Islamic Glosary

Here is a simple glossary of words and terms that are often used and sometimes not translated. If there were any other word that is not here and you want to know the meaning, do not hesitate to consult us.



Adab – correct behavior, courtesy that arises as correct action.

Adhan – the call to prayer.

Ahl al-Medina – the people of Madina, especially the Companions of the Prophet, his Followers and the Followers of the Followers.

Ahl as-Suffa – the people of the bank, the poor of the Companions of the Prophet who lived in a gallery in a courtyard near the house of the Prophet, may Al-lah bless him and grant him peace.

Ahl as-Sunna wa’l-Jama’a – People of the Sunna and Community, the group formed by the Muslim community.

Ahwal – plural of hal, states of consciousness.

‘Aÿami – Not Arab.

‘Alim – a scholar, especially of the sciences of Islam.

‘Amal – action, specifically the practice of the people of Medina.

‘Aqida – articles of belief.

Asanid – plural of isnad, chain of transmission.

Ashab an-nuzul – the reasons for the revelation of certain ayats of the Quran, depending on the circumstances in which they were revealed.

Ayat – a verse from the Quran.


Baraka – the blessing that emanates from a particular person or place.

Barzaj – the interspace between two things; separates and unites them at the same time.

Batini – internal, esoteric.

Bid’a – innovation, something introduced in Islam after the formative period.


Dar al-hiÿra – the Residence where the Prophet made hiÿra, e.d. Madina.

Da’wa – to invite or call people to Islam.

Din – the vital transaction. The debt between two parties, in this case between the Creator and the created.

Dhikr – remembrance and consequently invocation of Al-lah.

Dirasat al-hadith – the study of hadith.

Du’a – to ask Al-lah.

Dunia – this world as opposed to the Other Life.


Faqih – man who has knowledge of fiqh by virtue of which he can make legal judgments.

Fard – obligatory; An obligatory act of worship or practice of the din.

Fatwa – authorized legal opinion or judgment issued by faqih.

Fidya – rescue; the compensation to be paid for rites omitted or wrongly made due to ignorance or illness.

Fiqh – the science of the application of Shari’a.

Firasa – Intuitive knowledge of human nature.

Fisabilil-lah – “in the way of Allah”.

Fitna – sedition, schism, civil war.

Fuqaha’ – plural de faqih.

Furqan – discrimination.


Habous – another term for waqf.

Hadd – pl. Hudud: The limits of Al-lah for halal and haram. The hadd punishments have specific sanctions set by the Shari’a for certain transgressions.

Hafiz – who has memorized the whole of the Quran.

Halal – allowed by the Shari’a.

Haram – protected area in which some behavior is prohibited while another is obligatory. The area around the Ka’ba in Mecca and the area around the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina are Haram.

Haram – forbidden by the Shari’a.

Hijaz – region located along the west coast of Arabia in which are located the cities of Mecca, Madina, Jeddah and Ta’if.

Hjjra – to emigrate in the way of Al-lah, in particular the emigration from Mecca to Medina.

Hudud – plural of hadd (see above).


‘Ibada – act of worship, worship in general.

‘Ilm – knowledge, particular knowledge of the sciences of Islam.

Ijaza – the permission given by the teacher to his disciple so that he will teach what he has learned.

Ijma ‘- consensus, in particular the consensus of the Muslims on the issues of fiqh.

Ijtihad – lit .: endeavor – to practice personal judgment in legal matters.

Iman – belief, acceptance of the real nature of existence.

Iqamat as-salat – establishment of the prayer in a timely manner.

Isnad, pl. asanid – a chain of transmission of a hadith.

Istihsan – application of one’s own judgment or preference in a legal decision.


Kafir – the non-believer, who covers the true nature of existence.

Kalam – lit. Language, the science that understands the articulation or the expression in words of the knowledge of the Divine.

Kuffar – plural of kafir.

Kufr – non-belief, cover, reject Al-lah, refuse to believe that Muhammad is the Messenger of Al-lah.

Kunya – a respectful and at the same time intimate way of addressing people as “the father of so-and-so” or “the mother of so-and-so.”


Madhhab – school of fiqh, especially those derived from the four great scholars of Islam, e.d., Maliki, Hanafi, Shafi ‘or Hanbali.

Mansuj – abrogated; Is applied to the Quranic ayats or hadith substituted by later ones, thus altering the legal dispositions expressed initially.

Maqamat – stations of spiritual knowledge.

Mawali – plural of mawla; Person with whom a wala bond is established ‘; The most frequent case is that of having been a slave released.

Mizan – equilibrium, the correct measure of things and consequently justice.

Mubin – clear, obvious.

Mudd – measure of volume, approximately what can be contained in both hands together.

Mufassirin – people who make tafsir.

Mufti – person qualified to issue fatwa.

Muhaddizun – people who process and study hadith.

Muÿtahid – qualified person to do iÿtihad.

Mumin – believer, the one who has iman.

Muqallid – the one who does taqlid.

Mutakal-limun – those who study kalam.

Muwahhidun – those who affirm the unity of Allah.




Nabawiyya – the prophetic phenomenon consisting of the Book and the Sunna.

Nasij – abrogating.

Nidhamiyya – order under the leadership, the reins of the government.

Nuzul – lit. decline; The descent or revelation of the Quran.


Qadi – judge qualified to rule on hadd punishments.

Qari’ – reciter of the Quran.

Qiyas – analogy; the method of reaching a legal decision by using something similar.


Ra’y – opinion, legal decision based on personal opinion.

Rahma – mercy.

Riba – usury.

Riÿal, ‘ilm ar-riÿal – men, study of men present in an isnad.

Riwaya – recitation or transmission of the Koran or other text.

Ruhani – spiritual.


Sa’ – volume measurement equivalent to four mudds.

Sadaqa – to give in the way of Al-lah.

Salafi – adjective of Salaf; The first generations of Muslims, especially the Companions.

Sama’ – lit. Listening, oral transmission.

Sawm – fasting.

Shahada – to testify; to affirm that there is no more divinity than Al-lah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Al-lah.

Shahid – lit. witness; -martir in the way of Al-lah.

Shari’a – the social and legal form of a people based on the revelation of their Prophet, may Al-lah bless him and grant him peace.

Shirk – The opposite of tawhid, to associate any thing or person with Al-lah.

Shuyukh – plural of shaykh.

Sira – written works on the life of the Prophet, may Al-lah bless him and grant him peace.

Sirat al-Mustaqim – the Straight Road.

Sunna – lit. shape; – the customary practice of a person or group of people. The Sunnah is the practice of the Prophet, may Al-lah bless him and grant him peace.


Tafsir – commentary and explanation of the Quran.

Takfir – declare someone as kafir.

Talib – lit. Searcher, person seeking knowledge, student.

Taqwa – fear of Al-lah which inspires the person to be careful with evil deeds and to desire those who please Al-lah.

Tarbiyya – education.

Tarÿi ‘- aloud repetition of the shahada in the adhan after having said it in a low voice.

Tasawwuf – Sufism. The science of the development of the noble qualities of character and the knowledge of the Creator through the states and seasons of sincerity and purity of heart. It is an essential part of the path of Islam.

Tawhid – divine unity.

Tuba – state of happiness of the Garden.


‘Ulama – plural of ‘alim

‘Ulum – plural of ‘ilm; science or knowledge.

Umma – the group of Muslims as an integrated and determined community.

Usul – plural of asl, the fundamental sources or principles of fiqh.


Wahm – illusion.

Waqf – inalienable foundation established with charitable purpose.

War’a – scrupulosity; extreme insistence on avoiding haram and maintaining pure intentions.


Ÿadidi – modern.

Ÿahilia – the time of ignorance before the arrival of Islam.

Ÿama’at – the main group in the Muslim community.

Ÿanna – the Garden, the Paradise.

Ÿazira – Mesopotamia or northeastern Syria.

Ÿihad – combat, fight in the way of Allah to establish Islam.


Zakat – tax on wealth, one of the five fundamental practices of Islam.

Zuhhad – plural of zahid; the one practicing zuhd, e.d. Renounces what is not necessary and conforms little.

Leave a Reply