`Aadah Custom, practice. A local custom which is not in conflict with the Qur'an or the Sunnah (qv.) is admissible as part of Islamic law.
`Aalim (plural= `ulamaa') One who knows, a scholar, a scientist. Commonly used for someone who has a thorough knowledge of Islam and its sources, the Qur'an and the Sunnah. An important characteristic of an `aalim, according to the Qur'an, is that he is deeply conscious of God and stands in awe of Him.
`Aamm, al The `general' as opposed to the `particular' (al khaass). Terms used by jurists in the complex matter of extracting laws from statements composed as codal propositions. Islamic scholarship called `general' (al `aamm) the term which comprehends a plurality, and distinguished two varieties of it - generality in the term itself and generality in the meanings to which the term may refer.
`Adl Justice, equilibrium.
`Aqeedah Belief; the substance of a belief.
`Ibaarat al Nass Explicit meaning of a given text which is borne out by its words.
`Illah (plural= `ilal). Effective cause or ratio legis of a particular ruling.
`Ulamaa' (singular= `aalim). See `aalim above.
`Urf Local custom which is `recognizably' good. In the absence of anything to the contrary, derivation of the law from the common and approved mores of a people.
(rAa) An abbreviation for "radi Allahu anhu"; used after the names of the first few generations of Muslims, it means "May God be satisfied with him/her"
(sAas) An abbreviation for "salli Allahu alayhi wa sallam"; used after the name of the Prophet Muhammad, it means "may the blessings of God and peace be upon him"
A'immah See imam.
Aayah (plural= aayaat). Literally, sign, indication, message; an aspect of God's creation; a section of the Qur'anic text often referred to as a `verse.'
Abbasids The Abbasids--a dynasty of Sunni Moslems--took over the Caliphate from the Umayyads in 750 and held it until 1258. They established their capital in Bagdad. During their reign, Islamic arts, literature, and culture blossomed and flourished. The location of the capital in Bagdad had a big impact on Islam, transforming it from a distinctly Mediterranean religion to one with more eastern elements.
Abraham Called Ibrahim in Arabic, Abraham is considered to be the first Moslem, that is, the first person to submit himself to Allah. He was also prophet. According to moslem belief, he and his son Ismail (i.e., Ishmael) built the Kaba and established the practice of Hajj.
Abu Bakr The first of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs, Abu Bakr was an early believer and follower of Mohammed who became a close advisor to him. When Mohammed was ill towards the end of his life, Abu Bakr lead the congregational prayers and the nineth Hajj. In 632, he became the first successor to Mohammed following Mohammed's death. Abu Bakr died in 634.
Adhan The call to prayer, which traditionally the muezzin calls from a mosque's minaret five times a day. This lets moslems know it is time to pray, whether they come to the mosque or pray where they are. The muezzin faces Mecca when he calls the Adhan.
Ahaadeeth (singular= hadeeth). The verbalized form of a tradition of the Prophet, constitutive of his Sunnah. A hadeeth narrative is divided into two parts the isnaad (chain of transmission) and the matn (content of the narrative).
Ahl al Bayt Literally, people of the house. Refers to the family and relations of the noble Prophet who were Muslims.
Ahl al Dhikr Literally, people of remembrance. Refers to true scholars whose knowledge springs from and is steeped in the remembrance of God.
Ahl al Hadeeth Literally, people of hadeeth. Refers to scholars who rely on authenticated sayings of the Prophet and who are wary of using independent reasoning (ra'ee) in making juristic judgments. Used in contradistinction to ahl al ra'ee (qv. under ra'i).
Ahl al Sunnah Literally, people of the Sunnah. Refers to the vast majority of Muslims who follow the Sunnah (qv) of the Prophet and the precedents of his rightly-guided successors. Used in contradistinction to the Shee`ah (qv.) who believed that `Alee, the Prophet's cousin and son-in-law, should have been his immediate successor. Ahl al Sunnah wa al Jamaa`ah - the community united behind the Sunnah of the Prophet.
Ali At the age of ten, Ali Ibn Abi Talib was the second person to belief in the teachings of Mohammed, after Khadija. A close associate and advisor of Mohammed all his life, Ali was renowned as a pious man, an honest judge, a warrior, and a leader. Shortly after the hijra (the moslem exodus to Medina), he married Mohammed's daughter Fatima, thus making him Mohammed's son-in-law as well as his cousin. After Mohammed's death, Ali became the focus of the first major split among Moslems. On the one hand, he became the Fourth Rightly Guided Caliph in 656, for which Sunni Moslems still revere him. On the other hand, Ali thought that the caliphate should have gone to him because he was Mohammed's closest male relative. Those who agreed with him became known as the Shia (i.e., the "party"). After his murder in 660, his followers split from the other Moslems and became known in English as the Shiites. Shiite belief elevates Ali to the position of a "Friend of Allah"--next to Mohammed--and the center of the differences between the Shiites and the Sunnis. In Shiite belief, Ali is the first Imam.
Allah The One God
Allah Allah is the one, single god of Islam; he is considered to be the same god as that worshipped by the Jews and the Christians (although Moslems believe the Christian Trinity misrepresents his nature). The word "Allah" is a contraction of the Arabic words "al illah" which mean "the god"; thus, like Christianity which calls its god "God," Moslems called their god "The God." According to Mohammed, Allah is a singular being who was neither born nor gives birth (in contrast to Christian beliefs). He is the Creator, the Merciful Judge who will bring the believers into heaven and put the unbelievers and sinners into hell. In Islam, he is the object of submission; that is to say, in accordance with the meaning of "Islam," Moslems submit to Allah.
Almsgiving Almsgiving (zakat in Arabic) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, almsgiving constitutes one of the main means by which Islam strives for an economically just society. It is an obligatory "poor tax"--reckoned at somewhere between two and ten percent of income and holdings--which can be given directly to the poor or to a distribution official. The money is used for hospitals, schools, helping indigent debtors and freeing slaves, as well as poor support. From the perspective of the giver, "zakat" (as it is known in Arabic) purifies the giver and the remainder of his "wealth." It is also envisioned as a loan to Allah, who will repay it double.
Ameer al Mu'mineen Literally, Commander of the Believers. The title was first given to any commander of a military mission but was later used specifically for the head of the Muslim state, the khaleefah.
Angel In Islam, angels are thought to be created out of light. Their main job is to praise Allah, and they obey him perfectly. Gabriel is considered the chief angel. Angels are not Jinn.
Ansaar Literally, Helpers. Name given collectively to the Muslims native to Madinah during the time of the Prophet who pledged to support and defend him.
Apostasy The rejection in word or deed of their former religion by a person who was previously a follower of Islam. The traditional schools of Islamic jurisprudence are unanimous in holding that apostasy by a male Muslim is punishable by death.
Arabs The Arabs are the Semitic peoples who originally lived in the Arabian Peninsula (i.e., modern day Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc.). Today, large groups of them also live in northern Africa, as far west as Morocco. They all speak the Arabic language and share a number of cultural commonalities. Most Arabs are Moslem, the rest (only three or four percent) are Christian.
Asbaab al Nuzool The causes or the circumstances and events surrounding a particular revelation of the Qur'an. Knowledge of the asbaab al nuzool helps provide an understanding of the original context and intent of a particular revelation. This knowledge is necessary for determining the ratio legis of a ruling and whether, for example, the meaning of the revelation is of a specific or of general application.
Asl (plural= usool). Root, origin, source; principle.
Athar Literally, impact, trace, vestige; deeds and precedents of the Companions of the Prophet.
Awra The part of a person's body that must be covered before everybody but a spouse; for men this is from navel to knee, for women from upper chest to knee. It may also be used to refer to what must be concealed of a woman before non-related men
Ayah Literally means "sign"; used to refer to a verse of the Quran, each of which is a sign of God. Plural is "ayat"
Ayatollah A Shiite who is learned in Sharia, Koran, and the Hadith, and who is known for their piety. This person is considered by his followers as the most learned person of his time period, which gives him the authority to make independent judgments.
Baatil Null and void.
Basmalah The formula - Bismillaah al Rahmaan al Raheem - In the name of God, most Gracious, most Merciful.
Batineeyah (From baatin meaning hidden or esoteric). A sect of Sufis who sought alleged esoteric meanings behind the words of the Qur'an through allegorical interpretation. They also searched for a living infallible leader and had recourse to Greek Pythagorean theories.
Bayaan Exposition, explanation, clarification.
Bid`ah Innovation. In contradistinction to the Sunnah. Refers to any action or belief which has no precedent in or has no continuity with the Sunnah. Any innovation introduced into the established practice of the noble Prophet, particularly relating to acts of worship, is regarded as erroneous according to his saying "Every innovation (bid`ah) is an error (.dalaalah)."
Bid'a Literally means "innovation"; it refers to adding an obligation to the religion that God and the Prophet Muhammad did not do. Some Muslims feel that adding anything at all to the religion, even if it's not an obligation, is a bid'a
Caliph Caliph (Arab. kalifa) was the title used by the people who took over the leadership of the Umma (the Moslem community) after the death of Mohammed. It means something like "vice-regent" and implies that they are the temporal leader, fulfilling roles such as judge, administrator, and general. However, they are neither the spiritual leader of the community (in Sunni Islam there is no spiritual leader for the entire community) nor are they a prophet like Mohammed. The institution of the caliphs is called the "Caliphate." The office of caliph was held first by the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs, then by the Umayyads, and then the Abbasids. The death of the last Abbasid emperor ended the caliphate for all intents and purposes.
Charity The third of the Five Pillars of Islam is more accurately called almsgiving. In Islam, charity (Arab. zadaqah) is better known as the voluntary giving of money, food, etc. to the poor. It differs from almsgiving, which is obligatory.
Christians See People of the Book.
Da`wah Invitation; call. Refers to the duty of Muslims to invite or call others to return to the straight and natural path of Islam or submission to God. This, according to the Qur'an, has to be done with wisdom and beautiful advice. The `most excellent speech' is that of a person who calls others to God. Da`wah is addressed to both Muslims and non-Muslims.
Da'wah The "call" to Islam; inviting people to learn more about Islam to encourage them to convert
Daleel (plural= adillah). Proof, indication, evidence. Every ruling or judgment needs to be substantiated by the appropriate daleel in the first instance from the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
Dalil Evidence that is brought from Quran and Sunna to prove a point. For instance, to make a claim about the status of the face veil, one must present dalils
David Islam views King David as a prophet.
Dhimmi A non-Muslim subject of a state governed in accordance with sharia law. The dhimma is a theoretical contract based on a widely held Islamic doctrine granting special status to Jewish, Christian, and other non-Muslim subjects. Dhimma provides rights of residence in return for taxes.
Deen Also spelled "din". The Arabic word for "religion". Carries the sense of a debt that we owe God, and of a code for judging peoples' actions. Thus it means religion as a whole way of life not just as worship practices
Deeyah Compensation.
Dome of the Rock The Dome of the Rock is the shrine in Jerusalem which makes Jerusalem the third holiest city in Islam. It is set over an outcropping of bedrock on which the Holy of Holies of the Jewish Temple supposedly rested. It is from here that Mohammed rose into heaven on his Night Journey. Although the shrine is sometimes called "The Mosque of Omar," the Dome of the Rock is technically not a mosque.
Du'a Personal prayer or supplication to God, contrasted with salat (which see), the fixed-time ritual prayer. The name means "calling on God"
Eid Means "festival"; also spelled "`Id". There are two Eids; Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha at the time of the end of the hajj
Eid al-Adha This is one of two main religious festivals in Islam (not including Ramadan and the Hajj), the other is Eid al-Fitr. It is also known as the Festival of the Sacrifice or the Major Festival. It is called the Festival of the Sacrifice for two reasons. First, the first day is the 10th day of the month Dhul al-Hijja, the day when the pilgrims on Hajj offer the sacrifice in the valley of Mina, which is one of the final acts of the Hajj. Second, the festival commemorates the day on which the Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) tried to fulfill Allah's command to sacrifice his son Ishmael (Ismael), but was prevented from doing so by an angel. The festival lasts for four days and is a time of feasting, rejoicing and remembrance.
Eid al-Fitr This is the second of the two main religious festivals in Islam (not including Ramadan and the Hajj), the other is Eid al-Adha. It is also know as the "festival of the breaking of the fast" or the Minor Festival. It is a time of celebration and rejoicing for it officially brings the observance of fasting during Ramadan to a close. Although called the "Minor" festival, it is often celebrated with much more rejoicing and gaity than the "Major" festival.
Faatihah, al Literally, the Opening. The opening chapter of the Qur'an.
Faqeeh (plural= fuqahaa'). Literally, one who has a deep understanding of Islam, its laws, and jurisprudence; a jurist.
faqir In general, "faqir" means "poor." In Islam, it is particularly applied to a Sufi who has voluntary become poor. In Sufism, it also applies to one who is "poor in spirit," who has according to Sufi belief humbled himself before Allah.
Far` (plural= furoo`). Literally, branch, subdivision. A subsidiary law; a new case (in the context of qiyaas (qv.)).
Fard Obligatory; performance will be rewarded and neglect will be punished (said of an action)
Fasting Fasting (sawm in Arabic) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. All healthy and sane Moslems are expected to fast (to abstain from food, drink, smoking and other bodily pleasures) during the daylight hours throughout the entire month of Ramadan. This means that they rise before dawn to eat breakfast and then eat a large meal after dusk. While they fast during the day, Moslems are expected to reflect on themselves and their standing before Allah, and ask for forgiveness for their sins. The evening meal, by contrast, is often a time of enjoyment and the gathering of friends and relatives.
Fatima The daughter of Mohammed and Khadija. She married Ali who became the fourth Rightly Guided Caliph and the leader of the Shia.
Fatwa Contrary to popular misconception, a fatwa is not a "death sentence" but is simply an official answer by a scholar to a legal question. One can ask for a fatwa on the status of pepperoni. Plural is "fatawa"
Fatwaa (plural= fataawaa). Juridical verdict, legal opinion.
Fiqh The science of jurisprudence or interpreting the Shari'a
Fiqh Literally, understanding. The legal science founded mainly on rules and principles developed by human reasoning (ijtihaad) and the body of knowledge so derived. Fiqh may therefore vary from one jurist or school of thought to another. The term "fiqh" is sometimes used synonymously with Sharee`ah (qv.). However, while fiqh is to a large extent the product of human endeavor, the Sharee`ah is closely related to divine revelation and knowledge which is only obtained from the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
Fitnah Any affliction which may cause man to go astray and to lose his faith in spiritual values; test, trial, confusion, civil war, oppression.
Five Pillars The Five Pillars of Islam indicate the main values and practices of Islam. They are: the Shahadah, Prayer, Almsgiving, Fasting, and the Hajj.
Four Rightly Guided Caliphs These are Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali. They are the first four leaders of Islam after the death of Mohammed. They took the title "caliph" to make it clear that they were not a prophet like Mohammed; it is often translated as "vice-regent," which indicates that the holder is an administrator (as well as a warrior). After the killing of Ali, the Umayyad dynasty became the leaders of the Islamic world. See also Caliph.
Gabriel The angel who served as a messenger between Allah and Mohammed to bring him the visions and the Koran. The Arabic word for Gabriel is Jabreel (=Jabril).
Ghayb, al That which is beyond the reach of human perception.
Ghusl A bath performed in a prescribed manner and which is necessary to ensure purification after certain actions, for example, sexual intercourse, seminal emissions, menstruation.
God See Allah.
Hadeeth see ahaadeeth above.
Hadeeth Da`eef Weak hadeeth. One of the three main categories of hadeeth in contradistinction to saheeh (authentic) and hasan (good) hadeeth. A hadeeth is weak owing to a weakness that exists in its chain of narrators or in its textual content. There are several varieties of weak hadeeth.
Hadeeth Marfoo` Literally, an `elevated' hadeeth. Refers to a hadeeth mursal (qv.) which is consistent with the precedent of the Companions and which is `elevated' and attributed to the Prophet.
Hadeeth Mashhoor A `well-known' hadeeth; a hadeeth which is originally reported by one, two, or more Companions from the Prophet or from another Companion, but has later become well-known and transmitted by an indefinite number of people during the first and second genera tion of Muslims.
Hadeeth Munqati` A hadeeth with part of its isnaad missing. Also referred to as hadeeth mursal.
Hadeeth Mursal A hadeeth which a person from the second generation of Muslims (Taabi`oon) has directly attributed to the Prophet without mentioning the last link, namely the Companion, who might have narrated it from the Prophet. More generally, a hadeeth with part of its isnaad missing.
Hadeeth Mutawaatir Literally `continuously recurrent' hadeeth. A hadeeth is classified as mutawaatir only when it is reported by a very large number of people of proven reliability in such a way as to preclude any possibility of them all agreeing to perpetuate a falsehood. According to the majority of scholars, the authority of a mutawaatir hadeeth is equivalent to that of the Qur'an.
Hadeeth Saheeh Authentic hadeeth. A hadeeth is classified as saheeh when its narrators are all reliable and trustworthy, when its isnaad is continuous and goes right back to the Prophet, and when the narration is free from any obvious or subtle defects.
Hadith A report about things the Prophet Muhammad said, did, or allowed; the hadiths are a textual source for the Sunna but are not identical to it
Hadith Qudsi A special kind of hadith in which the Prophet Muhammad reports on what God said to him other than the Quran; these are considered to be paraphrases while the Quran is God's literal word
Hadith The stories about and sayings of Mohammed. After his death, these were tested for accuracy and collected into an organized body of material. They provide examples of proper behavior and instances of Mohammed's understanding of his role.
Hafiz or Hafez a term used by Muslims for people who have completely memorized the Qur'an
Hajj The pilgrimage to Mecca; one of the five pillars. It is obligatory once in a Muslim's life, if he or she is able to afford it
Hajj The fifth of the Five Pillars of Islam. It lays out the goal of each Moslem performing a pilgrimage to Mecca to worship at the Kaba and to rededicate themselves to Allah at sites important in his life. The Hajj is immediately followed by the festival of Eid al-Adha.
Halal Lawful; something that is halal may be required, recommended, neutral, or even detestable. It is just that it is not forbidden
Hanafi One of the four madhhabs (which see). Generally considered the most liberal
Hanbali One of the four madhhabs (which see). Generally considered the most conservative
Hanif A pre-Islamic term referring to certain individuals in the Hejaz region who pursued experience of and interaction with the gods of the region. Mohammed, for example, was initially a hanif of Allah.
Haram Forbidden; performance will be punished and neglect will be rewarded (said of an action)
Hawaa (plural= ahwaa'). Vain or egotistical desire; individual passion; impulsiveness. Following one's own desires is described in the Qur'an as taking these desires as your `god' or object of worship. Following hawaa leads to arrogance and destruction and is contrasted with following the Sharee`ah which is designed to discipline and lead man to fulfillment and happiness.
Hawala (also known as hundi) An informal value transfer system (money transfer) based on the performance and honour of a huge network of money brokers, which are primarily located in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and South Asia.
Heelah Legal stratagem.
Hejaz The mountainous region of the Arabian Pennisula that is located along the north-east coast of the Red Sea. It is here that both Mecca and Medina are located. At the time of Mohammed's birth, it was populated by numerous, rival Arab tribes.
Hijab The modest dress of the Muslim woman; the word is sometimes used to refer only to the headscarf. A woman who wears hijab is a hijabi
Hijra The exodus of Mohammed and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622.
Hijrah Migration. The act of leaving a place to seek sanctuary of freedom or worship in another or for any other purpose. Also the act of leaving a bad practice in order to adopt a righteous way of life. Specifically, the hijrah refers to the Prophet's journey from Makkah to Madinah in the month of Rabee` al Awwal in the twelfth year of his mission, corresponding to June 622 AC. The Islamic calendar begins from this event (AH)
Hijree Pertaining to the hijrah.
Hudaybeeyah A plain to the west of Makkah where a truce was concluded between the Prophet and the Quraysh in 6 AH.
Hudood (singular= hadd). Literally, limits; the specific punishments assigned by the Qur'an and the Sunnah for particular crimes - intoxication, theft, rebellion, adultery and fornication, false accusation of adultery, and apostasy. These crimes involve transgressing the limits of acceptable behavior.
Hujjeeyah Producing the necessary proof or authority to validate a rule or concept.
Ibrahim, Ibraheem See Abraham.
Ihram The sacred state of the pilgrim on hajj; involves certain restrictions on conduct and certain changes in dress
Ijmaa` Consensus of opinion. Usually defined as the unanimous agreement of the mujtahidoon of any period following the demise of the Prophet Muhammad on any matter. As such, it is described as collective ijtihaad.
Ijtihaad Literally, striving and self-exertion; independent reasoning; analytical thought. Ijtihaad may involve the interpretation of the source materials, inference of rules from them, or giving a legal verdict or decision on any issue on which there is no specific guidance in the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
Ikhtilaaf Difference of opinion; disagreement; dispute; controversy.
Imam (plural= a'immah). Leader. May refer to the leader of congregational salaah, to a leading and reputable scholar, or to the head of the Muslim state.
Imam (1) In Sunni Islam, the leader of worship in a mosque. (2) In Shiite Islam, a spiritual leader whose authority comes from Mohammed through his son-in-law Ali. According to Shiite belief, there is an unbroken succession of Imams after Ali, although particular Imams may be hidden by Allah for protection. The line of Imams living in the world has now ceased, although most Shiites believe that the final one, the Mahdi, is alive in hiding (occultation) and will return.
Iman Faith
Inshallah God willing; if God wills (said when discussing the future)
Ishmael The son of Abraham, Ishmael is known as Ismail in Arabic. For Islam, Ishmael is the ancestor of the (northern) Arabs. He is a prophet, and assisted Abraham in building the Kaba. He is seen as the most important of Abraham's two sons; this is the reverse of Judaism and Christianity which sees Isaac as the dominant son. Indeed, in the story about Abraham almost sacrificing his son, Islam identifies the son as Ishmael, not Isaac.
Islam The religion which focuses on the human submission to Allah. The term "Islam" itself derives from two different roots, one which means "submission" and the other which means "peace." A person enters Islam by saying the Shahada. Approximately 80% of Moslems follow the Sunni line, while something over 15% are Shiites. According to Islam, Allah is the god of the Jews and the Christians--indeed, many Jewish and Christian figures are considered Islamic prophets, such as Abraham, David, and Jesus--but Mohammed is the final prophet, who managed to bring to humanity the complete and true understanding of Allah.
Ismail See Ishmael.
Isnaad Chain of narrators of a hadeeth.
Istihsaan Juristic preference - the abandonment of one legal ruling for another which is considered better or more appropriate to a given circumstance.
Istikhara A type of salat; it is offered when a Muslim faces a difficult decision, seeking God's aid
Istinbaat Inference. Deducing a somewhat hidden meaning from a given text. The process of extracting laws.
Istishaab Presumption of continuity, or presuming continuation of the status quo ante. For example, istishaab requires that once a contract of sale, or of marriage, is concluded it is presumed to remain in force until there is a change established by evidence.
Izzat Honor
Jaa'iz That which is allowed or permissible. As a rule, everything that is not prohibited is allowed.
Jabril, Jabreel See Gabriel.
Jadal Dialectics, wrangling, disputation.
Jamaa`ah Group, congregation, community.
Jannah Paradise; the abode of the righteous in the Hereafter. The Arabic word "Jannah" means "garden"
Jerusalem The third most holy city in Islam. This is due to its importance to the prophets of Islam that are also recognized by Judaism and Christianity. It also comes from the belief that Mohammed's night visit to heaven began from the ruined Temple Mount in Jerusalem. In 691, Moslems built the Dome of the Rock over that specific location. In the earliest years of Islam, Moslems prayered towards Jerusalem, until the direction was changed to Mecca.
Jesus In Islam, Jesus is considered an important prophet who came to deliver Allah's message to humanity. Unfortunately, that message was not transmitted accurately and, in Moslem eyes, resulted in the false notion that Jesus was more than a prophet.
Jews See People of the Book.
Jihad Contrary to popular opinion in the West, this does not mean "holy war". A literal translation is "struggle". The struggle to establish justice and righteousness may or may not involve military action. Just as Westerners talk about their "crusade against poverty", so Muslims can use jihad in the same sense. There is also the "greater jihad", which is entirely against the caprices of the soul; the jihad in the world is the "lesser jihad"
Jihad Literally, striving. Any earnest striving in the way of God, involving either personal effort, material resources, or arms for righteousness and against evil, wrongdoing and oppression. Where it involves armed struggle, it must be for the defense of the Muslim community or a just war to protect even non-Muslims from evil, oppression, and tyranny.
Jihad There are two types of Jihad. The Lesser Jihad is the expectation that Moslems will defend their homeland and Islam from attack. The Greater Jihad is the inner battle which Moslems continually fight within themselves to submit to Allah and to fulfill his expectations of humans.
Jilbab A long coat or cloak; more generally, any type of outergarment that covers from the shoulders to the ankles. Commanded in Quran Surah al-Ahzab ayah 59
Jinn One of the created orders, made of smokeless fire. The jinn according to the Quran may choose good or evil. Those who choose evil are referred to as "the satans". They seem to be similar to the evil spirits mentioned in the Talmud and the Gospels. The singular form is properly "jinni" and the English word "genie" seems to be a corruption of this
Jinn Invisible begins, in Islamic belief, who were created from fire. They can be good or bad, are held eternally accountable for their actions.
Jizya Sura 9:29 stipulates that jizya be exacted from non-Muslims as a condition required for jihad to cease. Failure to pay the jizya could result in the pledge of protection of a dhimmi's life and property becoming void, with the dhimmi facing the alternatives of conversion, enslavement or death.
Junub Impure. A person is considered to be in a state of impurity, for example, after sexual intercourse and seminal emissions. A person in such a state is normally required to perform ghusl (qv.) before performing acts of worship like salaah.
Kaba A rectangular structure (about 20 feet by 30 feet and about 50 feet high) which is build with a special holy stone as its cornerstone. It is in the center of a large mosque in Hajj. The Kaba serves as the center of the Moslem world and all Moslems pray towards it, whereever they may be in the world.
Kafir "Unbeliever" or "disbeliever", or sometimes "infidel". The term refers to a person who rejects God or who hides, denies, or "covers" the truth.
Kalaam Literally, `words' or `speech,' and referring to oration. The name applied to the discipline of philosophy and theology concerned specifically with the nature of faith, determinism and freedom, and the nature of the divine attributes.
Khaass The particular as opposed to the general (`aamm).
Khabar al Waahid A solitary hadeeth reported by a single person from the Prophet. Also called hadeeth Aahaad. Khabar means news or report.
Khadija Khadija was Mohammed's first wife and his first follower. She was a moderately wealthy widow who hired Mohammed to manage the caravan business left to her by her first husband. Five years later, when Mohammed was 25 and Khadija was 40, she proposed marriage to him. They had a happy marriage with several children, including daughter, Fatima. During her lifetime, Mohammed took no other wives. She died in 619.
Khaleefah (plural= khulafaa'). Steward, vicegerent; successor. Man is referred to as the khaleefah or steward of God on earth. The word khaleefah was used after the death of the noble Prophet Muhammad to refer to his successor, Aboo Bakr, as head of the Muslim community. Later it came to be accepted as the designation for the head of the Muslim state. Anglicized as caliph.
Khamar Intoxicant - wine.
Khawaarij Seceders. Name given to a group of the followers of the khaleefah `Alee who opposed his decision to agree to arbitration in the conflict with Moo`aawiyah in 38 AH/659 AC. Later on, this group recognized as legitimate only the first two caliphs. Aboo Bakr and `Umar. Theologically, they considered the sinner as a kaafir, an outlaw or apostate, whom it is legitimate and religiously imperative to fight.
Khilaaf Controversy, dispute, discord.
Khilaafah Stewardship, vicegerency; successorship. Office of the head of the Muslim state. Also the designation of the political system of the Muslim state after the noble Prophet.
Khutbah Sermon, oration, or ex tempore speech.
Koran According to Moslem belief, Allah composed the Koran (=Quran) and had his angel Gabriel transmit it to sura by sura. These transmissions--called recitations--began in 610 and continued until Mohammed's death in 632. Gabriel would teach each recitation to Mohammed, who would memorize it and then teach it to his followers, who would also memorize it. The third Caliph Uthman had the Koran written down, with the help of Islam's best memorizers, thereby establishing a fixed text. The Koran is Islam's sole sacred text; to be sure, the hadith, the sunna, and other writings are important, but they are the work of humans whereas the Koran comes from Allah himself. Since the Koran is the direct words of Allah, it provides God's final and definitive revelation.
Koreish At the time of Mohammed's birth, the Koreish tribe controlled Mecca and the area around it, including the Kaba. Since they gained income both from trade that passed through their territories and from pilgrimage to the Kaba, they opposed Mohammed's message of monotheistic worship of Allah. After the Moslems left for Medina, the Koreish tribe led armies out to defeat the Medinans. After their own defeat in 630, the Koreish tribe converted to Islam.
Kufr Ingratitude to God and manifest disbelief in Him and His religion.
Mabruk An Arabic term meaning "Congratulations!" or "May you be blessed"
Madhhab A term referring to a legal school in Islam. Each has a slightly different way of engaging in fiqh (which see)
Madhhab (plural= madhaahib). Literally, way of going. School of thought.
Mahram Someone with whom there can never be marriage because of consanguinity or affinity. For example, a father is a mahram relative for a woman
Makruh Detestable; performance will not be punished, but neglect will be rewarded (said of an action)
Maliki One of the four madhhabs (which see). Generally considered moderately liberal
Mandoob Recommended.
Mashallah What God has willed (said whenever something good or bad happens)
Masjid The Arabic word from which the English word "mosque" is derived; it means "place of prostration" or more broadly "place of worship". The mosque is just the Muslim place of worship
Masjid See Mosque.
Maslahah (plural= masaalih). Considerations of public interest. It is generally held that the principal objective of the Sharee`ah and all its commandments is to realize the genuine maslahah or benefit of the people.
Maslahah al Mursalah, al (plural= al masaalih al mursalah). A consideration which is proper and harmonious with the objectives of the Lawgiver; it secures a benefit or prevents a harm, but the Sharee`ah provides no indication as to its validity or otherwise. For example, the Companions decided to issue currency, to establish prisons, and to impose a tax on agricultural lands despite the fact that no textual authority could be found for these measures.
Mecca, Makkah This is the town in the Hejaz where Mohammed was born. It was the stronghold of the Koreish tribe and the location of the sacred site of the Kaba. After Mohammed was driven out by the Koreiysh tribe in 622 for teaching the monotheistic worship of Allah, the Meccans tried to kill Mohammed through military attacks. In 630, the Meccans were definitively defeated by Mohammed's Medinan forces, and the Moslems took over Mecca and the Kaba. Since then Mecca has been the most holy site in Islam (followed by Medina and Jerusalem) and the destination of the Hajj.
Medina, Madina Originally called Yathrib, in 622 the elders of this town asked Mohammed to come and govern them. He agreed on the conditions that they accept him as a Prophet and allow him to bring his followers. Mohammed governed this town until his death in 632. During his stay, the town came to be known as Medinat al-Nabi ("City of the Prophet"), or Medina for short. The Moslem exodus to Medina is known as the hijra. The year of the hijra, 622, became the first year of the Moslem calendar. Since Mohammed was buried in Medina, it is considered the second most holy city in Islam, after Mecca.
Minaret The minaret is a tower attached to a mosque from which the muezzin issues the call to prayer (the adhan). Although the tower can be any shape, it is typically round.
Mohammed, Muhammad Mohammed was born in Mecca in 570 CE. He was orphaned early in his life and was raised by his uncle. Mohammed worked in his uncle's business and quickly established a reputation as a highly honest person. At the age of twenty he was hired by a wealthy widow named Khadija to manage her late-husband's caravan business. When Mohammed was 25, Khadija proposed marriage and Mohammed accepted. Although several children were born to them, only one survived into adulthood, their daughter Fatima. In 610, Mohammed sought out and began to have visions from Allah. Through the angel Gabriel, Allah transmitted the entire Koran to Mohammed. When Mohammed began to preach his new religion, the rulers of Mecca were strongly opposed. In 622, Mohammed was approached by the elders of a town some 250 miles to the north and asked to be their ruler. Mohammed accepted on the conditions that they would also accept him as a prophet and that he could bring his followers. The exodus to this town, Medina as it later came to be known, was called the hijra. The Meccans attacked the Medinans several times, but the Medinans always managed to drive them off. In 630, the Meccans were defeated by Mohammed's forces and the Moslems returned to Mecca to rule there and cleanse the Kaba of all its idols. Mohammed continued to rule Medina, where he died in 632. Islam considers Mohammed the last of a long line of prophets of Allah and has given him the title of the Seal of the Prophets.
Moharebeh "Waging war against God,"[1] "war against God and the state,"[2] "enmity against God,"[3] or being an "enemy of God".[4] It is a capital crime in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Moslem, Muslim (1) A person who practices Islam. (2) The adjective of the noun "Islam."
Mosque The mosque (masjid in Arabic) is a house of prayer for community worship. The main prayer hall of a mosque is usually fairly empty; having floors covered with fine carpets rather than chairs. The hall has a niche--called a mihrab--which indicates the direction of Mecca, towards which prayers are offered. Although the prayers which Moslems pray five times a day can be said in private--or whereever a person happens to be--the mosque is seen as the place for communal prayer, especially on Friday. To call worshippers to prayer, the muezzin climbs the mosque's minaret and chants the call. As a religious center, a mosque may have a number of institutions attached to it; these may include a college, an alms kitchen for the poor, a hospital, a library, a primary school, a cemetery, and so on. See also Friday Mosque.
Mu`tazilah Group of rationalist thinkers who flourished from the middle of the second to the beginning of the fourth hijree century.
Mubah Neutral; peformance will not be rewarded and neglect will not be punished (said of an action)
Muezzin The muezzin calls moslems to prayer five times a day from a high place, usually the minaret of the local mosque by crying out the Call to Prayer (Arab. adhan).
Mujtahid (plural= Mujtahidoon). One who exercises ijtihaad (qv.).
Mullah In Sunni Islam, a mullah is a scholar who is learned in the Sharia.
Muqallid (plural= Mugallidoon). One who follows or imitates another, often blindly and unquestioningly.
Murji'ah Deferrers. Those who defer judgment of the sinner to God and the Day of Judgment.
Mushrik (plural= mushrikoon). One who associates others in worship with God; a polytheist.
Mustahabb Recommended; performance will be rewarded but neglect is not punished (said of an action)
Mutashaabihaat Allegorical. Refers to verses (aayaat) of the Qur'an which are expressed in a figurative manner in contradistinction to aayaat muhkamaat or verses which are clear in and by themselves.
Naasikh (active participle). Refers to the passage which abrogates or supersedes the part which is abrogated. The abrogated passage is called mansookh (passive participle).
Naskh Abrogation of certain parts of the Qur'anic revelation by others. The principle is mentioned in the Qur'an - "None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar" (2:106)
Nass (plural= nusoos). Text. A clear textual ruling or injunction from the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
Night Journey In the Night Journey of Mohammed, Gabriel took Mohammed from Medina to Jerusalem. They stopped momentarily on the spot that later became the Dome of the Rock. From there, Mohammed ascended into heaven to visit with prophets who had gone before him. For a long story about the journey, along with a picture of the Dome of the Rock, click here.
Niqab The face veil; styles of dress that involve veiling the face. A woman who wears niqab is a niqabi
People of the Book Islam considers the Jews and the Christians to be People of the Book. This gives them a special legal status within Islamic regions, essentially one of second-class citizenship, but with clearly defined rights and responsibilities. In Arabic, this status is that of dhimmi. In contrast to other non-Moslems, they could worship as they wished, own property, and had legal rights in Moslem courts. They could also serve in government. By contrast, they could not build new synagogues or churches, proselytize, or serve in the military. These rights gave them a place in Moslem society and protected them from persecution.
Pilgrimage See Hajj.
Prayer Prayer (salat or salah in Arabic) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. All Moslems are expected to pray five times a day. These are fixed prayers (including the Shahada and the opening Sura of the Koran) which can be said in private, where ever one happened to be when the time for prayer comes, or with the community in a mosque.
Prophets Since Islam considers Allah to be the god of the Jews and the Christians (see also People of the Book), it views the important figures of those two religions as prophets of Allah. Some of the figures Islam considers prophets are: Adam, Abraham, Ishmael, David, and Jesus. All these prophets delivered Allah's message, but somehow it was corrupted or shortened and so their work was only partially successful. This is why Mohammed is considered the Seal of the Prophets, because he brought the complete, final, and uncorrupted message of Allah to humanity.
Qat`ee Definitive, unequivocal; free of speculative content.
Qiyaas Analogical deduction or reasoning. Recourse to analogy is only warranted if the solution of a new case cannot be found in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Analogy then consists in extending a principle (asl) derived from the Qur'an and the Sunnah to the new case. Analogical deduction cannot operate independently of the nusoos.
Qiyamah, Day of The Day of Resurrection; Judgement Day. The Arabic word "qiyamah" carries a sense of it being the day on which everybody is called to stand (before God)
Quran The revealed Scripture of Islam; transmitted word-for-word from God to the Prophet Muhammad via the angel Gabriel
Quran See Koran.
Quraysh See Koreish.
Ra'i Opinion, reason. Ahl al Ra'i - scholars who employ independent reasoning to the solution of new problems, in contradistinction to scholars who confine themselves mainly to hadeeth (qv. Ahl al hadeeth).
Rabia A woman who was an important eighth-century Sufi. She introduced the emphasis on love of Allah into Sufism. From her perspective, selfless love of Allah was all important, and was vastly superior to loving him because of fear of hell or desire of heaven.
Ramadan The month of fasting; one of the five pillars. The fast is from dawn to sunset and involves abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations (if married)
Ramadan Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic year. It is considered holy because it was during this month that Mohammed received the first revelation of the Koran. During this month, Moslems fast during the daytime. At the end of the month, the festival of the Breaking of the Fast (Eid al-Fitr) occurs. It lasts for several days, during Moslems exchange gifts and greetings, and engage in feasting.
Revert A person who returns to a religion they previously had; Muslim custom is to apply this term to converts to Islam as well, on the grounds that Islam is the religion that every person was born into, but their parents made them another religion
Riba The practice of charging interest on loans; sometimes translated as "usury". Riba is forbidden under Islamic law, which makes the modern finance system challenging for Muslims
Sabr An Arabic word meaning "perseverance" or "patience". The quality of continuing to trust in God even when everything seems to be going wrong. Sabr is one of the qualities that can lead to Paradise. Quran 33:35 mentions "the men who persevere and the women who persevere" as among those who will receive a great reward from God
Sadd al Dharaa'i` Literally, blocking the means. Implies blocking the means to an expected end or an evil which is likely to materialize if the means towards it is not obstructed. For example, illicit privacy between members of the opposite sex is blocked or made unlawful because [of the prohibition of adultery - ed. (missing text)].
Sahaabah Companions of the Prophet.
Sahaba The Companions of the Prophet Muhammad; the singular is "sahabi" and the feminine plural is "sahabiyat"
Salaf A general term for the early generations of Muslims
Salaf Forebears, predecessors, ancestors. Al Salaf al Saalih - the righteous forebears - refers to the early generations of Muslims including the Sahaabah and the Taabi`oon.
Salat The fixed-time ritual prayer of Islam and one of the five pillars. It is offered five times a day: at dawn, mid-day, mid-afternoon, sunset, and nightfall
Salat See Prayer.
Seal of the Prophets Mohammed is considered the "Seal of the Prophets." That is, he is the final prophet--the "Seal"-- in the line of Islamic prophets that goes back through Jesus, David, and Moses to Adam. The teachings Allah gave through him--the Koran-- are the final revelation to humanity.
Shafi'i One of the four madhhabs (which see). Generally considered relatively conservative
Shahaadah Testimony, witness; the act of witnessing that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His prophet, servant, and messenger; the verbal content of this act; martyrdom.
Shahada The Shahada is the central Moslem statement of faith. It is short, but in two parts. The first is: "There is no god but Allah" (Arab. "La illahah illah 'lla"). The second is: "And Mohammed is his Prophet" (Arab. "Wah Mohammadan rasulu 'llah"). Saying the Shahada in Arabic with the intent of becoming a Moslem immediately makes a person a member of the Umma (i.e., the Islamic Community).
Shahadah The testimony of faith "Laa ilaha ill'Allah. Muhammadan rasul Allah" that makes a person a Muslim under the law
Shaikh, Sheikh (1) The leader of a town or village. (2) The head religious (Islamic) functionary in a town or region. (3) In Sufism, a spiritual master. This individual collects disciples around him to teach them the way of Sufism, and ultimately how to become a shaikh themselves.
Shari'a Islamic law; the two sources are the Quran and the Sunna
Sharia (1) Historically, the term "Sharia" refers to all the elements of a proper--i.e., righteous--Islamic life; these include proper moral behavior, proper respect towards Allah, correct belief, proper personal piety, and so on. In other words, it means the right way to life one's life as a Moslem. (2) In more recent times, it has come to refer to a much narrower notion, that of "Islamic Law." This usage is quite common in the Western press.
Shaytan The satan. The English word "satan" is actually adapted from a Hebrew word which means "adversary". The Arabic word "shaytan" is a cognate to this. Satan in Islamic teaching (where he is also named Iblis) is from the race of the jinn (which see) rather than being a fallen angel as in Christian teaching
Shee`ah Literally, sect or party. The term Shee`ah is short for Shee`at `Alee or Sect of `Alee. They believed that `Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet, should have succeeded him after the Prophet' death.
Shia The term "Shia" means "party" or "partisans," and refers to the followers of Ali who held that Mohammed had appointed Ali as his successor. After Ali's assassination, they split from their fellow Moslems (who became know as the Sunni Moslems). In English, this branch of Islam is called Shiite Islam.
Shiite Islam Today, Shiite Moslems make up about 15 percent of all Moslems (the rest are Sunni). The main reason for their split from the rest of the Umma lies in their different understanding of the proper succession after Mohammed's death. The Shiites believed that Mohammed had designed Ali as his successor and spiritual heir. There are two important aspects here. First, the idea that Mohammed's heir should be from Mohammed's family. Second, that unlike the caliphate, the successor should be a religious and spiritual leader as well as a wielder of worldly and temporal power. Thus the leader was called Imam rather than caliph. The Twelver Shiites believe in the ongoing succession of Imam, although the last living Imam was the twelveth (born in 873); he has become the Hidden Imam, the coming messianic figure whose arrival will usher in the end of time (and the Day of Judgment).
Shiqaaq Discord, schism, breach.
Shirk The associating of partners with God; usually translated as "polytheism" or "idolatry"
Sira The story of the life of Mohammed
Sufi, Sufism Sufism is a term that designates Islam's mystical and ascetic movements. A Sufi is one who practices Sufism. Sufis attempt to go beyond the restrictions of a "typical" Moslem life and to seek Allah in more intimate ways. They strive to break down the barriers between themselves and Allah by replacing their human characteristics with divine ones. In many ways, this is similar to the Buddhist's attempts to reach enlightenment (the realization that all is one). Since Allah is one himself, the attempt to reach him can become the realization of the oneness of all things. Sufis focus on three kinds of mysticism to accomplish this: love mysticism (see Rabia), ecstatic mysticism, and intuitive mysticism (see Smith, pp. 259-261). There has always been a tension between Sufism and classical Islam because many of the beliefs, actions, and statement of Sufism appear heretical to non-Sufis.
Sunna (1) The deeds, sayings, and silent approvals of the Prophet Muhammad; this consitutes the second source of Shari'a. It is obligatory for Muslims to follow the Sunna as well as the Quran
Sunna (2) Some action taken by the Prophet Muhammad; for instance one of the Prophet's sunnas is to fast three days each month
Sunna (3) Recommended; performance will be rewarded but neglect is not punished (said of an action). This is nearly synonymous with "mustahabb" but carries the sense that the form has specifically been established by the Prophet Muhammad
Sunna The sunna is the paradigm of the behavior of the perfect Moslem, based on the example set by Mohammed. It includes aspects of ethics and morality, purity, prayer and worship, as well as matters of social and familial relations. This paradigm is derived from the hadith, the stories and about sayings of Mohammed.
Sunnah Literally, a clear path or beaten track. Refers to whatever the Prophet said, did, agreed to, or condemned. The Sunnah is a source of the Sharee`ah and a legal proof next to the Qur'an. As a source of the Sharee`ah, the Sunnah may corroborate a ruling which originates in the Qur'an. Secondly, the Sunnah may consist of an explanation or clarification of the Qur'an. Thirdly, the Sunnah may also consist of rulings on which the Qur'an is silent.
Sunni Islam The followers of Sunni Islam make up the vast majority of Moslems, some 80 to 85 percent. Indeed, when people speak about "Islam," or say "Moslems believe..." or "Moslems do...", they are usually referring to Sunni Islam. The basis for the difference between Sunni Islam and Shiite Islam lies in their beliefs about the successor to Mohammed. Sunnis believe that Mohammed did not appoint a successor, and therefore one had to be appointed by the Moslems themselves. This lead to the establishment of the Caliphate, a series of men who took over Mohammed's worldly and temporal power, but who made no claim to be Mohammed's spiritual successor.
Sura The Arabic term for a chapter in the Koran.
Surah Refers to the "chapters" of the Quran; there are 114 surahs
SWT An abbreviation for "Subhana wa Ta'ala"; used after God's name, it means "be He glorified and exalted"
Ta'weel Interpretation or explanation. Sometimes used synonymously with tafseer. Often used in the Qur'an in the sense of `final meaning,' `inner meaning' or `real meaning' of a happening or statement or thing as distinct from its outward appearance. Absolute knowledge or what a thing or event implies rests with God alone - "none except God knows its final meaning - ta'weel" (3:7)
Taabi`oon Literally, followers. The generation of Muslims immediately after the Companions (.Sahaabah).
Tabi'un The Successors; this refers to the second generation of Muslims, who were succcessors to the Sahaba
Tafseer Commentary, exegesis of the Qur'an.
Tafsir A commentary on the Quran, explaining the meaning of its verses
Taqleed Uncritical adoption or imitation of a particular scholar or school of thought (madhhab).
Taqwaa Consciousness of God.
Tasawwuf Islamic mysticism; the English term is Sufism
Tawbah Literally, returning. Repenting and seeking forgiveness for one's sins in order to return as close as possible to one's originally good and unsullied state.
Tawheed Belief in or affirmation of the Oneness of God.
Tawhid Islamic monotheism
Tayammum Symbolic ablution in place of wudoo', performed, for example, in the absence of water or in the case of illness.
Twelvers The Twelvers are the largest branch of Shiite Islam, and are also known as the Imamiyya. They are named after their belief that the twelth Imam, Mohammed al-Mahdi disappeared, being taken by Allah. They expect him to return before the Judgement Day as a messiah figure. The Mahdi is know as the Hidden Imam.
Ulama The religious scholars of Islam. The singular is "alim" and the term "mullah" is synonymous. The place of ulama in Islam is similar in many ways to that of rabbis in Judaism
Ulama See Mullah.
Umar Umar was the second of the Rightly Guided Caliphs. He took over after Abu Bakr's death in 634 and ruled until being killed by an angry slave in 644. He began the administrative and religious regulations that enabled the expansion of the Islamic empire.
Umayyads After initially opposing Mohammed, the Umayyad family became strong Moslems. They became rulers of the Islamic Empire (as Caliphs) from 661-750, after the death of Ali, the last of the Rightly Guided Caliphs. Headquartered in Damascus, they ruled the entire Islamic Empire--from Spain, across North Africa into the Middle East and beyond--until they were overthrown by the Abassids.
Umma An Arabic word meaning "community" or "nation"; specifically used to refer to the worldwide community of Muslims, as united by faith
Umma The entire community of Moslems, those who have submitted themselves to Allah. (See also Islam.)
Ummah (plural= umam). Community, nation. Specifically, the community of believers or the universal Muslim community.
Ummahat al-Muminin An Arabic phrase meaning "mothers of the faithful". It is a title given to the wives of the Prophet Muhammad, based on Surah al-Ahzab verse 6 which says "The Prophet is nearer to the faithful than their own souls, and his wives are their mothers"
Usool (singular, asl). Principles, origins. Usool al fiqh - principles of Islamic jurisprudence, philosophy of law; the methodology of deriving laws from the sources of Islam and of establishing their juristic and constitutional validity.
Uthman Uthman was the third of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, and ruled from the death of Umar in 644 to 656. Under Uthman, the Quran was edited into its final form. Uthman was a controversial appointment as Caliph, since his extended family--the Umayyads--had been fierce opponents of Mohammed. He was assassinated in 656.
Wali An Islamic term for saint.
Waqf (plural= awqaaf). Charitable endowment or trust set up in perpetuity.
Wudoo' Purification that must precede salaah and such acts as the reading of the Qur'an.
Wudu The ritual ablutions that precede the salat, which involve washing the hands, mouth, nose, face, forearms, hair, ears, and feet
Zaahir Manifest, apparent, obvious. A word or phrase is described as zaahir when it has a clear meaning. It may still however be open to interpretation.
Zakaah The compulsory `purifying' tax on wealth which is one of the five `pillars' of Islam. The word zakaah is derived from the word meaning purification, growth, and sweetening.
Zakat One of the five pillars, it involves giving 2.5% of surplus wealth to help the needy
zakat See Almsgiving.
Zannee Speculative, doubtful. Refers to a text which is open to interpretation as opposed to a text which is definitive, unequivocal (qat`ee).



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