Islam - Glossary of Terms


Coexistence insha'Allah
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Hi All

If I've put this thread in the wrong place please can a Mod move it - thanks.

I have been asked, via PM, a few times now for the meaning of certain Arabic terms relating to Islam, so I thought I would post this (from another site) as it may help people understand what it is we are saying. The notes in red are mine. They are not the best I have seen but will give you a better understanding, insha'allah (G-d willing).

Something else you may not be aware of is that in arabic you don't put a capital letter at the beginning of a name, so saying allah (without the capital) is not disrespectful to an arab.

I have just put the ones you are most likely to see but you can find a full glossary here:

Glossary of Islamic Terms


Allah The Creator of the Universe known as "God the Father" to Christians and "El" or "Yahweh" to the Jews. Allah(SWT) is singular and is not human nor part of a Trinity, as in Christianity. The Holy Quran contains around 100 beautiful names (attributes) for Allah(SWT) through which Muslims may understand and recognize the Creator of the Universe.

Allahu Akbar Literally means "Allah is the Greatest". This is perhaps the most frequently used expression around the world. Muslims use it to praise Allah(SWT) throughout the day.

Alham Dolellah Literally means "Praise be to Allah" or "Thanks to Allah". (the transliteration for this is also seen as alhamdolillah)

Assalamu Alaikum Literally means "Peace be Upon You". It is the expression used by Muslims to greet each other.

Auzo Bellahe Menash Shaitaner Rajim Literally means "I seek Allah refuge from the treachery of the outcasted Satan". (do not mix up the word Rajim with Rajm (stoning to death)).

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim Literally means "In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful". It is recorded at the beginning of all, except one, chapter of the Holy Quran. (the arabic h in rahman sounds more like a kh, so I would say this as bismillah irRakhman irRahim, I have moved the ir to show where we would break the rythm but it rather flows as in a poem)

Dawah Missionary work to invite all people to Islam.

Deen Way of life or religion.

Dua A prayer.

Fard Something that every Muslim has to perform. (5 daily prayers, fasting, helping the needy, pilgrimage, etc.). (just means obligatory for Muslims)

Fatwa Legal opinion concerning Islamic Law. (this is a personal opinion and not obligatory for all Muslims who do not follow the school of thought that issued the fatwa. There is no single body that issues fatwas, like the Vatican for Catholics)

Fiqh Having a complete understanding of Islamic jurisprudence.

Fitnah Translates into "civil strife, war, riot, or satanic act".

Hadith This word literally means "sayings" and could refer to the recorded quotes of anyone. Usually, it is the title given to the collection of recorded words and actions of the prophet Muhammad(SAW) which serve as an explanation of the meaning of the Holy Quran (the way Prophet(SAW) taught it). Some well-known collectors of Hadith are Imam Al-Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam An-Nasa'i, Imam Abu Dawood, Imam At-Tirmizi, and Imam Majah.

Hajj The mandatory pilgrimage to Mekkah during a predefined period of time. Each Muslim, who has the means, is required to perform this trip at least once in his/her life time.

Halal Something lawful or permitted in Islam.

Haraam Something unlawful or forbidden in Islam.

Imam Imam is a religious scholar or someone very knowledgeable about Islam who leads the congressional prayers.

In Sha Allah "If Allah wills" or "I pray that Allah wills".

Isha The obligatory prayer to be offered after sunset in late evening.

Islam Literally means "Submission to the Creator of the Universe". Its message (There is no Deity but God) was the same Message delivered by all Prophets. This divine religion was completed with revelations (Quran) given to the last Prophet Muhammad(SAW) of Arabia.

Jahannam Hell.

Jannah Paradise.

Jihad To strive hard for a better way of life or to fight to defend one's life, property, freedom, and religion. It can also refer to attempt to free other people from oppression and tyranny. Islam strongly opposes Kidnapping, Terrorism, or hijacking against civilian targets, even at the time of war.

Kabah The cubed looking structure in Mekkah toward which all Muslims pray. This is the first house of worship built by Abraham(pbuh) to glorify The Creator of the Universe.

Kafir Literally means "to cover up the truth". It is used to refer to someone who is made aware of the Truth of Islam but refuses to worship Allah(SWT) or submit to the will of God.

Kalima Khatmay Nabuwat It translates into "The Finality of Prophethood". It is the Quranic message to humanity that the Prophet Muhammad(SAW) of Arabia was the last Prophet or Messanger commissioned by Allah(SWT) to humanity.

Khalifah The religious and political head of the state for the Muslims. (literally meaning "one who replaces someone else who left or died". It refers to the old Caliphs and now to the head of Islamic states.

Kuffar Plural of Kafir meaning "Unbelievers".

Kufr Blasphemous act or speech which shows one's ungratefullness to The Creator.

La Ilaha Illallah Literally means "There is nothing worthy of worship except Allah".

Mekkah The sacred city located in Saudia Arabia where Kabah is situated. This is also the city where millions of Muslims perform their pilgrimage to.

Mosque The place of worship and prayer. Also called "Masjid".

Munafiq A Hypocrite Muslim who will be punished worst than an Unbeliever in the hereafter.

Mushrik A polytheist or someone who puts something ahead of his/her obligation to The Creator.

pbuh Acronym for "Peace Be Upon Him or Her". Used most often in reference to prophets of God.

pbut Acronym for "Peace Be Upon Them". Used most often in reference to prophets of God.

People of the Book This is the term used by God in the holy Quran to refer collectively to the Jews and Christians.

Qiyamah The day of resurrection and judgment.

RA This Acronym for "Radhiallahu anhu" is used when referring to close companions of the Prophet(SAW). It translates into "May Allah be pleased with him or her."

SAW Acronym for Arabic "Salla Allahu alaihi Wa Sallam". It means "peace be upon him", but it is used when referring to Prophet Muhammad(SAW).

Sahabah The term referring to the close companions of the Prophet(SAW).

Salah One the five formal and required daily prayers to be offered by all Muslims.

Sawm Abstinence from food, drink, and bad habits, acts, or words from sunrise to sunset for an entire month. Fasting is required from all Muslims who are not ill.

Shaikh A wise or elderly person.

Shaitan Satan; the source of all evil in this world.

Sharia The Set of Rules of Islam

Shirk The act of holding any object, concept, or person in higher esteem or devotion than Allah(SWT).

SWT This is the Acronym for "Subhanahu wa ta'ala" meaning "Allah is pure of having partners and He is exalted from having a son."

Sunnah A recount of the way prophet Muhammad(SAW) conducted his life. It is meant to serve as an example for Muslims to follow.

Surah One of the 114 chapters of the Holy Quran.

Ulama The learned Muslim scholars.

Ummah The community of Muslims.

Wudu Purification (ablution) to be done prior to reading Quran or offering formal prayers.

Zakah The portion of one's savings (after expenses) that needs to be donated to poor and the needy.
As-salaam Alaikum M and thanks for the thread.

I see you got it to fit into one post.

Didn't read your nevermind until too late so deleted that one.:D
wa aleykum salaam Prober

Sorry about that I am having a nightmare with this site since I got my new laptop - can't decide if laptop has a problem or if windows vista just doesn't like this forum?

I hope it is a quick reference guide for people but of course in a couple of days it will disappear, so I will try to remember to pop in sometimes and post something to keep it up for people to see. If anyone has any questions please feel free to ask.

"Munafiq"--does that have a more pedestrian meaning, as well? It's a word that many a religion could consider adopting.