Glossary Of Islamic Terms

Aisha: 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.

Burqa: 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).

Caliphs: 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”

Caliphate: Refers to the first system of governance established in Islam, headed by Muhammad’s companions, the Rightly-guided Caliphs

Dawa: Preaching; the missionary call to Islam; request to join Islam, and also the last ultimatum before ‘legitimate’ conquest by force. Proselytizing.

Dhimmi: 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.

Five Pillars: Compulsory for all Muslims. The pillars are, the shahadah, salah, zakat, saum and hajj.

Good: 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.

Hadith: The Hadith 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: Annual (and often dangerous) pilgrimage to the Ka’aba in Mecca

Halal: What is permitted if not mandatory. It defines all that is good or acceptable for a Muslim.

Haraam: (opposite of halal); sinful; unlawful; forbidden

Hijra: 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 calendar and Muhammad’s metamorphosis from a preacher to a political and military leader.

Jihad: A religious struggle. Most often referring to the waging of wars of aggression and conquest against non-Muslims in order to bring them and their territories under Islamic rule.

Sharia: 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.

Shahada:  Islamic profession of faith, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of the Allah.”

Tayiqqa: The art of deception, A form of religious dissimulation whereby a Muslim can deny his faith or commit otherwise illegal or blasphemous acts while they are at risk of significant persecution. It is explicitly supported by Qur’anic verses that instruct Muslims not to “take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers… except by way of precaution,” and to not utter unbelief “except [while] under compulsion”. Critics of Islam often conflate the doctrine of taqiyyah with that of lying in general, mislabeling all forms of lying as an example of “taqiyya”.

Ummah: The collective worldwide body of Muslim believers.

Zakat: 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.

3 Responses to Glossary Of Islamic Terms

  1. douglas mccallister says:

    wished you had posted glossary terms in phonic spelling so we could have known that we were pronouncing them correctly

  2. Stephen Decatur says:

    You say jihad means religious struggle, but that is one of the two meanings. There is the greater and lesser jihad. The jihad that impacts non-Muslims is the one that attacks them and forces them to submit.

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