adab: correct behaviour, courtesy coming out as right action.

adhan: the call to prayer.

Ahl al-Madinah: the people of Madinah, particularly the Companions of the Prophet, their Followers and the Followers of their Followers. 

Ahl as-Suffa: the people of the bench, the poor among the Companions of the Prophet who lived on a verdanah in a court yard next to the Prophet’s house.

Ahl as-Sunna wa’l-Jama’a: People of the Sunna and Community, i.e. the body of the Muslim community.

ahwal: plural of hal, states of consciousness. 

ajami: non-Arab.

‘alim: a scholar, particularly in the sciences of Islam.

‘amal: action, in particular the action of the people of Madinah.

‘aqida: articles of belief.

asanid: plural of isnad, chain of transmission.

asbab an-nuzul: the reasons for the revelation of particular ayats of the Quran, depending on the circumstances in which they were revealed.

ayat: a verse of the Qur’an.

baraka: blessing emanating from a particular person or place.

barzakh: an interspace between two things which both separates and joins them.

batini: inward, esoteric.

bid’a: innovation, something introduced into Islam after the formative period.

Dar al-Hijra: the Abode to which the Prophet made hijra, i.e. Madinah. 

da’wa: inviting or calling people to Islam.

deen: the life-transaction, lit. the debt between two parties, hi this usage between the Creator and created.

dhikr: remembrance and hence invocation of Allah.

dirasat al-hadith: the study of hadith. 

du’a: supplication to Allah.

dunya: this world as opposed to the Hereafter.

faqih: a man learned in knowledge of fiqh who by virtue of his knowledge can give a legal judgement.

fard: obligatory, an obligatory act of worship or practice of the deen. 

fatwa: an authoritative legal opinion or judgement made by a faqih. 

fidya: lit. ransom, compensation paid for rites missed or wrongly performed because of ignorance or ill-health. 

fiqh: science of the application of Sharia. 

firasa: intuitive knowledge of human nature. 

fisabilillah: “in the way of Allah”. 

fitna: sedition, civil strife, schism. 

fuqaha’: plural of faqih (see above). 

furqan: discrimination.

habous: another term for waqf (see below).

hadd, p., hudud: Allah’s boundary limits for the halal and the haram. The hadd punishments are specific fixed penalties laid down by the Shari a for the specified crimes.

hafidh: one who has memorised the whole Qur’an by heart. 

halal: permitted by Sharia.

Haram: a protected area in which certain behaviour is forbidden and other behaviour necessary. The area around the Ka’ba in Makka is a Haram as is the area around the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.

haram: forbidden by Shari’a.

Hijaz: the region along the western seaboard of Arabia in which Makka, Madina, Jeddah and Ta’if are located.

hijra: to emigrate in the way of Allah, particularly the emigration from Makka to Madinah.

hudud: plural of hadd (see above).

‘ibada: act of worship, or worship in general.

‘ilm: knowledge, particular knowledge of the sciences of Islam. 

ijaza: the teacher’s licence to his disciple to pass on what he has taught.

ijma’: consensus, particularly the consensus of the Muslims on matters of fiqh.

ijtihad: lit, to struggle-to exercise personal judgement in legal matters.

iman: belief, accepting the true nature of existence.

iqamat as-salat: to establish the prayer by doing each prayer in its time. 

isnad, pl. asanid: a chain of transmission of a hadith. 

istihsan: application of discretion or preference in a legal decision. 

jadidi: modern.

jahiliyya: the Time of Ignorance before the coming of Islam. 

jama’at: the main body of the Muslim community.

Janna: the Garden, Paradise.

Jazira: Mesopotamia or northeastern Syria.

jihad: struggle, particularly fighting in the way of Allah to establish Islam.

kafir: unbeliever, one who covers up the true nature of existence. 

kalam: lit. speech, particularly, science of articulating and expressing in words the knowledge of the Divine.

kuffar: plural of kafir (see above).

kufr: disbelief, to cover up, to reject Allah, to refuse to believe that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

kunya: a respectful but intimate way of addressing people as “the father of so-and-so” or “the mother of so-and-so.”

madhhab: a school of fiqh, particularly deriving from the four great scholars of Islam, eg. the Maliki, Hanafi, Shafi’i, Hanbali madhhabs. 

mansukh: abrogated, particularly with regard to earlier Qur’anic ayats and hadith replaced by later ones, altering the legal judgements which had been initially expressed in the earlier ones.

maqamat: stations of spiritual knowledge.

mawali: plural of mawla; a person with whom a tie of wala’ has been established, usually by having been a slave and then set free. 

mizan: balance, proper measure of things and hence justice. 

mubin: clear, evident.

mudd: a measure of volume, approximately a double-handed scoop. 

mufassirin: people who do tafsir (see below). 

mufti: someone qualified to give fatwa (see above).

muhaddithun: people who transmit and study hadith. 

mujtahid: someone qualified to do ijtihad (see above). 

mumin: a believer, someone with iman (see above). 

muqallid: someone who does taglid (see below). 

mutakallimun: people who study kalam (see above). 

muwahhidun: those who affirm the unity of Allah. 

nabawiyya: the prophetic phenomenon which consists of the Book and the Sunna.

nasikh: abrogating (see mansukh above).

nidhamiyya: order under leadership, the reins of governance. 

nuzul: lit. descent, refers to the descent or revelation of the Qur’an. 

qadi: judge qualified to dispense hadd punishments (see above). 

qari’: Qur’an reciter.

qiyas: analogy, a method of arriving at a legal judgement by using something analogous.

ra’y: opinion, legal decision based on the use of personal opinion. 

rahma: mercy. 

riba: usury.

rijal, ‘ilm ar-rijal: men, ‘ilm ar-rijal is the study of the men in an isnad (see above).

riwaya: a reading or transmission of the Qur’an or another text. 

ruhani: spiritual.

sa’: a measure of volume equal to four mudds. 

sadaqa: giving in the way of Allah in any form.

Salafì: adjective from Salaf, the early generations of the Muslims, especially the Companions.

sama’: lit. listening; direct oral transmission. 

sawm: fasting.

shahada: witnessing: the affirmation that there is no divinity except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. 

shahid: lit. a witness-a martyr in the way of Allah.

sharia: the legal and social modality of a people based on the revelation of their Prophet.

shirk: to associate anything as a partner with Allah. The opposite of tawhid.

shuyukh: plural of shaykh.

sira: the literature about the life of the Prophet.

Sirat al-Mustaqim: the Straight Path.

sunna: lit. a form, the customary practice of a person or group of people. The Sunna is the practice of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

tafsir: commentary and explanation of the Qur’an. 

takfir: to declare someone a kafir (see above).

talib: lit. a seeker, a person who looks for knowledge, student. 

taqlid: the following of previous authorities and avoidance of ijtihad. 

taqwa: awe of Allah, which inspires a person to be on guard against wrong action and eager for actions which please Him.

tarbiyya: education.

tarji’: repeating the shahada in the adhan in a loud voice after saying it in a low voice. 

tasawwuf: Sufism.

tawhid: affirmation of the divine unity.

Tuba: a state of blessedness in the Garden.

‘ulama’: plural of alim (see above).

‘ulum: plural of ‘ilm, knowledges or sciences.

umma: the body of Muslims as one distinct and integrated community. 

usul: plural of asl, the fundamental principles or sources in fiqh (see above).

wahm: illusion.

waqf: an endowment for a charitable purpose which is unalienable. 

war’a: scrupulousness, to be fastidious about avoiding the haram and keeping one’s intentions pure.

zakat: wealth tax, one of the five fundamental practices of Islam. 

zuhhad: the plural of zahid, someone who practises zuhd which is forgoing what you do not need and making do with little.