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Adhan: Call to prayer.

Ahlul Bayt: Designated family members of the Prophet Muhammad.

Ahl al-sunnah wal-jama΄ah: Sunni tradition.

al-Kaba΄ir: Cardinal sin.

Alawiyiin: The descendants of Imam ‘Ali.

Amanah: Trust.

Amr: Command.

‘Asr: Muslim afternoon prayer.

Awliya’: (Plural of wali): leader, guardian, friend, master, slave, etc.

Azl: Outside ejaculation.


Bay’ah: Paying allegiance.


Dhalimeen (also spelled: dhalimun and dhalamu): Cruel, violent, proud, hypocrites, or wrongdoers.

Dhuhr: Muslim Noon Prayer.

Dhul Hijjah: The twelfth month of the Islamic calendar.

Dhulm: Oppression.

Du’a: Supplication.


Eid: Muslim holiday.


Faltah: Mistake.

Fajr: Muslim Dawn prayer.

Fatawa: A religious decision.

Fiqh: Islamic jurisprudence.

Fitna: Dispute, also trial or test.


Ghusl: Ritual bathing.


Hadith: Actions, words, and consents of the Prophet in matters pertaining to the meaning and practices of Islam which have been transmitted through a line of narrators.

Hijaz: Arabian Peninsula.

Hijrah: Immigration of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Madina.

Hujjah: Proof.

Hukm: Decision.


Ibn (ibn): Son of…

Ihram: Ritual consecration.

Imamiyyah (Imami or Imamah): Succession to the Prophet.

Imams: Leaders after the Prophet (i.e. the 12 Imams).

Iman: Faith.

Ijtihad: Jurisprudence.

Iqaama: The call that signals the beginning of the prayer.

Isha: Muslim Night prayer.


Jama‘ah: A group.

Jihad: Struggle. There are two types of struggles in Islam – the Greater Struggle (jihad al-akbar) which is the fighting against ill-desires of the self and the Lesser Struggle (jihad al-asghar) defending Islam in the warfront.

Junub: Being in a state of ritually impurity.


Kaffarah: Penalty money.

Kafir: Disbeliever.

Khilafa: Successorship or leadership.

Khumra: A solid piece of dirt or a piece of straw.

Khums: A form of charity described as: one-fifth of the surplus of one’s income after taking away all legitimate expenses for a the person and his dependants.


Madhahib (madhhab): Schools of Islamic thought.

Maghafir: The gum of mimosa.

Mawla: Leader.

Miskeen: Destitute.

Mu’adhdhin: A person who makes the call to prayer.

Mu’akhat: Brotherhood.

Mubahilah: Malediction.

Muhkam: Fundamental or basic.

Mujtahid: A juristic scholar.

Mushaf: A book or volume.

Mushrik: One who associates something or someone with Allah.

Mustahhab: Recommended.

Mut‘ah: Temporary marriage.

Mutashabah: Allegorical.

Mut‘ah al-Hajj: Means that Muslims are free from the restrictions of ihram during the time between ‘umrah and the hajj.

Muwaddah: Affection.


Nawafil: Recommended Muslim prayers.

Nifaq: Hypocrisy.


Qa΄im: Firmly established.


Ruku: Bowing down.


Sabr: Patience.

Sadaqa: General charity.

Sahaba: Companions of the Prophet.

Sha‘ban: The 8th month of the Muslim calendar.

Sahih: Authentic.

Salaf: Predecessors.

Salat: Prayer.

Salat al-Layl: The recommended, night Muslim prayer.

Sayyid: Master. Also means and elder or a descendent of the Prophet Muhammad.


Shirk: Polytheism.

Shura: Consultation.

Sirat: Path.


Tabi΄in: The following generation after the Prophet.

Taharah: Purity.

Takbir (takbirs or takbirats): Saying “Allah Akbar” which means ‘Allah is Greater than everything else’.

Tarawih Prayer: Special prayers offered during the nights of Ramadan.

Tashhahud: Testimony.

Thaqalayn: A hadith of the Two Weighty Things [the Noble Qur’an and the Ahlul Bayt].


Ummah: Muslim nation.

Usul: Foundations.


Wali: Guardian.

Warith: Inheritor.

Wazir: Minister.

Wilat: Rulers.

Wudhu: Ablution.


Yaqeen: Certainty.


Zakat: Alms-giving.

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