Glossary of Arabic Terms
(Compiled by Mohammed Amin Kholwadia)
Allah - Ta'ala: Allah - The Most High:
The name of the Supreme Creator and Lord of the Worlds who exists by necessity and without any partners or offspring. The Arabic name Allah is not derived from any other source of meaning.
Muslims who follow the Sunnah of the Prophet and the pious generations after him - as a community.
A person with religious knowledge. A scholar.
Belief or faith based on how reality is rather than how it is imagined. Thus the Islamic Aqeedah can only be derived from the Qur'an and Sunnah.
A verse of the Qur'an. It literally means a sign. (plural Ayaat)
Exonerating oneself from all that is displeasing to Allah.
Literally an innovation. Islamically, any innovative act that is carried out on the assumption that it has Islamic validity when in fact it does not.
A way of life. Always, used to mean Islam and the way of life it offers.
Literally Eid means happiness that returns. It is the day of celebration that immediately follows the end of Ramadan.
The Eid of sacrifice celebrated on the tenth of Dhul-Hijjah (the time of Hajj). There are three days of sacrifice for this Eid.
Literally someone who understands. Used for learned scholars who are discrete enough to give legal opinions. (Plural: Fuqaha)
Literally, to understand. Used for the understanding of Islamic Jurisprudence.
To stray away from the right path (in actions). Thus used for sinners (Fasiq: plural Fasiqoon).
Literally something new (created as opposed to non-created like the Qur'an as the Speech of Allah) or an account. Islamically used for the actions, quotations, affirmations, confirmations, denials and refutations of the Prophet . Plural: Ahadeeth.
Quotations of Allah revealed to the Prophet but were not part of the Qur'an.
Literally means to intend. In Islam it means to make 'a firm intention to visit the Ka'bah, the House of Allah in Makkah and engage in specific rituals. Hajj is incumbent upon every Muslim who has the means to perform it with safe passage once during his lifetime.
Lawful in Islam.
Literally prohibited or sacred. Hence it is used for prohibited acts and substances and also for the inviolable places like the Masjid-ul-Haram (the Mosque around the Ka'bah).
Literally means good. Also used for a certain category of Hadeeth that has a reliable chain of narrators.
Literally means to flee (stay away from). It means to emigrate for the sake of Allah. The Muslim calendar begins from the year of the Hijrah of the Prophet from Makkah to Madinah (622 Christian Era).
Literally means to do good, or to excel. It is also used for one of the highest stations of Iman (faith) mentioned in the Hadeeth named after it (the Hadeeth of Ihsaan): to serve Allah as if one is seeing Him; and if one cannot see Him, then He definitely sees the servant.
Literally someone who stands in front. Used for someone who leads the congregational prayers and also for eminent scholars. Also used to refer to the Khalifah: the leader of the Muslims.
Literally to offer security. In Islam it is used to mean faith and belief in specific articles of faith that are enumerated in the Qur'an and Sunnah. Note that these articles of faith are to be believed in totality and not in any partial or piecemeal form.
Literally means to submit and offer peace. Technically, it means to submit to the Will of Allah according to His Dictates and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad .
The chain of narrators in a Hadeeth. The Isnad is the basis for classification of Hadeeth.
Literally the era of ignorance. Used to denote the pre-Islamic era where Prophetic knowledge was non-existent and acts of ignorance were rampant. Adjective:
Jahili, meaning that which is related to Jahiliyyah.
Literally means to struggle and strive. Used to mean fighting in the Way of Allah for the establishment and defence of Islam and its teachings.
Literally means anything that is hidden. Hence, it shares the same root as the word Jannah (Paradise). Jinn refers to a species created by Allah from smokeless fire (hence invisible to the human eye) and who live alongside man in the universe.
Literally means anything that is protruded (like the ankle) or cubic in shape. It is used for the cube building in Makkah which is the focus of Muslims in their daily prayers. The Ka'bah was built by the Prophet Ibrahim.
Literally one who covers up, like a farmer (for which it is used in the Qur'an) who covers and hides seeds in the earth. It is also used for an ingrate:
someone who does not appreciate. In Islam, Kafir (plural Kafiroon) is a non-believer or someone who does not believe in any or all articles of faith, i.e. the antonym of a Mu'min (believer).
Literally a word. Used for the declaration of Allah's Oneness and the existence of His Supreme Attributes.
The leader of the Muslims. The leader of the Khilafah.
The Islamic State: a state which rules according to the Shari'ah in its entirety.
Literally means to cover or hide or show ingratitude. In Islam, it means to reject any or all articles of faith.
La ilaha illa'Allah:
The first Kalimah: `There is no deity except Allah'.
Literally means anything that is reprehensible. It is used for acts and things that are disapproved of by the Shari'ah without being forbidden.
A category of Hadeeth where the narrator attributes the text to the Prophet .
Muhammad ur Rasool'Allah:
The second part of the first Kalimah: Muhammad is His Messenger.
Literally one who does good, or excels. It is used for those who bear the qualities of Ihsaan.
One who has Iman (plural: Mu'minoon).
A hypocrite. See Nifaq. (Plural: Munafiqoon.)
One who commits Shirk (plural: Mushrikoon). See Shirk.
Literally one who submits. Used for someone who accepts and agrees to the tenants of Islam.
Hypocrisy. To hide ones disbelief while showing belief.
Literally a focal point. It is used to mean the direction of prayer (the Ka'bah) from any point on earth.
Literally means `a recital'. Technically, the Qur'an is the Word of Allah revealed in Arabic to Muhammad , the last Messenger, in a span of 23 years. The Qur'an is preserved both in text and context, forever. It is the final revelation until the Day of Judgement.
A unit of prayer.
The ninth month in the Islamic calendar when Muslims fast during the day and observe prayers at night. The Qur'an was first revealed in this month.
Literally a companion. It is used for someone who saw the Prophet - or whom the Prophet saw - in the state of Iman. (Plural Ashaab or Sahabah.)
Literally sound. Technically a Hadeeth whose chain of narrators are authentic in belief, character and memory.
Literally a predecessor. It is used for those pious predecessors from the scholars and leaders of the past who left their Islamic example for others to follow. Plural: Aslaaf).
Literally means prayer. In Islam it refers to the five daily prayers Muslims perform at various times of the day. The five prayers are:
Fair (after dawn, before sunrise); Zuhr (afternoon), Asr (late afternoon before sunset); Maghrib (at sunset) and `Isha (after dusk).
Fasting. A Muslim fasts from dawn to sunset; he refrains from food, drink and marital relationship.
Literally the testimony. It is used to mean the specific testimony of a Muslim (usually a convert) with regards to Allah's Oneness and the apostleship.
Literally a path and a water hole. It is used to mean the legal system of Islam.
Literally one who is far. It refers to Iblis (Satan) and to anyone who follows his path.
Literally to associate. In Islam, it is used to mean any association of partners with Allah, either in His Divinity or His Attributes.
Literally conduct. It refers to the study of the life of the Prophet .
Literally a tradition or a practice. Technically, it refers to the body of traditions and practices of the Prophet and the Sahabah which they performed or acknowledged as part and parcel of Islam. The Sunnah was then transmitted to the followers of the Sahabah and so on and so forth. The. Sunnah is much more restrictive than Hadeeth for a Hadeeth may contain acts or statements that do not necessarily conform with the general practice of Islamic practices.
Literally to explain and elucidate. It refers to the specific science of explaining and commentating on the verses of the Qur'an.
Literally to fear or to protect. In the Qur'an and elsewhere it means the effort to protect oneself from the Wrath of Allah and to fear and respect His Presence.
Literally to circumbulate. It is used for the circling of the Ka'bah seven times (followed by two rak'at of prayer).
The Oneness of Allah.
Plural of `Alim.
The total body of Muslims as a single community.
Literally, loyalty. Used to mean total devotion to Allah and His Commands and to love and display loyalty for His Sake.
Literally to purify or to increase. In Islam, it refers to the specific amount of charity that is incumbent on those who possess a specific amount of wealth for a whole y ear.