Glossary of Islamic Terms

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Glossary of Islamic Terms


’aabid– one who performs much ’ibaada
’aalim (pl. ’ulamaa’) Muslim scholar.
aamin- (yes, to Allaahu ta’aalaa, compare >  Christian ‘amen’ ) accept my prayer.
’aarif- an ’aalim who knows what is possible to know of ma’rifa.
aayat (-i kareema) a Qur’aanic verse.
adhaan the call to salaat.
af’aal al-mukallafeen fard, haraam or mubaah acts; fiqh.
ahaadeeth pl. of hadeeth.
ahl- people.
Ahl al-Bait– immediate relatives of the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam) —according to most ’ulamaa’— ’Ali, first cousin and son-in-law; Faatima, daughter; Hasan and Husain, grandsons (radeeAllaahu ta’aalaa ’anhum).
Ahl ad-diraaya mujtahidi fi’l-madhhab.
ahwaal conditions or customs of people when a hadeeth was said; excellent qualities.
a’imma (~t al-madhaahib) pl. of imaam al-madhhab.
’allaama an ’aalim of high degree.
Allaahu ta’aalaa Allah to whom all kinds of superiority belong.
a’maal acts living up to ’ilm.
ammaara headstrong nafs as defined.
Ansaar those Medinans who embraced Islam before the conquest of Mekka.
aqcha a coin, unit of money.
’Arafaat open space located 24 kilometers north of Mekka.
’Arsh end of matter bordering the seven skies and the Kursee, which is outside the seventh sky and inside the ’Arsh.
’Asr as-Sa’aada the ’Era of Prosperity’, time of the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam) and the Four Caliphs (radeeAllaahu ta’aalaa ’anhum).
arbaab at-tarjeeh as’haab at-tarjeeh.
awliyaa’ pl. of walee.
awqaaf (pl. of waqf) pious foundations.
’azeema difficult way of doing a religious act or affair.


baatil invalid, wrong, vain.
baatin interior, hidden knowledge pertaining to the heart and soul.
baatinee of baatin.
Baatinee a follower of the Batiniyya, heresy or Baatinism.
Basmala the Arabic phrase “Bismillaahi ’rrahmaani ’rraheem” (in the Name of Allah the compassionate, the Merciful).
bid’a pl. bida’.


Daar al-Islaam- Islamic country.
da’eef (that considered to be) reported not as genuinely as saheeh.
dhikr (phrase of) remembering, keeping in mind, Allaahu ta’aalaa every moment.
dirham weight unit of three grams.


Efendi title given by the Ottoman State to statesmen and especially to religious scholars; a form of address, meaning “Your Great Personage”.
Eid one of the two Islamic festivals.
Eid al-ad’haa (also ’Id al-ad’haa) festival of sacrifices and hajj.


faasid wrong, invalid, non-saheeh.
Faatiha First of the 114 sooras of Qur’an al-kereem, containing seven aayats.
faid ma’rifa.
faqeeh (pl. fuqahaa’) ’aalim of fiqh.
fard (an act or thing) that is commanded by Allaahu ta’aala in Qur’aan al-kereem.
fard ’ain fard for every Muslim.
fard kifaaya fard that must be done at least by one Muslim.
fasaad see fitna.
fatwaa (i) ijtihaad (of a mujtahid); (ii) conclusion (of a muftee) from books of fiqh whether something not shown in them is permitted or not; answer given to religious questions by Islamic scholars; (iii) rukhsa.
fiqh knowledge dealing with what Muslims should do and should not do; a’maal, ’ibaadaat.
fitna widespreading of statements and actions that harm Muslims and Islam; disunion among Muslims.
fitra alms (2 kg of wheat or silver of equal value) given after every Ramadaan, the ninth month of Muslim calendar.


ghaban faahish being cheated much by buying at a price higher than the current prices; an exorbitant price.
ghazaa battle against non-Muslims to convert them to Islam; jihaad.
ghaazee Muslim engaged in ghazaa.


hadeeth (~ ash-shareef) a saying of the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam).
hadrat title of respect used before the names of Islamic scholars.
hajj fard pilgrimage to Mecca.
halaal (act, thing) permitted in Islam.
Hanafee (a member) of Hanafee Madhhab.
Hanbalee (a member) of Hanbalee Madhhab.
haraam (act, thing) forbidden in Islam.
Haramain Mecca and Medina.
hasan see hadeeth
Hegira emigration of the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam) from Mekka to Medina; al-Hijra.
Hijaaz the region around the Haramain on the Red Sea coast of Arabian Peninsula where Mekka and Medina are situated.
hijree of the Hegira.
hikma wisdom; right, useful sayings.
Hujjat al-Islaam title of al-Imaam at-Ghazaalee meaning the “Document of Islam” and depicting that a reasonable person who reads his Ihyaa’ sees that Islam is a heavenly religion and becomes a Muslim, past and present examples of which are many.
Hujrat as-Sa’aada (al-Mu’attara) the room where the graves of the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam) and of his two immediate Khaleefas are.


’ibaada (pl. ~at) worship, rite; act for which thawaab (rewards) will be given in the Hereafter.
’Id al-ad’haa (also Eid al-ad’haa) festival of sacrifices and hajj.
ijtihaad (meaning or conclusion drawn by a mujtahid through) endeavoring to understand the hidden meaning in an aayat or a hadeeth.
ilhaad of mulhid
’illa reason, question or event upon which a hadeeth was said.
’ilm (branch of) knowledge, science.
’ilm al-haal (books of) Islamic teachings (of one Madhhab) ordered to be learned by every Muslim.
’ilm al-usool methodologic sciences, esp. those of fiqh and kalaam.
imaam (i) profound ’aalim; (ii) leader in jamaa’a; (iii) Caliph (Khaleefa).
imaan (pronounced as eemaan) faith, beliefs of Islam; kalaam, i’tiqad.
iqaama certain words recited just before a fard salaat.
i’tiqaad eemaan, belief, faith.


Jaahiliyya era of nescience, that is, pre-Islamic Arabia.
jaariya non-Muslim female slave captivated in war and treated as a sister.
jamaa’a community, body of Muslims (except the imaam) in a mosque; companions; union.
jihaad war against non-Muslims (or the nafs) to convert them (it) to Islam.
Jum’a (salaat of) Friday.


kaafir- A non-Muslim, disbeliever.
Ka’ba (~t al-mu’azzama) the big room in the great mosque in Mekka.
kaffaara specified penalty that should be paid along with qadaa’.
kalaam knowledge (science) of ’imaan (eeman); ’ilm alkalaam.
kalimat ash-shahaada the phrase beginning with “Ashhadu…” The first of the five fundamentals of Islam; declaring one’s belief in Islam.
karaama (pl. ~at)
khaarijee (of) those heretical Muslims hostile to Ahl al-Bait and to their posterity. (pl. khawaarij)
khaleefa (pl. khulafaa’) caliph.
Khutba the homily delivered at the pulpit by the imaam at Jum’a and eid prayers, which must be read in Arabic all over the world (sinful if made in another language).


laa-madhhaabee of antagonism to the four madhhabs.


Maalikee (a member) of the Maalikee Madhhab.
Madeenat al-munawwara the illuminated city of Medina.
madhhab (pl. madhaahib) all of what an imaam of (esp.) fiqh (usually one of the four: Hanafee, Shaafi’ee, Maalikee and Hanbalee) or ’imaan communicated.
madrasa Islamic school or university.
mahram within forbidden (haraam) degrees of relationship for marriage.
Mahshar the Last Judgement.
Makkat almukarrama the honored city of Mekka.
makruh (also written as makrooh) (act, thing) improper, disliked and abstained by the Prophet (’alaihi ’s-salaam).
makruh tahreema prohibited with much stress.
mansookh a nass that had come or said earlier but cancelled by a later one (naasikh).
Ma’rifa knowledge about Allaahu ta’aalaa’s Dhaat (Essence, Person) and Sifaat (Attributes), inspired to the hearts of awliyaa’.
Marwa one of the two hills near the Masjid al-Haraam.
masah rubbing one’s wet hands (on his mests, which are soft, soleless, waterproof shoes, worn in winter, covering the feet’s surface washed) while performing ablution.
mash’hoor “well-known” among ’aalims; a kind of hadeeths.
masjid mosque.
al-Masjid al-Haraam the great mosque in Mekka.
al-Masjid ash-shereef (as-Sa’aada, an-Nabee) the mosque in Medina, built in the time of the Prophet (’alaihi ’s-salaam) and later enlarged several times, in which his grave is.
mawdoo’ (kind of hadeeth) lacking one of the conditions (for a hadeeth to be saheeh) laid down by an ’alim of hadeeth.
mawleed (anniversary of) the birthday, writings about the excellences, of the Prophet.
Mawqif place of concentration of all men after the Resurrection.
Meelaadee of the Christian era; of the Gregorian calendar.
Meezaan the Balance in the hereafter.
Minaa a village six kilometers north of Mekka.
minbar high pulpit in a mosque.
Mi’raaj the Prophet’s Ascension from Jerusalem to the skies.
mu’aamalaat a division of fiqh.
Mubaah (act, thing) neither ordered nor prohibited; permitted.
mufsid thing that nullifies [salaat].
muftee great ’aalim authorized to issue fatwaa.
Muhaajiroon Those Mekkan people who embraced Islam before the conquest of Mekka.
Muhammadee follower of the path of the Prophet.
muhkam (of a nass) with explicit, clear meaning.
mujaahada “striving” to do what the nafs does not like; see riyaada.
mujaddid strengthener, renewer, of Islam.
mu’jiza miracle peculiar to prophets, alone, and worked by Allaahu ta’aalaa.
mulfiq one who practises talfeeq.
munaafiq one in the disguise of a Muslim but believing in another religion; so hypocrite.
muqallid Muslim who practices taqleed; a follower of an imaam al-madhhab.
mushrik polytheist, idolater.
mustahab (act) deserving thawaab if done but no sin if omitted, nor disbelief if disliked.
mutashaabih (of an aayat) with unintelligible, hidden meanings.
Mu’tazila one of the 72 heretical groups in Islam.
mutma’inna (of nafs) tranquil, corrected.
Muwaajahat as-Sa’aada the space in front of the qibla wall [to which the Prophet’s (’alaihi ’s-salaam) blessed head corresponds] of his shrine, where the visitor stands facing the shrine.
Muzdalifa the area between the city of Mekka and ’Arafaat.


naa-mahram not mahram; (a relative of the opposite sex) not within forbidden (haraam) degrees of relationship for marriage.
naasikh (a nass) that cancelled a mansookh.
nafs a force in man which wants him to harm himself religiously.
najaasa religiously impure thing.
nass (general term for) an aayat or hadeeth; the Nass.
nikaah (act of engagement for) marriage in Islam.
nisaab minimum quantity of specified wealth making one liable to do some certain duties.


Pasha title given by the Ottoman State to statesmen, governors and especially officers of high rank (now general or admiral).


qaadee Muslim judge; qadi.
qadaa’ (i) decree of a qaadee (Muslim judge); (ii) performance of an ’ibaada after its due time.
qibla the direction turned towards during worshipping (in Islam, toward the Ka’bat al-mu’azzama).
qiyaas (al-fuqahaa’) (conclusion drawn by a mujtahid by) likening or comparing an affair not clearly stated in the Nass and ijmaa’ to a similar one stated clearly; ijtihaad.
Qouraish Arab community of Qouraish, an ancestor of the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam).
Qur’an al-kareem the Holy Koran.


rak’a unit of salaat; the series of reciting and the acts of standing, bowing and prostration (and sitting) in salaat, which consists of at least two and at most (for fard salaats) four rak’as.
Ramadaan the sacred month in Muslim calendar.
Rasoolullaah Muhammad (’alaihi ’s-salaam), the ’Prophet of Allaahu ta’aalaa’; the Messenger of Allah.
Rawdat al-Mutahhara the space between the Prophet’s (’alaihi ’s-salaam) shrine and the pulpit of the Masjid ash-Shereef.
rijaal great ’aalim reporters of a hadeeth.
riyaada (pl. -aat) undoing of what the nafs likes.
rukhsa to permit; easy way of doing a religious act or affair.


saalih (pl. sulahaa’) one who is pious and abstains from sins, (opposite: faasiq); see walee.
Safaa one of the two hills near the Masjid al-Haraam.
sahaabee (pl. Sahaabat al-kiraam) Muslim (Companions) who saw the Prophet at least once.
saheeh (i) religiously lawful, valid; congruous to Islam; (ii) (of a hadeeth) soundly transmitted, authentic according to the conditions laid by the scholars of hadeeth.
salaam word of greeting in Islam, good wish.
salaat i) prayer; (with salaam) salawaat; ii) ritual prayer of at least two rak’as; namaaz, in Persian.
salaat janaaza funeral prayer.
salawaat (pl. of salaat) special prayers in which blessings and high ranks are asked on the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam).
Shaari’ the Prophet (’alaihi ’s-salaam).
shafaa’a intercession in the hereafter.
Shafi’ee (a member) of Shaafi’ee Madhhab.
shafaa’a intercession in the hereafter.
shaikh master, guide.
Shaikh al-Islam Head of the Religious Affairs Office in an Islamic State.
Shee’a (Shee’ites) one of the 72 non-Sunnee groups in Islam.
shirk (statement, action, causing) polytheism; ascribing a partner to Allaahu ta’aalaa.
Sir’at the Bridge in the hereafter.
suhba companionship.
sulahaa pl. of saalih.
sunna (act, thing) that was, though not commanded by Allaahu ta’aalaa, done and liked by the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam) as an ’ibaada (there is thawaab if done, but no sin if omitted, yet it causes sin if continually omitted and disbelief if disliked; the Sunna; i) (with fard) all the sunnas as a whole; ii) (with the Book or Qur’an alkareem) the Hadeeth ashshereef; iii) (alone) fiqh, Islam.
sunnat mu’akkada sunnat that rarely omitted by the Prophet.
Sunnee (one) belonging to Ahl as-Sunna.
soora(t) a Qur’aanic chapter.


taa’a those acts liked by Allaahu ta’aalaa but need not be known that He likes.
Taabi’oon (ali’zaam) most of those Muslims who had not seen the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam) but saw (one of) asSahabat alkiraam; so their successors.
Taba’ at-Taabi’een those ’aalims who had seen neither the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam) nor a sahaabee but saw (one of) the Taabi’oon; so their successors.
ta’deel al-arkaan keeping the body motionless for a while after becoming calm during and between the various acts in salaat
tafseer i) book of, ii) science of (’ilm at-tafseer), iii) interpretation of Qur’aan al-kereem.
Tahiyya first prayer recited at the sitting posture in salaat.
takbeer iftitaah the phrase “Allaahu akbar”.
taqleed living up to, following, being a member of one of the four Madhhabs.
taqwaa fearing Allaahu ta’aalaa; abstention from haraams; practicing ’azimas (See wara’ and zuhd).
tasawwuf (Islamic mysticism of sufism as defined by Islam) knowledge and (after adapting oneself to fiqh) practice of the manners of the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam) which strengthens eemaan, makes the practice of fiqh easy and provides one to attain ma’rifa; ’ilm at-tasawwuf.
tawaaf the ’ibaada of going round the Ka’bat al-mu’azzama during hajj.
tawakkul trusting in, expecting everything from Allaahu ta’aalaa exclusively; expecting from Allaahu ta’aalaa the effectiveness of the cause after working or holding on to the cause before which tawakkul is unadvised.
tawheed (belief in) the Oneness, Unity of Allaahu ta’aalaa.
ta’zeer a kind of penalty as described in Islam; chastisement.
tekke (Turkish) place where a shaikh trains his disciples.
thawaab (unit of) reward promised for the next world by Allaahu ta’aalaa as a recompense for doing or saying what He likes.


’ulamaa pl. of ’aalim.
Umma the community, body of Believers, of a prophet.
the Umma (~t al-Muhammadiyya) the Muslim Umma.
’umra sunna pilgrimage to Mecca.
usool (i) methodology or fundamentals of an Islamic science, see ’ilm; (ii) methodologies of basic Islamic sciences, ’ilm al-usool; (iii) eemaan, kalaam.


waajib (Act or Correct thing) never omitted by the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam), so almost as compulsory as fard and not to be omitted.
wahee knowledge revealed to the Prophet from Allaahu ta’aalaa.
walee (pl. awliyaa’) one who is loved and protected by Allaahu ta’aalaa; a saalih who has also corrected his nafs.
wara’ (after avoiding haraams) abstention from doubtful things (mutashabihaat).


zaahid a man of zuhd; ascetic.
zaahir exterior, apparent knowledge (pertaining to the body).
zaahiree of zaahir.
Zaidee least heretical (so closer to Ahl as-Sunna) group of the Shee’a.
zakaat- (fard duty of giving annually) certain amount of certain kinds of property to certain kinds of people, by which the remaining property becomes purified and blessed and the Muslim who gives it protects himself against being (called) a miser.
zuhd– not setting one’s heart on worldly things.

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