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Choosing Islam



Qur’anic and Biblical Proper Names


Many similar places and people are spoken about in the Qur’an and Bible, but pronunciation in original languages differs. English translations of the Qur’an sometimes transliterate Arabic, Qur’anic versions of proper names and sometimes use English, Biblical versions.  The following reference table lists proper names that occur in both books, so that readers of each may easily recognize the person or place under discussion.


                              Qur’an/Arabic   Bible/English









































































Abd : servant, worshipper, slave. Muslims consider themselves servants and slaves of God. Common Muslim names such as Abdullah (Servant of God), Abdur-Rahmān (Slave of the Most Beneficent), all refer to names of Allah.


Adab :Traditionally describes good manners, as in etiquette.


Adhan :Adhan is an Islamic way of calling Muslims to the five obligatory Prayers. The Adhan is announced daily from the Mosques.

A.H.(After Hijrah) :Hijrah means emigration. The Islamic calendar starts from the year Prophet Muhammad emigrated from the city of Makkah to Madinah, in 622 C.E.


Ahl al-Dimmah (or Dhimmis): are the non-Muslim subjects of an Islamic state who have been guaranteed protection of their rights- life, property and practice of their religion, etc.


Ahl al-Kitab :literally 'People of the Book,' refers to non-Muslim peoples who, according to the Qur'an, received scriptures which were revealed to them by God before the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), most notably Christians and Jews.


Ahmad bin Hanbal: 780 - 855 CE (164 - 241 AH) was an important Muslim scholar and theologian. He is considered the founder of the Hanbali school of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). His full name was Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal Abu `Abd Allah al-Shaybani.


Akhlaq: The practice of virtue. Morals.

:(After-Life, Hereafter, Next World).


Alim (pl. Ulamah) :An Islamic religious scholar.


Amin : Amen, a supplication meaning, "O God, accept our invocation!"


Alhamdulilah: praise due to God.


Allah : the greatest and most inclusive of the names of God


Allahu Akbar :God is the Greatest.


Amir-ul- Mumineen :Commander of the faithful. Title of the leader of the Islamic dominion after the death of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).


Aqeedah :Literally means belief. In Islamic terms, it means the following six articles of faith:

1. Belief in One God.

2. Belief in God's angels.

3. Belief in His revealed Books.

4. Belief in His messengers.

5. Belief in the Day of Judgment.

6. Belief in Fate and the Divine Decree.


Asr :'Asr is the late afternoon Prayer, the third compulsory Prayer of the day. It can be prayed between mid-afternoon and a little before sunset.


Assalamu 'Alaikum :means 'Peace be on you.' Greeting of the Muslims. The response to this greeting is 'Wa 'Alaikum Assalam,' and on you be the Peace.

Ayah (pl. ayat) :Ayah means a sign (or 'token') which directs one to something important. In the Quran the word has been used in four  different senses: (1) sign or indication; (2) the phenomena of the universe (called ayat of God for the reality to which the phenomena point is hidden behind the veil of appearances); (3) miracles performed by the Prophets; and (4) individual units (i.e. verses) of the Book of God.



Baitul Mal :An Islamic treasury intended for the benefit of the Muslims and the Islamic state and not for the leaders or the wealthy.


Baitul Maqdis :Al-Aqsa Mosque, the famous Masjid in Al-Quds (Jerusalem).


Bid'ah :Any innovated practice introduced in the religion.


Bismillah Hir Rehman Nir Rahim :"In the name of God, the Most Kind, the Most Mericful."


Bukhari:  Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari, popularly known as Al-Bukhari or Imam Bukhari (810-870), was a famous Sunni Islamic scholar, most known for authoring the hadith collection named Sahih Bukhari, a collection which Sunnis regard as the most authentic of all hadith compilations and it is a most authentic book after the Qur'an.




Caliph :literally means successor; refers to the successor of the Prophet Muhammad, the ruler of an Islamic nation.





Dajjal: Anti-Christ. Also known as Maseeh ad-Dajjal.


Dar al-Harb: Dar al-Harb (Domain of War) refers to the territory under the hegemony of unbelievers, which is on terms of active or potential belligerency with the Domain of Islam, and presumably hostile to the Muslims living in its domain.


Dawah :Propagation of Islam through word and action, calling the people to follow the commandments of God and His Messenger Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).


Dhikir: Remembrance


Din :The core meaning of din is obedience. As a Quranic technical term, din refers to the way of life and the system of conduct based on recognizing God as one's sovereign and committing oneself to obey Him.


Du'a :Supplication: invoking God for whatever one desires.

Duhr : Noon. The second obligatory prayer of the day. It can be prayed at any time between noon and mid-afternoon.



Eid Al-Adha :Literally means "the feast of the sacrifice." This feast commemorates Prophet Abraham's obedience to God by being prepared to sacrifice his only son Ishmael, peace be on both of them.


Eid Al-Fitr : festival marking the end of Ramadan. It takes place on the 1st of Shawal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar.



Fajr :"The Dawn". The time of the first obligatory prayer It can be prayed at any time between the first light of dawn and just before sunrise.


Fard: an Obligation


Fatwa :A legal verdict given on a religious basis. The sources on which a fatwa is based are the Holy Qur'an, and the traditional of the Prophet.


Fiqh :Islamic jurisprudence.




Ghusl The full ritual washing of the body with water to purify oneself after intercourse or excretion of semen from the body (i.e. wet dream).




Hadith The word hadith literally means communication or narration. In the Islamic context it has come to denote the record of what the Prophet said, did, or tacitly approved.


Hajj (Major Pilgrimage) Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, a duty one must perform during one's life-time if one has the financial resources for it. It must be performed during certain specified dates of Dhu al-Hijjah 12th month of the Islamic calendar.


Halal Lawful as defined by God the Almighty.



1. Any act or deed which is prohibited by Allah and will incur His wrath and punishment.

2. Sanctuary or boundary of any mosque, but usually used with regard to the sanctuaries of the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah and The Prophet’s mosque in Madinah. This is why they are referred to as the two Holy Sanctuaries.


Hijab Any kind of veil, it could be a curtain, a facial veil, a headscarf etc. The Hijab is divided into two main types:

1. Niqab: full facial covering.

2. Khimar: head covering.


Hijrah Hijrah signifies migration from a land where a Muslim is unable to live according to the precepts of his faith to a land where it is possible to do so. The hijrah par excellence for Muslims is the hijrah of the Prophet which not only provided him and his followers refuge from persecution, but also an opportunity to build a society and state according to the ideals of Islam.


Hijri : Name of the Islamic lunar calendar. It took its name from the early Muslims who migrated from Makkah to Madinah, and commences from the date of Prophet Muhammad's Hijrah, which he made with Abu Bakr as-Siddiq in 622 C.E. The months of the Islamic calendar are:

1. Muharram 2. Safar 3. Rabi al-Awal  4. Rabi al-Thani 5. Jumada al-Awal 6. Jumada al-Thani  7. Rajab 8. Sha'ban 9. Ramadan 10. Shawal 11. Dhul Qi'da 12. Dhul Hijjah




'Ibadah 'Ibadah is used in three meanings: (1) worship and adoration; (2) obedience and submission; and (3) service and subjection. The fundamental message of Islam is that man, as God's creature, should direct his 'ibadah to Him in all the above-mentioned meanings, and associate none in the rendering of it.


Iblis Iblis literally means 'thoroughly disappointed; one in utter despair.' In Islamic terminology it denotes the jinn, who refused the command of God to prostrate before Adam out of  vanity.


Iftar Breaking of the fast immediately after sunset. Iftar takes place at Maghrib as soon as the Call to Prayer (Adhan) is called.


Ihram : denotes the state of consecration which is essentially required for performing Hajj and 'Umrah.


Ijma Ijma refers to the consensus of eminent scholars (mujtahidun) of Islam in a given age. Ijma comes next to the Quran and the Sunnah as a source of Islamic doctrines.


Ijtihad To exercise personal judgment based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah.



1. Imam signifies the leader, and in its highest form, refers to the head of the Islamic state.

2. It is also used with reference to the founders of the different systems of theology and law in Islam.

3. A person who leads the prayer.


Iman Trust, faith and acceptance. Having faith and belief in God according to the Qur'an.


Injil  signifies the inspired orations and utterances of Jesus which he delivered during his earthly life in his capacity as a Prophet. The Injil mentioned by the Quran should, however, not be identified by the four Gospels of the New Testament which contain a great deal of material in addition to the inspired statements of the Prophet Jesus. Presumably the statements explicitly attributed to Jesus constitute parts of the true, original Injil. It is significant, however, that the statements explicitly attributed to Jesus in the Gospels contain substantively the same teachings as those of the Quran.


Insha Allah "If Allah wills."


Isha (Night) Prayer signifies the prescribed Prayer which is performed after the night has well set in.


Islam: is a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion originating with the teachings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. The word Islam means "submission", or the total surrender of oneself to God. An adherent of Islam is known as a Muslim, meaning "one who submits [to God]".


Jahannam Most commonly understood to mean Hell.



Jahiliyah Jahiliyah, literally 'ignorance', is a concise expression for the pagan practice of the days before the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).  


Jannah Paradise, Heaven, The Garden.


Jibril: Gabriel, is generally considered to be an archangel, who serves as a messenger from God.


Jihad : literally means 'to strive' or 'to exert to the utmost.' In Islamic parlance it signifies all forms of striving, including armed struggle, aimed at making the Word of God prevail.


Jinn : are an independent species of creation or spirit exist in a different realm.


Jum'ah "Friday." The Muslims' day of gathering together, when all Muslim males must go to the Mosque to hear the Friday sermon and perform the prayer with two units of prayer instead of four as in afternoon prayer.



Ka‘bah :cube-house; the cube-shaped building i.e. in Makkah toward which Muslims pray. Muslims, however, do not worship it, nor pray to it. Muslims only pray to Almighty God.


Kāfir :from the word kafara - "to hide." Those who deliberately hide the truth; unbelievers, truth-concealers; one who is ungrateful. Plural: Kāfirūn.


Khamar: Intoxicant: wine.


Khuṭbah :the sermon at Jumu'ah prayer.




Lailatul-Qadr 'The Night of Power,' concealed in one of the odd nights in the last ten days of Ramadan; the night on which the Qur'an was first revealed by Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad and which the Qur'an itself describes as "better than a thousand months."


Lā ilāha ill-Allāh :"There is no god worthy of worship other than Allah." The most important expression in Islam. It is part of the first pillar of Islam. Also is the message of all the Prophets, such as Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.




Madh'hab :(pl. Madhahib) school of religious jurisprudence, school of thought.


Madrasah :school, university.


Maghrib: the fourth daily evening prayer right after sunset.


Mahram :a relative of the opposite gender usually described as being "within the forbidden limits"; a better description is "within the protected limits". means relatives who one can appear before without observing hijab and who one cannot marry.


Masha Allah: Allah has willed it.


Masīḥ:the (Biblical) Messiah, Jesus Christ.


Masjid :place of prayer; mosque.


Mecca (Makkah) the holiest city in Islam located in Saudi Arabia.


Medina:(Madīnah) "city"; Medinat-un-Nabi means "the City of the Prophet.


Minaret:a tower built onto a mosque from the top of which the call to prayer is made.


Minbar :a raised pulpit in the mosque where the Imam stands to deliver sermons.


Muftī :an Islamic scholar who is an interpreter or expounder of Islamic law (Shariah), capable of issuing fataawa (plural of "fatwa").


Muhammadun rasulullah :"Muhammad is the messenger of God." This statement is the second part of the first pillar of Islam. This is the second most important statement in Islam.


Mu'adhdhin :a person who performs the call to prayer.


Mujāhid :a fighter for Islam. Plural mujahidīn.


Mujtahid :a scholar who uses reason for the purpose of forming an opinion or making a ruling on a religious issue. Plural: Mujtahidun.


Mushrik (pl. mushrikoon) One who associates others in worship with God; a polytheist.


Muslim : a follower of the religion of Islam. One who submits their will to Allah (God)




Nabī:literally means prophet. In the Islamic context, a Nabi is a man sent by God to give guidance to man, but not given scripture. This is in contrast to Rasul, or Messenger. Plural: Anbiya.


Nafs:soul, one's self






Peace be upon him. This expression is uttered every-time prophet Muhammad's name is mentioned.



Qadar : predestination.


Qādī : judge of Islamic Law


Qiblah : the direction Muslims face during prayer


Qur’ān :Muslims believe the Qur'an (Koran) to be the literal word of God and the culmination of God's revelation to mankind, revealed to prophet Muhammad in the year 610 A.D.




Rabb :Lord, Sustainer, Cherisher, Master.



Radiyallahu anha: May Allah be pleased with her.


Radiyallahu anhu: May Allah be pleased with him.


Radiyallahu anhuma: May Allah be pleased with them.


Radiyallahu anhum: May Allah be pleased with them.


Rahman : Merciful; Ar-Rahman means "The Most Merciful"


Rahim :compassionate; Ar-Rahim means "The Most Compassionate"


Raka'ah :one unit of Islamic prayer, or Salat. Each daily prayer is made up of a different number of raka'ah.


Ramadhan :month of fasting when the Qur'an was first revealed



Rasul :messenger; Unlike prophets (Nabi), messengers are given scripture. Moses, David, Jesus and Mohammed are considered messengers. All messengers are considered prophets, but not all prophets are given scripture.


Riba :interest, the charging and paying of which is forbidden by the Qur'an.


Ruh: spirit; the divine breath which God blew into the clay of Adam.


Ruk'u :the bowing performed during prayer.




Ṣabr : patience, endurance, self-restraint


Sadaqah : charity; voluntary alms above the amount for zakat.


Sahabah :companions of the Prophet Muhammad.


Sahih :an authentic hadith.


Salaf:(righteous) predecessors/ancestors. In Islam, Salaf is generally used to refer to the first three generations of Muslims.


Ṣalah or salat: any one of the daily five obligatory prayers. Sunnis regard this as the second Pillar of Islam


Salām :peace


Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam :"May Allah bless him and grant him peace." The expression should be used after stating Prophet Muhammad's name.


Ṣawm :fasting whether voluntary fasting or fasting during the month of Ramadhan.


Shahādah :The testimony of faith: La ilaha illa Allah. Muhammadun rasulullah. ("There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.").


Shaykh :a spiritual master, Muslim clergy.


Sharī‘ah ; the eternal ethical code and moral code based on the Qur'an and Sunnah; basis of jurisprudence.


Shaytan :Satan, the Devil; also known as Iblis.


Shirk :idolatry; polytheism; the sin of believing in any divinity except God and of associating other gods with God.


Shūrā :consultation.


Sirah :life or biography of the Prophet Muhammad; his moral example - with hadith this comprises the sunnah.


Sunan Ibn Majah: is one of the Sunni Six Major Hadith collections, collected by Ibn Majah. It contains over 4000 traditions in 32 books divided into 1500 chapters.


Sunan al-Tirmidhi : is one of the Sunni Six major Hadith collections collected by al-Tirmidhi.


Sunan Abu Da'ud :is one of the Sunni Six Major Hadith collections , collected by Abu Da'ud.


Sunnah or sunnah al-Nabi :the "path" or "example" of the Prophet Muhammad, i.e., what the Prophet did or said or agreed to during his life.



Sunni:the largest mainstream Islam.


Sūrah:chapter; the Qur'an is comprised of 114 chapters.




Tafsīr :exegesis, particularly such commentary on the Qur'an.


Tajwīd:a special manner of reciting the Qur'an according to prescribed rules of pronunciation and intonation.


Takbīr :a proclamation of the greatness of Allah; a Muslim invocation.


Taqwa :righteousness; goodness; Piety: God consciousness.


Tarawih :extra prayers in Ramadan after the last evening (Isha) prayer.


Tawaf :circumambulating the Ka'bah during Hajj.


Tawhīd :monotheism; affirmation of the Oneness of Allah. Muslims regard this as the first part of the Pillar of Islam, the second part is accepting Muhammad as rasoul (messenger). The opposite of Tawheed is shirk.


Tawrat :the Torah as revealed to Musa (Moses.)




‘Ulamā’ ;the leaders of Islamic society, including teachers, Imams and judges. Singular alim.


Ummah :the global community of all Muslim believers


‘Umrah :the lesser pilgrimage performed in Mecca. Unlike hajj, ‘umrah can be performed throughout the year.


Usul al-Fiqh :the study of the origins and practice of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh)






Wahy :revelation or inspiration of God to His prophets for all humankind.


Wajib :obligatory or mandatory see fard.


Wudu :ablution for ritual purification from minor impurities before prayer(see ghusl)






Ya Allah :O, God!


Yar Hamukallah: May God have mercy on you (said when someone sneezes)


Yawm ul-Qiyāmah :"Day of the Resurrection"; Day of Judgment




Zabur :the Psalms revealed to King David


Zabiha see dhabiha ;Islamic method of slaughtering an animal.


Zakat; tax, alms, tithe as a Muslim duty; Sunnis regard this as the fourth Pillar of Islam.




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