ا،أ، آ، ع, A

A’imma أئمة: Plural of امام imam, religious leader. There are many types of such leaders in Islam: The most common is the امام الجماعة mam al-jama’a, leader of congregational prayers. Imamite Shi’ites follow 12 Imams who start from Ali ibn Abu Talib and end with the Awaited One, Imam al-Mahdi. The word امام imam is given a much broader meaning in verse 124 of Ch. 2, The Cow, of the Holy Qur’an where it refers to an imam of an entire nation. Such imams of entire nations, we are told in 17:71, will be gathered on the Judgment Day with their followers for questioning.

Abrashiyya أبرشية: parish, diocese A.D.: stands for "Anno Domini" ("year of the Lord"). It is used to refer to pre-Hijra dates. Hijra is the migration of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina. According to some reports, the Prophet entered Medina on the 12th of Rabi` I which then coincided with the 24th of September according to the Julian calendar or the 27th of September according to the Gregorian calendar of the year 622 A.D.

Adab or Aadaab آداب: ethics, rules of conduct, morals, arts

`Adil عادل: fair, just, equitable, impartial, unbiased

`Adl عدل: Usually, it refers to the concept of the justice of Allah (God). This is one of the principles of the Islamic creed: The Almighty is fair and just to everyone and does not discriminate among His servants.

Ahadith or Ahadeeth أحاديث: Pl.; singular: hadith, a statement (usually stated/attributed either to the Prophet (ص) or to one of the members of his Progeny or companions); these are one of the two sources of the Sunna, the other being the Holy Qur'an. But this Sunna has been distorted so much since the beginning of the Islamic history by politicians and interest seekers, so much so that it is very difficult now to sift through them and identify what is authentic, genuine, and what is fabricated. Mu`awiyah played a major role in distorting the Islamic creed by paying writers to tailor design "traditions" to serve his interests and support his deviated views.

Ahilla أهله: plural of hilal, crescent

Ahl ar-Ra'i أهل الرأي: people of opinion. It refers to qualified people who are consulted on Islamic matters.

Ahzab أحزاب: parties. "Ahzab" occurs in Ch. 33 of the Holy Qur'an to describe the different tribes that fought the Muslims in the Battle of Khandaq (ditch, moat) which took place in 5 A.H./627 A.D. Refer to the meaning of khandaq below for full details.

Ala علا: rose, ascended; علا على: prevailed, overrode, predominated, triuphed over. It also means soared or indulged in pride, acted arrogantly, thought too much of himself. Other meanins: mounted, towered over.

`Alim عالم: scholar, theologian, a highly knowledgeable person

Allahu Akbar or Allaho Akbar, Allahu Akber, Allahoo Akber, Or Allah Akbar الله أكبر: This statement is said by Muslims quite often and on various occasions. During the call for prayers, during prayers, when they are happy, when they wish to express their approval of what they hear, when they slaughter an animal, and when they want to praise a speaker…, Muslims utter this expression. Its means: "Allah is the Greatest."

Almani علماني” secular, multi-confessional

A`mal أعمال: highly recommended acts of adoration

Amin or Ameen أمين: custodian or guardian, someone who is loyal, faithful, trustworthy, secretary

Amir or Ameer أمير: leader or commander, prince, one in charge

Amir al-Mumineen or Ameerul-Mu'mineen أمير المؤمنين: Commander of the Faithful: title of the caliphs, Islamic rulers. Followers of Ahl al-Bayt (ع), the Prophet's Prgeny, apply it particularly to Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (ع) on account of the "Ghadeer Khumm Declaration". This Declaration took place on the 18th of Thul-Hijja of the year 11 A.H. which then coincided, according to the Gregorian Christian calendar, with the 9th of March (or the 6th of March according to the Julian Christian calendar) of the year 633 A.D. The Ghadeer, swamp or small lake of shallow water formed mostly by rainfall, is located in the Juhfa desert between Mecca and Medina on the pilgrims' route to Mecca. It is there and then that the Prophet (ص) articulated his famous statement: "To whom I have been a mawla, master, this Ali is his master! Lord befriend whoever befriends him and be the enemy of whoever antagonizes him!" It is there and then that Ali was called "Amir al-Mu'mineen", commander of the faithful. Numerous classic books (mostly in Arabic) detail this incident. One of them is al-Bukhari's book titled At-Tarikh Al-Kabir where the author details the incident in Vol. 1, Part 1, p. 375 (Hayderabad, India, edition). Alhamdu-Lillah, I have written an entire book about this incident which I titled Ghadeer Khumm: Where Islam was Perfected.

Ansar or Ansar أنصار: helpers, supporters. These were the people of Medina who responded to the Prophet's call to Islam and helped establish Islam's first city-state power. One of the most famous of the Ansar is the great sahabi "Abu Ayyub" Khalid ibn Zaid (some say ibn Kulayb) al-Ansari who hosted the Prophet (ص) upon his arrival at Medina following his Hijra, migration, from Mecca.

Aqaba or Aqabah عقبه: Literally, this word means: obstacle, obstruction, stumbling block, hindrance. It also refers to a place in Mina just outside Mecca where the first Muslims of Yathrib (Medina) pledged allegiance to the Prophet in the year 621 A.D. shortly before the migration (hijra). A similar meeting took place the next year when more Muslims from Yathrib pledged their allegiance to the Prophet (ص).

Aqiqa عقيقة: a dinner reception held after a child is born; relatives, friends, and neighbors are invited for such an occasion; sacrifice of a sheep or goat at the time of the ritual shaving of the baby's first grown hair

Arafat or Arafah or Arafa عرفه: a hill and plain north of Mecca. Muslims believe that it is on this hill and its surrounding plain that mankind will start their resurrection on the Judgment Day for questioning, judgment and settling accounts. During the hajj on the ninth day of the month of Thul-Hijja, Muslim pilgrims gather in this area for one day.

Arsh عرش: Literally, it means throne, symbol of the Al­mighty's Authority.

Asabiyya عصبيه: fanaticism, extremism, excessive tribal loyalty

Asala or Asaalah أصالة: Purism, purity, genuineness, authenticity, excellence

Ashar أسحار: plural of sahar, the time immediately preceding daybreak

Assalamu Alaikum or Assalamo Alaikum, As-Salamo Alaikom السلام عليكم” This is an expression which Muslims utter whenever they meet one another. It is a statement of greeting with peace. Its meaning is: "Peace be upon/with you" or "May the peace and the Mercy of Allah be upon/with you," The complete statement is "Assalamu Alalikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh," السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته which means: "May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon/with you."

Asr عصر” late afternoon, time for one of the five obligatory salat, prayer, rites

Astaghfirullah or Astaghfir-Allah أستغفرالله: This is an expression used by a Muslim when he pleads for Allah's forgiveness. The meaning is: "I ask Allah for His forgiveness." A Muslim utters this statement 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 of which he is charged, he uses this expression, too. After every salat (payer), a Muslim utters this statement at least three times. One hadith (Prophet's tradition) says that Istighfar, the uttering of this statement, is the essence of adoration.

Ateeq عتيق: Literally, it means old, obsolete, antinquated, ancient. But the Venerable Ka'ba has always been referred to as البيت العتيق which has more than one meaning: the House which was spared the destruction of the flood of Prophet Noah (ع), that is, it was "freed" or spared the destruction caused by the flood. According to the famous lexicon Lisan al-Arab, what is عتيق is the best, the choicest, the most precious of everything. This fits the Ka'ba more than any other place or spot or monument on earth. Lisan al-Arab also says that the Ka'ba is described as البيت العتيق because the Almighty freed it from the hegemony of any tyrant in all human history: None could demolish it or obliterate its precincts or put an end to the pilgrimage to it which was first started by our father Adam, and it will continue till the Last Day. Adam was taught by arch-angel Gabriel how to perform the pilgrimage so he would be forgiven for having eaten of the forbidden fruit in Paradise. The time when Adam was kicked out of Paradise was in the late afternoon, so Gabriel taught him to pray 3 rek'ats (prostrations): one on behalf of himself, another on behalf of his wife, our mother Eve, and one on behalf of his offspring, our human species. This is why sunset prayers are performed in 3 rek'ats.

Athan or Adhan أذان: the call for prayers; mu'aththin is one who performs the 'athan

Athbat أثبات: plural of thabat ثبت, one who is widely recognized as an authority in his field

Atiyya عطية: gift, present, grant, boon

A'uzu billahi minashaitanir-rajim or A'oodhu billahi minash-Shaitan ar-Rajeem أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم: This is a statement which Muslims have to recite before reciting the Holy Qur'an, before speaking, before doing almost anything, even before making a supplication, performing the ablution or entering the wash room. Its meaning is: "I seek refuge with Allah from the outcast Satan." "Allah" is the Arabic name of God which the Muslims prefer over "God" simply because it is unique: You cannot derive a dual, plural, or feminine derivation from it. One of its meanings is: "The One about Whom the minds wonder" because nobody can grasp the essence or greatness of the Almighty. Satan is the source of evil and he always tries to misguide and mislead people, so one needs to seek refuge against the mischief of Satan with the omni-Potent and all-Powerful Lord of lords, Allah.

Awl عول: one sought during the time of need, a reliable helper
Awqiyya أوقيه: weight, undefined measure for weighing items

Awra عورة: Private parts, body parts that are not supposed to be exposed to others, nudity, nakedness, intimate bodily parts, shame. For men, they are from the navel to the knee. For women, all the body except the hands, feet, and face.

Aya or Ayat آيه: Verse (from a sacred scripture); plural: ayat. The literal meaning of "aya" is miracle or sign. The Qur'an is considered to be a miracle by itself. Each verse is called an ayat, a miracle.

Aza' عزاء: consolation, comfort, solace, condolence; a ceremony held at one's death or martyrdom; الحسين (ع) :عزاء Commemorations of the somber occasion of the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (ﻉ) which include the recounting of the heroic epic of his martyrdom, lamentations, religious lectures, admonishments and other rites. They also include the distribution of traditional foods served on the occasion and other gifts to the attendants of the majalis where such commemmorations are held.