Page is loading...

Useful Glossary

• ‘Adil: fair, just

• ‘Adl: the concept of the justice of God

Aadath: singular of adath, 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

Amal: highly recommended acts of adoration

• ‘Arsh: literally: throne, symbol of the Almighty's Authority

Asar: plural of saar, the time immediately preceding daybreak

'Athan: the call for prayers; mu'aththin is one who performs 'athan.

Ayat: verse (from a sacred scripture); plura: 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-Raam (In the Name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful)

Beed: plural of abyad, 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

Diyya: blood money, monetary compensation for manslaughter or intentional murder

Dua': supplication, invocation

Iid: an Islamic feast, a joyous celebration, a merry occasion

Fa'izeen: (or Fa'izoon) winners

Fajr: daybreak

Faqah: 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

Fira: 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

Ghusul: ceremonial bath

adith: (singular:) tradition, a statement made by Prophet Muhammad; plural: ahadith

Hadi: sacrificial animals offered at Mecca's holy precincts

Hafi: 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: azab); another meaning: the 60th part of the Holy Qur'an

ujja: proof, argument, authority

Huri: heavenly wife with large lovely eyes married to the male residents of Paradise

Ihram: pilgrimage garb, white unwoven cotten 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 adath is traced and in the end attributed to a muhaddith, traditionist, one who transmitted it the first time

Itikaf: the act of remaining most of the time at a mosque for prayers and supplications

Ifar: 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

Jahiliyya: pre-Islamic period of ignorance

Jamia: 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, avarying weight of 100 rals (rotls); a ral 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

Khums: one-fifth of one's savings (usually paid by Sha’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

Khuba: 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!’

Maad: 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 commemmorate certain religious occasion, mostly applied to those held during the month of Muarram or to recite the Faiha for a deceased person; singular of majlis, a place where people sit

Marji taqlid: the highest theological authority-referee followed

Masoom: infallible, divinely protected against sinning

Mashar: 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.

Miraj: 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 (se 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

Munafiqeen: hypocrites

Musnad: a compilation of traditions (aadath) which 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, supererogatory, 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

Noor: divine or celestial light

Nubuwwah: prophethood, the belief in prophets and their messages

Qanieen: those who are constantly supplicating

Qaa: compensatory, making up for a missed rite

Qibla: direction towards the Ka’ba, Mecca

Qiyam: standing

Qudsi: divine, related to the Almighty

Qunoo: supplication during prayers

Rekat: prostration (during prayer or a ritual)

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 plural is: sahabi

Saha fa: tablet, scroll, parchment, a written document

Sihah: literally: authentic, correct, accurate; it is generally used to refer to the collection, group of collections, or book, of verified and authenticated aadath of Prophet Muhammad

Sajda: prostration

alat: Islamic prayers, optional or mandatory; plural: salawat

Salatul-Id: late morning prayers comprised of two rekat (prostarations) 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

Sara ya: (plural) military campagins personally ordered by Prophet Muhammad; singular: sariya

Shahada: martyrdom; it also means: testimony

Shahr: month

Shaikh: also syakh, an honoring 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 calibre

Sharaa: Islam's legislative system

Shirk: polytheism, the belief in the existence of partners with God

Shubha: (singular) doubt, suspicion; its plural is: shubuhat

Shu'ra: 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

Suoor: time or meal taken before daybreak in preparation to fast during the day

Sulan: 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

Sura: (also Surah) a chapter of the Holy Qur'an

Tabieen: plural of tabi, one who accompanied for a good period of time, learned from and afollowed a aabi, a companion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad; its plural is: tabieen

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

ahara: 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!

Taqiyya: one's way of exerting precaution in order to save his creed or life when either is in jeopardy, Sha’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-ijjah 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

awaf: circling around a certain sacred site

Tawatur: consecutive reporting, the tracing of one particular hadith to its respective chronological chain of narrators

Tawhad: 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 usain when he was confronted with Yazid's armies and who enlisted under the military command of al-Mukhtar and pursued those who massacred Imam Hussain ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib 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

• ‘Umra: pilgrimage to Mecca during any time other than the prescribed (first ten) days of the month of Thul-ijjah

Uool: the basics of jurisprudence

Wajib: compulsory, obligatory, binding

Wali: person to whom wilayat is obligatory; a wali, however, is a governor appointed by a Muslim ruler of a higher authority (such as a caliph, a ultan, etc.)

Waqf: a trust, property dedicated to serve any specific good cause, an endowment

Wai: successor to a prophet

Wilayat: a binding supreme authority that combines both temporal and religious powers

Wial: fasting the last day of every lunar calendar month

Wuu: 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 Ramaan).

ihar: 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

Surely Allah knows the truth.

Share this page