other times complementarily. Islam does not a priori dismiss the world as "evil". Instead, this world is defined as "the field of ākhira" and the place of examination. Two Qur'anic ayat (verses) show that dunyā and ākhira are not considered as alternatives to each other per se:

  • "Ordain for us the good in this world [al-dunyā] and in the hereafter [al-ākhira]." (Surah Al A'râf 7:156)
  • "You are my friend in this world [al-dunyā] and the next [al-ākhira]." (Surah Yusuf 12:101)

What the Qur'an condemns is too much attention to the earthly life at the cost of forgetting the eternal life. For this purpose, Muslims are encouraged in the Qur'an 47:24 to ponder the verses of the Qur'an itself, and to do their best to not get too attached to this temporal existence and its trappings. In Islam, dunyā is a test; success and failure lead to paradise and hell, respectively.[1]

Modern usage[edit]

The term dunya is originally an Arabic word that derives from the root d-n-w ('to bring near'). In that sense, dunya is "what is brought near".[2] The term has spread to many other languages, particularly those with large groups of Muslim speakers. For example;

  • Donya/Denya [ˈdonjæ, ˈdenjæ] in Egyptian Arabic
  • Dünya in Turkish
  • Dinya in Kurdish
  • दुनिया (Duniya) in Hindi, Marathi and Nepali
  • দুনিয়া (Duniẏā) in Bengali and Assamese
  • ਦੁਨੀਆ (Dunī'ā) in Punjabi
  • دنیا (Dunya) in Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi and Persian
  • ꠖꠥꠘꠥꠀꠣꠤ (Dunwai) in Sylheti
  • Duniya in Hausa
  • Duniyaaru in Adamawa Fulfulde
  • Duniah in Wakhi,[3]
  • Dunia in Malay, Swahili and Indonesian
  • Donya in Javanese
  • Dünyä in Turkmen


  1. ^ Quran 57:20
  2. ^ Attas (1978). Islam and Secularism. International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation.
  3. ^ Keay, John (1983). When Men and Mountains Meet: The Explorers of the Western Himalayas 1820-75. J. Murray. p. 153. ISBN 0-7126-0196-1.

External links[edit]