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Glossary

 
‘Adil: fair, just
 
‘Adl: the concept of the justice of God
 
Ahadith: singular of hadith, a statement (usually attributed either to the Prophet [pbuh] or to one of the members of his Progeny or companions)
 
Ahilla: plural of hilal, crescent
 
‘Alim: scholar, theologian, a highly knowledgeable person
 
A’mal: highly recommended acts of adoration
 
‘Arsh: literally: throne, symbol of the Almighty’s Authority
 
Ashar: plural of sahar, the time immediately preceding daybreak
 
‘Athan: the call for prayers, mu’aththin is one who performs ‘athan.
 
Awqaf : plural of waqf, a charitable trust
 
Ayah: verse (from a sacred scripture); plural: ayat
 
Barzakh: the place and time wherein the souls of the dead live till the Day of Judgment; see the Holy Qur’an, 23:100.
 
Basmala: the uttering of: "Bismillahir-Ramanir-Raim" (In the Name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful)
 
Beeď: plural of abyaď, white
 
Dahr: time, age, eternity
 
Dinar: an Islamic (now Arab) gold currency varying in weight
 
Dirham: an Islamic silver currency weighing approx. 3.12 grams
 
Diwan: meeting place, also a collection of poems
 
Diyya: blood money, monetary compensation for manslaughter or intentional murder
 
Du’a’: supplication, invocation
 
Id: an Islamic feast, a joyous celebration, a merry occasion
 
Fa’izeen: (or Fa’izùn) winners
 
Fajr: pre-dawn, daybreak
 
Faqih: jurist, one who is knowledgeable in Islamic jurisprudence
 
Farasikh: plural of farsakh, parasang (a loan Persian word), a measure of length (distance). According to Lisan al-’Arab, it may be three to six miles. "It is called so," the author of Lisan al-’Arab goes on, "because one who walks one farsakh will have to sit to rest," suggesting that the original meaning of the word is: to halt, to come to a stand still, to rest.
 
Fatawa: plural of fatwa, a religious edict or decision
 
Fiqh: the science of Islamic jurisprudence
 
Firdaws: Paradise
 
Fitra: the amount (in cash or kind) paid to the needy at the end of the month of Ramadan; see text for more details
 
Ghazwa: a military campaign, an invasion; invader: ghazi
 
Ghusl: ceremonial bath
 
hadith: (singular:) tradition, a statement made by Prophet Muhammad; plural: ahadith
 
Hadi: sacrificial animals offered at Mecca’s holy precincts
 
Hafiz: one who has learned the entire text of the Holy Qur’an by heart; plural: Huffaz
 
Hajj: Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca during the prescribed period
 
Halal: Islamically permissible, admissible, allowed
 
Haram: Islamically prohibitive, inadmissible, forbidden
 
Hijab: veil, curtain
 
Hilal: crescent, singular of ahilla
 
Hizb: literally, it means: party (plural: ahzab); another meaning: the 60th part of the Holy Qur’an
 
Hujja: proof, argument, authority
 
Huri: heavenly wife with large lovely eyes married to the male residents of Paradise
 
Ihram: pilgrimage garb, white unwoven cotton shroud worn by pilgrims
 
Ijtihad: the degree one reaches in order to be qualified as a mujtahid, one who is capable of deriving religious decisions on his own
 
‘Illiyeen: the highest pinnacle of Paradise; see Holy Qur’an, 83:18.
 
Imam: leader of an ummah, a group of people (small or big); he may be the one who leads others in congregational prayers, or a supreme relgious authority, or one of the Twelve Infallible Imams (as)
 
Iman: faith, conviction
 
Iqama: the prouncement of certain statements in preparation for the performing of the prayers, usually following the athan
 
‘Isha’: nighttime, evening
 
Isnad: the method whereby one hadith is traced and in the end attributed to a muhaddith, traditionist, one who transmitted it the first time
 
‘Isyan: transgression against the Almighty’s Commandments.
 
I’tikaf: the act of remaining most of the time at a mosque for prayers and supplications
 
Iftar: the time or the meal to break the fast
 
Iqama: the statements recited immediately before starting the ritual prayer
 
Isra’: night journey; usually a reference to the Prophet’s night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem
 
Jahannam: hell
 
Jahiliyya: pre-Islamic period of ignorance
 
Jami’a: inclusive, universal, university; it also means: handcuffs
 
Janaba: uncleanness caused by seminal discharge
 
Jannat: heaven, Paradise, garden, singular of jannat
 
Jihad: a struggle, an effort exerted, or a war waged in defense of Islam
 
Jizya: protection tax paid to Muslims by non-Muslims residing in areas under Islamic control whereby the Muslims protect their lives and property and extempt them from the military service
 
Kaffara: atonement from sin
 
Kafir: infidel, apostate, atheist, one who does not believe in the existence of the Creator; noun: kufr
 
Kalima: synonymous to "shahada," it is a Muslim’s declaration of faith (that is, to testify that there is no god except Allah, and that Muammad is the Messenger of Allah), and it is always pronounced in Arabic
 
Kantar: in Arabic: qintar, a varying weight of 100 ratls (rotls); a ratl in Syria is roughly 3.202 kg., whereas in England it is 449.28 grams, and in Lebanon it is 2.566 kg.
 
Khandaq: moat, ditch
 
Khums: one-fifth of one’s savings (usually paid by Shi’a Muslims) set aside from annual income
 
Kunya: the use of "Abu " (father of) or "Umm " (mother of) often as a prefix for one’s name
 
Kursi: literally: chair, symbol of the Almighty’s Seat of Judgment and Authority; see Holy Qur’an, 2:255
 
Khutba: lecture, sermon; a speech delivered on a specific occasion
 
Kufr: apostacy, infidelity, disbelief
 
Labbayk: an exclamation conveying the meaning of "At your service!" or "Here I am!"
 
Ma’ad: the Return: a reference to the returning of the souls to their new bodies after the period of barzakh (see above), and their ultimate returning to their Maker for judgment; generally, it is used to refer to death and the life hereafter.
 
Mahr: dowry paid by the groom to the bride (or vice versa as is the case in some cultures)
 
Majalis: meetings or gatherings held to commemorate certain religious occasion, mostly applied to those held during the month of Muharram or to recite the Fatiha for a deceased person; singular of majlis, a place where people sit
 
Marji’ taqlid: the highest theological authority-referee followed
 
Mas’um: infallible, divinely protected against sinning
 
Mash ‘ar: a place where certain rites are to be conducted, a sacred area or place or precinct
 
Mawla: depending on its usage, it may mean either "master" or "slave," or it may mean one who is most fit for a specific position of honor and prestige. Derived from the adjective awla (one who is best qualified), it means: the person who is best suited to be the religious and temporal leader of all Muslims.
 
Mi‘raj: the Prophet’s ascension from Jerusalem to the heavens
 
Mithqal: a weight equivalent to 24 karats or 4.68 grams
 
Mufassir: a theologian who is well-versed in the exegesis of the Holy Qur’an
 
Muaddith: traditionist, one who quotes statements of Prophet Muhammad
 
Mujahid: one who practices jihad (see jihad above)
 
Mujtahid: one who acquires the degree of ijtihad and thus becomes capable of deriving religious decisions on his own
 
Mu’min: believer, one who has iman, conviction, true belief
 
Munafiqùn: hypocrites
 
Musnad: a compilation of traditions (ahadith) that are consecutively and chronologically traced to their transmitters
 
Mutawatir: consecutively reported, traced by a perfect chronological chain of ascertained narrators of hadith
 
Mu’aththin: caller to prayers (usually at a mosque)
 
Mu’min: (Muslim) believer, a man of conviction
 
Nafl: optional, non-compulsory, supererotatory, highly recommended act of worship; plural: nawafil
 
Najasa: uncleanness, impurity; adjective: najis
 
Nathr: One’s pledge to do something very good to show appreciation for the Almighty’s favorable response to his supplication and the attainment of his worldly wish
 
Nur: divine or celestial light the source of which is neither fire nor reflection
 
Nubuwwah: prophethood, the belief in prophets and their messages
 
Qaniteen: those who are constantly supplicating
 
Qaďa: compensatory, making up for a missed rite
 
Qibla: direction towards the Ka’ba, Mecca
 
Qiyam: standing
 
Qudsi: divine, related to the Almighty
 
Qunoot: supplication during prayers
 
Rak’ah: (singular) prostration (during prayer or a ritual) (plural: rak’at)
 
Rukoo’: kneeling
 
Sabeel: path, way, avenue
 
Sadaqa: (singular) charity offered voluntarily; its plural is: sadaqat
 
Sadeed: pus collected from bleeding wounds to be served to the sinners in hell when they ask for water to quench their thirst
 
Sahaba: companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad; its singular is: Sahabi
 
Sahifa: tablet, scroll, parchment, a written document
 
Sahih: literally: authentic, correct, accurate; it is generally used to refer to the collection, group of collections, or book, of verified and authenticated ahadith of Prophet Muhammad
 
Sa’i: the running between the Safa and the Marwa near the Ka’ba
 
Sajda: prostration
 
Salat: Islamic prayers, optional or mandatory; plural: salawat
 
Salatul-’Id: late morning prayers comprised of two rak’at (prostrations) performed in the day that follows ‘Id al-Fitr (the feat of fast-breaking) signaling the end of the fast of the month of Ramadan
 
Saraya: (plural) military campagins personally ordered by Prophet Muhammad; singular: sariya
 
Shahada: martyrdom; it also means: testimony
 
Shahr: month
 
Shaikh: also shaykh, an honorific title with many meanings; literally, it means an old man; in Islamic theology and philosophy, however, it is used to denote a mentor, professor, or scholar of a high caliber
 
Shari’ah: Islam’s legislative system
 
Shirk: polytheism, the belief in the existence of partners with God
 
Shubha: (singular) doubt, suspicion; its plural is: shubuhat
 
Shùra: the principle of mutual consultation, Islam’s form of democracy
 
Siddeeq: one who testifies to the truthfulness of a prophet
 
Sirat: path, highway; same as Sabeel
 
Siyam: Islam’s norm of fast
 
Suhoor: time or meal taken before daybreak in preparation to fast during the day
 
Sultan: ruler who rules in the name of Islam, a Muslim monarch
 
Sunan: plural of sunnah: a highly commended act of worship or way whereby a Muslim seeks nearness to Allah
 
Sùra: (also Sùrah) a chapter of the Holy Qur’an
 
Tabi’een: plural of tabi’, one who accompanied for a good period of time, learned from and followed a Sahabi, a companion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad; its plural is: tabi’een
 
Tafsir: (singular) exegesis or explanation of Qur’anic verses; its plural is: tafasir
 
Tahajjud: night devotions; a mutahajjid is one who keeps religious vigilance, spending the night in prayer
 
Tahara: purification, the act of removing najasa, uncleanness or impurity
 
Takbeer: the act of glorifying Allah by declaring in an audible voice: "Allaho Akbar!" Allah is Great!
 
Talbiya: the reciting of “Labbayka Allahomma labbayk!” (Here, I come, Lord, in response to your call!)
 
Taqiyya: one’s way of exerting precaution in order to save his creed or life when either is in jeopardy, Shi’as’ way of trying to survive in the presence of sure perils
 
Taqleed: the concept of following a mujtahid or an authority recognized as the alam, the most knowledgeable in Islamics
 
Tarwiyah: The Day of Tarwiyah is the 8th of Thul-Hijjah when the pilgrims fill their water bags and prepare to go to Mina.
 
Tashahhud: the testimony regarding Allah being the Lord and Muammad being His Servant and Messenger; it is the uttering of "Ashhadu an la ilaha illa-Allah, wa anna Muhammad abdoho wa rasooloh"
 
Tashreeq: the cutting and sun-drying of sacrificed meat
 
Tawaf: circling around a sacred site
 
Tawatur: consecutive reporting, the tracing of one particular hadith to its respective chronological chain of narrators
 
Tawhid: the concept of the absolute Unity of God, the belief that God is One and indivisible, One - and Only One - God
 
Tawwabeen: the penitent ones, those who repented their reluctance to go to the rescue of Imam Husayn when he was confronted with Yazid’s armies and who enlisted under the military command of al-Mukhtar and pursued those who massacred Imam Husayn Ibn ‘‘Ali Ibn Abù Talib (‘a) and killed them
 
Thakireen: those who often mention the Name of the Almighty and Glorify Him
 
Thayyib: a deflowered woman, a widow or divorcee
 
Thireed: pieces of bread cut and dipped in stew
 
‘Ulema’: plural of ‘alim, scholar-theologian
 
Umma: nation, group of people
 
Umm walad: "Freed mother of son" means a bondmaid who bears sons by her master and who is set free on that account but remains in his custody as his wife.
 
‘Umra: the pilgrimage to Mecca during any time other than the prescribed (first ten) days of the month of Thul-Hijjah
 
Usul: the basics of jurisprudence
 
Wajib: compulsory, obligatory, binding
 
Wali: person to whom wilayat is obligatory; a waali, however, is a governor appointed by a Muslim ruler of a higher authority (such as a caliph, a sultan, etc.)
 
Waqf: a charitable trust
 
Wasi: successor to a prophet
 
Wilayat: a binding supreme authority that combines both temporal and religious powers
 
Wisal: fasting the last day of every lunar calendar month
 
Wuďu: ablution
 
Zakat: Literally, it means "purification;" it is a compulsory 2.5% tax on one of three categories of wealth: 1) metal coins (gold, silver, etc.), 2) grain crops (barley, wheat, grain, rice, etc.), and 3) animals raised for food consumption. Zakat is somehow a complicated issue, and for details, readers are advised to consult books dealing with fiqh. Among its types are: zakat al-mal (taxable wealth accumulated during one full year), and zakat al-fitr (a tax to be paid by the head of a household at the end of the fast of the month of Ramadan).
 
Zihar: the making of a similitude between the back of one’s wife with that of his mother; i.e. saying that his wife’s back looks similar to his mother’s back (zahr)

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