Tenth day of the month of Muharram. The day of the Martyrdom Imam Hussain ibn Ali, along with his
family and companions, who were killed in the famous battle in Karbala.
Traditionally describes good manners, as in etiquette. For example, being courteous is good adab.
servant, worshipper, slave. Muslims are servants and slaves of God. A common Muslim name is Abd'allah/Abdullah,
or Servant of Allah.
Justice especially distributive justice: social, economic, political, environmental.
Ahl al Kitab
"People of the Book"
literally "only." Islamically, ahad means One Alone, unique, none like God.
rulings and orders of the Qu'ran and Sunnah. Five kinds of orders: 1. Wajib (Compulsory), 2. Mustahab (order
without obligation) 3. Muharram (forbidden) 4. Makruh (disliked but not forbidden) 5. Halal (legal and allowed).
Allah’s messenger(saw), the best of creation, the one with all good virtues, characteristics and qualities
Ahl ul Bayt
members of Prophet Muhammad(saw)'s Household.
The practice of virtue. Morals.
Literally "worlds", humankind, jinn, and all that exists
"Praise to God!" Qur'anic exclamation
"God is the Greatest." Islamic expression.
"Night journey" of the Prophet (saw)
the afterlife / the hereafter which is beyond this present one.
One who knows. A scholar (in any field of knowledge); a scientist (who knows science) or a theologian (who
the trust. Of all creation, only human beings carry the "trust", which is free will.
Amen, a supplication meaning, "O Allah, respond (to or answer what we have said)."
"Helpers." The Muslim converts at Medina who helped the Muslims from Mecca after the Hijrah.
The Islamic creed, or the articles of faith, which consists of the belief in God, Angels, Messengers
and Prophets, Scriptures, the Day of Judgment, and Destiny.
Intelligence, intellect, mind, understanding
The third salah prayer. The time of the day before sunset and after noon. alo means "era".
The blessed ten companions of Prophet Muhammad (saw) who were promised Paradise in their lifetime.
The Islamic greeting; literally "Peace be upon you".
"I ask Allah's forgiveness."
friends, protectors, helpers.
the part of a person's body that must be covered before everybody but a spouse. It may also be used to refer
to what must be concealed of a woman before non-related men
a sign. More specifically, a verse in the Qur'an.
The Islamic call to prayer; see adhan.
"House of Allah."
Life after death in which the soul of the deceased is transferred across the boundaries of the mortal realm
into the spirit world
Human(s). Literally means 'face' but generally it refers to a person (man/woman)
Innovation in religion, i.e. inventing new methods of worship.
"In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful" (:bismi-llāhi ar-rahmāni ar-rahīmi)
literally successor; refers to the successor of the Prophet Muhammad(saw), the ruler of the Islamic world.
The False Messiah, means "liar"
the Ottoman Empire's relationship with its Christian tributary states
status of a Muslim living in the Western world
a region where Islam has recently been introduced
areas outside Muslim rule; the non-Islamic world
the abode, or land, of Islam
refers to the Quraish-dominated society of Mecca between his flight to Medina (the Hijra) and his triumphant
the call to Islam
"Protected person"; Jews and Christians (and sometimes others, such as Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, and Zoroastrians),
whose right to practice their religion is tolerated under Islamic law, but with lower legal status.
the way of life based on Islamic revelation; the sum total of a Muslim's faith and practice. Deen is often
used to mean the faith and religion of Islam.
personal prayer, supplication
remembrance of Allah; recitation of Allah(swt) names and praise.
second salah prayer
This world or life.
Strong memory which is a necessary characteristic of the transmitters of Hadith.
Weak; referring to any hadith in which there is some defect or doubt in the chain of transmission.
festival or celebration.
"the Festival of Sacrifice." The four day celebration starting on the tenth day of Dhul-Hijja.
"the Festival of Fitr(Money Gifting)." A religious festival that marks the end of the fast of Ramadan.
Wicked evil doers. Plural of "Fajir"
success, happiness, well-being
morning, as in the morning prayer. The time of the day when there is light in the horizon before sunrise.
a religious duty, or an obligatory action: meaning the five pillars of Islam. 1. Faith 2. Salat 3. Fasting
4. Zakat 5. Hajj
anyone who has violated Islamic law; usually refers to one whose character has been corrupted (plural "fasiqun").
legal opinion of an (alim) binding on him and on those who follow his taqlid
jurisprudence built around the shariah by custom (al-urf). Literally means "deep understanding", refers to
understanding the Islamic laws.
Fi sabil Allah
on the path of God; common Islamic expression for military Jihad.
trial or tribulation; also refers to any period of disorder, such as a civil war, natural disasters etc. The
period of time before the end of the world.
innate disposition towards virtue, knowledge, and beauty. Muslims believe every child is born with fitrah.
the criterion (of right and wrong, true and false); for example, the Qur'an as furqan.
(verb in past tense) to forgive, to cover up (sins). A characteristic of Allah(swt).
the unseen, unknown.
full ablution of the whole body
a guide, one who guides; One of Allah (swt) names is The Guide, or Al-Hadi.
guidance from Allah(swt).
literally "speech"; recorded saying or tradition of the Prophet Muhammad(saw) validated by isnad; with sira
these comprise the sunnah and reveal shariah
lawful, permitted, good, beneficial, praiseworthy, honourable
someone who knows the Qur'an by heart. Literal translation = memorizer or Protector.
pilgrimage to Mecca. This is the fifth Pillar of Islam
one of the five monotheist prophets; namely, Prophet Adam(as), Prophet Abraham(as)/Ibrahim, Prophet Moses(as)/Musa,
Prophet Isa(as) (Jesus), and Prophet Muhammad(saw). Plural hunafa'
truth, reality, right, righteousness. A name for Allah(swt) is al-haqq.
forbidden. Antonym: halal.
Good, beautiful, admirable. Also a categorization of a hadith's authenticity as "acceptable". (other categorizations
include authenic and fabricated).
literally "cover". It describes the self-covering of the body for the purposes of modesty and dignity; broadly,
a prescribed system of attitudes and behaviour regarding modesty and dignity.
the quality of decency and modesty.
Prophet Muhammad (saw) and his followers' emigration from Mecca to Medina in 622 ad. Literally, "migration".
Wisdom. Referring to the Quranic term for the Sunnah of Rasul-Allah(saw)
wilderness reserve, protected forest, grazing commons, important to khalifa
one half of a juz', or roughly 1/60th of the Qur'an
beautiful and pure young men and women, that Muslims believe inhabit Paradise, or Heaven.
cease-fire (often temporary)
Literally, limits or boundaries. Usually refers to limits placed by Allah(swt) on man; penalties of the
Islamic law which are described in the Qur'an.
ruling in the Qur'an or Sunnah
worship, but not limited to ritual: all expressions of servitude to Allah, including the pursuit of knowledge,
living a pious life, helping, charity, and humility, can be considered ibadah.
the jinn banished to Hell for his arrogance and disobedience; later named ‘Shaytan’
a light meal eaten by Muslims breaking their fast after sunset.
state of consecration for hajj. Includes dress and or prayer.
perfection in worship, Muslims should try to worship Allah(swt) as if they see Him, and although they
cannot see Him, they undoubtedly believe He is constantly watching over them.
how Muslims describe the character of the Quran in both form and content
the consensus of either the ummah (or just the ulema) - one of four bases of Islamic Law. More generally,
political consensus itself.
during the early times of Islam, the possibility of finding a new solution to a juridical problem. The one
who exercises ijtihad is a ‘mujtahid’.
deity, lord, god; not necessarily The God.
all varieties of knowledge, usually a synonym for science
literally, leader; e.g. a man who leads a community or leads the prayer
successorship of Prophet Muhammad(saw) and the leadership of mankind.
the habitual inclination to give rather than take in life; the basis for charity
Muslim term for the holy book said to have been given to Jesus, who is known as Isa(as) to Muslims; Muslims
believe the holy book has been lost and the New Testament gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are not the word of Allah,
only Christian stories about Isa(as)
the second call to prayer. Similar to the azhan.
night; the fifth salah prayer
Signs of the last day
"submission to Allah(swt)". The Arabic root word for Islam means submission, obedience, peace, and purity.
chain of transmitters of any given hadith
process of validating the hadith; citation methodology
the night journey during which Prophet Muhammad (saw) visited Heaven. See miraj.
public interest - a source of Islamic Law.
the Hell-fire; Hell
the time of ignorance before Islam was realized. Describes polytheistic religions.
A comprehensive and inclusive book of hadith
"gathering"; i.e. a university, a mosque, or more generally, a community or association.
Paradise, Heaven, the Garden
"May Allah reward you for the good." Islamic expression of gratitude.
struggle. Any earnest striving in the way of Allah, involving personal, physical, intellectual or military
effort, for righteousness and against wrong-doing;
"Lesser Jihad": fighting to protect Islam from attack or oppression. In such fighting,
no woman, child or innocent civilian is to be harmed, and no tree is to be cut down.
"Greater Jihad": internal struggle for the soul (nafs) against evil, e.g. to overcome
the temptation to sleep when it is time to pray the morning prayer is a greater jihad.
(pl. jalabib)a long, flowing, baggy garment worn by some to fulfill the mandates of sartorial hijab. Muslims
believe that jilbāb
is incumbent upon Muslim women to wear this as a sign of modesty.
An invisible being of fire
one of thirty parts of the Qur'an
cube-house; the cube-shaped building i.e in Mecca toward which Muslims pray.
from the word kafara - "to hide." Those who deliberately hide the truth; unbelievers, truth-concealers; one
who is ungrateful. Plural: Kaffirun.
Caliph, more generally, one performing the duties of khilafa.
the speaker at the Friday Muslim prayer, or Jumu'ah prayer
Man's trusteeship and stewardship of Earth; Most basic theory of the Caliphate
a land tax
the sermon at Jumu'ah prayer
book; The Qur'an is often referred to as "Al-Kitab"
In Arabic - ungratefulness and disbelief. Islamically speaking, disbelief in Allah(swt) and denial of
"Be!" Allah's command to the universe, 'Be!' and it is.
Dirty, false, evil vain talk
La ilaha illallah
"There is no god (ilah) except God (Allah)." The most important expression in Islam. It is part of the first
pillar of Islam.
the Night of Power, towards the end of Ramadan, when Prophet Muhammad (saw)received the first revelation of
the Qur'an. Commonly thought by scholars as being 27th night of Ramadan.
school of religious jurisprudence, school of thought
the fourth daily salah prayer
a relative of the opposite gender usually described as being "within the forbidden limits"; a better description
is "within the protected limits". means relatives who one can appear before without observing hijab and who one cannot marry.
Though not haraam (forbidden), that is disliked or offensive.
Virtues, outstanding traits, feats, exploits
one of seven parts of the Qur'an
consensus of the community
goals or purposes; such as the purposes of Islamic law
Allah has willed it.
the Messiah, Isa (as) Jesus Christ.
place of prayer; mosque
literally, innocent or free of sin; children are considered masum.
The text and content of hadith
Fabricated, an untrue hadith.
the Resurrection; Allah(swt) will resurrect all of humankind to be judged.
the holiest city in Islam
"city"; Medinat-un-Nabi means "the City of the Prophet(saw)." See hijrah.
a niche in the wall of all mosques, indicating the direction of prayer
a tower built onto a mosque from the top of which the call to prayer is made
a pulpit in the mosque where the Imam stands to deliver sermons
methodology, e.g. methods, rules, system, procedures.
the Ascension to the Seven Heavens during the Night Journey. Commonly thought as being the 27th
night of the month of Rajab. See also: isra
suras Al-Falaq and an-Nas, the "suras of refuge"
A hadith collection, which includes Traditions neglected by earlier compilers.
literally permissible; neither forbidden nor commended. Neutral.
A hadith in which two continous links are missing in one or more places from the Isnad.
woman who wears hijab
"Muhammad(saw) is the messenger of Allah." This statement is the second part of the first pillar of Islam.
This is the second most important statement in Islam.
a person who performs the call to prayer
One who thrives through jihad / a fighter for Islam. Plural mujahideen.
a scholar who uses reason for the purpose of forming an opinion or making a ruling on a religious issue. Plural:
1) Emigrant 2) the one who gives up what Allah(swt) has prohibited.
The one who assumes the state of Ihram for the purpose of performing Hajj or Umrah.
A type of collection sometimes arranged in alphabetical order
A hadith in which a tabi’l (successor) transmits from the Prophet Muhammad(saw) directly.
hypocrite. Plural: Munafiqun
woman who wears niqab
A hadith going back to the successor only.
a follower of the religion of Islam.
Collection in which Traditions are arranged according to the names of the Sahabah.
A work in which later scholars revise early major scholars and add to them additional commentaries.
joy, a type of marriage or a practice between Umrah and Hajj.
Continous; a hadith reported by a large number of people in different times thus making it impossible for
any falsehood to enter into it. This condition must be met in the entire chain from the origin to the end.
Muttafaqun ‘ alai-hi
Agreed upon; any hadith which is transmitted by Bukhari or Muslim.
literally, Prophet. In the Islamic context, a Nabi is a man sent by God to give guidance to man, but not given
scripture. The Prophet Ibrahim(as) was a Nabi. This is in contrast to Rasul, or Messenger. Plural: Anbiya. See: Rasul.
soul, one's self
Nakir and Munkar
two malaikah who test the faith of the dead in their graves
veil covering the face
a known, clear legal injunction
light. angels were created from light.
not an Arabic term; means "curtain" in Persian. Metaphorically refers to the practice of secluding women.
Destiny; believing everything good or bad happens according to what Allah(swt) has ordained for it.
judge of Islamic Law
the direction Muslims face during prayer
resurrection; return of the dead for the Day of Judgment
analogy - foundation of legal reasoning and thus fiqh
sermon given by the imam in a mosque
classification of a hadith that are believed to be narrated by Prophet Muhammad (saw) from Allah(swt) directly.
Qur'an is the literal word of God and culmination of God's revelation to mankind, revealed to Prophet Muhammad(saw)
in the year 610 A.D.
Lord, Sustainer, Cherisher, Master.
Merciful; Ar-Rahman means "The Most Merciful"
compassionate; Ar-Rahim means "The Most Compassionate" as in the Kalima.
one unit of Islamic prayer, or Salat. Each daily prayer is made up of a different number of rakaat.
messenger; Unlike prophets (Nabi), messengers are given scripture. Moses(as), David(as), Jesus(as) and Muhammed(saw)
are considered messengers. All messengers are considered prophets, but not all prophets are given scripture. See: Nabi.
interest, the charging of which is forbidden by the Qur'an
literally, message or letter. Used both in common parlance for mail correspondences, and in religious context
as divine message.
spirit; the divine breath which God blew into the clay of Adam(as).
the five pillars of the Islamic faith, also arkan.
the bowing performed during Muslim prayer
patience, endurance, self-restraint
charity; voluntary alms
companions of Prophet Muhammad(saw)
Absolutely correct hadith; "Sound in isnad." A technical attribute applied to the "isnad" of a hadith. There
is no weakness and the transmitters have possessed both ‘adl and dabt.
A divine tranquillity that is believed to descend when the Qur’an is recited.
(righteous) predecessors/ancestors. In Islam, Salaf is generally used to refer to the first three generations
Salah or salat
any one of the 5 daily obligatory prayers. Sunnis regard this as the second Pillar of Islam
the 1st salah prayer
Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam
"May the blessings and the peace of Allah be upon him." Expression used when hearing the name of Prophet Muhammad(saw)
eternal, absolute; Allah (swt) is "The Eternal."
a river in heaven (al-firdaus)
fasting during the month of Ramadhan.
a descendent of a relative of Prophet Muhammad(saw) (because all his sons Qasim, Abdullah, and Ibraheem died
before having children)
The expression of faith: La ilaha illa Allah. Muhammadun rasulullah. ("There is no god but God. Muhammad is
the messenger of God.").
"witness". More specifically refers to a person killed whilst striving in Islam, a martyr.
a spiritual master
"the path to a watering hole"; the eternal ethical code and moral code based on the Qur'an and Sunnah; basis
Satan, the Devil. Also known as Iblis.
a follower of Prophet Muhammad(saw) and his successors (the twelve Imams), the first being Ali(ra). Shi'as
constitute the second largest sect in Islam.
idolatry; polytheism; the sin of believing in any divinity except Allah(swt) and setting any rivals to the
one and only Allah(swt). There are three types of shirk;
1) Shirk Akbar 2) Shirk Asghar 3) Shirk Khafi.
Shirk Akbar – devote any form of worship to other than Allah(swt). This takes
the person outside of the fold of Islam. There are four types; 1) Involving supplications to other than Allah(swt) 2) the
purpose and intentions not for the sake of Allah but directed towards others 3) Rendering obedience to any authority against
the laws of Allah(swt) 4) Showing love and dedication to others ahead of Allah(swt).
Shirk Asghar – The acts of worship done to gain praise or fame rather than to
please Allah(swt) exclusively. This is a smaller type of shirk.
Shirk Khafi – This is inconspicuous and implies being dissatisfied with the
conditions ordained by Allah(swt). Need to be beware of this most common form as confirmed by Prophet Muhammad(saw) ‘
This is more hidden among the nation than the track of a black ant over a black stone on a dark night’. (Musnad Ahmad)
life or biography of the Prophet Muhammad(saw); his moral example - with hadith this comprises the sunnah
the Straight Path
Means ‘road’. Also it is the bridge that is laid across the Hell-fire for the people to pass over
on the Day of Judgement. Described as sharper than a sword and thinner than hair.
Subhanahu wa ta'ala (swt)
expression Muslims use whenever the name of Allah is pronounced or written.
expression used by Muslims to express strong feelings of joy or relief.
The first Islamic University, established in the mosque of Prophet Muhammad(saw)
a Muslim mystic
the meal eaten by fasting Muslims just before dawn.
Sunnah or sunnah al-Nabi
the "path" or "example" of the Prophet Muhammad(saw), i.e., what the Prophet did or said or agreed to during
his life which is used as a complement to the Qur’an in understanding Islam. A way / a rule / a precedent / a manner
of life. He is the best human moral example, the best man to follow.
the largest sect in Islam
chapter; the Qur'an is comprised of 114 suras
followers of the Sahabah
The one who follows; those who succeeded the Sahabah.
exegesis, particularly such commentary on the Qur'an
impurity; anything worshipped or obeyed other than Allah(swt), i.e. all the false deities.
optional, late night prayer
purification from ritual impurities by means of wudu or ghusl
pure, ritually clean
to purify and reform society in order to move it toward greater equity and justice
a special manner of reciting the Qur'an according to prescribed rules of pronunciation and intonation.
a proclamation of the greatness of Allah; a Muslim invocation.
to declare kufr (disbelief) about a non-Muslim or Muslim or to denounce them as disbelievers.
Ritual recitation of the Quran
to blindly follow a person whose following is not based on proof and does not rely upon knowledge.
tarawih prayers are extra prayers in Ramadan after the Isha prayer.
Cultivation and education
slow and measured (meditative) recitation of the Qur'an
Cleansing and purification
vocalization of a text, for example the Quran
Trust in Allah(swt)
circumambulating the Ka'bah during Hajj.
monotheism; affirmation of the Oneness of God. Muslims regard this as the first part of the Pillar of Islam,
the second part is accepting Muhammad(saw) as the final Messenger. The opposite of Tawheed is shirk. There are three types
1) Tawheed-ar-Rububiyah - declaring Allah(swt) is one and unique in his work, creation, sustenance
and bringing life and death.
2) Tawheed-al-Uluhiyah - declaring that Allah(swt) is the only to whom all acts of worship must be
dedicated such as salat(prayer), sawm(fasting),Zakat(charity) etc.
3) Tawheed-al-Asma was-sifaat - declaring all the given names and attributes to Allah(swt) as confirmed
in the Quran and Sunnah.
all that is good as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.
Ulema or ulama
the leaders of Islamic society, including teachers, Imams and judges. All those learned in Islam. Singular
Ummah or umma
the global community of all Muslim believers; international personhood of Islam
the lesser pilgrimage performed in Mecca. Unlike hajj, umrah can be performed throughout the year.
custom of a given society, leading to change in the fiqh
the study of the origins and practice of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh)
certainty, that which is certain
"Day of the Resurrection"; Day of Judgement
revelation or inspiration of Allah(swt) to his prophets(as) for all humankind
friend, protector, guardian, supporter, helper
traditional scribe, publisher, printer, notary and book copier
the middle way, justly balanced, avoiding extremes, moderation
a voluntary, optional night prayer of three rakaat
ablution for ritual purification from minor impurities before salat
the Psalms revealed to King David
tax, alms, tithe as a Muslim duty; Sunnis regard this as the fourth Pillar of Islam. Neither charity nor derived
from Islamic economics, but a religious duty and social obligation.
Second prayer in the day which takes place at Midday.
polytheists, wrong-doers, and unjust.
sexual activity outside of marriage (covering the English words adultery and fornication)