Glossary of Islamic Terms

Women Guards at Mecca
Saudi police woman, as they recently deployed to the service at the Grand Mosque, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, in the Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca.
Glossary of Islamic Terms
A
’aabidone who performs much ’ibaada
’aalim(pl. ’ulamaa’) Muslim scholar.
aamin(to Allaahu ta’aalaa) accept my prayer.
’aarifan ’aalim who knows what is possible to know of ma’rifa.
aayat (-i kareema)a Qur’aanic verse.
adhaanthe call to salaat.
af’aal al-mukallafeenfard, haraam or mubaah acts; fiqh.
ahaadeethpl. of hadeeth.
ahlpeople.
Ahl al-Baitimmediate 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-diraayamujtahidi fi’l-madhhab.
ahwaalconditions or customs of people when a hadeeth was said; excellent qualities.
a’imma (~t al-madhaahib)pl. of imaam al-madhhab.
’allaamaan ’aalim of high degree.
Allaahu ta’aalaaAllah to whom all kinds of superiority belong.
a’maal actsliving up to ’ilm.
ammaaraheadstrong nafs as defined.
Ansaarthose Medinans who embraced Islam before the conquest of Mekka.
aqchaa coin, unit of money.
’Arafaatopen space located 24 kilometers north of Mekka.
’Arshend of matter bordering the seven skies and the Kursee, which is outside the seventh sky and inside the ’Arsh.
’Asr as-Sa’aadathe ’Era of Prosperity’, time of the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam) and the Four Caliphs (radeeAllaahu ta’aalaa ’anhum).
arbaab at-tarjeehas’haab at-tarjeeh.
awliyaa’pl. of walee.
awqaaf(pl. of waqf) pious foundations.
’azeemadifficult way of doing a religious act or affair.
B
baatilinvalid, wrong, vain.
baatininterior, hidden knowledge pertaining to the heart and soul.
baatineeof baatin.
Baatineea follower of the Batiniyya, heresy or Baatinism.
Basmalathe Arabic phrase “Bismillaahi ’rrahmaani ’rraheem” (in the Name of Allah the compassionate, the Merciful).
bid’apl. bida’.
C
D
Daar al-IslaamIslamic 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.
dirhamweight unit of three grams.
E
Efendititle given by the Ottoman State to statesmen and especially to religious scholars; a form of address, meaning “Your Great Personage”.
Eidone of the two Islamic festivals.
Eid al-ad’haa(also ’Id al-ad’haa) festival of sacrifices and hajj.
F
faasidwrong, invalid, non-saheeh.
FaatihaFirst of the 114 sooras of Qur’an al-kereem, containing seven aayats.
faidma’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 ’ainfard for every Muslim.
fard kifaayafard that must be done at least by one Muslim.
fasaadsee 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.
fiqhknowledge dealing with what Muslims should do and should not do; a’maal, ’ibaadaat.
fitnawidespreading of statements and actions that harm Muslims and Islam; disunion among Muslims.
fitraalms (2 kg of wheat or silver of equal value) given after every Ramadaan, the ninth month of Muslim calendar.
G
ghaban faahishbeing cheated much by buying at a price higher than the current prices; an exorbitant price.
ghazaabattle against non-Muslims to convert them to Islam; jihaad.
ghaazeeMuslim engaged in ghazaa.
H
hadeeth (~ ash-shareef)a saying of the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam).
hadrattitle of respect used before the names of Islamic scholars.
hajjfard 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.
HaramainMecca and Medina.
hasansee hadeeth
Hegiraemigration of the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam) from Mekka to Medina; al-Hijra.
Hijaazthe region around the Haramain on the Red Sea coast of Arabian Peninsula where Mekka and Medina are situated.
hijreeof the Hegira.
hikmawisdom; right, useful sayings.
Hujjat al-Islaamtitle 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.
I
’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.
ilhaadof mulhid
’illareason, 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-usoolmethodologic 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.
iqaamacertain words recited just before a fard salaat.
i’tiqaadeemaan, belief, faith.
J
Jaahiliyyaera of nescience, that is, pre-Islamic Arabia.
jaariyanon-Muslim female slave captivated in war and treated as a sister.
jamaa’acommunity, body of Muslims (except the imaam) in a mosque; companions; union.
jihaadwar against non-Muslims (or the nafs) to convert them (it) to Islam.
Jum’a(salaat of) Friday.
K
kaafirnon-Muslim, disbeliever.
Ka’ba (~t al-mu’azzama)the big room in the great mosque in Mekka.
kaffaaraspecified penalty that should be paid along with qadaa’.
kalaamknowledge (science) of ’imaan (eeman); ’ilm alkalaam.
kalimat ash-shahaadathe 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.
Khutbathe 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).
L
laa-madhhaabeeof antagonism to the four madhhabs.
M
Maalikee(a member) of the Maalikee Madhhab.
Madeenat al-munawwarathe 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.
madrasaIslamic school or university.
mahramwithin forbidden (haraam) degrees of relationship for marriage.
Mahsharthe Last Judgement.
Makkat almukarramathe honored city of Mekka.
makruh(also written as makrooh) (act, thing) improper, disliked and abstained by the Prophet (’alaihi ’s-salaam).
makruh tahreemaprohibited with much stress.
mansookha nass that had come or said earlier but cancelled by a later one (naasikh).
Ma’rifaknowledge about Allaahu ta’aalaa’s Dhaat (Essence, Person) and Sifaat (Attributes), inspired to the hearts of awliyaa’.
Marwaone of the two hills near the Masjid al-Haraam.
masahrubbing 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.
masjidmosque.
al-Masjid al-Haraamthe 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.
Mawqifplace of concentration of all men after the Resurrection.
Meelaadeeof the Christian era; of the Gregorian calendar.
Meezaanthe Balance in the hereafter.
Minaaa village six kilometers north of Mekka.
minbarhigh pulpit in a mosque.
Mi’raajthe Prophet’s Ascension from Jerusalem to the skies.
mu’aamalaata division of fiqh.
Mubaah(act, thing) neither ordered nor prohibited; permitted.
mufsidthing that nullifies [salaat].
mufteegreat ’aalim authorized to issue fatwaa.
MuhaajiroonThose Mekkan people who embraced Islam before the conquest of Mekka.
Muhammadeefollower 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.
mujaddidstrengthener, renewer, of Islam.
mu’jizamiracle peculiar to prophets, alone, and worked by Allaahu ta’aalaa.
mulfiqone who practises talfeeq.
munaafiqone in the disguise of a Muslim but believing in another religion; so hypocrite.
muqallidMuslim who practices taqleed; a follower of an imaam al-madhhab.
mushrikpolytheist, 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’tazilaone of the 72 heretical groups in Islam.
mutma’inna(of nafs) tranquil, corrected.
Muwaajahat as-Sa’aadathe 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.
Muzdalifathe area between the city of Mekka and ’Arafaat.
N
naa-mahramnot mahram; (a relative of the opposite sex) not within forbidden (haraam) degrees of relationship for marriage.
naasikh(a nass) that cancelled a mansookh.
nafsa force in man which wants him to harm himself religiously.
najaasareligiously impure thing.
nass(general term for) an aayat or hadeeth; the Nass.
nikaah(act of engagement for) marriage in Islam.
nisaabminimum quantity of specified wealth making one liable to do some certain duties.
O
P
Pashatitle given by the Ottoman State to statesmen, governors and especially officers of high rank (now general or admiral).
Q
qaadeeMuslim judge; qadi.
qadaa’(i) decree of a qaadee (Muslim judge); (ii) performance of an ’ibaada after its due time.
qiblathe 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.
QouraishArab community of Qouraish, an ancestor of the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam).
Qur’an al-kareemthe Holy Koran.
R
rak’aunit 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.
Ramadaanthe sacred month in Muslim calendar.
RasoolullaahMuhammad (’alaihi ’s-salaam), the ’Prophet of Allaahu ta’aalaa’; the Messenger of Allah.
Rawdat al-Mutahharathe space between the Prophet’s (’alaihi ’s-salaam) shrine and the pulpit of the Masjid ash-Shereef.
rijaalgreat ’aalim reporters of a hadeeth.
riyaada(pl. -aat) undoing of what the nafs likes.
rukhsato permit; easy way of doing a religious act or affair.
S
saalih(pl. sulahaa’) one who is pious and abstains from sins, (opposite: faasiq); see walee.
Safaaone 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.
salaamword of greeting in Islam, good wish.
salaati) prayer; (with salaam) salawaat; ii) ritual prayer of at least two rak’as; namaaz, in Persian.
salaat janaazafuneral 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’aintercession in the hereafter.
Shafi’ee(a member) of Shaafi’ee Madhhab.
shafaa’aintercession in the hereafter.
shaikhmaster, guide.
Shaikh al-IslamHead 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’atthe Bridge in the hereafter.
suhbacompanionship.
sulahaapl. 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’akkadasunnat that rarely omitted by the Prophet.
Sunnee(one) belonging to Ahl as-Sunna.
soora(t)a Qur’aanic chapter.
T
taa’athose 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’eenthose ’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-arkaankeeping the body motionless for a while after becoming calm during and between the various acts in salaat
tafseeri) book of, ii) science of (’ilm at-tafseer), iii) interpretation of Qur’aan al-kereem.
Tahiyyafirst prayer recited at the sitting posture in salaat.
takbeer iftitaahthe phrase “Allaahu akbar”.
taqleedliving up to, following, being a member of one of the four Madhhabs.
taqwaafearing 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.
tawaafthe ’ibaada of going round the Ka’bat al-mu’azzama during hajj.
tawakkultrusting 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’zeera 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.
U
’ulamaapl. of ’aalim.
Ummathe community, body of Believers, of a prophet.
the Umma (~t al-Muhammadiyya)the Muslim Umma.
’umrasunna 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.
W
waajib(act or thing) never omitted by the Prophet (’alaihi ’ssalaam), so almost as compulsory as fard and not to be omitted.
waheeknowledge 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).
Z
zaahida man of zuhd; ascetic.
zaahirexterior, apparent knowledge (pertaining to the body).
zaahireeof zaahir.
Zaideeleast 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.
zuhdnot setting one’s heart on worldly things.

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