• In The Name of Allah, The Most Beneficial, The Most Merciful

Islamic Terms

 Islamic Terms


Following are the common Islamic terms that you will encounter in religious programming and through interacting with fellow Muslims.


Adhan is the Islamic call to worship, recited by the muezzin at prescribed times of the day.

Alhamdulilah is an Arabic phrase meaning “Praise be to God”.

Ansar is an Islamic term for the local inhabitants of Medina who took the Islamic Prophet Muhammad and his followers (the Muhajirun) into their homes when they escaped from Mecca (hijra).

Aqeeda is a term that means creed or theology.

Aqiqah is the Islamic tradition of the sacrifice of an animal on the occasion of a child’s birth.

Aya (plural: ayat) means “evidence” or “sign”. In the context of Islam’s principal scripture, the Quran, ayah is used to mean “verse”, i.e. each statement or paragraph marked by a number.

Bismillah is Arabic for "in the name of Allah." The full bismi'llah is "In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful." These are the opening words of the Qur'an, and are spoken several times daily as part of the daily prayers (salat).

Dua literally meaning “invocation”, is an act of supplication.

Dhikr is the name of devotional acts in Islam in which short phrases or prayers are repeatedly recited silently within the mind or aloud

Eid is a Muslim festival, in particular. Eid al Fitr, the feast marking the end of the fast of Ramadan. Eid ul Adha, the festival marking the culmination of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and commemorating the sacrifice of Abraham.

Fi sabililllah is an Arabic expression meaning “in the cause of Allah”, or more befittingly, “for the sake of Allah”.

Fiqh is an Islamic term meaning “deep understanding” or “full comprehension”. Technically it refers to the body of Islamic law extracted from detailed Islamic sources (which are studied in the principles of Islamic jurisprudence) and the process of gaining knowledge of Islam through jurisprudence.

Ghusul is a term referring to the full body washing ablution mandatory before the performance of various rituals and prayers, for any adult Muslim after having sexual intercourse, orgasmic discharge (e.g. semen), completion of the menstrual cycle.

Hadith is a report describing the words, actions, or habits of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence.

Halal is any object or action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term covers and designates food and drink as well as matters of daily life.

Haram is any object or action which is forbidden to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term covers and designates food and drink as well as matters of daily life.

Hasanat is credit for good deeds, which Allah weighs up against one’s bad deeds at the final judgement after death.

Hijra is the migration or journey of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Yathrib, later renamed by him to Medina, in 622 CE.

Iftar the meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramadan.

Ihsan is the Muslim responsibility to obtain perfection, or excellence, in worship, such that Muslims try to worship God as if they see him, and although they cannot see him, they undoubtedly believe that he is constantly watching over them.

Imam is an Islamic religious leader.

Insha’Allah is an Arabic phrase meaning “God willing”.

Iqama is the second call to Islamic Prayer, given immediately before the prayer begins.

Jahannam is the Islamic word for hell

Janazah is the Islamic funeral prayer; a part of the Islamic funeral ritual. The prayer is performed in congregation to seek pardon for the deceased and all dead Muslims.

Jannah is the Islamic word for heaven.

Jazak’Allah khair is a term used as an Islamic expression of gratitude meaning “May Allāh reward you [with] goodness.”

Jummah is a congregational prayer that Muslims hold every Friday immediately following the khutbah (sermon).

Ka’aba is the most sacred site in Islam, the first monotheistic house of worship and the site which Muslims direct their prayers toward.

Khateeb is a person who delivers the sermon (khutbah), during the Friday prayer and Eid prayers.

Makruh is something which is a disliked or offensive acts

Masha’Allah is an Arabic phrase that expresses appreciation, joy, praise, or thankfulness for an event or person that was just mentioned. The literal English translation is “God has willed it”.

Masjid (plural masajid) is the arabic word for mosque.

Mecca is the holiest city in Islam and the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad.

Medina is the second holiest city in Islam and the location of the Prophet’s mosque (Al-Masjid an-Nabawi) and the grave of the Prophet Muhammad.

Minbar The raised platform in the masjid from which the imam delivers his sermon to the congregation.

Muazzin (alt. muadhin) is the person appointed at a mosque to lead, and recite, the call to prayer for every event of prayer and worship in the mosque.

Mus’haf is a physical copy of the Quran.

Nikkah is the Islamic marriage ceremony

Qibla is the direction that should be faced when a Muslim prays. It is fixed as the direction of the Ka’aba in Mecca.

Quraish were a powerful merchant tribe that controlled Mecca and its Ka’aba during the time of the Prophet Muhammad.

Rakat is the prescribed movements and words followed by Muslims while offering prayers.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.

Ruku refers to the bowing down following the recitation of the Qur’an in the standing position while praying

Sadaqa encompasses any act of giving out of compassion, love, friendship (fraternity), religious duty or generosity.

Sahaba are the companions of the Prophet Muhammad

Salat is the Arabic word for the five daily prayers.

Sawm is the Arabic word for fasting.

Shahada is the Islamic testimony of faith in which one declares their belieif in one God and that Muhammad is the messenger of God.

Shaykh (alt. Sheikh) is an Islamic religious leader.

Shirk means to associate partners with Allah.

Seerah (alt. sirah) is the biography of the Prophet Muhammad.

Subhan’Allah is an Arabic phrase, meaning “Glory be to God”.

Suhoor is the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting, before dawn during or outside the Islamic month of Ramadan.

Sujud is an Arabic word meaning prostration to God in the direction of the Kaaba at Mecca which is usually done during the daily prayers (salat).

Sunnah is the verbally transmitted record of the teachings, deeds and sayings, silent permissions (or disapprovals) of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, as well as various reports about Muhammad’s companions.

Surah is what chapters are called in the Qur’an.

Tafseer are commentary or explanations of the Qur’an.

Takbir is the term for the Arabic phrase Allahu Akbar, usually translated as “God is [the] greatest”.

Taqwa is an Islamic term for being conscious & cognizant of Allah, of truth, of the rational reality, “piety, fear of God”.

Taraweeh is extra prayers performed by at night, after Isha, during Ramadan.

Tasawuf is the inward manifestation of Islam.

Tawba is the Islamic term of repentance.

Tawhid is the belief in the oneness of God.

Ummah is the entirety of the community of Muslims.

Wudu is the ritual washing to be done before prayer if a person is in a state of impurity.

Yathrib is the former name of the city of Medina.

Zabihah is the ritual slaughter of animals.

Zakat is a form of alms-giving.


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