The Glossary



Alhamdulillah- All thanks and praises are due to God.

Allah- God, the creator. The only one worthy of worship.

Allahu Akbar- God is the Greatest.

Asalamu Alaikum- A greeting that means “peace be with you”. The proper response is “walaykum Asalam”, meaning “and peace be with you”.

Ayah (Plural: Ayat)- A sign from God. A verse of the Quran.



Biddah- Innovation in religion. Something added to the religion, by man, without divine decree.

Bismillah- In the name of God.



Dawah- inviting to Islam.

Deen- a way of life, religion.

Dua- supplication or prayer asking God for something.



Eid- Celebration. There are two Islamic celebrations: Eid al-Fitr, celebrated after Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, celebrated after the pilgrimage.



Fatwah- A legal opinion based on religious texts.

Fiqh– Literally means “deep understanding,” refers to understanding the Islamic laws. Islamic jurisprudence based directly on the Qur’an and Sunnah that complements Shariah with evolving rulings and interpretations of Islamic Jurists.

Fitnah- Trial or test. The word is often used to describe tests in which something disliked is eliminated.



Ghusl- the full body washing ablution/ritual cleansing required, if the adult loses the state of body cleanness, for adults prior to various rituals and prayers.



Hadith- a saying or tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Hajj- The pilgrimage to Mecca. The fifth pillar of Islam.

Halal- permissible.

Haram- forbidden.

Hijab- The covering of one’s body in loose, opaque clothing. For women this includes everything but the face and hands. For men this includes everything from the belly button to the knees.



Imam- Religious leader.

Iman- faith.

InshaAllah- God willing.



Jazakum Allah Khair- May God reward you with good. Used to express gratitude.

Jihad- A struggle in the way of God. Is often mistranslated as holy war.



Kaba- The cube shaped building in Mecca towards which Muslims pray.

Kufr- Disbelief



La illaha ila Allah- There is no god but God.



MashaAllah- God has willed it. An expression to show joy or appreciation.

Masjid- Mosque, place of worship.



PBUH- “Peace be unto him.” A blessing which is affixed to Muhammad’s name whenever it is written. The Arabic version is S.A.W.S or “Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam.”

Pillars of Islam- There are five pillars of Islam: testament of faith, prayer, fasting, alms, pilgrimage.



Quran- The literal word of God and the culmination of God’s revelation to mankind, revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).



Rakah- A unit of prayer. Each prayer has different numbers of rakah.

Ramadan- The 9th month in which fasting is obligatory upon healthy, adult Muslims from dawn to dusk. It is the third pillar of Islam.



Sabr- Patience

Sadaqah- voluntary charity.

Sahabah- the comapanions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Salah- Prayer. There are 5 daily prayers at prescribed times of day. This is the second pillar of Islam.

Shahada- The testament of faith: “There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” . This is the statement that makes one a Muslim when declared publicly with conviction and free from coercion. It is the first pillar of Islam.

Sheikh- Islamic scholar, cleric

Shariah- Islamic law and way of life

Shaytan- Devil. Satan.

Shirk- Associating anything in partnership with God, the creator of all things. Polytheism.

SubhanAllah- Glory is to God

Sunnah- Traditions, Practices, and all that was approved of by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Surah- A chapter of the Quran

SWT- Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. Arabic for “May He be glorified and exalted”, used when mentioning God.



Tafseer- Exegesis or commentary on the Quran

Tawheed- the strict monotheism. Opposite of “shirk” (see above)

Tayyeb- good, wholesome, healthy



Ummah- The global community of Muslims.



Walaikum Asalam- And Peace be with you. It is said in response to “Asalamu Alaikum”, which means “peace be with you”.

Wudu- ablution/ritual cleansing of the hands, face, nose, mouth, forearms, head, and feet, performed to remove impurities before prayer



Zabiha- meat that comes from an animal which was slaughtered according to strict Islamic guidelines, which include killing the animal with one cut to the jugular, killing him away from his fellow animals so as to not scare them, speaking kindly to him, and speaking the name of Allah (saying Bismillah) when you slaughter him.

Zakat-  A tax that is the duty and social obligation of every Muslim. The Zakat is distributed to the poor. This as the fourth Pillar of Islam.


More terms and more in depth definitions at


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