Glossary of Islamic Terms

a.s: An abbreviation of ‘alaihis salaam’, that is “Peace be on him”.

a.t.f.s: An abbreviation of ‘ajjil allaahu ta’ala farajahu shareef’, that is “May Allah hasten his reappearance”.

Aale Muhammad: Progeny of Muhammad (S)

Aamal: Rituals

Ababeel: Little birds that destroyed the army of the People of Elephants by dropping on them pebbles of baked clay they had carried in their beaks and claws.

Abjad: Numerical values of Arabic letters

Ahle Sunnat wal Jamat: Majority Muslims who believe Abu Bakr to be the first caliph

Ahlul Bayt: People of the house. They are the Holy Prophet (a.s.), Janabe Fatima Zahra (s.a), Ali (a.s.) and his eleven successors.

Allamah: A learned scholar

Amirul Momineen: Leader of the believers. Title of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.)

Amr al-Takveeni: Things beyond the control of man. Natural factors etc.

Amr al-Tashri: Things under the control of man. Voluntary deeds, etc.

Aqiqa Ceremony: Islamic ritual of sacrificing a goat

Arsh: Throne or heavens

Ashura: 10th of Mohurrum, day of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.) and the tragedy of Kerbala

Asr: Afternoon (prayer)

Ayat: Verse of the Holy Quran

Azan: Call for prayer

Bada: Change in divine will

Baseer: All-seeing

Bismillah: In the Name of Allah (SwT)

Dirham: Unit of currency

Dua: Invocation

Etekaaf: A recommended ritual consisting of a continuous stay of at least three days in the mosque during the last ten days of the month of Ramadan.

Fajr: Morning

Faqih: Jurisprudent

Firon: Pharaoh

Ghusl: Ritual bath

Hadith al-Nabawi: A statement of the Holy Prophet (S) or a Masoom (a.s.)

Hadith al-Qudsi: A saying of Allah (SwT) apart from the verses of Quran

Hafiz: One who knows the Quran by heart

Hajj: Annual pilgrimage to Mecca during the month of Zilqad

Halaal: Permissible, legal

Haraam: Prohibited, illegal

Hasanah: Unit of heavenly rewards

Hijrat/Hijrah: Flight of the Holy Prophet (S) from Mecca to Medina. Beginning of the Islamic calendar.

Hourul Eein: Black-eyed Houries of Paradise

Hujjat: Proof

Iblis: Satan

Iddah: Waiting period for women before they could remarry

Ihram: Pilgrim dress

Ijma: Consensus

Imam al-Zaman: Imam of the time

Insha-Allah: If Allah (SwT) wills

Iqamah: Shorter call for Prayer

Isha: Late evening

Istekhara: Seeking the advice of Allah (SwT)

Janabat: A state of ritual impurity that can be removed by performing Ghusl (Bath)

Jannatul Maawa: Paradise, Lit. Garden of perpetuity

Juz: Arabic word for part. 30th part of Quran

Kaba: The Holy House of Allah (SwT), the directions that Muslims face during prayers.

Kaffarah: Fine, penalty

Khariji: A group which arose against Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) after the battle of Siffin. A heretic sect.

Khilqat: Creation

Liaan: Sworn allegation of adultery committed by either husband or wife

Maghrebain: The two prayers of Maghrib (early evening) and Isha (late evening)

Maghrib: Evening prayer, time of sunset

Mahram (pl. Mahrams): Relatives between whom marriage is prohibited

Makrooh: Detestable, in the Islamic terminology it denotes an action performing which does not incur sin but refraining from which earns divine rewards

Makruh: Variant spelling of above term

Maliki: Followers of the Sunnite Imam, Imam Malik

Maraja Taqleed: The Mujtahid whom people follow in matters of practical law

Masjidul Haram: The sacred mosque in Mecca

Masoomeen (Singular - Masoom): Infallible

Mehr: Dower

Mithqal: A measure of weight of about 4.6 gms.

Momin: Believer

Mubah: Permitted. It denotes an action performing which earns no rewards and refraining from it is not punishable.

Muhrim: One dressed in Ihram (pilgrim dress)

Mullahs: Muslim scholars/leaders

Mureed: The Restorer

Mushaf: Scroll

Mustahab: Recommended. It is an action performing which earns rewards and refraining from it is not punishable.

Mutawatir: A tradition related through so many narrators that it is considered absolutely authentic

Najis: Unclean

Nasibi: A person who harbors malice against any one of the members of Holy Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).

Nawafil: Recommended prayers

Para: 30th part of Quran

q.s.: An abbreviation of ‘Quddasa Sirruhu’, which literally means: “May his resting place remain pure.”

Qaim: One would rise. A title of Imam Mahdi (a.s.)

Qibla: Prayer direction

Qunut: Supplication recited in ritual prayers, usually in the second unit (rakat)

Quraish: The tribe of the Messenger of Allah (S)

Rajm: Stoning, punishment for adultery

Rakat: A unit of ritual prayer

Rizq: Sustenance

Ruhul Quds: An angel

Ruku: Bowing down or genuflection in the ritual prayers

(S): An abbreviation of ‘sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam’, that is “Blessings be on him and peace”.

Sadat: Sayyid, descendants of Imam Ali (a.s.) through Imam Husain (a.s.).

Sadaqah: Voluntary charity, alms

Safar: Second month of the Islamic calendar

Salaam: Salute, Islamic greeting

Salaat: Ritual prayers

Salawat: Allaahumma Salle alaa Muhaammadinw wa aali Muhammad

Samee: All-hearing

Saqifah: The place where Abu Bakr took caliphate

Sayyid: Lit. chief. A term for descendants of Lady Fatima (s.a) through Imam Husain (a.s.)

Sayyidush Shohada: Chief of the Martyrs, a title of Imam Husain (a.s.)

Shabaan: The eighth month of the Muslim (Lunar) calendar

Shab al-Qadr: The Night of Power or 19th, 21st and 23rd nights of the month of Ramadan

Shaf: Lit: Middle. It is a Two Unit prayer and a part of Salaat of Shab (Midnight Prayer)

Shahadatain: The two testimonies of Islamic faith.

Shariat/Shariah: Islamic law

Shaykh: Lit. elder. A genealogical division among Muslims

Sheb al-Abi Talib: Valley in Mecca where the Messenger of Allah (S) and the early Muslims took refuge for sometime

Shura: Consultation committee formed by Umar for selecting Uthman as the next caliph

Siraat: Path

Sujud: Plural of Sajdah, prostration

Sunnah: Practice (esp. of the Messenger of Allah (S))

Surah: Chapter of Quran

t.s: Abbreviation of Taaba Saraa. See the meaning of ‘q.s.’

Tabi’in: Followers of the companions of the Prophet (S)

Tahlilaat: Saying ‘Laa Ilaaha illallaah’

Takbir: Allaho Akbar, God is the Greatest

Takbiratul Ihram: Saying Allaho Akbar at the beginning of the ritual prayer

Taqayyah: Dissimulation

Taqleed: Emulation of a scholar in Islamic practical law

Taqwa: Piety

Tasbeehaat: Plural of Tasbih, glorification of Allah (SwT) (esp. in bowing and prostrations in the ritual prayers)

Tasbeehaat al-Arba: Glory be to Allah (SwT) and Praise be to Allah (SwT) and There is no god except Allah (SwT) and Allah (SwT) is the Greatest.

Tasbih: Rosary

Tashahud: Recitation in the sitting position in the second and the last unit of the ritual prayer

Tawakkul: Reliance

Tawfeeq (pl. Tawfeeqaat): Divine inspiration

Tawheed: Belief in the absolute Oneness of Allah (SwT)

Tayammum: Substitute of ablution/ritual bath when use of water is not possible or advisable

Taziyah: A replica of the tomb of Imam Husain (a.s.)

Thawr, cave of: The cave where the Messenger of Allah (S) hid on way to Medina

Torah: The Old Testament

Two Shaykhs: Abu Bakr and Umar

Umrah: Optional pilgrimage to Mecca

Umratul Qaza: Lapsed Umrah

Wajib: Obligatory

Wali: Guardian

Watr: Single Unit Prayer. A part of Midnight Prayer

Wilayat: Guardianship, belief in the guardianship of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and love towards them

Wudhu: Ritual ablution

Zakat: Obligatory Islamic wealth tax

Ziyarat: Visitation or recitation of salutation while facing the tomb of religious personalities

Zihar: Pre-Islamic form of divorce, consisting in the words of repudiation: You are to me like my mother’s back. (anti alayyah ka zahri ummi).

Zinnoorain: Master of two lights, Uthman, the third caliph

Zuhoor: Reappearance (of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.)).

Zuhr: Noon prayers

Zuhrain: The two ritual prayers of Zuhr (noon) and Asr (afternoon)