Adhaan: the call to prayer

Adhkaar: plural of dhikr, words or phrases of remembrance of God

Ahadith: plural of Hadith

Akhira: the hearafter

Alayhi as-salaam: abbreviated (as) in writing after the names of other prophets or the angles are mentioned to invoke blessing upon them

Alhamdulillah: Praise be to God (often used as an expression of gratitude to God)

Allah: the proper Arabic name of the one true God, the only one worthy of worship, love, and devotion. Derives from the Arabic Ilah meaning “One who deserves all worship.”

Allahu Akbar: God is Greatest!

Astaghfirallah: I seek forgiveness from God

A’oothubillah: I seek refuge in God

Ayah (pl. Ayat): lit. “sign,” also a verse of the Qur’an

Bid’ah: an innovation in religion, a practice that is not from the Qur’an or traditions of the Prophet (saws). This is considered a grave sin by many Muslims.

Bismillah: In the Name of God

Dawah: call to Islam

Deen: lit. way of life, used to refer to Islam not only as a religion but as a comprehensive system for living one’s life.

Dua: a personal prayer or supplication, different from the five daily ritual prayers

Dunya: the physical or “lowest” world, as opposed to the eternal hereafter

Eid: festival or celebration. In Islam we have Eid al-Fitr, “The Celebration of Breaking Fast” that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, “The Festival of Sacrifice,” which commemorates the prophet Abraham’s (as) obedience to Allah in the willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael (as).

Fard: obligatory, required, such as the five daily prayers

Hadith: a saying or tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (saws)

Hajj: the pilgrammage to Mecca, the fifth pillar of Islam.

Halal: lawful, permitted, good

Haram: opposite of halal; forbidden, unlawful

Hijab: literally means “cover;” used colloquially to refer to a woman’s headscarf, though it also extends to the whole dress of a covered woman as well as one’s actions and conduct.

Ibadah: an act of worship, not restricted to only ritual ones.

Imam: lit. “leader,” often used for the man leading prayer or a religious leader.

Iman: faith

InshAllah: If God wills

Jahannam: hell

Jannah: paradise, the garden, heaven

Jihad: lit. “struggle.” Can refer to any sincere struggle in the way of Allah, including striving to better oneself and perfect one’s religion.

Jummah: Friday, also refers to the congregational Friday prayers that are fard for men

Khutba: the sermon at jummah prayer or a general Islamic lecture

Masjid: pl. masajid; place of prayer, mosque

MashaaAllah: lit. Allah has willed it. Used as an expression of joy at an event or admiration of person/object.

RadiAllahu anhu/anha/anhuma/anhunna: May Allah be pleased with him/her/them. Used at the abbreviated (ra) in writing after a companion of the Prophet (saws) is mentioned.

Rakah: One unit of Islamic prayer, a complete series of standing, bowing, two prostrations and sittings.

Ramadan: the holy month of fasting, also when the Qur’an was revealed. Ninth month of the Hijri calendar

Salaam, also salaam alaikum:

Salah: one of the five daily prayers

Shahada: testimony of faith, the first pillar of Islam.

SubhanAllah: Glory to God!

Sunnah: the traditions and lifestyle of the Prophet Muhammad (saws)

Surah: a chapter of the Qur’an

Ummah: the Muslim community, worldwide

Wudu: the ritual ablution that must be performed before every salah

Zakat: a tax or charity given from a certain percentage of the wealth of a Muslim on a yearly basis, a social duty and obligation, the fourth pillar of Islam.


This Glossary page is certainly a work in progress, and I will continue to update as I write inshAllah. If there is a word you don’t understand or something you see missing, please do get in touch and let me know!