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An Outsiders Perspective on Islam: Glossary

October 21, 2006

Ablutions – cleansing of the face, arms, and feet before prayer
Adhan – the calling of the faithful to prayer
Al-Fitra – the state of pure submission to Islam in which a child is born
Allah – the one true God
‘Ashura – Muslim holiday honoring the martyrdom of Imam Husain and 70 other Muslims by the kaliphah
‘Asr – Afternoon Prayer, held between late afternoon and sunset
Ayat – verse within a Suwar (chapter) of the Qur’an
Fajr – Morning prayer, held between the break of dawn and before sunrise
First Revelation – the first time Jibril came to Muhammed (pbuh) to give him the word of God
Five Pillars of Islam – the five basic religious practises of Islam
Hadith – the collected sayings of the the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh)
Hajj (Haj) – Journey to Mecca. All able Muslims are expected to make this journey at least once.
Hegira (Hejira) – Journey of Muhammed (pbuh) from Mecca to Medina in 622CE
Hira – the cave outside of Mecca where Muhammed (pbuh) heard the First Revelation from Jibril
Ibada – service to God through service to Mankind
‘Id Al-Fitr – Muslim holiday, first day after Ramadan
‘Id Al-Adha – Muslim Holiday held during the 12th month, is the Day of Sacrifice and traditional time for Hajj
Imam – teacher, and the leader of the prayer
Isha – Night Prayer, held just before sleep
Islam – the religion of the Muslims, means “peaceful submission to God”
Jibril – Arabic name of the Angel Gabriel
Ka’ba – 48′ high roughly cubical structure built by Abraham and Ishmael as a place to worship God, and the endpoint of the Hajj
Khalifa – and elected successor to the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh)
Maghrib – Sunset Prayer, held between sunset and darkness
Mawlid Al-Nabi – Muslim Holiday, the birthday of Muhammed (pbuh)
Mecca – the birth town of Muhammed
Muadhin – chants or intones the Adhan
Muhammad (pbuh) – (570CE – 632CE) according to Islam, the last and most important of a long line of Prophets
Muslim – one who submits themselves to the will of God
pbuh – “peace be unto him”, phrased used to show repsect for the prophets
Qibia – the shorter of the two great circular routes to the Ka’ba in Mecca, Muslims face in this direction when they pray
Qu’ran – the word of God as revealed to Muhammed (pbuh) by the angel Jibril, means “recitation”
Rais Al-Sannah – also Al-Hijral Muharram, the Muslim new year
Ramadan – the 9th lunar month and holiest of Muslim holidays, honoring when Muhammed (pbuh) received the First Revelation from Jibril
Salat – prayer
Shahadah – the Muslim creed, “There is no God but God and Muhammed is his Prophet”
Shariah – Islamic Law
Shia – one of the schools od Islam, split from the Sunni over a matter of succession
Siyam – the fast of Ramadan
Sufi – a school of Islam developed in the late 10th century, focuses on personal union with the divine
Sunnah – the book of accounts of Muhammed’s (pbuh) deeds
Sunni – the largest of the schools of Islam, composing 90% of all Muslims
Suwar – a chapter of the Qur’an
Zakat – a 2.5% charity tax on the income and property of middle and upper class Muslims
Zuhr – Noon Prayer, held between midday and the afternoon

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