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Glossary of Islamic terms

11 June 2011 General 3 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

By Mark S. Luckie

Want to know the difference between hajj and halal? Here is a short glossary of some of the most commonly used words and phrases in Islamic religion and culture.


The Arabic word for “god.”


A traditional account of things said or done by Muhammad recorded by his followers, commonly taught as a part of Islamic theology.


A pilgrimage made by Muslims to the city of Makkah (Mecca), the holiest city of Islam. Every Muslim is expected to to make a religious journey to Mecca if they are physically and financially able to do so. Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam.


A term describing something that is lawful and permitted in Islam, according to Islamic law. Often used to described food or drink which is permitted for consumption under Islamic dietary laws.


Person or religious leader who leads prayers in a mosque, a recognized authority on Islamic theology, or a person of authority within the community. For Shiite Muslims, an Imam (capitalized) denotes a descendant of Muhammad.


A monotheistic religion based on the teachings of Muhammad as detailed in the Koran.


The central religious text of Islam believed to be the word of Allah revealed to Muhammad.


The Arabic word for an educational institution for any kind of learning. Often used to refer to an Islamic religious school or a school with courses in Islamic theology and religious law.


A Muslim place of prayer for followers of Islam.


The Arab prophet and founder of Islam who, according to the religion, was the last messenger of Allah.


A person who believes in or practices the Islam religion.


The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. It commemorates the transmission of the Koran by the archangel Gabriel to Muhammad.


The Arabic word for prayer. Usually refers to the ritual prayer performed five times daily at specific times; the second pillar of Islam.


An Arabic word for fasting; the act of total abstinence from food, liquids and sexual relationships from dawn to sunset, for one lunar month.


The declaration of belief in the singularity of Allah and the prophethood of Mohammed; one of the five pillars of Islam.


The laws of Islam derived from the Koran and from the teachings and example of Muhammad that regulate the spiritual and secular actions of Muslims.


The second largest denomination of Islam after Sunni Islam. Shia Muslims believe that the rightful successor to Muhammad after his death was his son-in-law Ali.


A mystical branch of Islam that emphasizes self-denial as a means of communion with god.


A collection of Muhammad’s words and deeds during his lifetime.


The largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims believe the first four successors to Muhammad after his death were the rightful leaders and not his son-in-law Ali.


One of the sections of the Koran, which are traditionally arranged in order of decreasing length. The Koran contains 114 suras.


Interpretations of the Koran by Islamic scholars; the Arabic word for exegesis or commentary.


The central Islamic doctrine that dictates there is no other god but Allah.


The giving of alms or contributions to charity as an act of worship, usually about 2.5 percent of one’s annual wealth given mainly for the benefit of the poor and the needy. One of the five pillars of Islam.

Original post: Glossary of Islamic terms


  1. hadiths or sunnah…..
    Punishments by way of Hadd are of the following forms: death by stoning, amputation of a limb or limbs, flogging by one hundred or eighty strokes. They are prescribed respectively for the following offences: adultery committed by married persons, theft, highway robbery, drunkenness and slander imputing unchastity to women.

    Book 017, Number 4191:
    ‘Ubada b. as-Samit reported: Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Receive (teaching) from me, receive (teaching) from me. Allah has ordained a way for those (women). When an unmarried male commits adultery with an unmarried female (they should receive) one hundred lashes and banishment for one year. And in case of married male committing adultery with a married female, they shall receive one hundred lashes and be stoned to death.

    Book 017, Number 4196:
    Abu Huraira reported that a person from amongst the Muslims came to Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) while he was in the mosque. He called him saying: Allah’s Messenger. I have committed adultery. He (the Holy Prophet) turned away from him, He (again) came round facing him and said to him: Allah’s Messenger, I have committed adultery. He (the Holy Prophet) turned away until he did that four times, and as he testified four times against his own self, Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) called him and said: Are you mad? He said: No. He (again) said: Are you married? He said: Yes. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Take him and stone him. Ibn Shihab (one of the narrators) said: One who had heard Jabir b. ‘Abdullah saying this informed me thus: I was one of those who stoned him. We stoned him at the place of prayer (either that of ‘Id or a funeral). When the stones hurt him, he ran away. We caught him in the Harra and stoned him (to death). This hadith has been narrated through another chain of transmitters.

    the religion of peace? allah and his prophet are truely merciful???

  2. Book 017, Number 4206:
    ‘Abdullah b. Buraida reported on the authority of his father that Ma’iz b. Malik al-Aslami came to Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Allah’s Messenger, I have wronged myself; I have committed adultery and I earnestly desire that you should purify me. He turned him away. On the following day, he (Ma’iz) again came to him and said: Allah’s Messenger, I have committed adultery. Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) turned him away for the second time, and sent him to his people saying: Do you know if there is anything wrong with his mind. They denied of any such thing in him and said: We do not know him but as a wise good man among us, so far as we can judge. He (Ma’iz) came for the third time, and he (the Holy Prophet) sent him as he had done before. He asked about him and they informed him that there was nothing wrong with him or with his mind. When it was the fourth time, a ditch was dug for him and he (the Holy Prophet) pronounced judg- ment about him and he wis stoned. He (the narrator) said: There came to him (the Holy Prophet) a woman from Ghamid and said: Allah’s Messenger, I have committed adultery, so purify me. He (the Holy Prophet) turned her away. On the following day she said: Allah’s Messenger, Why do you turn me away? Perhaps, you turn me away as you turned away Ma’iz. By Allah, I have become pregnant. He said: Well, if you insist upon it, then go away until you give birth to (the child). When she was delivered she came with the child (wrapped) in a rag and said: Here is the child whom I have given birth to. He said: Go away and suckle him until you wean him. When she had weaned him, she came to him (the Holy Prophet) with the child who was holding a piece of bread in his hand. She said: Allah’s Apostle, here is he as I have weaned him and he eats food. He (the Holy Prophet) entrusted the child to one of the Muslims and then pronounced punishment. And she was put in a ditch up to her chest and he commanded people and they stoned her. Khalid b Walid came forward with a stone which he flung at her head and there spurted blood on the face of Khalid and so he abused her. Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) heard his (Khalid’s) curse that he had huried upon her. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Khalid, be gentle. By Him in Whose Hand is my life, she has made such a repentance that even if a wrongful tax-collector were to repent, he would have been forgiven. Then giving command regarding her, he prayed over her and she was buried.

    khalid al walid…. the sword of allah??????? undeated, didn’t he outflank muhammad in the battle of uhud? not sure muslims know their own religion? how about the tosser of stones and the killer of women!!!!!!! to kill one person is like killing all mankind????? the contridictions are baffling. muhammad may peace be upon him???? really????? seems logical to me to kill women after they have suckled their babys. what need is for them after that???? very godly…… anyone??????

  3. @ gabe: the application of the hadd is very hard and it’s rarely applied I agree that many people abuse it.
    but about the presence of such teachings in Islam, I would like to ask you:
    do you want to commit adultry or stealing without being in need??
    if so, you should be afraid.

    for me, I’m Muslim and I’m not upset of such punishments.. I don’t want to reach this degree at which I need a punishment to stop commit adultry ar stealing.. MY FAITH PREVENTS ME.

    again, it’s not so simple to apply it as you stated above.

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