The following is a list of common Islamic terms, for readers who may not be familiar with them.

Allah: Arabic word for God.

Aakhira (or Akhira): The Hereafter.

Aameen: Amen.

Alhamdulillah: Praise is to God, said in gratitude.

Al-Faatiha: “The Opener”, Chapter 1 of the Quran. Recited several times in every prayer.

Al-Masjid Al-Haraam: The Sacrosanct Mosque of Mecca.

A`oozhu Billah: I seek refuge in God. Said in seeking protection, or in distancing oneself from blasphemy or improper speech.

Astaghfirullah: I seek forgiveness from God. Said after one says something which may be blasphemous or religiously improper.

`Azza wa Jall: May He always be honored and prominent, said about God.

Basmala: The phrase “Bismillah-ir-Rahmaan-ir-Raheem”, meaning “In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful.” Muslims say it before they embark on any work, and it is the introduction to 113 out of 114 Chapters of the Quran.

Bismillah: In the Name of God.

Da`wa (or Dawah): Calling people to God; prosletizing.

Deen: The way one conducts one’s life; religion.

Dua (or Du`aa’): Supplication.

Dunya: This world. Literally means the closest [life].

Eid (pronounced eed): Feast; a day of celebration.

Eid Mubaarak (or Eid Sa`eed): Congratulations for Eid day. Literally means “Blessed Feast” (or Happy Feast).

Faasiq (or Fasiq): Deviant; sinner.

Fatwa: Religious edict; ruling.

Fiqh: Jurisprudence, literally means understanding or comprehension.

Firdaws (or Firdaus): Paradise.

Fitna: Temptation; sedition; test of faith.

Hadeeth (or Hadith): The words and deeds of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. The Quran, on the other hand, is the word of God.

Halaal (or Halal): Allowed.

Haraam (or Haram): Forbidden.

Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca.

Hijra: Migration from Mecca to Medina.

Hijri: Islamic lunar calendar, started with the migration of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Abu-Bakr (RA) from Mecca to Medina.

`Ilm: Knowledge; discipline of knowledge; science.

Ijtihaad (or Ijtihad): Working the mind to analyze an issue, usually a religious issue. The analyst is called Mujtahid.

Imaam (or Imam): Foremost scholar; leader; preacher. Plural is A’imma.

Iman (or Eemaan): Faith.

Insha-Allah (or Inshallah): God willing.

ISA: Short for Insha-Allah, God willing.

Jahannam: Arabic for Gehenna (Hellfire).

Jaahiliyya (or Jahilia): Ignorance era (before Islam).

JAK: Short for Jazaaka Allaahu Khayra[n] (May God recompense you with good).

Janna: Heaven. Literally means Garden.

Jazaaka Allaahu Khayra[n]: May God recompense you with good, said in thanks.

Jihaad (or Jihad): An effort that meets with resistance; struggle.

Kaaba: The shrine in Mecca.

Khateeb (or Khatib): Preacher – one giving a sermon.

Khutba (or Khutbah): Sermon.

Masha-Allah (or Mashallah): What God has willed, said in admiring.

Masjid: Mosque.

Mazhhab (or Mazhab): A school of thought.

Mujaahideen (or Mujahideen): People who struggle to establish a goal, usually a righteous goal, such as truth, justice, freedom. The struggle is called Jihaad (see above), and the singular is Mujaahid.

Mus-haf (or Mushaf): Pronounced moos-huff – the bound volume of the Quran.

PBUH: Peace be upon him, said about all prophets and messengers of God, and in reference to angels and some distinguished people, such as Mary.

Qibla: Direction of prayer, toward the Sacrosanct Mosque in Mecca.

Quran (or Qur’aan): The Koran, the holy scripture of Islam and the word of God.

RA: Radhiya Allaahu anhu (May God have been pleased with him), said about fellows of the Prophet (PBUH).

Rahimahullah: May God have mercy on him, said about a deceased person.

Sadaqa: Charity.

Sahaaba: Fellows of the Prophet (PBUH), may God have been pleased with them. Singular is Sahaabi for a man or Sahaabia for a woman.

Salla Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam: May God bless and greet him. Same as PBUH.

Salaah (or Salah): Prayer.

Shahaada (or Shahadah): Testimony of faith, “Ashhadu an la ilaaha illa Allah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasool-Ullah” (I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah).

Sharia: “The way”, Islamic law derived from the Quran and the authentic Hadeeth.

Shia: An Islamic sect where followers believe that Ali ibn Abi-Taalib (RA) and his offspring were the only eligible people to head the Islamic state. Singular is Shii, pronounced She-ee.

Subhaan-Allah: May God be sanctified, said in awe of God’s signs.

Sunna: The way of the Prophet (PBUH), learned from authentic hadeeths. A Sunni is a person who follows it.

SWT: Subhanahu wa Ta`aala (May He be sanctified and exalted), said about God.

Taabi`een: Second generation of Muslims, after Sahaaba. Singular is Taabi`i.

Tafseer: Exegesis of the Quran.

Taqwa: Fear of God; consciousness of God.

`Ulamaa’ (or Ulema): Religious scholars. Singular is Aalim.

Umma (or Ummah): Large community; Nation.

Wudhoo’ (or Wudu): Ritual ablution, mostly before a prayer.

Zakah (or Zakat): Mandatory alms.

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