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Key Terms and Expressions

This page is intended as a glossary of key Islamic expressions and terms (Arabic) which non-Muslims might be unfamiliar with.  InshaAllah it proves to be helpful.

The expressions are phrases commonly used by Muslims, which are likely to be encountered in articles on this blog.  The Arabic for each expression is given first, with English transliteration provided in brackets.  The English translation then follows, along with a simple explanation where applicable of when/how the term is commonly used.  This explanation is given in brackets.

The terms are Arabic words which readers are also likely to come across on this blog. They include amongst others, concepts, places and the names of some acts of worship.  Terms are given in English along with their meaning/explanation.

Neither list is exhaustive, but inshaAllah both should make navigating the resources on this blog easier for non-Muslims unfamiliar with the Arabic.


Key expressions

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته (assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu): may peace be upon you, and the mercy and blessings of Allah (The Islamic greeting.  The most common shortened version is assalaamu alaikum, peace be upon you).

الحمد لله (alhamdulillah): All praise be to Allah

بسم الله الرحمن  الرحيم  (bismillah ir-rahmaan nir-raheem): in the Name of Allah the most Beneficent, the most Merciful (recited when starting anything, from eating to sleeping)

سبحان الله (subhan-allah): Glory be to Allah (commonly used to express amazement)

ما شاء الله (masha-allah): What Allah wishes (commonly said upon hearing something pleasing or seeing something beautiful)

لا إله إلا الله (laa ilaaha illah Allah): there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah

محمد رسول الله (Muhammadur rasool Allah): Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

الله أكبر  (Allahu akbar): Allah is the greatest

لا حول ولا قوة الا بالله  (laa hawla wa laa quwwata illaa billah): There is no might or power except (through) Allah

إن شاء الله  (in-shaa Allah): Allah willing/If Allah wills (said when a Muslim is intending to do anything)

يرحمك الله (yarhamuka-Allah) May Allah have mercy on you (response to someone who sneezes and then praises Allah)

إنا لله و إنا إليه راجعون (innaa lillahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon): To Allah we belong and to Him we will return/to Him we are returning (used at times of calamity, such as hearing news of death)

أستغفر الله (astaghfirullah): I seek the forgiveness of Allah (statement of repentance)

أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم (‘authu billahi min ash-shaytaan ar-rajeem): I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed satan (used in times of difficulty such as when tempted to commit a sinful act, when fearful etc)

الله أعلم (Allahu a’lam): Allah knows best (used when making a statement one is unsure of/when one does not know the answer to something or when referring to issues which Allah alone has knowledge of; or to acknowledge the limitations of our knowledge and that we might be wrong in what we say)

جزاك الله خيرا (jazak Allahu khayr): May Allah reward you with good (Muslim expression of thanks)

صلى الله عليه و سلم (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam): May Allah bless him and grant him peace (recited whenever the name of Prophet Muhammad is mentioned)


Key terms

Allah:  ‘God’ in Arabic

Ayah: verse, mainly used when talking about the Quran (also means ‘sign’)

‘Asr: late afternoon prayer (3rd of five daily prayers)

Baytul Allah: the House of God (a term used for the Ka’bah)

Da’wah: calling/inviting people to Islam

Deen: religion; way of life

Dhuhr: early afternoon prayer (2nd of five daily prayers)

Du’a: supplication to Allah

Dunya: the life of this world

Fajr: early morning prayer (1st of five daily prayers)

Hadith: sayings and traditions of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم

Hajj: pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah (one of the five pillars of Islam)

Hajji [pl. Hujjaaj]: a person who is performing Hajj, or who has performed it at least once in their life

Haram: holy site (most commonly used to refer to the holy cities of Makkah- associated with the Ka’bah- and Madinah)

Hijaab: commonly used to refer to a headscarf, but more broadly encompassing the concept of modesty as a whole

Eemaan: faith, belief

Ihram: the dress code for Hajj (consists of two, plain white sheets for men and ordinary modest clothing for women)

‘Isha: night prayer (last of the five daily prayers)

Islam: literally submission [to the will of Allah]

Jahannam/Naar: the Hellfire

Jannah: Paradise (there are different levels in Paradise, Al Firdous is the highest and the one Muslims aspire to attain God willing)

Jibreel: [Angel] Gabriel

Jilbaab: long dress type garment worn by Muslim women

Jumu’ah: Friday (holiest day of the week when special congregational prayer is held)

Ka’bah: first mosque constructed for the worship of One God, Allah.  Located in Makkah, the direction towards which Muslims pray.

Kafir:  disbeliever

Khutbah: sermon

Maghrib: sunset prayer (4th of the five daily prayers)

Masjid: [Mosque in English] Muslim place of worship

Muhammad  صلى الله عليه و سلم: name of the final Messenger and Prophet of God to all of creation

Qiblah: direction which all Muslims face when praying (towards the Ka’bah in the city of Makkah)

Quran: The final revelation of Allah given to Humanity through his last Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم

Ramadaan: month of fasting (9th month of the Islamic Calendar)

Sahaabah: companions of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم

Salaam: peace

Salaah: prayer (one of the five pillars)

Sawm: fasting (one of the five pillars)

Shahaadah: testimony of faith, I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (one of the five pillars)

Shaitaan: Satan

Shar’iah: Islamic law

Shirk: associating partners with God (the gravest of sins in Islam)

Surah: chapter of the Quran (114 in total)

Tawheed: monotheism

Umrah: lesser pilgrimage to Makkah (i.e. not during the Hajj period)

Wudhu: ablution (required before performing prayer or touching the Quran)

Zakah: obligatory charity (one of the give pillars of Islam)

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Alhamdulillah ive learned so much more


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