Islamic Terms

A:

Adhan

Adhan is an Islamic way of calling Muslims to the five obligatory Prayers. The Adhan is announced daily from the Mosques. See Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 583, Vol. 1.

A.H.(After Hijrah)

Hijrah means emigration. The Islamic calendar starts from the year Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) emigrated from the city of Makkah to Madinah, in 622 C.E.

Ahl al-Bait

Ahl al-Bait literally means ‘the people of the house’, a polite form of addressing the members of the family, including husband and wife. The words occur in the Holy Quran when angels came to give glad tidings to Prophet Abraham (S.A.W.) of a son at an old age. See Surah Houd (11:73).

Ahl al-Dimmah (or Dhimmis)

are the non-Muslim subjects of an Islamic state who have been guaranteed protection of their rights- life, property and practice of their religion, etc.

Ahl al-Hadith

Refers to the group of scholars in Islam who pay relatively greater importance to ‘traditions’ than to other sources of Islamic doctrine such as qiyas, and tend to interpret the traditions more literally and rigorously. The term has also come to be used lately for a group of Muslims in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent who are close to the Hanbali school in theology, and claim to follow no single school on legal matters.

Ahl al-Kitab

literally ‘People of the Book,’ refers to the followers of Divine Revelation before the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).

Ahmad

Ahmad is another name of Muhammad (S.A.W.). See Holy Quran, As-Saff (61:6). See Muhammad for more details.

Al-Akhirah

(After-Life, Hereafter, Next World). the term embraces the following ideas.

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That man is answerable to God.

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That the present order of existence will some day come to an end.

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That when that happens,God will bring another order into being in which He will resurrect all human beings, gather them together and examine their conduct, and reward them with justice and mercy.

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That those who are reckoned good will be sent to Paradise whereas the evil-doers will be consigned to Hell.

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That the real measure of success or failure of a person is not the extent of his prosperity in the present life, but his success in the Next.

‘Alim (pl. Ulamah)

An Islamic religious scholar.

Allah

Allah – the greatest and most inclusive of the names of God. It is an Arabic word of rich and varied meaning, denoting the one who is adored in worship, who creates all that exists, who has priority over all creation, who is lofty and hidden, who confounds all human understanding. It is exactly the same word as, in Hebrew, the Jews use for God (Eloh), the word which Jesus Christ used in Aramaic when he prayed to God. God has an identical name in Judaism, Christianity and Islam; Allah is the same God worshipped by Muslims, Christians and Jews.

“He is God, the One God, Independent and Sought by all; He begets not, nor is He begotton, and there is none like unto Him.” (The Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Ikhlas)

Islam teaches that all faiths have, in essence, one common message: the existence of a Supreme Being, the one and only God, whose sovereignty is to be acknowledged in worship and in the pledge to obey His teaching and commandments, conveyed through His messengers and prophets who were sent at various times and in many places throughout history.

Allahu Akbar

Allah is the Greatest.

Amirul Mumineen

Commander of the faithful. Title of the leader of the Islamic dominion after the death of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).

Ansar

Ansar means the ‘Helpers.’ (singular: Ansari). In Islamic parlance the word refers to the Muslims of Madina who helped the Muhajirin (immigrants) of Makka in the process of the latter’s settling down in the new environment.

‘Aqeeda

Literally means belief. In Islamic terms, it means the following six articles of faith:

1. Belief in Allah, the One God.

2. Belief in Allah’s angels.

3. Belief in His revealed Books.

4. Belief in His messengers.

5. Belief in the Day of Judgement.

6. Belief in Fate and the Divine Decree.

 

Al-A`rab

Al-A`rab signifies the bedouin – whether of the desert or the countryside – in the vicinity of Madina. For a long time they had followed a policy of opportunism with regard to the conflict between Islam and unbelief. However, as Islam established its sway over the greater part of Hijaz and Najd and the power of the tribes hostile to Islam began to weaken, they saw their interests lay in entering the fold of Islam. For details see Surah 9.

Arafat

Arafat is a pilgrimage site, about 25 kilometers east of Makkah al-Mukaramah. Standing on ‘Arafat on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah and staying there from mid-day to sunset is the essence of the Hajj (the Pilgrimage).

Ashab al-A`raf

Ashab al-A`raf (Heights) will be the people who are neithe righteous enough to enter Paradise nor wicked enough to be cast into Hell. They will, therefore, dwell at a place situated between the two.

Ashab al-Suffah

Ashab al-Suffah consisted of about three or four hundred Companions who spent most of their time in the company of the Prophet (S.A.W.). They acquired knowledge and had dedicated themselves wholly to serving Islam.

Al-Asma al-Husna

Al-Asma al-Husna, literally meaning the ‘most excellent names’ used of God, express His greatness and paramountcy, holiness, purity, and the perfection and absoluteness of all His attributes.

‘Asr

‘Asr is the late afternoon Prayer, the third compulsory Prayer of the day. It can be prayed between midafternoon and a little before sunset. It is also the name of Surah 103 of the Holy Quran.

Assalamu ‘Alaikum

Assalamu ‘Alaikum means ‘Peace be on you.’ Greeting of the Muslims. The response to this greeting is ‘Wa ‘Alaikum Assalam,’ and on you be the Peace.

Athar

Sayings of the Sahabah, the companions of the Prophet (S.A.W.).

Ayah (pl. ayat)

Ayah means a sign (or ‘token’) which directs one to something important. In the Quran the word has been used in four  different senses: (1) sign or indication; (2) the phenomena of the universe (called ayat of God for the reality to which the phenomena point is hidden behind the veil of appearances); (3) miracles performed by the Prophets; and (4) individual units (i.e. verses) of the Book of God.

B:

 

Bab Al-Raiyan

The name of one of the gates of Heavens (Jannah) through which the people who often observe fasting will enter on the Day of  Judgement.

bullet the existence of a Supreme Being, the one and only God, whose sovereignty is to be acknowledged in worship and in the pledge
bullet to obey His teaching and commandments, conveyed through His messengers and prophets who were sent at various times and in many places throughout history.

Islam demands a commitment to submit and surrender to God so that one could live in peace; peace (salam) is achieved through active obedience to the revealed Commandments of God, for God is the Source of all Peace. Commitment to Islam entails striving for peace through a struggle for justice, equality of opportunity, mutual caring and consideration for others’ rights, and continuous research and acquisition of knowledge for the better protection and utilization of  the resources of the universe. The basic beliefs of Islam are:

bullet the Uniqueness of the one and only God who is Sovereign of the universes;
bullet the Revelation of the teaching and commandments of God through Angels in heaven to Prophets on earth, and written in sacred writings which all have the same transcendent source; these contain the will of God which marks the way of peace for the whole universe and all mankind;
bullet the Day of judgement which inaugurates the Afterlife in which God rewards and punishes with respect to human obedience to His will.

Islam teaches that human diversity is a sign of the richness of God’s mercy, and that God wills human beings to compete with each other in goodness in order to test who is the finest in action; this is, according to Islam, the reason for the creation of the universe. A person who enters the fold of Islam is called a Muslim. Isra 1. “The Night Journey”, refers to the journey of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) from Makkah to Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.
2. Another name for Surah Bani Israel (Surah 17) of the Holy Qur’an.

Istikhara Asking Allah the Almighty to guide one to the right decision and action regarding a particular problem. The Istikhara Prayer consists of two Rakahs. A special invocation is said. See Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 263, Vol. 2.

Istisqa Invoking Allah Ta’ala for rain in the time of a drought. The Istisqa Prayer consists of two rakahs. See Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 119, Vol. 2.

 I’tikaf I’tikaf refers to the religious practice of spending the last ten days of Ramadan (either wholly or partly) in a mosque so as to devote oneself exclusively to worship. In this state one may go out of the mosque only for the absolutely necessary requirements of life, but one must stay away from gratifying one’s sexual desire. The minimum period for i’tikaf is twenty-four hours. I’tikaf is not valid if one is not keeping the fast or if it is done outside the month of Ramadan.

Ithm Ithm denotes negligence, dereliction of duty and sin.

J:

 

Jahanam Most commonly understood to mean Hell. In fact, it is one of the levels of Hell. There are seven levels of Hellfire:
1. Jaheem – the shallowest level of Hell. It is reserved for those who believed in Allah and His Messenger (S.A.W.), but who ignored His commands.
2. Jahanam – a deeper level where the idol-worshippers are to be sent on the Day of Judgement.
3. Sa’ir – is reserved for the worshippers of fire.
4. Saqar – this is where those who did not believe in Allah will be sent on the Day of Judgement.
5. Ladha – will be the home of the Jews.
6. Hawiyah – will be the abode of the Christians.
7. Hutama – the deepest level of Hellfire. This is where the religious hypocrites will spend eternity. The worst of Allah’s creation are the Munafiqeen (Hypocrites), wether they be mankind or Jinn, for they outwardly appear to accept, but inwardly reject Allah and His Messenger (S.A.W.).

Jaheem See Jahanam.

Jahiliyah Jahiliyah, literally ‘ignorance’, is a concise expression for the pagan practice of the days before the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). Jahiliyah denotes all those world-views and ways of life which are based on rejection or disregard of heavenly guidance communicated to mankind through the Prophets and Messengers of God; the attitude of treating human life – either wholly or partly – as independent of the directives of  God.
Ayyam al-Jahiliyah, or ‘The Days of Ignorance’ in the books of history, indicate the period before the Prophethood of Muhammad when the people in Arabia forgot the teachings of their Prophets and indulged in stupid practices.

Jamra White hot coal. The term used to describe the three pillars built od stone at Mina. Plural: Jimar.

Jamarat Al-Aqaba One of the three stone pillars at Mina. One of the rites of Hajj is to throw pebbles at these stone pillars, which represent Satan.

 Jannah Paradise. A created abode in the Hereafter for those who believe in the Unity of Allah and in all His Prophets and Messengers, and who follow the way of life of the Prophets. Jannah has eight gates around it and each of these eight gates has eleven doors. The names of the eight gates are:

1. Bab al-Iman.
2. Bab al-Jihad.
3. Bab al-Kadhemean al-Gaidh.
4. Bab ar-Raiyan.
5. Bab ar-Radiyeen.
6. Bab as-Sadaqa.
7. Bab at-Taubah.
8. Bab as-Salat.

Janaba The state of a person after sexual discharge, whether intentional or otherwise. A person may not perform Salah (Prayer) or recite or touch the Qur’an until he performs Ghusl or Tayammum.

Jewj wa Majewj See Gog and Magog.

Jibt Jibt signifies a thing devoid of any true basis and dereft of  usefulness. In Islamic terminology the various forms of sorcery, divination and soothsaying, in short all superstitions, are called jibt.

Jihad Jihad literally means ‘to strive’ or ‘to exert to the utmost.’ In islamic parlance it signifies all forms of striving, including armed struggle, aimed at making the Word of God prevail.

Jinn Jinn are an independent species of creation about which little is known except that unlike man, who was created out of earth, the jinn were created out of fire. But like man, a Divine Message has also been addressed to them and they too have been endowed with the capacity, again like man, to choose between good and evil, between obedience or disobedience to God. See Surah 72 of the Holy Qur’an.

Jizyah Unbelievers are required to pay jizyah (poll tax) in lieu of security provided to them as the Dhimmis (Protected People) of  an Islamic state, and their exemption from military service and payment of Zakah. Jizyah symbolizes the submission of the unbelievers to the suzerainty of Islam.

Jum’ah “Friday.” The Muslims’ day of gathering together, when all Muslim males must go to the Masjid to hear the Friday Khutba (sermon) and to do the Jum’ah Salat (prayer), which is prayed instead of Dhur. Surah 62 of the Holy Qur’an.

Jumada al-Akhira The sixth month of the Islamic calendar.

 Junub Junub – a person having Janaba – means to be in a state of  ceremonial impurity or defilement. A male becomes junub on having sexual intercourse or simply on the emission of semen in sleep or otherwise. A female also becomes junub as a result of  sexual intercourse as well as when she is menstruating or having postnatal bleeding. These are the general causes of janaba, which is also referred to in the books of jurisprudence as hadath akbar. A full bath is required for a junub to receive purification or tahara, without which a man or woman is not allowed to touch or read the Qur’an, enter the mosque or offer the prayers. In the absence of water, however, one is allowed to resort to tayammum. Tayammum substitutes for both a full bath (ghusl) and ablution (wudu).

K:  

Ka’aba The cube-shaped stone building whose foundations were built by the angels and completed by Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son, Prophet Ismael, peace be on them, in Makkah. It was rebuilt with the with the help of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). It is the focal point towards which all Muslims face when praying.

Kabair (al) Major sins; such as Shirk (see Shirk), Qatl (murder), Zinah (fornication and adultery), the taking of Riba (usury), Sirq (theft), etc.

Kaffarah Kaffarah means atonement, expiation.

Kafir Kafir signifies one who denies or rejects the truth, i.e. who disbelieves in the message of the Prophets. Since the advent of  Muhammad (S.A.W.), anyone who rejects his Message is a kafir.

Kafura Literally means camphor. It is a special heavenly perfume that will be mixed with non-intoxicating, pure wine and be given to the righteous in the Hereafter. See the Holy Qur’an, Al-Insan (76:5).

Kalalah Kalalah, according to some scholars, refers to those who die leaving neither issue nor father nor grandfather. According to others it refers to those who die without issue (regardless of  whether they are succeeded by father or grandfather).

Kawthar (al) 1. “The fountain of Kawthar.” A sacred fountain in Jannah (Paradise). It is the source of all the four rivers of Jannah, and feeds the Hawd of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). Surah 108 of the Holy Qur’an.
2. The Hawd which is filled by Al-Kawthar is at the end of the Siratul Mustaqeem. It is a gift from Allah to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.). It is to quench the thirst of true believers.

Khalifah Khalifah or vicegerent is one who exercises the authority delegated to him by his principal, and does so in the capacity of his deputy and agent. This term has been used in the Quran with reference to man: ‘Just think when your Lord said to the angels: Lo! I am about to place a vicegerent on earth…’ (2:30). At certain places in the Qur’an, khulafa (pl.) also means (a) people with power to mobilize all that is on earth (27:62); (b) successors or inheritors who will inherit the earth and succeed one after another (24:55; 38:26). In the political history of Islam, khalifa became the title of  the successors of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), notably the first four Rightly-Guided Caliphs known as al-Khulafa al-Rashidun (11-35 A.H., 632-655 C.E.). With the establishment of the Umayyad hereditary rule immediately after this, the institution of the Caliphate changed into monarchy. Yet the rulers called themselves Caliphs. Formally the institution of the Caliphate came to an end in 1924 C.E. when Kamal Ataturk of  Turkey arbitrarily declared its abolition.

Khamr Khamr literally means ‘wine’, and has been prohibited by Islam. This prohibition covers everything that acts as an agent of intoxication. See Holy Qur’an, Al-Baqarah (2:219), Al-Ma’idah (5:93).

Kharaj Tax imposed on the revenue from land taken from non-Muslims to ensure their equal rights under Islamic law.

Khul’ Khul’ signifies a woman’s securing the annulment of her marriage through the payment of some compensation to her husband. For reference see verse 2:229.

Khums Khums, literally one-fifth. One-fifth of the spoils of war is earmarked for the struggle to exalt the Word of God and to help the orphans, the needy, the wayfarer and the Prophet’s kinsmen. Since the Prophet (S.A.W.) devoted all his time to the cause of  Islam, he was not in a position to earn his own living. Hence a part of khums was allocated for the maintenance of the Prophet (S.A.W.) as well as for his family and the relatives dependent upon him for financial support. See Al-Qur’an, Al-Anfaal (8:41).

Khutbah Sermon. The greatest sermon in the history of mankind was called al-Khutbatul Wida’ (the farewell address), given by the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), during his last Hajj in 10 AH. There are various types of sermons:

1. Khutbatul Jum’ah (the Friday Sermon). This is given immediately before the Jum’ah Salah (Friday Prayer).
2. Khutbatul Eid (the Eid Sermon) This is given immediately after the prayer of the two Eids.
3. Khutbatul Nikah (the marriage sermon). This is given during the marriage ceremony.

Kufee An Arabic script. Angular writing style often used for early hand-written copies of the Qur’an.

Kufr Its original meaning is ‘to conceal’. This word has been variously used in the Quran to denote: (1) state of absolute lack of faith; (2) rejection or denial of any of the esentials of Islam; (3) attitude of ingratitude and thanklessness to God;  and (4) non-fulfilment of certain basic requirements of faith. In the accepted technical sense, kufr consists of rejection of  the Divine Guidance communicated through the Prophets and Messengers of God. More specifically, ever since the advent of  the last of the Prophets and Messengers, Muhammad (S.A.W.), rejection of his teaching constitutes Kufr.

L:

 

Lailatul-Qadr ‘The Night of Power,’ concealed in one of the odd nights in the last ten days of Ramadan; the night on which the Qur’an was first revealed by Jibraeel to the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), and which the Qur’an itself describes as “better than a thousand months.” See the Holy Qur’an, Al-Qadr (97:3).

Al-Lat Al-Lat was the chief idol of the Thaqif tribe in al-Taif, and among the most famous idols in pre-Islamic Arabia. See the Holy Qur’an, An-Najm (53:19).

Al-Lateef The Subtle One Who is All-Pervading. One of the ninety-nine Attributes of God. The exact meaning of this word is very difficult to fully understand. It includes all of the following  meanings: 1. So fine that He is imperceptible to the human sight. 2. So pure that He is unimaginable to the human mind. 3. So kind that He is beyond human comprehension. 4. So gracious that He is beyond human grasp. 5. So near that He is closer to us than our jugular veins. See the Holy Qur’an, Al-Hajj (22:63), Ash-Shura (42:19).

Lauh al-Mahfudh A guarded tablet in the Seventh Heaven. The Holy Qur’an was first written on the Lauh al-Mahfudh in its entirety before it  was sent down to the Baitul ‘Izza in the First Heaven.

Luqata Article found by a person other than the one who lost it.

M:

 

Maghazi (al) Plural of Ghazwa. See Ghazwa.

Maghreb Sunset. The fourth obligatory Prayer of the day. It consists of  three Rakahs and can be offered between just after sunset and before the stars appear in the sky.

Mahr Mahr (bridal gift) signifies the amount of payment that is settled between the two spouses at the time of marriage, and which the husband is required to make to his bride. Mahr seems to symbolize the financial responsbility that a husband assumes towards his wife by virtue of entering into the contract of marriage.

Mahram A man whom a woman can never marry because of closeness of relationship (e.g. father, brother, uncle, son, etc.). Her husband is also her Mahram.

Al-Majeed “The Most Glorious.” One of the ninety-nine Attributes of Allah.

Majoos Fire worshippers. These people lived mainly in Persia and the eastern Arabian peninsula in the pre-Islamic period of ignorance. See Holy Qur’an, Al-Hajj (22:17).

Makr Makr signifies a secret strategy of which the victim has no inkling until the decisive blow is struck. Until then, the victim is under the illusion that everything is in good order. See Holy Qur’an, Aali-Imran (3:54).

Malaikah

“Angels”. Another name for Suratul Fatir, Surah 35 of the Holy Qur’an.

Malak Angel.

Al-Manat Al-Manat was the chief idol worshipped by the Khuza’ah and Hudhayl tribes.

Ma’ruf Ma’ruf refers to the conduct which is reckoned fair and equitable by the generality of disinterested people.

Mash’ar al-Haram The boundary of Al-Masjid al-Haram in Makkah. It is prohibited to kill any game, or to damage any plant or tree, or to act in any manner that will violate the sanctity of the Holy Masjid.

Masjid Mosque. Plural Masajid.

Masjid al-Aqsa (al) The ‘Furthest Mosque’ built by the early Muslims in Jerusalem, on or near where the Temple of Solomon once stood. See Baitul-Maqdis.

Masjid Al-Haram (al) The Grand Masjid in Makkah. The Ka’bah (the Qiblah of the Muslims) is situated within it.

Masjid an-Nabawi (al) Another name for the Masjid ar-Rasool in Madinah. It is the second greatest Masjid in Islam, the first being the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah, and the third being the Masjid al-Aqsa in Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Masjid al-Rasool (al) See Masjid an-Nabawi.

Maula Literally means protector. Allah T’ala describes Himself as the Maula of the believers. See The Qur’an, Al-Baqarah (2:256), Aali ‘Imran (3:152), Al-Hajj (22:78). Maula also has the meaning of ‘master’.
1. Satan is the Maula to the unbelievers.
2. The master is a Maula to his slave. Maula is also the term used to describe a freed slave who remains as part of the family.

Mawaqeet Plural of Miqat. See Miqat.

Mihraab Prayer niche of a Masjid, in front of which the Imam stands when leading the congregational prayers.

Mimbar Steps on which the Imam stands to deliver the Khutbah (address) on the day of the Jumah (Friday).

Mina A place five miles from Makkah and approximately ten miles from ‘Arafat. An essential place to visit during the Hajj.

Miqat Migat (pl. mawaqeet) denotes the points which an outsider intending to perform Pilgrimage may cross only in the state of consecration (ihram). These points were fixed according to directions from God.

Mi’raj The Night Journey of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) from Makkah to Jerusalem and then through the realms of the seven heavens, beyond the limit of forms, the Sidrat al-Muntaha, to within a bow-span’s length or nearer to the presence of Allah. See the Qur’an, Al-Isra (17:1), Bukhari Hadith 345, Vol. 1, 227, Vol. 5.

Miskin Miskin (pl. masakin) denotes helplessness, destitution. Thus masakin are those who are in greater distress than the ordinary poor people. Explaining this word the Prophet (S.A.W.) declared that masakin are those who cannot make both ends meet, who face acute hardship and yet whose sense of self-respect prevents them from asking for aid from others and whose outward demeanour fails to create the impression that they are deserving of help.

Muadhen The man who calls the Adhan loudly before each obligatory Salat, calling the people to prayer.

Muhadith An Islamic scholar of Ahadeeth. Plural: Muhaditheen.

Muhammad (S.A.W.) Muhammad (peace be upon him), the last Messenger of God.

Muharram 1. The first month of the Islamic calendar.
2. An act that is strictly forbidden in Islam.

Muhsanat

Muhsanat means ‘protected women’. It has been used in the Qur’an in two different meanings. First, it has been used in the sense of ‘married women’, that is, those who enjoy the protection of their husbands. Second, it has been used in the sense of those who enjoy the protection of families as opposed to slave-girls.

Mujahid One who takes active part in a Jihad. Plural: Mujahideen. See Jihad.

Mulhid Atheist.

Mumin 1. Believer.
2. Al-Mumin: Another name for Al-Ghafir, Surah 40 of the Qur’an.

Munafiq Hypocrite.

Munkar wa Nakir (peace be on them) The names of the two angels who will question the dead in the graves.

Muqarraboon Literally means, “those who have been brought near.” One the Day of Resurrection, Allah Ta’ala will sort out the good and the evil into three groups:
1. Muqarraboon – the exalted class, those who will be nearest to Allah. Also described as the Sabiqoon, meaning “those who outstrip the rest.”
2. Ashab al-Maimana – literally means, “the Companions of the Right.”  The righteous people destined to enter Paradise.
3. Ashab al-Mashama – literally, “the Companions of the Left.” These will be the inheritors of the Hellfire. See Al-Waqi’ah (56:11-56).

Murtad Apostate.

Mushrik A person who commits Shirk. See Shirk.

Muslim A person who accepts Islam as his or her way of life.

Mustahab An act in Islam that is recommended, but not obligatory.

Mut’a A temporary marriage. A custom common in Arabia. It was abrogated by the Prophet (S.A.W.) at Khaibar, as is related by Ali ibn Abi Talib in Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari.

Muttaqi Muttaqi is derived from its noun taqwa, which signifies God-consciousness, a sense of responsibility and accountability, dedication and awe – those things that prompt one to fulfil one’s duty. Taqwa, or heedfulness, is the main criterion by which God values the deeds of a Muslim (49:13).

Muzdallifa A site between ‘Arafat and Mina where the pilgrims spend the night of the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah during Hajj.

N:  

Nabi Prphet of Allah. Plural: Anbiyaa.

Nafl A voluntary act of supererogatory devotion such as Nafl Prayer or Nafl Fast.

Nasara Nasara is the name given to the followers of the Christian faith both in the Qur’an and Hadith.

Nasi Nasi was a practice in vogue among the pre-Islamic Arabs: they altered the duration of the four sacred months. Whenver they  wished to start fighting or to loot and plunder – and they could not do so during the sacred months – they carried out their expedition in one of the sacred months and then later on compensated for this violation by treating one of the non-sacred months as a sacred month.

Naskh A style of curved writing often used for early hand-written copies of the Qur’an.

Nifaq Hypocrisy.

Nikah Marriage.

Niqab A type of veil that covers the entire face including the eyes.

Niyyah Intention.

Nubuwah Nubuwah means prophethood.

Nur (an) “The Light.” One of the ninety-nine Attributes of Allah. See An-Nur (24:35-36).

Nusub Nusub signify all places consecrated for offerings to others than the One True God, regardless of whether they are images of  stone or something else.

Nusuk Nusuk signify ritual sacrifice as well as other forms of devotion and worship.

 

P:  

P.B.U.H.

Peace be upon him. Somewhat English equivalent of S.A.W. used whenever the name of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) is read or heard. See S.A.W.

Q:

 

Qabr Grave.

Qadr (al) “The Power.” The night of Allah’s power. Surah 97 of the Qur’an.

Qasr Qasr, which literally means ‘to shorten’, is technically used to signify the Islamic rule that during one’s journey it is permissible, and indeed preferable, to pray only two rak’ahs in those obligatory Prayers in which a person is required to pray four rak’ahs.

Qawwam Qawwam or qayyim is a person responsible for administering or supervising the affairs of either an individual or an organization, for protecting and safeguarding them and taking care of their needs.

Qiblah Qiblah signifies the direction to which all Muslims are required to turn when offering their prescribed Prayers, namely towards the Ka’bah, in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

Qisaas

Law of equal retaliation when punishing a person for injuries intentionally inflicted on someone else. See Al-Baqarah(2:178-179).

Quraish The Arab tribe to which the Prophet (S.A.W.) belonged.

R:  

R.A.A. Radhi Allah ‘Anhu (May Allah be pleased with him). Said whenever the name of a Sahabi (companion) is read or heard.

Rabb Rabb has three meanings: (i) Lord and Master; (ii) Sustainer, Provider, Supporter, Nourisher and Guardian, and (iii)Sovereign and Ruler, He who controls and directs. God is Rabb in all the three meanings of the term. The rational of the basic Qur’anic message – ‘serve none but God’ – is that since God is man’s Rabb – Lord, Sustainer, Provider, Nourisher, etc. He alone should be the object of man’s worship and service.See, for example, Qur’an 2:21.

Rabi al-Awal The third month of the Islamic calendar.

Rahim Rahim is from the root rhm (rahm) which denotes mercy. In the Qur’an this attribute of God has been used side by side with Rahman (which is also from the same root rhm). As such Rahim signifies God’s mercy and beneficence towards His creatures. Moreover, according to several scholars, the word Rahim signifies the dimension of permanence in God’s mercy.

Rahman Rahman (literally ‘merciful’) is one of the personal names of  God. According to scholars of the Arabic language and some commentators of the Qur’an, the word has the nuance of intensity regarding Divine Mercy. Thus the word does not just signify the One Who has mercy; it rather denotes the One Who is exceedingly merciful; the One Who is overflowing with mercy for all. Ar-Rahman: Surah 55 of the Qur’an.

Rajab The seventh month of the Islamic calendar.

Rajm (ar) Stoning. In Islamic law the Hadd punishment is Rajm.

Rak’ah Rak’ah (pl. raka’at) represents a unit of the Prayer and consists of bending the torso from an upright position followed by two prostrations.

Ramadan The ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Fasting is obligatory during this month for all Muslims.

Rasool Messenger and prophet of Allah.

Rawi A narrator. In Hadith literature, it means the narrator of Ahadeeth.

Rea’ A minor shirk. Carrying out a religious act for worldly gains and not for the pleasure of Allah.

Riba Riba literally means ‘to grow; to increase.’ Technically, it denotes the amount that a lender receives from a borrower at a fixed rate in excess of the principal. It is of two kinds:
1. Riba Nasi’a – taking interest on loaned money.
2. Riba Fadal – taking something of superior quality in exchange for giving less of the same kind of thing of poorer quality.

Rooh al-Qudus “The Holy Spirit.” Another name for the Angel Gabriel (Jibreel), peace be on him.

Ruku’ Ruku’ means to bend the body to bow. This bowing is one of the acts required in Islamic Prayer. Additionally, the same word denotes a certain unit in the Qur’an. The whole Book, for the sake of the convenience of the reader is divided into thirty parts (ajza’, sing. juz’), and each juz’ consists usually of sixteen ruku’.

Rushd Rushd from the verb rashada means the right way (2:256). It also implies integrity and maturity in thought and action (21:51).



S:  

S.A.W. See Sallallahu ‘Alaihe wa Sallam.

Sabbath Sabbath, which means Saturday, was declared for the Israelites as the holy day of the week. God declared the Sabbath as a sign of the perpetual covenant between God and Israel. (Exodus 31:12-16.) The Israelites were required to strictly keep the Sabbath which meant that they may not engage in any worldly activity; they may not cook, nor make their slaves or cattle serve them. Those who violated these rules were to be put to death. The Israelites, however, publicly violated these rules. For further details, see Surah 7.

Sabiqoon See Muqarraboon.

Sabr Sabr is a comprehensive term having various shades of meaning. It implies (a) patience in the sense of being thorough, dedicated and devoted, (b) constancy, perseverance, steadfastness and firmness of purpose, (c) disciplined and planned effort with confidence and belief in the mission itself  and (d) a cheerful attitude of acceptance and understanding under suffering and hardship and in times of strife and violance, and thankfulness to God in happiness, success and chievement.

Sadaqa Anything given away in charity for the pleasure of Allah.

Saffah A verandah attached to the Prophet’s Masjid in Madina where poor Muslims, including some of the most exalted companions, used to sleep.

Sahabi A companion of the Prophet (S.A.W.). Plural: Sahabiyeen.

Sahih Bukhari A book of Ahadeeth compiled by Imam Bukhari.

Sahih Muslim A book of Ahadeeth compiled by Imam Muslim.

Sa’i Going seven times between the small hills of Safa and Marwa; an essential rite of Hajj and Umra.

Sajdah

1. Prostration. The act of prostration, particularly in the Salat.
2. As-Sajda: Surah 32 of the Qur’an.

Sajdah Sahu Prostration to recompense forgetting a required act of Salah.

Salah Prayers. There are five daily obligatory prayers. These prayers and their time zones are:
1. Fajr (morning prayer); After dawn but before sunrise;
2. Duhr (early afternoon or noon prayer); early afternoon till late afternoon;
3. ‘Asr (late afternoon prayer) late afternoon prayer till sunset;
4. Maghrib (sunset prayer); just after sunset;
5. Isha (late evening prayer); late evening till late at night.Consult a prayer manual for full details. Each prayer consists of a fixed set of standings, bowings, prostrations and sittings in worship to Allah.

Salat al-Janaza Funeral prayer. The prayer is done in standing position only and consist of four takbirs: 1. After the first Takbir, read Al-Fatihah. 2. After the second takbir, recite Tashahhud and Salat al-Ibrahimiya. 3. After the third Takbir, pray for the deceased person, his or her relatives, and all Muslims in general. 4. After the fourth Takbir, finish the prayer by uttering Assalamu Alaikum while turning to the right.

Salat al-Khawf Salat al-Khawf means Prayer in the state of insecurity. For its procedure see Surah al-Nisa 4:102.

Salih Salih, from the root S-L-H meaning to reconcile, to put things in order, signifies behavior that is righteous, just and dignified. ‘Amal salih, honorable or righteous action, is often combined in the Qur’an with Iman and made a condition for success in this world, as well as in the Hereafter. A prophet of Islam, peace be on him.

Sallallahu ‘Alaihe wa Sallam (S.A.W.) “May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.” This is said whenever the name of prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) is mentioned or read. Th equivalent English phrase is usually abbreviated as S.A.W. (peace be upon him).

Samad (as) One of the ninety-nine Attributes of Allah. It means Absolute, Eternal, and Everlasting. It refers to the One to Whom all created beings turn to for all their needs, and Who is not dependent on anything or anyone for any need. The Most Perfect in His Attributes.

Sariya A small army sent by Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) in which he did not personally take part.

Sawm Fasting. Plural: Siyam.

Sha`a’ir Allah Sha`a’ir Allah refer to all those rites which, in opposition to polytheism and outright disbelief and atheism, are the characteristic symbols of exclusive devotion to God.

Sha’ban The eighth month of the Islamic calendar.

Shahid Shahid in Islamic parlance means martyr. Plural: Shuhadaa.

Shaitan Satan. Plural: Shayateen. See Iblis.

Shari’ah Shari’ah signifies the entire Islamic way of life, especially the Law of Islam.

Shawal The tenth month of the Islamic calendar.

Shirk Shirk consists of associating anyone or anything with the Creator either in His being, or attributes, or in the exclusive rights (such as worship) that He has against His creatures.

Sidrat al-Muntaha “The lote-tree of the furthest limit.” A tree over the seventh Heaven near Paradise, the place where form ends and beyond which no created being may pass. See An-Najm (53:14-18).

Sijjin It is a “prison” where the records of the evil doers are kept. See Al-Mutafifeen (83:7-9).

Siratul-Mustaqeem “The straight path,” the path that the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) demonstrated to mankind by way of the Holy Qur’an. The path that leads to the Paradise.

Siwak A piece of branch or root of a tree called al-Arak used as a toothbrush.

Subhan Allah “Glory be to Allah.”

Subhana wa Ta’ala “May He be Glorified and Exalted.”

Suffa (as) A shaded place in Masjid al-Rasool, in Madinah where poor Sahaba used to take shelter during Prophet Muhammad’s time.

Suhur A meal taken before Fajr in the month of Ramadan to begin fasting.

Sunnah Ahadeeth and the way of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).

Sunnah Prayers Sunnah Prayers are prayers which are considered recommended in view of the fact that the Prophet (S.A.W.) either performed them often and/or made statements about their meritorious character.

Surah A chapter of the Qur’an. Literally means “a form”. There are 114 Surahs in the Holy Quran. Plural: Suwar.


T:  

Tabi`un Tabi`un (sing. Tabi`i), Successors, are those who benefited and derived their knowledge from the Companions of the Prophet (S.A.W.).

Tafsir A commentary, usually referring to the commentary of the Holy Quran.

Taghut Taghut literally denotes the one who exceeds his legitimate limits. In Qur’anic terminology it refers to the creature who exceeds the limits of his creatureliness and abrogates to himself godhead and lordship. In the negative scale of values, the first stage of man’s error is fisq (i.e. disobeying God without necessarily denying that one should obey Him.) The second stage is that of kufr, (i.e. rejection of the very idea that one ought to obey God.) The last stage is that man not only rebels against God but also imposes his rebellious will on others. All those who reach this stage are taghut.

Tahajjud Voluntary Prayer that is done any time at night after Isha but before Fajr.

Tajweed Recitation of the Qur’an with precise articulation and exact intonation.

Takbir Saying “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest).

Talaq Talaq means repudiation of marriage.

Talbiya The pronouncement pilgrims make to Allah during Hajj:
“Labbaik, labbaik, Allahumma labbaik. La shareeka laka labbaik. Innal hama wa n’imata laka walmulk. La shareeka lak.”
(I am totally at Your service,I am totally at Your service, O Allah I am totally at Your service. You have no partner,I am totally at Your service. Truly, the praise and the blessing are Yours, and the dominion. You have no partners.)

Taqwa Fearing Allah as He should be feared. A major sign of being a faithful Muslim. See Qur’an, Aali ‘Imran (3:102-103), Al-Hashr (59:18-19).

Taraweeh Prayers done after Isha during Ramadan, the fasting month.

Tarteel Measured recitation of the Qur’an taking extreme care with regard to the rules of slow reading, pausing and stopping at every indicated point.

 

Tashahhud Tashahhud literally ‘testimony’, is a declaration of the Muslim faith towards the end of the Prayers, immediately after the recitation of Tahiyah, while sitting with the first finger of   the right hand extended as a witness to the unity of God.

[Ayyam] al-Tashriq This term signifies four days of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, viz. 10th through 13th.

Tawaf The circling of the Holy Kabah. Tawaf is done in sets of seven circuits.

Tawbah (Repentence) Tawbah basically denotes ‘to come back; to turn towards someone.’ Tawbah on the part of man signifies that he has given up his disobedience and has returned to submission and obedience to God. The same word used in respect of God means that He has mercifully turned to His repentant servant so that the latter has once more become an object of His compassionate attention.

Tawhid Oneness of God. The Divine Unity. Allah is One in His Essence and His Attributes and His Acts. The centermost concept of Islam.

Tayammum Tayammum literally means ‘to intend to do a thing’. As an Islamic legal term, it refers to wiping one’s hands and face with clean earth as a substitution for ablution when water cannot be obtained.

U:

 

Ulu al-amr

Ulu al-amr include all those entrusted with directing Muslims in matters of common concern.

Ummah

Ummah, community, or nation, is a special name given to Muslim brotherhood and unity. The Qur’an refers to Muslims as the best Ummah raised for the benefit of all mankind (3:110). At another place, (2:143), it calls them ‘the middle nation’ (Umma Wasat) a unique characteristic of the Islamic community which has been asked to maintain equitable balance between extremes, pursue the path of moderation and establish the middle way. Such a community of Muslims will be a model for the whole world to emulate.

Ummi

Ummi signifies the ‘unlettered’. It is also used to refer to those who do not possess Divine revelation.

Ummul Mumineen

“Mother of the Faithful.” A title given to each of the wives of  the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.).

‘Umrah

‘Umrah (Minor Pilgrimage) is an Islamic rite and consists of  pilgrimage to the Ka’bah. It consists essentially of ihram, tawaf (i.e. circumambulation) around the Ka’bah (seven times),  and sa`y (i.e. running) between Safa and Marwah (seven times). It is called minor Hajj since it need not be performed at a particular time of the year and its performance requires fewer ceremonies than the Hajj proper.

Al-Uzza

Al-Uzza has been identified with Venus, but it was worshipped under the form of an acacia tree, and was the deity of the Ghatfan tribe.

 

W:

Wa Alaikum Assalam

“And on you be peace.” The reply to the Muslim greeting of “assalamu alaikum.” (peace be on you).

Wahy

Wahy refers to Revelation which consists of communicating God’s  Messages to a Prophet or Messenger of God. The highest form of  revelation is the Qur’an of which even the words are from God.

Wali

Wali means guardian.

Walima

A marriage banquet.

Waqf

Endowment, a charitable trust in the name of Allah.

Witr

Witr means ‘odd number’. Witr rakahs are odd number of rakahs such as 1, 3, 5, etc. – usually 1 or 3 – which are said after the last Prayer at night.

Wudu

Wudu refers to the ablution made before performing the prescribed Prayers. it requires washing (1) the face from the top of the forehead to the chin and as far as each ear; (2) the hands and arms up to the elbow; (3) wiping with wet hands a part of the head; and (4) washing the feet to the ankle.

Z:

Zaboor
The Holy Book revealed to Prophet Dawood (David), peace be on him.

Zakah

Zakah (Purifying Alms) literally means purification, whence it is used to express a portion of property bestowed in alms, as a means of purifying the person concerned and the remainder of his property. It is among the five pillars of Islam and refers to the mandatory amount that a Muslim must pay out of his property. The detailed rules of zakah have been laid down in books of Fiqh.

Zalim

Zalim is the wrong-doer, he who exceeds the limits of right, the unjust.

Zamzam

The sacred well inside Al-Haram ash-Shareef in Makkah.

Zanjabil

A special mixture that will be in one of the drinks of the people of the Paradise. See the Qur’an, Al-Insan (76:17).

Zaqqum

An extremely bitter and thorny tree that grows at the bottom of  the Heelfire. See the Qur’an, Al-Isra (17:60), for example.

Zina

Zina means illegal sexual intercourse and embraces both fornication and adultery.

Zulm

Zulm literally means placing a thing where it does not belong. Technically, it refers to exceeding the right and hence committing wrong or injustice. 






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