Glossary of Islamic Terms and Concepts

A.H.


means After Hijrah. It is the reference used in the Islamic calender, instead of A.D. which is used in the Christian calender.

Adhan

Other Commonly Used Spellings: AADHAN,ADHAAN


The call for the daily prayers are called Adhan. The person who calls the Adhan is called a Mu’adhin. A Mu’adhin calls the Adhan five times a day before Muslims are to perform their daily Salah (Prayer).

The Adhan is composed of specific words and phrases to be recited loudly in the Arabic language so that the neighbors can recognize the time schedule for the prayers.

Ahl ar-ra’y


means people of opinion. It is refers to people that are consulted on Islamic matters. These people are highly learned in Islam.

Ahzab


means parties. Ahzab is used to describe the different tribes that fought the Muslims in the Battle of the Ditch in 627 C.E., 5 A.H..

Al-asharatu mubashshirun


the ten people that were given the glad tiddings of assurance of entering Paradise. They were Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, Abdur Rahman ibn Awf, Abu Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah, Talhah ibn Ubaydullah, az-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, Sa’id ibn Zayd.

Al-hamdu lillahi rabbil ‘alamin

Other Commonly Used Spellings: AL-HAMDO LILLAHI RABBIL ‘ALAMIN


This is a verse from the Qur’an that Muslims recite and say many times per day. Other than being recited daily during prayers, a Muslim reads this expression in every activity of his daily life. The meaning of it is: “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.”

A Muslim invokes the praises of Allah before he does his daily work; and when he finishes, he thanks Allah for His favors. A Muslim is grateful to Allah for all His blessings. It is a statement of thanks, appreciation, and gratitude from the creature to his Creator.

Alim

Other Commonly Used Spellings: AALIM


a learned person in Islam, scholar.

Allah

Other Commonly Used Spellings: ALLA,ALAH


The true name for the creator of the Universe is Allah. He is the Merciful, the Beneficent, the Knowledgeable, the Protector, the Mighty, the God, the Provider, the Exalted, the Lord, the All-Knowing, the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, the Magnificent, the Wise, the Loving, the First, the Last, and the Eternal.

The Qur’an mentions around 100 beautiful names for Allah through which Muslims may understand and recognize Him, and His responsibilities for the whole Universe.

Allahu akbar

Other Commonly Used Spellings: ALLAHOO AKBAR,ALLAHU AKBER,ALLAHOO AKBER,ALLAH AKBAR


This statement is said by Muslims numerous times. During the call for prayer, during prayer, when they are happy, and wish to express their approval of what they hear, when they slaughter an animal, and when they want to praise a speaker, Muslims do say this expression of Allahu Akbar. Actually it is most said expression in the world. Its meaning: “Allah is the Greatest.” Muslims praise Allah in every aspect of life; and as such they say Allahu Akbar.

Amin

Other Commonly Used Spellings: AAMIN, AAMEEN, AMEEN


means custodian or guardian. Someone who is loyal or faithful.

Amir


means leader or commander.

Amir al-mumineen


means commander of the belivers. This title was given to the Khalifah.

Ansar

Other Commonly Used Spellings: ANSAAR


means helpers. These were the people of Madinah who responded to the Prophet’s call to Islam and offered Islam a city-state power.

Aqabah


a place just outside of Makkah, in Mina where the first Muslims from Yathrib Madinah pledged allegiance to the Prophet in the year 621 C.E.. A similar meeting took place the next year when more Muslims from Yathrib pledged their allegiance to the Prophet.

Arafat


a plain north of Mecca. It is on this plain that humanity will be raised on the Day of Judgement for questioning and judgement. During the Hajj on the ninth day of the month of Zhu-l-Hijjah, Muslim pilgrims gather on this plain for one day.

Asabiyyah


means tirbal loyalty, nationalism.

Assalamu alaikum

Other Commonly Used Spellings: ASSALAMO ALAIKUM,ASALAMO ALAIKUM


This is an expression Muslims say whenever they meet one another. It is a statement of greeting with peace. The meaning of it is: “Peace be upon you.”

Muslims try to establish peace on earth even through the friendly relation of greeting and meeting one another.

The other forms are: “Assalamu ‘Alalikum Wa Rahmatullah,” which means:”May the peace and the Mercy of Allah be upon you,” and “Assalamu Alalikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,” which means :”May the peace, the mercy, and the blessings of Allah be upon you.”

Asr


the late afternoon obligatory Salah, prayer.

Astaghfirullah

Other Commonly Used Spellings: ASTAGHFIRALLAH


This is an expression used by a Muslim when he wants to ask Allah forgiveness. The meaning of it is: “I ask Allah forgiveness.” A Muslim says this phrase many times, even when he is talking to another person. When a Muslim abstains from doing wrong, or even when he wants to prove that he is innocent of an incident he uses this expression. After every Salah (payer), a Muslim says this statement three times.

A’uzu billa hi minashaitanir rajim


This is an expression and a statement that Muslims have to recite before reading to Qur’an, before speaking, before doing any work, before making a supplication, before taking ablution, before entering the wash room, and before doing many other daily activities. The meaning of this phrase is: “I seek refuge from Allah from the outcast Satan.” Allah is the Arabic name of God.

Satan is the source of evil and he always tries to misguide and mislead people. The Qur’an states that Satan is not an angel but a member of the Jinn, which are spiritual beings created by Allah. So the belief that Satan is a fallen angel is rejected in Islam.

Awrah


parts of the body that are not supposed to be exposed to others. For men this is from the navel to the knee. For the women it is all of her body except the hands, feet, and face.

Ayah

Other Commonly Used Spellings: AYA,AYYAH


The Arabic meaning of Ayah is a miracle and a sign. The Qur’an is considered to be a miracle itself. Each verse or sentence is called an Ayah or a miracle. The plural of Ayah is called Ayat, which means miracles.

Ayat


it is the plural form of Ayah.

Ayat-ul-kursi


Surah Baqara, Ayah 256 of the Quran. It is called the throne of the Quran.

Badiyyah


a desert or semi-arid environment.

Badr


the first full military confrontation between the Muslims and the enemies of Allah. The battle took place between the Muslims and the Quraish of Mecca in the second year of Hijrah (624 C.E.). Eventhough the Muslims were outnumbered, the final result was to their favor.

Bakka’in


means weepers. These were the people that could not accompany the Prophet on his campaign to Tabuk because they lacked the resources to do so. They started to weep when they could not go.

Baqi


the cemetery where a good many of the Sahabah are buried. It is in the south-east side of Madinah.

Barakallah

Other Commonly Used Spellings: BARAKALLA,BARAKALAH


This is an expression which means: “May the blessings of Allah (be upon you).” When a Muslim wants to thank to another person, he uses different statements to express his thanks, appreciation, and gratitude. One of them is to say “Baraka Allah.”

Barakah


means blessing or Divine Grace.

Batil


means false of falsehood.

Batul


means ascetic. It is ascribed to Fatimah (the Prophets daughter) and the Virgin Mary.

Bawadi


plural form of Badiyyah.

Bay’ah


it is an oath of allegiance. To make a pledge.

Bayt al-mal


the State Treasury in an Islamic State.

Bismillahir rahmanir rahim


This is a phrase from the Qur’an that is recited before reading the Qur’an. It is to be read immediately after one reads the phrase: “A’uzu Billahi Minashaitanir Rajim.”

This phrase is also recited before doing any daily activity. The meaning of it is: “In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.”

Busr


means partially ripe dates.

C.E.


stands for Christian Era or Common Era. It is used instead of A.D. in Islamic text referring to the dates before the Hijrah.

Covenant


a solemn agreement between two or more persons or groups, a compact between God and man. The Old Testament tells of the covenant the Jews made with Allah.

Da’iy


Muslim missionary involved in Da’wah. It can also have a general meaning reffering to someone who calls others to a certain belief.

Da’wah


inviting others to Islam. Missionary work.

Dhikr

Other Commonly Used Spellings: ZIKR


remembrance for the sake of Allah.

Dhimmi


a non-Muslim living under the protection of a Muslim state. He is exempt from duties of Islam like military and zakah but must instead pay a tax called jizyah.

Dhu-n nurayn

Other Commonly Used Spellings: ZHU-N NURAYN


it means ‘Possessor of the Two Lights’. It is used to refer to Uthman ibn Affan because he married two of the Prophet’s daughters.

Dirham


a silver coin.

Du’a


a prayer.

Du’at


plural of da’iy.

Dunya


this world or life, as opposed to the Hereafer.

Eid

Other Commonly Used Spellings: EED, ‘EID


The word ‘Eid is an Arabic name to mean a festivity, a celebration, a recurring happiness, and a feast. In Islam, there are two major ‘Eids namely the feast of Ramadhan (‘EId Al-Fitr) and the Feast of Sacrifice (‘Eid Al-Adhha). The first ‘Eid is celebrated by Muslims after fasting the month of Ramadhan as a matter of thanks and gratitude to Almighty Allah. It takes place on the first day of Shawwal, the tenth month of the lunar calendar. The second ‘Eid is the Feast of Sacrifice and it is to be celebrated for the memory of prophet Ibrahim trying to sacrifice his son Isma’il (Ishmael). This ‘Eid lasts four days between the tenth and the thirteenth day of Zul-Hijjah, the twelfth month of the lunar calendar.

Fajr


the obligatory salah, prayer, before sunrise.

Faqih


a person who is an expert on Islamic jurisprudence (law), fiqh.

Fard


something which is obligatory on a Muslim. It is sometimes used in reference to the obligatory part of salaah.

Faruq


this was the name given to Umar ibn Al-Khattab. It means ‘One who distinguishes the truth from falsehood’.

Fasiq


One of corrupt moral character who engages in various sins.

Fatwa


legal opinion concerning Islamic Law.

Festivities


Other than the two general feasts, there are few festivities that Muslims do enjoy. These are related to different activities or functions. Some of these activities are:

  • ‘Aqiqah: It is a dinner reception to be made after a child is born. Relatives, friends, and neighbors are invited for such an occasion.
  • Walimah: It is a dinner reception to be made after a marriage is consummated. It is offered by the parents and/or by the married couples. Friends, relatives, and neighbors are also invited.

Fiqh

Other Commonly Used Spellings: FIQAH,FIQHA


The meaning of the word fiqh is understanding, comprehension, knowledge, and jurisprudence in Islam. A jurist is called a Faqih who is an expert in matters of Islamic legal matters.

A Faqih is to pass verdicts within the rules of the Islamic Law namely Shariah.

The most famous scholars of Fiqh in the history Muslims are the founders of the four schools of thought in Islam: Imam Malik, Imam Ash-Shafi’i, Imam Abu Hanifah, and Imam Ahmad.

Anything or action in Islam falls within the following five categories of Fiqh:

  1. Fardh (Must): This category is a must for the Muslim to do such as the five daily prayers. Doing the Fardh counts as a good deed, and not doing it is considered a bad deed or a sin.

It is also called Wajib except for Imam Abu Hanifah who makes Wajib a separate category between the Fardh and the Mubah.

  1. Mandub (Recommended): This category is recommended for the Muslim to do such as extra prayers after Zuhr and Maghrib. Doing the Mandub counts as a good deed and not doing it does not count as a bad deed or a sin.
  2. Mubah (Allowed): This category is left undecided and left for the person, such as eating apples or oranges. Doing or not doing the Mubah does not count as a good or bad deed.

Intention of the person can change Mubah to Fard, Mandub, Makruh, or Haram.

Other things could also change the status of the Mubah. For example, any Mubah becomes Haram if it is proven harmful, and any necessary thing to fulfill a Fardh is a Fardh too.

  1. Makruh (Hated): This category is a detested and hated such as growing fingernails or sleeping on the stomach. Not doing the Makruh counts as a good deed and doing it does not count as a bad deed.
  2. Haram (Prohibited): This category is prohibited for the Muslim to do such as stealing and lying. Doing the haram counts as a bad deed and not doing it counts as a good deed.

Imam Abu Hanifah also puts another category between the Makruh and the Haram. It is called Karahah Tahrimiyyah which means hated almost to the level of Haram.

Fitnah


The word fitna comes from an Arabic verb which means to “seduce, tempt, or lure.” There are many shades of meaning, mostly referring to a feeling of disorder or unrest.

Variations of the word fitna are found throughout the Qur’an to describe the trials and temptations that may face the believers. The term has also been used to describe divisions which occurred in the early years of the Muslim community.

In modern usage, it is used to describe forces that cause controversy, fragmentation, scandal, chaos, or discord within the Muslim community, disturbing social peace and order.

Fuqaha


plural form of faqih.

Hadith

Other Commonly Used Spellings: HADIS,HADEETH


Reports on the sayings and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) or what he witnessed and approved are called Hadith. These are the real explanation, interpretation, and the living example of the Prophet (s.a.w.) for teachings of the Qur’an. His sayings are found in books called the Hadith books.

Some famous collectors of Hadith are Imam Al-Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam An-Nasa’i, Imam Abu Dawood, Imam At-Tirmizi, and Imam Majah. There are many others.

Hadith qudsi


the Hadith Qudsi are hadith’s in which the Prophet says that Allah says so and so. The meaning of the these hadith was revealed to the Prophet but he put them in his own words, unlike the Quran which is the word of Almighty Allah and the Prophet conveyed it exactly as it was revealed to him.

Hajj

Other Commonly Used Spellings: HAJ


Hajj is an Arabic word which means the performance of pilgrimage to Makkah in Arabia. It is one of the five pillars of Islam. A Muslim is to perform Hajj at least once in his/her life, if means and health allow.

There are rules and regulations and specific dress to be followed. It is to take place during the last month of the lunar calendar called the month of Zul-Hijjah.

Halal


something that is lawful and permitted in Islam.

Halif


a person who enjoys the protection of a tribe but does not belong to it by blood.

Halqah


a group of students involved in the study of Islam.

Hanif

Other Commonly Used Spellings: HANEEF


people who during the time of Jahiliyyah rejected the idolatry in their society. These people were in search for the true religion of Prophet Abraham.

Haqq


the Truth.

Haraam


something which is unlawful or prohibited in Islam.

Haram


a Haram is a sanctuary, a sacred territory. Makkah has been considered a Haram since the time of Abraham. All things within the limit of the Haram are protected and considered inviolable Madinah was also declared a Haram by the Prophet.

Hifz


The Arabic root of this word is Hafiza which means to memorize. In the religious sense, Muslims try to memorize the whole Qur’an. Any person who achieves this task is called Hafiz.

A Hafiz is recognized by his community and is given certain privileges. There millions of Muslims who make Hifz of the whole Qur’an.

Hijrah


means migration. The Hijrah refers to the Prophet’s migration from Mecca to Madinah. This journey took place in the twelfth year of his mission (622 C.E.). This is the beginning of the Muslim calendar. The word hijrah means to leave a place to seek sancturary or freedom from persecution or freedom of religion or any other purpose. Hijrah can also mean to leave a bad way of life for a good or more righteous way.

Hudud


the limits ordained by Allah. This includes the punishment for crimes.

Ijtihad

Other Commonly Used Spellings: IJTEHAD,IJTIHAAD,IJTEHAAD


Exerting the sum total of one’s ability attempting to uncover Allah’s rulings on issues from their sources (Qur’an, Sunnah, Ijma’, etc.). Sometimes divided into complete ijtihad (the ability of one to independently arrive at Allah’s rulings in all areas of fiqh) and partial ijtihad (the ability of one to do so only in certain areas of fiqh in which they have exerted such efforts).

Imam

Other Commonly Used Spellings: IMAAM,EMAAM,EMAM


Imam is a religious leader. Any person who leads a congregational prayer is called an Imam. A religious leader who also leads his community in the political affairs may be called an Imam, an Amir, or a Caliph. However, an Imam is not infallible. He is responsible for his mistakes to all the members of the community and above all he is responsible to Almighty Allah.

Iman

Other Commonly Used Spellings: IMAAN, EMAAN


faith and trust in Allah.

Injil


the revelations that were sent down during the time of Prophet Isa (Jesus). It is refered to as the New Testament.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilahi raji’un

Other Commonly Used Spellings: INNA LILLAHI WA INNA ILAHI RAJIOON


When a Muslim is struck with a calamity, when he loses one of his loved ones, or when he has gone bankrupt, he should be patient and say this statement, the meaning of which is : “We are from Allah and to hom we are returning.”

Muslims believe that Allah is the One who gives and it is He takes away. He is testing us. Hence, a Muslim submits himself to Allah. He is grateful and thankful to Allah for whatever he gets. On the other hand, he is patient and says this expression in times of turmoil and calamity.

In sha’ allah

Other Commonly Used Spellings: INSHA ALLAH,INSHAA ALLA, INSHA ALLA,IN SHA’ ALLA


When a person wishes to plan for the future, when he promises, when he makes resolutions, and when he makes a pledge, he makes them with permission and the will of Allah. For this reason, a Muslim uses the Qur’anic instructions by saying “In Sha ‘ Allah.” The meaning of this statement is: “If Allah wills.” Muslims are to strive hard and to put their trusts with Allah. They leave the results in the hands of Allah.

Iqamah

Other Commonly Used Spellings: IQAAMAH


Iqamah is an Arabic word that refers to the second call for the prayer which follows the first call (Adhan). Iqamah means that the prayer is ready to start. It is to be recited in Arabic before every obligatory prayer. It is composed of specific words and phrases very closely related to the Adhan.

Isha

Other Commonly Used Spellings: ISHAA


the obligatory salaah, prayer, after sunset later in the evening.

Islam


Islam is an Arabic word the root of which is Silm and Salam. It means among others: peace, greeting, salutation, obedience, loyalty, allegiance, and submission to the will of the Creator of the Universe.

Islam is the last and final religion to all mankind and to all generations irrespective of color, race, nationality, ethnic background, language, or social position.

The religion of Islam is not to be confused with Mohammedanism. The latter is misnomer to Islam. Muslims do not accept this name as it gives wrong information about Islam and Muslims.

Islam is our Din or Deen and this means a way of life.

Istighfar


to seek Allah’s forgiveness. It is something that must be done continuously in a Muslims life.

Jahannam


means Hell.

Jahiliyyah


means ignorant. Jahiliyyah refers to the pre-Islamic era that existed in Arabia. It is a combination of views, ideas, and practices that totally defy and reject the guidance sent down by God through His Prophets.

Jazakallahu khayran

Other Commonly Used Spellings: JAZAKALLAHU KHAIRAN,JAZAKALLAH KHAIR,JAZAKALLAHU KHAIR


This is a statement of thanks and appreciation to be said to the person who does a favor. Instead of saying “thanks” (Shukran), the Islamic statement of thanks is to say this phrase. Its meaning is: ” May Allah reward you for the good.”

It is understood that human beings can’t repay one another enough. Hence, it is better to request Almighty Allah to reward the person who did a favor and to give him the best.

Jalbab


this is a long loose fitting garment worn by the Arabs.

Jannah


means Paradise.

Jihad

Other Commonly Used Spellings: JIHAAD


It is an Arabic word the root of which is Jahada, which means to strive for a better way of life. The nouns are Juhd, Mujahid, Jihad, and Ijtihad. The other meanings are: endeavor, strain, exertion, effort, diligence, fighting to defend one’s life, land, and religion.

Jihad should not be confused with Holy War; the latter does not exist in Islam nor will Islam allow its followers to be involved in a Holy War. The latter refers to the Holy War of the Crusaders.

Jihad is not a war to force the faith on others, as many people think of it. It should never be interpreted as a way of compulsion of the belief on others, since there is an explicit verse in the Qur’an that says:”There is no compulsion in religion” Al-Qur’an: Al-Baqarah (2:256).

Jihad is not a defensive war only, but a war against any unjust regime. If such a regime exists, a war is to be waged against the leaders, but not against the people of that country. People should be freed from the unjust regimes and influences so that they can freely choose to believe in Allah.

Not only in peace but also in war Islam prohibits terrorism, kidnapping, and hijacking, when carried against civilians. Whoever commits such violations is considered a murderer in Islam, and is to be punished by the Islamic state. during wars, Islam prohibits Muslim soldiers from harming civilians, women, children, elderly, and the religious men like priests and rabies. It also prohibits cutting down trees and destroying civilian constructions.

Jinn

Other Commonly Used Spellings: JIN,GINN


These are spiritual beings that inhabit the world and are required to follow the orders of Allah and are accountable for their deeds. They can be good or bad, just like people. The word Jinn in Arabic means hidden, which indicates that they are invisible creatures. They were created by Allah from fire.

Jizyah


a tax paid by non-Muslims living in a Muslim State. Since the non-Muslims are exempt from military service and taxes imposed on Muslims, they must pay this tax to compensate. It guarentees them security and protection. If the State cannot protect those who paid jizyah, then the amount they paid is returned to them.

Ka’bah

Other Commonly Used Spellings: KABAH


the first house of worship built for mankind. It was originally built by Adam and later on reconstructed by Abraham and Isma’il. It is a cubed shaped structure based in the city of Makkah to which all Muslims turn to in their five daily paryers.

Kafir


a person who refuses to submit himself to Allah (God), a disbeliever in God.

Kalam

Other Commonly Used Spellings: KALAAM


Talk or speech as in “kalamu Allah”; has also been used through the ages to mean logic or philosophy.

Khalifah

Other Commonly Used Spellings: KHALIFAAH,KHALIFAA,KHALEEFAH,KHALEEFA


The word Khalifah refers to the successor or representative of Prophet Muhammad (saas) or to one of his successors. This person acts as the head of state for the Muslim Ummah. Another title for the Khalifah (English Caliph) is Amir Al-Mu’mineen which means ‘the leaders of the believers’.

The immediate Caliphs were Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, Othman Ibn ‘Affan, and ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib. These were given the nickname of Al-Khulafa’Ar-Rashidun (The Guided Caliphs).

Another use for this word is used for humanity in general. The human being is considered the Khalifah (representative) of Allah on earth according to Allah.

Khandaq


means ditch.

Khatib


orator, speaker.

Khutbah


a speech or sermon. It is sometimes used to refer to the sermon given during the Friday cogregational prayer.

Kuffar


plural form of kafir.

Kufr


to show ungratefulness to Allah and not to believe in Him and His religion.

La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah


The meaning of this expression is: ” There is no power and no strength save in Allah.” This expression is read by a Muslim when he is struck by a calamity, or is taken over by a situation beyond his control. A Muslim puts his trust in the hands of Allah, and submits himself to Allah.

La ilaha illallah

Other Commonly Used Spellings: LAA ILAHA ILLALLAH


This expression is the most important one in Islam. It is the creed that every person has to say to be considered a Muslim. It is part of the first pillar of Islam. The meaning of which is: ” There is no lord worthy of worship except Allah.”

The second part of this first pillar is to say: “Muhammadun Rasul Allah,” which means:”Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

Lunar calendar


In their religious duties, Muslims depend on solar and lunar calendars. The latter is shorter than the solar by twelve days. Fasting the month of Ramadhan, celebrating the two major feasts (‘Eid Al-Fitr and ‘Eid Al-Adhha), performing the pilgrimage to Makkah, and other religious activities depend upon the lunar months.

The names of the lunar months are: Muharram, Safar, Rabi’ Al-Awwal, Rabi’ Al-Thani, Jumada Al-Ula, Jumada Al-Akhirah, Rajab, Sha’ban, Ramadhan, Shawwal, Dhul-Qi’dah, and Dhul-Hijjah.

The timing of the daily prayers depend on the solar system.

Madinah


the first city-state that came under the banner of Islam. It is where the Prophet’s masjid and grave are situated.

Maghazi


the military campaigns of the Prophet.

Maghrib


the obligatory salaah, prayer, that is performed right after the sun sets over the horizon.

Mahr


a dowry given by the man to the woman he is about to marry. It is part of the Muslim marriage contract. It can never be demanded back under any circumstances.

Mahram

Other Commonly Used Spellings: MAHRIM


A mahram refers to the group of people who are unlawful for a woman to marry due to marital or blood relationships. These people include:

  1. Her permanant Mahrams due to blood relationship, and those seven are: her father, her son (who passed puberty), her brother, her uncle from her father’s side, her brother’s son, her sister’s son, and her uncle from her mother’s side.
  2. Her Radha’ Mahrams due to sharing the nursing milk when she was an infant, and their status is similar to the permanent seven Mahrams (i.e. nothing can change their status).
  3. Her (in law) Mahrams because of marriage and they are: her husband’s father (father in law), her husband’s son (step son), her mother’s husband (step father), and her daughter’s husband.

These categories of people, along with the woman’s husband, form the group of allowable escorts for a Muslim woman when she travels.

Marwah


a mound near the Ka’bah that is referred to in the Quran as one of the symbols of Allah. It is in conjuction with Safa.

Masjid


a place of worship and salaah. The life of the early Muslims used to revolve around the masjid. Meetings would be held there, discussions would take place there. It is called a ‘mosque’ in English.

Mawla


a person of slave origin who does not have tribal protection. It is a word with dual meaning. It can mean either master or servant.

Mawlaya


a form of address to a ruler implying protector.

Mihrab


a recess in the masjid that indicates the direction of salaah.

Mina

Other Commonly Used Spellings: MINNA


a plain within the bounds of the haram of Mecca, within five kilometers outside the city. During the Hajj the pilgrims pass the night between the eighth and ninth day proceed to Arafat on the ninth day.

Minbar


a pulpit.

Muadh-dhin


the person who calls the adhan.

Muhajir


a person who does Hijrah.

Mu’min


a person who has deep faith in Allah and is a righteous and obedient servant of His.

Munafiq


a hypocrite, one whose external appearance is Islam (praying, fasting, “activism”, etc.) but whose inner reality conceals kufr – often unbeknownst to the person themselves. (See Al-Baqarah: 8-23). A Munafiq is more dangerous and worse than a Kafir.

Murabit


a person who is on the road spreading Islam.

Musad’afin

Other Commonly Used Spellings: MUSADAFIN


a weak and oppressed person.

Mushaf


a copy of the Quran.

Mushawarah


means consultation.

Mushrik


a polythiest. A person who ascribes partners to Allah.

Nabi

Other Commonly Used Spellings: NABBI,NABEE


The meaning of the word Nabi is a prophet. To be a prophet he should receive a revelation from Allah that does not necessarily mean a revealed book. When a prophet is instructed to deliver his message to a certain group of people, he is a messenger. It is stated in the Qur’an that there are no more prophets and messengers after Muhammad.

Nasab


means lineage or geneology.

Nasihah


means sincere good advice.

P.B.U.H.


These letters are abbreviations for the words Peace Be Upon Him which are the meaning of the Arabic expression ” ‘Alaihis Salam”, which is an expression that is said when the name of a prophet is mentioned.

This expression is widely used by English speaking Muslims. It is to be noticed here that this expression does not give the full meaning of “Salla Allahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam”. Therefore it is recommended that people do not use (p.b.u.h.) after the name of prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.); they should use “Salla Allahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam” instead, or they may use the abbreviated form of (s.a..w) in writing. NOTE: it is better to write out the full wording and not use the abbreviations, so it is better for you and that you may gain the reward for doing it out of respect.

Qadi


Judge.

Qaideen


people who remain inactive and do not actively fight. The opposit of mujahid.

Qard


a loan given for a good cause in the name of Allah, in hopes of repayment or reward in the Hereafter.

Qari


someone who recites the Quran.

Qiblah


it is the direction that Muslims face when they do their salaah. It is in the direction of the Ka’bah in Mecca.

Qisas


retaliation in kind (eye for an eye). In Islam though, retaliation should be forgone as an act of charity Surah 5, Ayah 48.

Qiyaas


“According [the Islamic scholar al Shafi`i], Qiyaas is a method for reaching a legal decision on the basis of evidence (a precedent) in which a common reason, or an effective cause, is applicable.” From Usul Al Fiqh Al Islami by Taha Jabir Al Alwani

Qiyamah


Day of Judgement, resurrection.

Qudah


plural form of qadi.

Quraysh

Other Commonly Used Spellings: KURAYSH


the most powerful and prominent tribe in all of Arabia in the Prophet’s era. The Quraysh were the keepers of the Ka’bah and therefore one of the wealthiest and most powerful tribes. The Prophet was from among the Quraysh. When he started to preach the True religion of Allah, the Quraysh violently persecuted him and his followers. They were badly defeated at the battle of Badr by the Muslims and their days of Jahiliyyah were finally ended when the Muslims liberated Mecca and destroyed all the idols in the Ka’bah in the year 630 C.E.

Qur’an

Other Commonly Used Spellings: KUR’AN or QURAN


The holy book of Qur’an is called the Qur’an. It was revealed unto Muhammad (s.a.w) from Allah through angel Gabriel (Jibril) for a period of 23 years. There is only one Qur’an in the whole world and it is in Arabic language. The Qur’an has one text, one language, and one dialect. It has been memorized by millions of Muslims in different parts of the world.

The Qur’an is composed of 114 Surah (chapters). It is to be read and recited with rules and regulations. When to be touched and to be recited, a Muslim to be in a state of cleanliness and purity.

The authenticity and the totality of the Qur’an have been documented and recognized. The Qur’an can not be translated at all as the Qur’an is the exact words of Allah. Any translation is considered to be the explanation to the meaning of the Qur’an.

The Qur’an is so rich and comprehensive in matter that it can easily guide men and women in all works of their life. It is the ultimate source of guidance for people in all aspects of their spiritual and material lives.

The names and attributes that are given to the Qur’an in the Qur’an speak for themselves. The Qur’an is also described to be bounteous, glorious, mighty, honored, exalted, purified, wonderful, blessed, and confirming the truth of previous revelations. The Qur’an has practically proved the truth and effectiveness of all of its names and epithets in the life of all true believers, who practiced its teachings sincerely and devoutly.

The Qur’an has a Universal appeal, regardless of people’s color, creed, nationality, and geographical divisions of the world. The goal of life, as addressed in the Qur’an, is to live according to what Allah has created us for, which is to worship Allah, and to obey his commandments in this life, which are of course, in the interest of people, and to gain going to Heaven and escape going to Hell in the hereafter. The real success is going to Heaven and the real failure is going to Hell, as the Qur’an states.

Those who are entirely lost in their material gains and luxury, without cultivating their spiritual and moral qualities, are declared by Allah (s..w.t.) to be like animals, rather worse than them. The ones who do not believe in Allah or follow His commandments are also described in many places of the Qur’an to be dead, deaf, mute, and blind. The real living, hearing, speaking and seeing are caused by the true belief in the heart. So our need for learning, studying, and following the Qur’an should come before our need for breathing, drinking and eating to survive, because life without such guidance is a miserable life that leads to eternal punishment.

Radhiallahu ‘anhu

Other Commonly Used Spellings: RAZHIALLAHU ‘ANHU


This is an expression to be used by Muslims whenever a name of a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is mentioned or used in writing. The meaning of this statement is: “May Allah be pleased with him.”

Muslims are taught to be respectful to the elderly and to those who contributed to the spread and success in Islam. They are to be grateful to the companions of the prophet (s.a.w.) for their sacrifices, their leadership, and their contributions. Muslims are advised to use this phrase when such names are mentioned or written.

Ra’kat

Other Commonly Used Spellings: RAKAT


an individual unit of salaah.

Ramadan

Other Commonly Used Spellings: RAMAZAN


the holy month of prescribed fasting for the Muslims. It was during this month that the Quranic revelations began.

Rasul

Other Commonly Used Spellings: RASOOL


The meaning of the word Rasul is a messenger. Allah sent many prophets and messengers to mankind. Amongst them, the names of twenty-five are mentioned in the Qur’an. From within the list, the Qur’an states the names of five Rasul who are the Mighty ones. These are: Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Isa (Jesus), and Muhammad (s.a.w.).

Ruku’

Other Commonly Used Spellings: RUKU


The root of this word is Raka’a which means bow down. During prayers (Salah), a Muslim is to make Ruku’ in respect to Allah: he or she bows forward at the waist, and stands with the hands on the knees and the back parallel to the ground.

While in a position of Ruku’ a Muslim is to glorify Allah three times.

Sabirin


people who are patient and steadfast.

Sabr


patience, steadfastness.

Sadaq


same meaning as mahr.

Sadaqah


means charity.

Safa


a mound near the Ka’bah that is referred to in the Quran as one of the symbols of Allah. It is in conjuction with Marwah.

Sahabah


companions of the Prophet.

Sahifah


a page or manuscript.

Salah

Other Commonly Used Spellings: SALAAT, SALAAH


Salah is an Arabic word to mean a spiritual relationship and communication between the creature and his Creator. Salah is one of the five pillars of Islam. A special communication (Salah) is to take place five times a day for a Muslim: Fajr (Dawn), Zuhr (Noon), ‘Asr (Afternoon), Magrib (Sunset), and ‘Ishha’ (Late Night).

Salah is to be performed with mental concentration, verbal communication, vocal recitation, and physical movement to attain the spiritual uplift, peace, harmony, and concord. There is a congregational prayer on Friday noon (Salatul Jumu’ah) with a sermon (Khutbah) to be delivered by a religious leader (Imam) called Khatib.

To perform Salah, a Muslim has to have ablution (Wudhu’). He/she should make sure that cleanliness of body, clothing, and place are attained before performing Salah.

Salah is not to be confused with prayer; the latter could be interpreted as supplication (Du’a).

Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam


This is an expression that Muslims use whenever the name of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.) is mentioned or written. The meaning of it is: “May the blessings and the peace of Allah be upon him (Muhammad).

Another expression that is alternatively used is: “Alaihissalatu Wassalam.” This expression means: “On Him (Muhammad) are the blessings and the peace of Allah.”

Allah has ordered Muslims, in the Qur’an, to say such an expression. Muslims are informed that if they proclaim such a statement once, Allah will reward them ten times. NOTE: it is better to write out the full wording and not use the abbreviations S.A.W.S, so it is better for you and that you may gain the reward for doing it out of respect.

S.A.A.S. / S.A.W.S.


These letters are abbreviations for the words “Salla Allahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam”, which means : may the blessing and the peace of Allah be upon him.

When the name of Prophet Muhammad is mentioned, a Muslim is to respect him and invoke this statement of peace upon him. NOTE: it is better to write out the full wording and not use the abbreviations, so it is better for you and that you may gain the reward for doing it out of respect.

Sawm


Sawm or Siyam is to mean total abstinence of food and liquid fro dawn to sunset for one whole lunar month. For those who are married, they are to abstain from sexual relations during that time too.

Sawm (Fasting) takes place during the ninth month of the lunar calendar called Ramadhan. Sawm is one of the five pillars of Islam.

Total fasting is also a training process to attain self-restraint, self-control, self-discipline, self-obedience, self-education, and self-evaluation.

Few people are excused from fasting during Ramadhan. Some are required to make up later for the days they did not fast such as the travelers (over 50 miles by any means), sick, pregnant women, women nursing babies, and women during their periods. Other excused people are required to feed a poor person one meal for each day they do not fast if they can afford it, such as the elderly people and the ones who have permanent diseases like ulcers.

Sa’yee


the going back and forth seven times between Safa and Marwah that is done during the Hajj or the Umrah. It is done to symbolize Hajar’s search for water for her son Ismael.

Sayyid


leader or chief.

Shahadah


declaration of faith. A person must recite the shahadah to convert to Islam. The shahadah in Islam is:: “I testify that there is no god but Allah and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

Shaheed


a martyr. Someone who dies in the way of Allah.

Shahid


means a witness or martyr.

Shaikh

Other Commonly Used Spellings: SHEIKH


The word Shaikh is a title or a nickname for an elderly person or a religious leader in a community. This title is also given to a wise person.

The meaning of the word Shaikh has been distorted, misused, and abused by some mass media to reflect the wrong meanings.

Shaitan

Other Commonly Used Spellings: SHAITAAN


Shaitan (Satan) is the source of evil in the world. The plural name is Shayatin. He always tries to misguide and mislead people. The Qur’an states that Satan is not an angel but a member of the Jinn. His other name is Iblis.

When Allah created Adam, He ordered the angels as well as Iblis to prostrate for Adam. They all obeyed the order of Allah except Iblis. His argument was that Allah created Adam from clay and Iblis from the flame of fire. Accordingly, Iblis thought that he was better than Adam. Hence, Allah told him that he will dwell in Hell. Iblis asked Allah for a postponement until the hereafter. Allah granted his request. Iblis swore that he would mislead and misguide all the people except those sincere and devoted worshipers of Allah. Allah told him that only the misguided ones would follow him and that He would fill Hell with him and his followers.

Shari’ah

Other Commonly Used Spellings: SHARIAH


The root of this word is Shara’a; and some other names of it are Shar’, Shir’ah and Tashri’. The Shari’ah is the revealed and the canonical laws of the religion of Islam.

The legislative power in the government lies in the hands of legislative assembly. The legislators are to make rules and regulations within the scope and dimensions of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.). These rules constitute the Shari’ah.

Shirk


associating partners with Allah. Shirk can also encompase any object that a person may hold in regard higher than Allah. It is the most severe of sins and will not be forgiven.

Shura


consultation.

Sin al-bulugh


This is the age of maturity and puberty. It is the age at which the Muslims are considered an adult and becomes accountable for his/her duties in Islam. There is no fixed age for that in terms of years and it is decided by three signs: having a menstruation, period or pregnancy for girls, and being physically mature or having a wet dream for boys, growing pubic hair, or reaching the age of fifteen, whichever comes first.

Sirah

Other Commonly Used Spellings: SEERAH


The writings of the companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.) about him, his personality, his life story. and his ways of handling different situations is called Sirah. The famous collections of the Sirah are At-Tabari, Ibn Ishaq, and Ibn Hisham.

The Sirah is a source of reference that Muslims rely on in their daily life situations and problems.

Sirwal


long under garment worn by the Arabs.

Siwak


a piece of a branch or root of a tree that is used as a toothbrush. Also called a miswak.

Subhanahu wa ta’ala


This is an expression that Muslims use whenever the name of Allah is pronounced or written. The meaning of this expression is: “Allah is pure of having partners and He is exalted from having a son.”

Muslims believe that Allah is the only God, the Creator of the Universe. He does not have partners or children. Sometimes Muslims use other expressions when the name of Allah is written or pronounced. Some of which are: “‘Azza Wa Jall”: He is the Mighty and the Majestic; “Jalla Jalaluh”: He is the exalted Majestic.

Suffah


a raised platform that was used by the Prophet as a welcoming point for newcomers or destitute people. It was part of his masjid.

Suhuf


pages or manuscripts.

Sujud


The root of those word is Sajada which means that a person makes prostration to Allah in his daily prayers. While in the position of Sujud, a Muslim is to praise Almighty Allah and glorify him.

During the position of Sujud, a Muslim is to make sure that his/her forehead , nose, hands, knees, and toes, are all touching the floor.

Sunnah


In general, the word Sunnah means habit, practice, customary procedure, or action, norm and usage sanctioned by tradition. In specific, any time the word Sunnah is mentioned, it is to refer to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). Here it means his sayings, practices, living habits. The Hadith are reports on the Sunnah.

The two major legal sources of jurisprudence in Islam are the Quran and the Sunnah.

The Sunnah may confirm what is mentioned in Qur’an, interpret and explain it, specify what is meant by some general verses, limit and restrict the meaning of some verse in it, or may explain something that has been revealed in Qur’an.

The Sunnah has a high authority in Islam; and Allah in many places in the Qur’an orders the Muslims to follow the teachings of Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.).

Surah


The Qur’an is composed of 114 chapters, each of which is called a Surah. The plural of Surah is called Suwar, which means chapters.

S.W.T.


These letters are abbreviations for the words of “Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala”. When the name of Almighty Allah is pronounced, a Muslim is to show his respect to Him. The meaning of this statement is that Allah is purified of having partners or a son. NOTE: it is better to write out the full wording and not use the abbreviations, so it is better for you and that you may gain the reward for doing it out of respect.

Tahajjud


the Tahajjud prayer is an optional prayer that is supposed to be performed in the middle of the night. It is required that a person sleep a little before he gets up for the Tahajjud prayer. It can be performed anytime between Isha and Fajr.

Tajweed


It is a saying or an act of reciting Al-Qur’an in accordance with the established rules of Nutq, pronunciation and intonations, such as tafkheem, velarization, Ghunnah, chanting, and Iqlaab, transposition.

Talbiyah


Undefined.

Taqwa


the love and fear that a Muslim feels for Allah. A person with taqwa desires to be in the good pleasures of Allah and to stay away from those things that would displease Allah. He is careful not to go beyond the bouds and limits set by Allah.

Tarteel


Chanting Al-Qur’an; the Prophet has recommended it saying: “Whoever does not chant the Qur’an is not among us”. (Abudaawuud).

Tauhid

Other Commonly Used Spellings: TAUHEED or TAWHEED


confirming the Oneness of Allah. It is the basis of Islam.

Tawaf


the circumfering of the Ka’bah seven times. People usually do this during Umrah or Hajj.

Tayammum


Undefined.

Thawab


reward of blessing.

Torah


the Revelation that Allah sent down to Moses. It is the Jewish Holy Book

Ulama


the learned, knowledgeable people in Islam. Plural form of alim.

Ummah


an ummah is a community or a people. It is used in reference to the community of Believers or Muslims.

Umm al-mu’mineen

Other Commonly Used Spellings: UM AL-MU’MINEEN


means ‘Mother of the Believers’. This was the title of the Prophet’s wives; (Surah 33 Ayah 6 stipulated that they could not marry after the Prophet’s death because all of the believers were their spiritual children.

Umrah


this is the lesser pilgrimage which is optional and can be performed at any time.

Urdu


the official language of Pakistan.

Uzzah


a chief goddess in the religion of the pre-Islamic Arabs during the days of Jahiliyyah.

Wa ‘alaikumus salam

Other Commonly Used Spellings: WALAY KUMUS SALAM or WA’ALAIKUM SALAAM


This is an expression that a Muslim is to say as an answer for the greeting. When a person greets another with a salutation of peace, the answer for the greeting is an answer of peace. The meaning of this statement is: “And upon you is the peace.” The other expressions are: ” Wa Alaikums Salam Wa Rahmatullah.” and “Wa ‘Alaikums Salam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh.”

Wakil

Other Commonly Used Spellings: WAKEEL


a person who is an authorized repesentative or proxy. Also can mean lawyer in Urdu.

Wali

Other Commonly Used Spellings: WALEE


legal guardian. A friend or protector. Someone who is supposed to look out for your interest.

Walillah il-hamd


And all praise is only for Allah alone.

Walimah


a feast after the wedding. The reception.

Wudu

Other Commonly Used Spellings: WUZU


a purification (abulution) that must be performed before someone does their salaah or reads the Quran.

Yathrib


the area where the city of Madinah is situated.

Zakah

Other Commonly Used Spellings: ZAKAAT


One of the five pillars of Islam is Zakah, which means purification and increment of one’s wealth.

A Muslim who has money beyond a certain quantity is to pay the Zakah. It is also called the alms due or poor due. It is to be used in eight categories for welfare of the society that are mentioned in the Qur’an, namely: the poor, the needy, the sympathizers, the captives, the deptors, the cause of Allah, the wayfarers, and for those who are to collect it.

The amount to be collected is 2.5%, 5%, or 10%, depending on the assets and the method used to produce it. For example, it is 2.5% of the assets that have been owned over a year, 5% of the wheat when irrigated by the farmer, and 10% of the wheat that is irrigated by the rain.

Zendiq


One who goes so far into innovated and deviant beliefs and philosophizing, etc. without sticking to the truth found in the Qur’an and the Sunnah to such an extreme extent that they actually leave Islam altogether.

Zuhr


the obligatory salaah, prayer, that is performed in the afternoon right after the sun moves away from its zenith.

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