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Glossary

Ahadith: plural of hadith (see below)

Ahkam: plural of hukm, a religious ruling, an injunction

Ansar: supporters, Muslims in Medina who supported Prophet Muhammad's cause

Aqeeq: carnelia stone

Ashura: the tenth day of the month of Muharram

Ayat: a Qur'anic verse; literally: a miracle

Bad_a: starting point, the very beginning of something, the onset

Basmala: the pronouncement of Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim

Bayt al-Mal: Islamic government's state treasury

Bid`a: an innovation in religion not based on the Qur'an or the Sunnah

Dinar: an Islamic (now Arab) gold currency varying in weight

Dirham: an Islamic silver currency weighing approx. 3.12 grams

Fajr: daybreak

Faqih: jurist, one who is knowledgeable in Islamic jurisprudence

Fatawa: plural of fatwa, a religious edict or decision

Fatwa: singular of fatawa (see above)

Fidya: blood money, montary compensation for either murder or a crime as serious as murder

Fiqh: the science of Islamic jurisprudence

Ghazwa: a military campaign, invasion

Ghulat: plural of ghali, an extremist, one whose views and/or actions are excessive, the name of an renegade sect

Ghusul: ceremonial bath

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

Hafiz: singular of huffaz, one who learns and memorizes the entire text of the Holy Qur'an by heart

Hajib: chamberlain, doorman

Hajj: Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca during the prescribed period

Halal: Islamically permissible, admissible, allowed

Haram: Islamically prohibitive, inadmissible, forbidden

Hawza: a university-type place for Islamic studies

Hijab: veil, curtain, barrier

Hijra: migration of Prophet Muhammad (P) and his supporters from Mecca to Medina

Huffaz: plural of hafiz (see hafiz above)

Ibtihal: supplication, invocation

Ijma`: a consensus view

Ijtihad: the degree one reaches in order to be qualified as a mujtahid, one who is capable of deriving religious decisions on his own

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)

Iqama: the formal introduction to a daily prayer

Isnad: the method whereby one hadith is traced and in the end attributed to a muhaddith, traditionist, one who transmitted it the first time

Istihsan: highly recommending something to be acted upon, to be implemented, to be accepted as part of the creed

`Itrat: progeny (usually) of Prophet Muhammad

Jahiliyya: pre-Islamic period of ignorance

Janaba: uncleanness caused by seminal discharge

Jihad: a struggle, an effort exerted, or a war waged in defense of Islam

Kafir: infidel, apostate, atheist, one who does not believe in the existence of the Creator

Khaleefa: caliph, supreme Islamic ruler

Khums: one-fifth of one's savings (now paid by Shi`a Muslims only) set aside from annual income

Khutba: lecture, sermon; a speech delivered on a specific occasion

Kufr: apostacy, infidelity, disbelief

Majlis: meeting or gathering held to commemmorate certain religious occasion, mostly applied to those held during the month of Muharram or to recite the Fatiha for a deceased person; plural: majalis, places where people sit to meet on an important occasion

Maraji`: plural of marji` (see below)

Marji`: a high theological authority-referee whose religious edicts are followed others

Marji`iyya: the institute of following or imitating a marji` (see above)

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.

Mufti: a judge empowered to issue binding legal opinions relevant to the Islamic faith

Mujtahid: one who acquires the degree of ijtihad and thus becomes capable of deriving religious decisions on his own

Musnad: a compilation of traditions (ahadith) which are consecutively and chronologically traced to their transmitters

Mut`a: temporary marriage

Mutawatir: consecutively reported, traced by a perfect chronological chain of ascertained narrators of hadith

Nafl: also nafila: supererogatory, optional, non-compulsory, highly recommended act of worship

Najasa: uncleanness, impurity

Noor: divine or celestial light

Nubuwwah: the concept of prophethood or the belief in following a prophet

Qunoot: supplication performed usually during the second rek`a (see below)

Rek`a: prostration (during prayer or a ritual)

Rek`at: plural of rek`a (see above)

Risala: published collection of religious rulings by a marji` (see above); literal meaning: letter, dissertation

Sahaba: (plural) companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (P)

Sahabi: singular of sahaba (see above)

Saheefa: 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 the Holy Prophet (pbuh)

Saqeefa: a shed, a simply built structure with a roof (saqf)

Shahada: martyrdom, testimony

Shaykh: 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

Shari`a: Islam's legislative system

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

Shura: the principle of mutual consultation, Islam's form of democracy

Sufi: an ascetic, a mystic

Sunan: plural of sunnah: a highly commended act of worship or way whereby a Muslim seeks nearness to Allah

Sura: a chapter of the Holy Qur'an

Tabi`i: (singular:) one who accompanied for a good period of time and learned from a sahabi, a companion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh); its plural is: tabi`in

Tafsir: (singular:) exegesis or explanation of Qur'anic verses; its plural is: tafasir

Takbir: the act of glorifying Allah by declaring in an audible voice: “Allaho Akbar!” All_h is Great!

Talbiya: the pronouncement of “Labbayk!” which means: “Here I am! At your service!”

Taleeq: an unconfined man of Mecca who remained heathen till the conquest of Mecca

Taqiyya: one's way of exerting precaution in order to save his life when it is in jeopardy, Shi`as' way of trying to survive against the presence of sure perils

Taqleed: the concept of following a mujtahid or an authority recognized as the a`alam, the most knowledgeable in Islamics

Taraweeh: prayers performed in congregation by Sunnis during the nights of the month of Ramadan

Tareeqa: a Sufi method of conducting rituals, a Sufi code of ritualistic religious conduct

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__God

Tayammum: the rubbing of the hands and the face with clean dust by someone who is either in the state of uncleanness or cannot find water or has no time to perform the ablution

Umra: the pilgrimage to Mecca during any time other than the prescribed (first ten) days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah

Usul: the basics of jurisprudence

Wahi: revelation through the medium of an archangel or divine inspiration

Wali: master, supreme authority combining in himself both temporal and religious authority

Wasi: trustee, executor of a will, regent, successor of a prophet

Wilayat: the following of a wali (see above)

Wudu: 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 subject; 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 commencement of the fast of the month of Ramadan).

And surely Allah knows best...

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