Glossary of Terms and Phrases

Abbreviations: 

A.D. – After the Disappearance of Jesus (a.s.) the Messiah (Christ). 

a.s. – English abbreviation of the transliteration of the Arabic phrase, “Alayhi wa sallam”; meaning: The blessing of God be upon him. 

B.C. – Before Jesus (a.s.) the Christ’s birth. 

BCE – Before Common Era

CE – Common Era

s.a.w. – English abbreviation of the transliteration of the Arabic phrase, “Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam”; meaning: The peace and blessing of God be upon him. 

(PBUH)  –  Peace be upon him. 

SWT – Subhannah wa T’ala; meaning: Glory be to the Mighty God.

 


 

 

Terms: 

Alhamdulillah – Praise be to God.

Allah – The One God.  The God of Abraham (a.s.), Ishmael (a.s.), Isaac (a.s.), Jacob (a.s.) and all the Prophets and the entire Universe.  The One God of all things created, visible and invisible.  The One God who was not conceived nor begotten nor ever will be.  He has no beginning and no end.  The Almighty God of everything and everyone, who governs the righteous and the unrighteous.  He is not like anything but unique. 

Asalaamu ‘alaikum  –  Peace be upon you. 

Ashaddu an la illaha ilallah  –  I bear witness that there is no god except God. 

Ashaddu anna Muhammadar Rasulullah  –  I bear witness that Muhammad is the [last] Messenger of God. 

‘Asr – Late afternoon prayer

Atheism – The theory or belief that God does not exist. 

Ayah – English transliteration for the Arabic; meaning: verse; as in chapter and “verse.” 

Bismillah – in the Name of Allah.

Canon – A general law or criterion. 

Dhikr – Remembrance of Allah

Dhuhr (Thuhr) – Early afternoon prayer.

Dua’ – Supplication or informal prayer.

Eid – English transliteration for the Arabic; meaning: holiday or celebration. 

The Enlightenment – The 18th century philosophy emphasizing individualism rather than tradition.

Fajr – Pre-dawn prayer

Fardh Kifaya  –  It is the Fard, that if performed by some (a sufficient number), the obligation falls from the rest.   Example: A group of Muslim brothers meet another group on the way to the masjid. It is their duty to convey the ‘Salaam’ to the other, and so if “one” brother amongst them was to convey the ‘Salaam’ then insha’allah ta’ala the rest will be relieved of this duty.

Fardh ‘Ayn  –  It is the Fard that is a compulsory duty on every single Muslim to perform, [just] like praying and fasting.

Fatwah – English transliteration for the Arabic; meaning: ruling (as in, to make a ruling or judgment.  Plural: Fatawah.

Gentile – English translation of the Hebrew word, “Goy”; meaning: any non-Jew.

Hadith – The written collection of the teachings and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), which are verified by authentic sources and compiled in reputable books of the collections of Hadith, such as in the books of Sahih Muslim or Sahih Bukhari, etc. 

Hijab – English transliteration of the Arabic; meaning: covering.  Most commonly associated with the covering a woman wears but not particular to a woman.  May, also, be used in the case of a man’s modesty. 

Humanism – The system of thought concerned with human matters rather than the divine or supernatural. 

Imam – leader of prayer or in some cases leader of a community of Muslims.

Injeel – The original gospel given by God to Jesus (a.s.) which was lost by the last quarter of the first century.  The gospel (Injeel) is not to be confused with the written stories of Jesus (a.s.) life that we see today in the Bible, but rather the sayings or teachings of Jesus when he was on earth. 

Insh’allah – God willing

Isa’ – English transliteration of the Arabic; meaning: Jesus; i.e. Jesus the Messiah (Christ) son of Mary. 

Isha – Night time prayer

Islam – English transliteration of the Arabic; meaning : peace through submission of the will to the One true God. 

Jahiliyya – Days of ignorance or not knowing.

Jazaku Allahu Khair – Goodness of Allah to you

Jennah – Paradise

Jihad – English transliteration of the Arabic; meaning: struggle; as in to struggle against.  Jihad can take on many forms.  One can Jihad against the temptations in his/her heart.  One can Jihad against the philosophies of a society through discourse.  One can Jihad to protect their families against an invading army.  Jihad does not initiate an attack in any of these three areas but is a defensive action. 

Ka’aba – English transliteration for the Arabic; meaning: the cube-shaped stone building whose foundations were built by the angels and completed by Prophet Abraham (a.s.), and his son (Prophet Ishmael (a.s.)), in Makkah. 

Khamr – English transliteration for the Arabic; meaning: intoxicant. 

Ketuvim – English transliteration of the Hebrew; meaning: hidden writings or miscellaneous writings; such as, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, etc. 

La illaha ilallah  –  There is no god except “the God.” 

La3na  –  A Curse.  Such as, a curse on someone. 

Lama – A Tibetan or Mongolian Buddhist Monk; such as in the Dalai Lama of Tibet. 

Maghrib – After dusk prayer

Masih – English transliteration of the Arabic; meaning: Messiah or Christ.  Used in reference to Jesus (a.s.) son of Mary.

Mashallah – God has willed it 

Masjid  –  A Muslim place of worship.  Plural: Masajid.  Known by people in the west incorrectly as a mosque. 

Mikveh – English transliteration of the Hebrew; meaning ceremonial washing; like a baptism. 

Musallah – Small prayer room, not a masjid or community center.

Muslim – English transliteration of the Arabic; meaning: believer (i.e. believer in God).  Also, the name of a book of the collections of Hadith, “Sahih Muslim.” 

Newer Testament – The final version and collection of the books included in the Christian Bible.  Matthew – Revelations. 

Nevi’im – English transliteration of the Hebrew; meaning: Prophets; such as in, Isaiah (a.s.), Jeremiah (a.s.), etc. 

Pharisee – English translation of the Hebrew word, “Parush”; pl. “P’rushim”; A Jewish Religious sect; Religious liberals who believed in reinterpreting the Scripture for their time. 

Qur’an – Literal meaning, “something revealed.”  The Islamic Holy Book.

Ramadan – A month in the Islamic (lunar) calendar.  The month of fasting in which the Qur’an was originally revealed to the Prophet (pbuh).

Riba – English transliteration for the Arabic; meaning: interest; as in interest on a loan, etc. 

Ruh – English transliteration for the Arabic; meaning: spirit; Hebrew, Ruach. 

Sadducee – English translation of the Hebrew word, “Tzadok”; pl. “Tz’dukim”; A Jewish Religious sect; Religious “lawyers” who believed in the strictest letter of the law. 

Sahih Bhukari (or) Muslim – Volume collections of hadith.

Salaam – Peace

Salaat (Salat) – Formal obligatory prayer

Shirk – English transliteration for the Arabic; meaning: to ascribe partners to God in worship; to ascribe form to God who has no form; idol worship. 

Subhanallah – Glory be to God

Sunnah – English transliteration for the Arabic; meaning: The traditions and practices of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) that are not only recorded in the books of Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari but have been in practice since the day of the Prophet (s.a.w.) until the present. 

Surah – English transliteration for the Arabic; meaning: chapter; as in, “chapter” and verse. 

Takfir – Pronouncing a Musim a non-believer.

Talmud – English transliteration for the Hebrew; The Oral Torah; the Law of Moses handed down by word of mouth over thousands of years, which describes how the “Written Torah” is to be carried out; also, in today’s written form is The complete set of books which includes what was supposed to have been the “word of mouth” Law of Moses as well as a collection of writings from Rabbinical authorities of old. 

Tanakh’ – English transliteration for the Hebrew; meaning: The Holy Scriptures; The Older Testament; The Jewish Scriptures. 

Taraweeh – Extra night time Sunnah prayers said during Ramadan.

Torah – English transliteration for the Hebrew; meaning: The Law; (i.e. the first five books of Moses (a.s.)); part of the Tanakh’. 

Qur’an – English transliteration for the Arabic; meaning: The Reading; the collection into one book of the Revelations of God given to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) via the angel Gabriel;  The Revelations memorized and written down by the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) as taught to him by God through the angel Gabriel. 

Ummah  –  Islamic nation including Muslims and non-Muslims.  Commonly misused by many Muslims today to mean only all of the Muslims collectively. 

Wa ‘alaikum asalaam  –  And upon you be peace.

Zakat – Mandatory charity of 2.5% of residual wealth given yearly.