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)
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
Bismillah: In the Name of Allah (SwT)
Dirham: Unit of currency
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.
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
Iddah: Waiting period for women before they could remarry
Ihram: Pilgrim dress
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.
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
Mithqal: A measure of weight of about 4.6 gms.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Taqleed: Emulation of a scholar in Islamic practical law
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.
Tashahud: Recitation in the sitting position in the second and the last unit of the ritual prayer
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
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)