Islamic Glossary

01 May

Verbal English equivalents and explanations are given for the purpose of helping the reader develop some initial notion concerning such technical Islamic terms, although their meanings would require considerable background to understand.



One who worships much; devoted.


Performing acts of worship, such as salât, fasting, hajj or zakât, in their appointed times.

Adab: (pl. âdâb)

There is a special adab in doing everything. The adab of doing something means to follow the conditions necessary for doing it in the best way.


At each namâz time, a Muslim goes up the minaret and calls all Muslims to namâz. He has to recite prescribed words.


A Sunnî Muslim who avoids grave sins and who does not habitually commit venial sins.

Adilla ash-Shar’iyya:

The sources from which Islamic rules were derived: the Book (The Qur’ân al-karîm), the Sunna, qiyas al-fuqahâ, and ijmâ’ al-Umma.


It means more meritorious.

Ahâdîth: pl. of hadîth.

Ahd-i Atik:

The Old Testament.

Ahd-i Jadid:

The New Testament.


Rules, conclusions.



Ahl al-Bait:

Immediate relatives of the Prophet: (according to most ‘ulamâ’) ‘Alî (first cousin and son-in-law), Fâtima (daughter), Hasan and Husain (grandsons).

Ahl as-Sunnat: see Ahl as-Sunna (wa’l-Jamâ’a)

Ahl as-Sunna (wa’l-Jamâ’a):

The true pious Muslims who follow our Master the Prophet and as-Sahâbat al-kirâm. These are called Sunnî Muslims. A Sunnî Muslim adapts himself to one of the four Madhhabs. These Madhhabs are Hanafî, Mâlikî, Shâfi’î and Hanbalî.

Ahl-i Kitâb:
[lit. the people of the Book]

Jews and Christians.

Ahl-i Qibla:

A Muslim who believes all those religious matters that are indispensable and known through tawâtur (consensus).

Ahl-i zimmat: see zimmî.

A’immat al-madhâhib:

It is the plural of imâm al-madhhab.


Old woman; older than 55 for Hanafî, 70 for Mâlikî.


It is the endless life which begins when a person dies.


A supplication said or written whenever the names of prophets mentioned, meaning “Peace be upon Him.”


Allah’s declaration: Alastu bi-rab-bikum? “Am I not your Rabb?” which, when He created Hadrat Adam, He asked all the souls of Hadrat Adam’s descendants that would come until the end of the world.

‘Âlim: (pl. ‘ulamâ’)

A Muslim scholar of Islam.


One of the 99 Beautiful Names of Allahu ta’âlâ, which means the Omniscient.

Allahu ta’âlâ:

Allah the Most High.

‘Amal: (pl. a’mâl)

Deed; practice of, living up to ‘ilm; ‘ibâda.

Amal-i kasîr:

Actions that are so many as to nullify the namâz are termed amal-i kasîr.

Amal-i qalîl:

Few actions that do not nullify the namâz are termed amal-i qalîl.


The prayer in which all six tenets of belief in Islam are declared.


(To Allahu ta’âlâ) “Accept my prayer.”


Duty to teach Allahu ta’âlâ’s commandments and prohibitions.

Angels of Haphaza:

The two angels called Kirâman kâtibîn, who are on a person’s shoulders and who write down good and bad deeds, and those angels who protect a person against genies are called Angels of Haphaza.


Those Muslims who lived in Madîna and helped Rasûlullah when he migrated to Madîna. Those companions of the Prophet who migrated to Madîna from Mecca are called Muhâjir.


Sane and pubert, who has reached the age when he or she started to perform ghusl.


It means sacrificing an animal (by cutting its throat) to thank Allahu ta’âlâ for a newly born child. Two are sacrificed for a son, while one is sacrificed for a daughter. It is not fard, but mustahab, to sacrifice it. That is, it is not sinful not to sacrifice it.


Wisdom; it is a comprehensive power that has been created so as to distinguish right from wrong, good from bad, useful from harmful.

‘Aql-i salîm:

The wisdom which is salîm never goes wrong and never errs. It never does anything to necessitate repentance. It does not make mistakes in the things it considers. It always follows the course of actions that are good and that turn out good. It thinks properly and finds the right way. Its deeds are always correct. This wisdom existed in Prophets only. They were successful in every activity they had started. They would not do anything that would make them repent or that would harm them. The one which is close to theirs is the wisdom of the Sahâba, of the Tâbi’ûn, of the Taba-i tâbi’ûn, and of the religious imâms. Theirs was a wisdom that was suitable for the rules of the Sharî’at.

‘Aql-i saqîm:

The wisdom that is saqîm is quite the opposite. It errs in its acts and thoughts, which always incur sorrow, repentance, harm and trouble.


The high parts of the barrier located between Paradise and Hell and which prevents them from affecting each other.


The open space located 24 kilometers north of Mecca.


A great scholar who comprehended through his heart the knowledge about Allahu ta’âlâ and His Attributes. For one to be an ’ârif, it is necessary to make progress and be promoted in the way of tasawwuf.


The end of matter bordering the seven skies and the Kursî, which is outside the seventh sky and inside the ‘Arsh.

Ashâb-i Kahf:

The seven Believers (in a cave in Tarsus) who attained high status because of emigrating to another place in order not to lose their faith when disbelievers invaded their land.

Ashâb-i Kirâm:

A person who saw Hadrat Muhammad at least once when he was alive, is called a ‘Sahâbî’. It goes without saying that a Sahâbî is a Muslim. Ashâb is the plural form of Sahâbî. All the Sahâbîs are called ‘Ashâb-i Kirâm’. If a Muslim has seen the Prophet, or talked to him, at least once when the Prophet was alive, he is called Sahabî. Plural form of Sahabî is Sahâba or As’hâb. The word Sahâba-i Kirâm includes all those great people each of whom has seen the Prophet at least once. The lowest of the Sahâba is much higher than the highest of other Muslims. If a person has not seen the Prophet but has seen or talked to one of the Sahâba at least once, he or she is called Tâbi’. Its plural form is Tâbi’în. In other words, the Tâbi’în are the successors of the Sahâba. If a person has not seen any of the Sahâba but has seen at least one of the Tabi’în, he or she is called Taba’î Tâbi’în. The Sahâba, the Tâbi’în and the Taba’i tabi’în altogether are called the Salaf-i Sâlihin (the early savants).

‘Asr-i awwal:

The beginning of the time of the late afternoon namâz according to Imâm-i Yûsuf and Imâm-i Muhammad.

‘Asr-i thânî:

The beginning of the time of the late afternoon namâz according to Imâm-i A’zam.

‘Asr as-Sa’âda:

The “Era of Prosperity,” the time when our Prophet lived.


A’ûdhu billâhi min-ash-shaytânirrajîm (I seek refuge with Allah from the cursed Satan).

Awâmir-i Ashara:

The Ten Commandments which Allahu ta’âlâ gave Mûsâ (Moses ‘alaihissalâm) on Mount Tur.


It means better.


A person whom Allahu ta’âlâ loves is called a walî. Awliyâ’ is the plural form of walî, though we sometimes use the word for both singular and plural.

Awrat parts:

They are parts on one’s body which one must not open or show others and it is forbidden for others to see outside or during namâz, parts of the body that men and women have to cover, both during namâz and elsewhere. In Hanafî and Shâfi’î Madhhabs a man’s awrat parts for namâz and at all times are between his navel and lower parts of his knees. The knees are awrat in Hanafî and the navel is awrat in Shâfi’î. All parts of women, except their palms and faces, including their wrists, outer parts of their hands, hanging parts of their hair and under their feet are awrat for namâz, in Hanafî. There are also valuable books saying that outer parts of hands are not awrat. When alone and not performing namâz, it is fard for women to cover between their knees and navels, wâjib to cover their backs and bellies, and adab to cover their other parts. It is harâm in all the four Madhhabs for women to show nâmahram men and female non-Muslims their bodies other than their faces and inside and outside their hands, and for these people to look at them.”

Âyat (karîma): (pl. âyât)

(1) a sign, a miracle; (2) a verse of the Qur’ân al-karîm. There are 6236 âyats in the Holy Koran.


One of the âyats in the Qur’ân. It explains the greatness of Allahu ta’âlâ and the fact that His power is infinite.


Certainty coming from direct observation and seeing.


The more meritorious and difficult ways in carrying out commandments, which Islam holds superior.


One of the four archangels, who takes the souls of human beings.

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