Glossary of Islamic Terms

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Word In Arabic Definition
Abdullah عبدالله Full name: Abdullah bin Abdul Muttalib (عبدالله بن عبد المطلب‎‎). Father of Islam's prophet, Muhammad. The name literally means "Slave of Allah".
Abu Bakr أبو بكر Close Companion of Muhammad, who was also the father Muhammad’s wife Aisha. Abu Bakr was the first Caliph of Islam after Muhammad’s death.
Abu Hanifa أبو حنيفة Real name: Numan bin Tabith (نعمان بن ثابت). Founder of one of the famous Fiqhi schools in Islam, the Hanafi school. Born in Kufa of Iraq in 698 A.D. He was jailed by the Abbasid Caliph Abu Jafar Mansur and tortured until his death.
Abu Hurayrah أبو هريرة A close Companion of the Prophet from the battle of Khaybar (7/629), he was reputed to have a phenomenal memory, transmitting over 3,000 prophetic traditions.He is known as Abu Hurayrah because when he worked as a goatherd he kept a small kitten to play with.
Abu Lahab أبو لهب Full name: Abu Lahab Abd al-Uzza Bin Abdul Muttalib. Uncle of Muhammad, but was a staunch critic of Islam. His name is mentioned in Quran 111:1-5 as condemned to Hell along with his wife for their opposition to Muhammad and Islam.
Abrogation (Naskh) نسخ The doctrine, based on Quran 2:106, Quran 13:39, Quran 16:101, Quran 17:86, Quran 87:6-7, that Allah rescinded some previous revelations. The most crucial topic for any infidel is the rule of abrogations through which Allah allowed Himself to change His mind. Apart from this silliness stands the fact that most of the peaceful verses (written in Mecca) likely quoted by Islamic apologists, were, in fact, substituted by others (later written in Medina): mainly all the bloody verses found in chapters 3 (-Chr.89-), 5 (-Chr.112-), 8 (-Chr.88-) and chapter 9 (-Chr.113-), particularly its 'Verse of the Sword' (9.5).
Adhan ‎أَذَان A call to prayer in Arabic, often made from a minaret and/or through a loudspeaker by a person known as Muadhin. Muslims hear this call five times a day, and prepare themselves for the prayer.
Ahl al-Bait أهل البيت Literal meaning: "People of the House". This term occurs twice in the Quran Quran 11:73 Quran 33:33. In Quran. 11:73 it refers to the “house” or family of the prophet Abraham, while in Quran 33:33 it has a more general sense. In its pre-Islamic usage, the term was applied to the ruling family of a clan or tribe, and thus it implies a certain nobility and right to rule.
Ahl al-Kitab أهل الكتاب Literal meaning: People of the book, a term originated in the Qur'an to represent Jews and Christians who received earlier revelations from God.
Ahmed bin Hanbal احمد بن حنبل Hadith expert and theologian. He was the founder of the Hanbalı Madhhab, a prominent Fiqhi School in Islam. Ahmed bin Hanbal was persecuted by the Abbasids during their inquisition because he refused to admit that the Qur'an was created.
Aisha عائشة The daughter of Abu Bakr. She was Muhammad's third and favorite wife whom he married after the death of Khadıjah, his first wife. Aisha was only six years old at the time of her marriage to Muhammad.
Al-‘ayn العين Arabic word meaning "the (evil) eye". Witchcraft and the effects of the "evil eye" are mainstream Islamic beliefs, supported by sahih hadith.
Al-hamdu lillahi rabbil 'alamin ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلْعَٰلَمِينَ "Praise be to the God, the Lord of the worlds."
Allah الله The Arabic name for God. The name "Allah" was known in pre-Islamic Arabia as the head of the pantheon. It is always written al-Ilah (The God) in the Qur'an, never Allah. Some non-Muslims believe Allah to be Muhammad's alter-ego. Allah existed before Mohammed, since his father was named Abdullah (slave of Allah). Its most probable origin is the Arabic moon god II-ilah, but we find in Mt.5.8 the name Alaha, Syriac for God from the Aramaic Alôh-ô, and Eloi in Mc.15.34 and Mt.27.46. Both Alaha and Yah find an ancestor in the Egyptian Yah (Iah or Lah: the moon proper). To reject al-Ilah (Allah) or to assign partners with him (see shirk) is considered the greatest of sins.
Allahu Akbar الله اكبر Often said to mean “God is great”, but actually means “Allah is greater”.
Al Wala' Wal Bara' الولاء والبراء Meaning "loyalty and disavowal". An Islamic concept that requires one to love what Allah loves, and hate what Allah hates.
Antisemitism معاداة السامية Hatred of Jews.
Arabic العَرَبِيَّة‎‎ The largest living member of the Semitic languages family in terms of speakers. Modern Standard Arabic derives from Classical (Qur'anic) Arabic, the only surviving member of the Old North Arabian dialect group, attested epigraphically since the 6th century, which has been a literary language and the liturgical language of Islam since the 7th century CE.
Ashura عاشوراء‎‎ A day in the Islamic month Muharram on which religious Shi'ite Muslims beat themselves bloody with swords, chains, knives and other metal objects.
Asr عصر‎‎ Late afternoon prayer.
As-salamu 'alaykum السّلامُ عليكُمْ Greetings by a Muslim to another Muslim. It means, “Peace be upon you”. The Arabic word for peace is "salam". If islam meant "peace", it would be "al-islamu alaykum", but the word "islam" means "submission".
Astaghfirullah أستغفر الله “I ask God's forgiveness”
Awliya أَوْلِيَآءَ Meaning 'protector', or 'friend'. The Qur'an forbids Muslims from taking Christians, Jews and other disbelievers as freinds.
Al-'Azl العزل Coitus interruptus; incomplete sexual intercourse; sexual intercourse when the man withdraws his penis and ejaculates outside the woman's body.


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Banu Qurayza بنو قريظة The Jewish tribe of the Banu Qurayza is described in various hadith. 800-900 boys and men from this tribe were systematically beheaded on the orders of Muhammad. The women were taken captive by Muslims and sold in slave markets for horses and weapons. Not to be confused with Muhammad's tribe "Quraysh".
Bid'ah بدعة‎‎ Innovation. In popular usage, this has come to mean heresy. The word originates from Al-Bada' meaning to create something without precedence. The first type is innovation in matters of the world in technology, medicine, computers, etc. which is not explicitly forbidden. The second kind is innovation in matters of religion and on this, Islam is harsh, intolerant and repressive.
Bucailleism البوكايية The belief that the Qur'an prophesied the Big Bang theory, space travel and other contemporary scientific breakthroughs, and that there are more than 1200 verses (Ayat) which can be interpreted in the light of modern science. Of course, the same can be claimed for the Georgica; truly a miracle sent down from the ancient Roman gods.
Burqa (burkha, burka, burqua) برقع‎‎ An example of "full hijab", it is an enveloping outer garment worn by Muslim women for the purpose of hiding her body when out in public. (some Islamic governments make it a requirement).


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Word In Arabic Definition
Caliph خِلافة‎‎ The head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the leader of the Islamic Ummah (body of Muslim believers). According to Islamic theology, the first four successors of Muhammad were the "Rightly-Guided Caliphs" (Khulafaa-e-Rashidun).
Christian Missionary التبشير المسيحي In regards to criticism of Islam, it is a derogatory term, often used in debates as an ad-hominem to encourage Muslim listeners/readers to dismiss any valid points that may have been raised. It is often applied to critics regardless of their religious affiliation or occupation.


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Word In Arabic Definition
Daleel دليل Daleel is an Arabic word meaning 'evidence'. In regards to Islamic hadith (narrations concerning the actions and orders of Muhammad), Daleel can either be Da`if (weak), Hasan (good), or Sahih (authentic).
Dar'al Harb (or Dar'ul Harb arabic. House of War) دار الحرب An Islamic term used for countries which are not under Islamic rule.
Dar'al Islam (or Dar'ul Islam -arab. House of Islam) دار الإسلام‎‎ An Arabic term used to refer to lands that are under the rule of Muslim governments.
Dawah (or D'awa) دعوة Preaching; the missionary call to Islam; request to join Islam, and also the last ultimatum before 'legitimate' conquest by force.
Dhimmi ذمي Non-Muslim communities living under Islamic law (Shariah), who enjoy legal status but are subject to many restrictions and taxes. Also described as humans of second class, referring to the 'People of the Book', i.e. Jews and Christians.
' ذو القرنين A figure appearing in Quran 18:83-98, identified by some as Alexander the Great who built a barrier against Gog and Magog.


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Word In Arabic Definition
Eid al-Adha عيد الأضحى "Festival of Sacrifice", the second holiday that comes two and half months after Eid Al-Fitr. Celebrations include the unprecedented large-scale slaughter of hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of animals.
Eid al-Fitr' عيد الفطر The first Eid that comes after a month of fasting.


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Fajr فجر‎‎ Prayer before sunrise; also the title of Sura 89 in the Quran (Al-Fajr)
Fard فرض When something is fard, it is an obligatory duty that every Muslim is required to perform. For example; daily prayer (salah), hijab, pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj), and jihad.
Fatwa فتوى‎‎ A Fatwa is an Islamic religious ruling, a scholarly opinion on a matter of Islamic law, issued by a recognized religious authority in Islam.
Fiqh (Fiqah) ‎فقه Name given to the Islamic rules defining what is right (halal) or wrong (haram). This covers the way Muslims have to pray, fast, run their public and private life, do business, clean themselves, use the toilet, copulate etc.
Fitna (Fitnah, tumilt, oppression) فتنة A word in the Qur’an, often translated into oppression and injustice. Some medieval scholars reinterpreted Fitna to include mere disbelief in order to better justify expansionary warfare (see Jihad in Islamic Law).
Five Pillars of Islam أركان الإسلام Compulsory for all Muslims. The pillars are, the shahadah, salah, zakat, saum and hajj.


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Gazwa (Ghaswa, Qazwa) غزوة A pre-Islamic tribal practice of raiding others for a living Muhammad assimilated into Islam; name given to the 78 raids in which Muhammad himself participated. The proper translation for Gazwa is raid, not battle or 'defensive war'.
Good حسنة To be good for a Muslim is to submit to Allah's will and then follow the 'right' path established by the examples set by the Prophet, and as such can differ to the popular understanding of the word. (see "Halal")
Ghusl غسل‎‎ "Full ablution" required in Islam for various rituals and prayers; mandatory for any adult Muslim after having sexual intercourse, any sexual discharge, completion of the menstrual cycle, giving birth, etc.


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Word In Arabic Definition
Hadith حديث‎‎ The Hadiths are traditions of Muhammad, giving us important information about his life. They are usually narrations about a certain incident in which he said or did something. This is how Muslims determine the Sunnah (Muhammad's way of life.) It is key to Islam since Muslims are commanded to obey Muhammad and emulate him. In fact, four out of five of Islam’s Pillars would not exist without the Hadith, therefore making Islam impossible to practice.
Hajj حج‎‎ Annual pilgrimage to the Ka'aba in Mecca in order to participate in pagan rituals, some of them involving the black stone.
Halal حلال What is permitted if not mandatory. It defines all that is good or acceptable for a Muslim.
Hanif حنيف‎‎ An Arabic term that refers to pre-Islamic non-Jewish or non-Christian Arabian monotheists. Many Qur'anic verses talk about Ibrahim (Abraham) the Hanif (i.e. apostate of idolatry).
Haraam حَرَام‎‎ (opposite of halal); sinful; unlawful; forbidden
Harbi حربي‎‎ A non-Muslim living in an area regarded as Dar Al-harb, the 'domain of war,' in which Islam does not dominate and according to medieval scholars must therefore be fought until Islam dominates it.
Hijab حجاب‎‎ Observance of Hijab by female Muslims can consist of the Jilbāb; any long and loose-fitting garment, the Khimar; a scarf or wrap (often referred to simply as 'hijab') used to cover the head and neck, and the Niqāb; a piece of cloth which veils the face.
Hijra هجرة Due to growing animosity between the pagan and Muslim Meccans in 622 AD, Muhammad and his followers fled to Medina, marking the beginning of the Hijra (Migration) era of the Islamic lunar calender and Muhammad's metamorphosis from a preacher to a political and military leader.
Hubal هبل‎‎ A moon god worshipped at Mecca by the pre-Islamic Arabians
Hudna هدنة Arabic term meaning a temporary "truce" or "armistice". The prophet made a ten-year treaty with the Quraysh. Two years later though it was broken unilaterely to strike the Quraysh and Muhammad entered Mecca. Since that time the term “Hudna” designates a strategic cessation of hostilities, which has alone the sense of a forced misalignment.
Hurriyya حرية Arabic term corresponding to the word 'freedom'. However, it was defined by the philosopher Ibn Arabi (d. 1240) as "perfect slavery to Allah". According to the late American scholar of Islam, Franz Rosenthal (d. 2003), Islamic culture historically has nothing corresponding to the Western concept of freedom.


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Word In Arabic Definition
Iblis إبليس‎‎ see Shaytan
Ibrahim إبراهيم According to all three Abrahamic faiths, he is considered to be the patriarch of the Israelites. In Islam, however, he is also considered to be a prophet and a Hanif. The Israelites descended from Abraham's son Isaac (through his first wife Sarah), and Arabs believe they descended from Abraham's son Ishmael (through his concubine-wife Hagar).
Ijtihad اجتهاد‎‎ A technical term of Islamic law that describes the process of making a legal decision by independent interpretation of the legal sources
Injil (Arabic) إنجيل Derived from the Greek evangelion; a holy book given to Isa by Allah that Muslims claim is the "true" Gospel whereas the gospels of the New Testament are generally considered by them to be corrupted.
In sha' allah إن شاء الله "Allah willing".
Isa عيسى The Messiah described in the Qur'an born of the virgin Mariam. Muslims generally believe that 'Isa is the same person as Jesus of Nazareth described in the New Testament. The actual Arabic term for Jesus used by Arab Christians is Yasū‘
Isha عشاء‎‎ Nightly prayer.
Islam الإسلام Submission, the actual meaning behind the word Islam. (Also, "Submission" is the name of Theo van Gogh's movie for which he was assassinated.) Not to be confused with "salam" (peace).
Islamophobia الخوف من الإسلام A neologism intended to describe bigotry towards Muslim (although Muslimophobia is perhaps a more appropriate term for that particular usage) or inaccurate depictions of Islam. The term is, unfortunately, frequently used to inhibit criticisms of Islam as an ideology/dogma (and not its human adherents).
Iqamat-ud-Deen إقامة الدين Establishment of the Islamic system of life–an Islamic social, economic and political order.


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Jahannam جهنم‎‎ Jahannam (Hell) was specifically created and prepared with eternal fire by Allah, so that he could torture disbelievers, most of whom are women.
Janazah الجنازة‎‎ Burial prayer. When a Muslim dies, other Muslims gather to offer a special prayer.
Jibreel (Gabriel) جبريل According to Islamic scriptures, Jibreel is the angel who first appeared to Muhammad in the cave of Hijra and taught him the Qur'an. According to the Qur'an, he was also sent by Allah to blow into Mary's vagina.
Jihad (Djihad: struggle) جهاد A religious struggle. Most often referring to the waging of wars of defence or (at later times) aggression and conquest against non-Muslims in order to bring them and their territories under Islamic rule. (see Jihad in Islamic Law)
Jinn (Genies) جن Muhammad was sent to both "humanity and the jinn". Frequenting toilets, they feed on feces and bones. Jinn can also choose to become Muslims, will be judged on the Day of Judgment, and will accordingly be sent to Paradise or Hell.
Jizyah (Jizhya) الجزية The extra tax imposed on non-Muslims (Dhimmis) who live under Muslim rule. The Qur'an readily admits that it is a form of humiliation, meant to display the superior status of Muslims and the subdued state of non-Muslims. Quran 9:29
Jumma الجمعة Friday. Every week on Friday Zuhr, the mid-day prayer, is substituted by a congressional prayer held in the mosque.


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Ka'aba الكعبة‎‎ The holiest shrine in Islam and the first of many non-Muslim worship place to be forcibly converted by Muslims into a mosque. During Muhamad's time, Mecca was a center of idol-worship, with the Ka'aba housing 360 idols. Muhammad discarded the 360 idols but retained for Islam, the Ka’aba with its Black Stone, justifying it with the mythical claim that Abraham and Ishmael originally constructed it.
Kafir (plural Kuffar) كافر (pl. كفّار) A disbeliever. Someone who does not believe in Allah, or someone who does believe in Allah but does not believe Muhammad is his prophet. Its use differs from that of the word "disbeliever" or "Infidel" in the West. It is one of the most offensive curse words a Muslim can hurl at a fellow Muslim.
Khalifat (Caliphate) خِلافة‎‎ Refers to the first system of governance established in Islam, headed by Muhammad's companions, the Rightly-guided Caliphs.
Khutbah خطبة A speech delivered by a Muslim cleric before Friday prayers.


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Madh'hab مذهب‎‎ A Muslim school of law or fiqh (religious jurisprudence). Within orthodox Sunni Islam there are four mainstream schools of thought, which are accepted by one another.
Madrassa مدرسة‎‎ The Arabic word for an educational institution. Usually refers to an Islamic school.
Maghrib المغرب‎‎ Evening prayer, right after sunset.
Mahdi مهدي‎‎ Is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on Earth for seven, nine or nineteen years (according to various interpretations) before the Day of Judgment (yawm al-qiyamah / literally, the Day of Resurrection) and, alongside Jesus, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.
Mahr (Dowry) مهر The mahr is payment for the use of a woman's vagina in sexual intercourse. (see also Nikah)
Makr (Arabic) ماكر Deceiver. Someone who makes a person believe something that is not true; a liar. According to the Qur'an, Allah is the best of deceivers. Muhammad was also a deceiver.
Mosque (masjid) مسجد‎‎ A place of worship for followers of Islam. See Ka'aba.
Muhammad محمد Muhammad ibn Abdullah, according to the religion of Islam which he founded, is the last prophet of Allah.
Muhammadan المحمدية Another term for "Muslim". Some Muslims object to the term, saying it is offensive as it implies a devotion to Muhammad.
Mujtahid مجتهد A Muslim jurist who is qualified to interpret the law and thus to generate Ijtihad.
Munafiq منافق A munafiq is a hypocrite. In particular, this term applies to apostates who hides their apostasy, and peaceful Muslims who refuse to participate in jihad. This is made clear in Q.4.150-151. See also 4.66 , 4.74, and 4.88.
Murtad مرتد A murtad is an apostate of Islam.
Musa موسى Moses. The most frequently mentioned prophet in the Qur'an.
Muslimah مسلمة A Muslim woman.
Mutah (Mut'ah) المتعة‎‎ Religiously sanctioned prostitution. A temporary arrangement whereby a man and a woman enter into a contractual arrangement to marry each other for a specified period of time. The man gives the woman something of value, and in exchange he is allowed to enter into sexual relations with her, legally, without committing fornication, since they are "married." At the end of the period specified in the contract, usually a few days at most, each party walks separate ways and neither is indebted to the other. Endorsed by Muhammad at one time; see Sahih Bukhari 6:60:139 and Sahih Bukhari 7:62:52. Shi'ites still practice Mut'ah, Sunnis believe Muhammad abrogated Mut'ah Sahih Bukhari 5:59:527.


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Najis نجس‎‎ Things which are considered impure or unclean, these include; urine, faeces, semen, dead bodies, blood, dogs, pigs, kuffar (unbelievers), alcoholic liquors, and the sweat of an animal who persistently eats something that is considered unclean.
Nikah نكاح The Islamic equivalent of a marriage. Literally meaning "fuck" or "sexual intercourse". Jabiri-Arablu, a contemporary Islamic scholar, defines nikah as “a contract for the ownership, tamlik, of the use of [the] vagina”. The actual Arabic term for marriage is “Zawaj”. (see also Mahr, the payment received by the "bride" for nikah)
Niqab نقاب Veil that covers the face worn by some Muslim women (some Islamic governments make it a requirement).
Nun ن/ نون Nun (read as "noon") in Islam refers either to a whale or to the Arabic letter ن. The Islamic whale supposedly carries the Earth on its back. Also a whale supposedly swallowed Jonah (called Dhu'n-Noon, "man of the whale"), who then prayed inside it.


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Oppression ظلم See "Fitnah"


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Peace السلام Salaam. Not to be confused with the non-related Arabic term, 'Islam', meaning 'submission'.
Piety تقوى A pious Muslim is one who follows the laws and examples set by Muhammad.


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Qatal قتل The Arabic word "Qatal" translates as "fight" in an English language Qur'an, but more accurately translates as "kill", "massacre", or "slaughter".
Qudsi القدسي A classification of ahadith in which words or deeds of Muhammad are considered to be the inspired words of Allah, by which they can still be emulated, even though they may contradict the Qur'an (ie. stoning). This is a 'workaround' solution to the otherwise violation of Bukhari's 3rd criteria for a Sahih narration.
Quraysh / Quraish قريش The Meccan tribe Muhammad was born into. Not to be confused with "Banu Qurayza".
Qur'an (also Koran, Quran, Coran) القرآن Holy book of the Muslims, which they claim was revealed by Allah to Muhammad through Jibreel (Angel Gabriel). According to Muslims, it was written in Heaven by none other than Allah.


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Rajm رجم According to Shari'ah (Islamic Law), stoning to death, or Rajm, is primarily a punishment for persons who engage in illegal sexual intercourse.
Revelation وحي‎‎ Revelation is the medium by which Allah claims to communicate his word to his prophets so that they may inform the people of his will, what he wants from them and what they must do for him in order to be saved from eternal damnation.
Ruqya رقية‎‎ Islamic exorcism. The exorcist usually shouts Qur'anic verses to heal the possessed Muslim. Possession is when the Muslim has some thoughts against Islam or when he is acting strange.


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Sahabah الصحابة‎‎ Companions of Muhammad. To be still considered a Sahabah today, the individual must have seen Muhammad, believed in his prophethood and died as a believer.
Sahih صَحِيْح Arabic for authentic. It is used to describes a Hadith as being genuine and credible.
Saifullah سيف الله "Sword of Allah". A title originally given by Muhammad to Khalid ibin al-Walid, the most celebrated and loved warrior in Islamic history.
Salaf سلف‎‎ Arabic noun which translates to "predecessor", or "forefather". In Islam it refers to the first three generations of Muslims, the so-called "Pious Predecessors". Salafis (or "Wahhabis") are not a part of a deviant or innovative Islamic sect, but strict orthodox followers of the Qur'an and Sunnah.
Salah (or Salat) صلاة One of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is the practice of formal prayer in Islam, and is compulsory (fard) for all Muslims.
Salam / Salaam / Al-Salam / As-Salam سلام / السلام "Peace". Can be also used as a greeting. It is derived from the same root letters سلم (s-l-m) as the words sallam (ladder) or islam (submission). Just because two words share the same root doesn't mean that they necessarily share the same meaning.
Salb صلب Crucifixion, typically refers to the inhumane and painful method of execution and/or torture by tying and/or nailing someone to a cross, stake or tree. It can also refer to the method of public display of a body after execution. It is still being used in some Islamic countries, as it is endorsed by the Qur'an.
Satanic Verses آيات شيطانية Verses that Muhammad proclaimed elevating Allah's three goddess-daughters as intercessors. These verses were later abrogated/removed/forgotten. (Also, the title of Salman Rushdie's work of fiction that earned him a fatwa calling for his assassination.)
Sawm صوم Fasting (Arabic: Saum, Persian: Rozah) A period of 30 days, in the month of Ramadan, of every year. Consumption of food or water, sexual relations with ones husband/wife is forbidden from sunrise till sunset.
Shahadah شهادة‎‎ Islamic profession of faith, "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of the Allah."
Shahid شهيد‎‎ Martyr. Used as a title for Muslims who have died fulfilling a religious commandment, or waging war for Islam.
Shari'ah / Sharia شريعة‎‎ Archaic religious judicial system, which regulates the entire social life of Muslims and non-Muslims under Islamic dominance. Believed by Muslims to be God-given, it is immutable. Bid'ah, Fard, Fiqh, Ahadith, Hudd and Tafsir are part of the jurisprudence.
Shaytan (also Iblis, Satan) شيطان‎‎ The Islamic rendition of the devil. A rebellious jinn who leads men astray. See also Jinn.
Shirk شرك Taking other gods besides Allah (i.e. Polytheism), and this is considered the most heinous crime against the Islamic god. Belief in the Trinity is concidered Shirk.
Shura شورى "Consultation". Muslims practice shura by discussing together about public affairs. They can however discuss only things that are not already decided by sharia (laws from the Qur'an and sunnah). So it is still a theocracy and not a democracy.
Sira (or Sirat) سيرة‎‎ The term used for biographies of Muhammad. The earliest and most accurate being the Sirat Rasul Allah, by Ibn Ishaq.
Slavery عبودية Slavery is halal (permitted) in Islam. Slaves can be used like indulgences—free a slave and it will atone for some heinous crime you may have committed.
Sunnah سنة Arabic word that means "habit" "way" or "usual practice". Within the context of Islam it refers to the words and actions or example of Muhammad. The closer one emulates Muhammad's Sunnah, the more pious they are considered.


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Tabi' al-Tabi'un تابع التابعين The generation after the Tabi'un. Tabi' al-Tabi'un is a Muslim who had seen at least one of the Tabi‘un, was rightly guided, and died in that state.
Tabi'un التابعون The generation of Muslims who were born after the death of Muhammad, but who were contemporaries of the Sahaba (Companions of Muhammad).
Tafsir تفسير‎ Arabic word for exegesis or commentary, usually of the Qur'an. An author of tafsīr is a mufassir.
Taghoot طاغوت The term referring to various evils in an Islamic sense, such as worshiping associates alongside Allah (shirk akbar) or ruling besides the laws (Akham) of Islam, and rejecting Islamic terms, evidences (Quran, Sunnat, Usul-ul-fiqh), and Islamic faith (Kufr).
Tahrif تحريف Meaning distortion, corruption, alteration. The vast majority of today's Muslims assume the Taurat and Injil have been corrupted, but the Qur'an never says the physical scriptures of the previous revelations were corrupted, only their interpretations. Many early and contemporary Muslim scholars (e.g. Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn al-Layth, Ibn Rabban, Ibn Qutayba, Al-Ya'qubi, Al-Tabari, Al-Baqillani, Al-Mas'udi,) agree with the conclusion.
Taurat توراة‎‎ The Qur'an talks of the Taurat revealed to Musa (Moses), referring to the Torah - the first five books of the Jewish Bible; found in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. Some Muslims and scholars believe it refers to the entire Old Testament, but this view is not widely held.
Thought crime (crime without victim) جريمة فكر The criminalization of people holding divergent opinions. In Islam, blasphemy or rejecting Allah and his Prophet is the equivalent of High Treason.
Tayammum تيمم Tayammum is the act of dry ablution (ritual purification) using sand or dust, which may be performed in place of wudu or ghusl if no clean water is readily available.


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Ummah (Umma) أمة‎‎ The collective worldwide body of Muslim believers.
Uswa Hasana أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ The "perfect human". In Islam, this honor is given to Muhammad -the perfect model of conduct for all Muslims to follow. This Islamic doctrine requires the Muslims of today to emulate Muhammad and his (7th century) actions as closely as they can, as a form of devotion to Allah.


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Word In Arabic Definition
Waliyu 'llah ولي الله An Islamic phrase, meaning 'friend of Allah'.
Waswas وسوس "Whispering" of Satan. According to hadiths, when a Muslim has any thoughts against Islam (including rational criticism), he should disregard them as waswas, or whispering of Satan. One traditional cure for waswas is ruqya - Islamic exorcism.
Wudu الوضوء‎‎ "Partial ablution" is the procedure for washing parts of the body using water in preparation for formal prayers (salah) or handling and reading the Qur'an.


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Word In Arabic Definition
Zabur زبور‎‎ The Zabur mentioned in the Qur'an refers to the Psalms of the Old Testament. The Qur'an asserts that the Zabur is one of the three Previous Revelations of Allah
Zakat زكاة‎‎ A charity tax, and one of the five pillars of Islam. The majority of Islamic scholars agree that non-Muslims should not benefit from this alms giving, unlike sadaqah, which is voluntary charitable giving.
Zamzam زمزم‎‎ Name of the well located in Mecca, as well as the water it pumps. Muslims believe both to be miraculous. In reality, Zamzam water contains arsenic levels three times the legal limit, increasing the risk of cancer to those who drink it, in addition to high levels of nitrate and potentially harmful bacteria.
Zina زِنَاء The Arabic word for "unlawful sexual relations." It is used to refer to both adultery and fornication. Adultery for a man in Islam, is the consensual sex with a woman who does not qualify as his wife, his concubine or his slave.
Zuhr ظهر‎‎ Mid-day prayer as sun moves away from its peak position.