Resources for Beginners


To better understand Islam it is necessary to know the meaning of certain key words and phrases used by Muslims in everyday conversation. Most of them are in the Arabic language, and there is often no equivalent in English or in other tongues.

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A

ALAIHISSALATU WASSALAM
(See Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam)

AL-HAMDU LILLAHI RABBIL ‘ALAMIN
This is a verse from the Qur’an that Muslims recite and say many times per day. Other than being recited daily during prayers, a Muslim reads this expression in every activity of his daily life. The meaning of it is: “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.”
A Muslim invokes the praises of Allah before he does his daily work; and when he finishes, he thanks Allah for His favors. A Muslim is grateful to Allah for all His blessings. It is a statement of thanks, appreciation, and gratitude from the creature to his Creator.

ALLAHU AKBAR
This statement is said by Muslims numerous times. During the call for prayer, during prayer, when they are happy, and wish to express their approval of what they hear, when they slaughter an animal, and when they want to praise a speaker, Muslims do say this expression of Allahu Akbar. Actually it is most said expression in the world. Its meaning: “Allah is the Greatest.” Muslims praise Allah in every aspect of life; and as such they say Allahu Akbar.

ASSALAMU ‘ALAIKUM
This is an expression Muslims say whenever they meet one another. It is a statement of greeting with peace. The meaning of it is: “Peace be upon you.”
Muslims try to establish peace on earth even through the friendly relation of greeting and meeting one another.
The other forms are:
“Assalamu ‘Alalikum Wa Rahmatullah,” which means: “May the peace and the Mercy of Allah be upon you”
“Assalamu Alalikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,” which means :”May the peace, the mercy, and the blessings of Allah be upon you.”

ASTAGHFIRULLAH
This is an expression used by a Muslim when he wants to ask Allah forgiveness. The meaning of it is: “I ask Allah forgiveness.” A Muslim says this phrase many times, even when he is talking to another person. When a Muslim abstains from doing wrong, or even when he wants to prove that he is innocent of an incident he uses this expression. After every Salah (payer), a Muslim says this statement three times.

A’UZU BILLAHI MINASHAITANIR RAJIM
This is an expression and a statement that Muslims have to recite before reading to Qur’an, before speaking, before doing any work, before making a supplication, before taking ablution, before entering the wash room, and before doing many other daily activities. The meaning of this phrase is: “I seek refuge from Allah from the outcast Satan.” Allah is the Arabic name of God.
Satan is the source of evil and he always tries to misguide and mislead people. The Qur’an states that Satan is not an angel but a member of the Jinn, which are spiritual beings created by Allah. So the belief that Satan is a fallen angel is rejected in Islam.

B

BARAKALLAH
This is an expression which means: “May the blessings of Allah (be upon you).” When a Muslim wants to thank to another person, he uses different statements to express his thanks, appreciation, and gratitude. One of them is to say “Baraka Allah.”

BISMILLAHIR RAHMANIR RAHIM
This is a phrase from the Qur’an that is recited before reading the Qur’an. It is to be read immediately after one reads the phrase: “A’uzu Billahi Minashaitanir Rajim.”
This phrase is also recited before doing any daily activity. The meaning of it is: “In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.”

I

IN SHA’ ALLAH
When a person wishes to plan for the future, when he promises, when he makes resolutions, and when he makes a pledge, he makes them with permission and the will of Allah. For this reason, a Muslim uses the Qur’anic instructions by saying “In Sha ‘ Allah.” The meaning of this statement is: “If Allah wills.” Muslims are to strive hard and to put their trusts with Allah. They leave the results in the hands of Allah.

INNA LILLAHI WA INNA ILAHI RAJI’UN
When a Muslim is struck with a calamity, when he loses one of his loved ones, or when he has gone bankrupt, he should be patient and say this statement, the meaning of which is : “We are from Allah and to Whom we are returning.”
Muslims believe that Allah is the One who gives and it is He takes away. He is testing us. Hence, a Muslim submits himself to Allah. He is grateful and thankful to Allah for whatever he gets. On the other hand, he is patient and says this expression in times of turmoil and calamity.

J

JAZAKALLAHU KHAYRAN
This is a statement of thanks and appreciation to be said to the person who does a favor. Instead of saying “thanks” (Shukran), the Islamic statement of thanks is to say this phrase. Its meaning is: “May Allah reward you for the good.”
It is understood that human beings can’t repay one another enough. Hence, it is better to request Almighty Allah to reward the person who did a favor and to give him the best.

KALAM
“Talk” or “speech” as in “kalamu Allah”; has also been used through the ages to mean “logic” or “philosophy”.

L

LA HAWLA WA LA QUWWATA ILLA BILLAH
The meaning of this expression is: ” There is no power and no strength save in Allah.” This expression is read by a Muslim when he is struck by a calamity, or is taken over by a situation beyond his control. A Muslim puts his trust in the hands of Allah, and submits himself to Allah.

LA ILAHA ILLALLAH
This expression is the most important one in Islam. It is the creed that every person has to say to be considered a Muslim. It is part of the first pillar of Islam. The meaning of which is: ” There is no lord worthy of worship except Allah.”
The second part of this first pillar is to say: “Muhammadun Rasul Allah,” which means: “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

M

MA SHA’ ALLAH
This is an expression that Muslims say whenever they are excited and surprised. When they wish to express their happiness, they use such an expression. The meaning of “Ma sha’ Allah” is: “Whatever Allah wants.” or “Whatever Allah wants to give, He gives.” This means that whenever Allah gives something good to someone, blesses him, honors him, and opens the door of success in business, a Muslim says this statement of “Ma Sha’ Allah.”
It has become a tradition that whenever a person constructs a building, a house, or an office, he puts a plaque on the wall or the entrance with this statement. It is a sign of thanks and appreciation from the person to Almighty Allah for whatever he was blessed with.

MUHAMMADUN RASULULLAH
This statement is the second part of the first pillar of Islam literally meaning “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” The meaning of this part is that Prophet Muhammad is the last and final prophet and messenger of Allah to mankind. He is the culmination, summation, purification of the previous prophets of Allah to humanity.

P

P.B.U.H.
These letters are abbreviations for the words “Peace Be Upon Him” which is the meaning of the Arabic expression ” ‘Alaihis Salam”, which is an expression that is said when the name of a prophet is mentioned.
This expression is widely used by English speaking Muslims. It is to be noticed here that this expression does not give the full meaning of “Salla Allahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam”. Therefore it is recommended that people do not use (p.b.u.h.) after the name of prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.); they should use “Salla Allahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam” instead, or they may use the abbreviated form of (s.a..w) in writing.

R

RADHIALLAHU ‘ANHU
This is an expression to be used by Muslims whenever a name of a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is mentioned or used in writing. The meaning of this statement is: “May Allah be pleased with him.”
Muslims are taught to be respectful to the elderly and to those who contributed to the spread and success in Islam. They are to be grateful to the companions of the prophet (s.a.w.) for their sacrifices, their leadership, and their contributions. Muslims are advised to use this phrase when such names are mentioned or written.

S

SADAQALLAHUL ‘AZIM
This is a statement of truth that a Muslim says after reading any amount of verses from the Qur’an. The meaning of it is: “Allah says the truth.”
The Qur’an is the exact words of Allah in verbatim. When Allah speaks, He says the truth; and when the Qur’an is being recited, a Muslim is reciting the words of truth of Allah. Hence, he says: “Sadaqallahul ‘Azim.”

SALLALLAHU ‘ALAIHI WA SALLAM ( Abbreviated as: S.A.W.)
When the name of Prophet Muhammad (saw) is mentioned or written, a Muslim is to respect him and invoke this statement of peace upon him. The meaning of it is: “May the blessings and the peace of Allah be upon him (Muhammad)”.
Another expression that is alternatively used is: “Alaihissalatu Wassalam.” This expression means: “On Him (Muhammad) are the blessings and the peace of Allah.”
Allah has ordered Muslims, in the Qur’an, to say such an expression. Muslims are informed that if they proclaim such a statement once, Allah will reward them ten times.

SUBHANAHU WA TA’ALA (Abbrviated as: S.W.T.)
This is an expression that Muslims use whenever the name of Allah is pronounced or written. The meaning of this expression is: “Allah is pure of having partners and He is exalted from having a son.”
Muslims believe that Allah is the only God, the Creator of the Universe. He does not have partners or children. Sometimes Muslims use other expressions when the name of Allah is written or pronounced. Some of which are: “‘Azza Wa Jall”: He is the Mighty and the Majestic; “Jalla Jalaluh”: He is the exalted Majestic.

W

WA ‘ALAIKUMUS SALAM
This is an expression that a Muslim is to say as an answer for the greeting. When a person greets another with a salutation of peace, the answer for the greeting is an answer of peace. The meaning of this statement is: “And upon you is the peace.” The other expressions are: ” Wa Alaikums Salaam Wa Rahmatullah.” and “Wa ‘Alaikums Salam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh.”

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English

Islamic (Arabic) Terms

A
Aameen – May God Accept
Adhaan – The Muslim Call To Prayer
Ahadeeth – The Sayings And Traditions Of The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) – Singular – Hadith
Akhirah – After-Life
Alhumdulillah – Praise Be To God
Alim – An Islamic Religious Scholar – Plural – Ulamaa’
Allah – God
Allah Hu Akbar – God Is The Greatest
Anbiyaa – The Prophets
Ansar – Helpers
Aqeedah – Belief (The Articles Of Faith)
Arafat – A Mountain East Of Mecca
(AS) – ‘Alayhee As-Salaam
Asma-ul-Husna – The Beautiful Names Of God
Asr – The Afternoon Prayer
As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum – Peace Be On You
Astagfirullah – I Seek Forgiveness Of God
Ayah – A Verse Of The Holy Qur’an – Plural – Ayat

B
Barzakh – Life In The Grave
Bid’a – An Innovative Practice
Bismillah – In The Name Of God

C

D
Dajjal – Anti-Christ
Dawah – Propagation Of Islam
Deen – Way Of Life
Dhikr-ul-Llah – Remembrance of God
Du’a – Supplication
Duhr – Noon Prayer
Dunya – This World

E
Eid Al-Adha – The Feast Of The Sacrifice (Commemorating The Obedience Of Abraham To God To Sacrifice His Son Ishmael)
Eid Al-Fitr – Marking The End Of Ramadan

F
Fajr – The Dawn Prayer
Faqeeh – An Islamic Scholar Who Can Give An Authonatative Legal Opinion Or Judgement
Fardh – Obligatory
Fatihah – The Opening Chapter
Fatwa – Ruling/Verdict
Firdows – The Middle And Highest Part Of Paradise
Fitna – Corruption

G
Gheeba – Talking Evil About Someone In His Or Her Absence (Backbiting)
Ghusl – Washing Of The Body To Be Pure

H
Hadith – Narrations/Reports Of The Deeds And Sayings Of The Holy Prophet
Hadith Qudsi – Sayings Of God Narrated By The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)
Hajj – Pilgrimage To Mecca During The Islamic Month Of Dhul-Hijjah
Halaal – The Lawful
Haraam – The Prohibited
Hassana – Good Deeds Committed In The Path Of God – Plural – Hassanaat
Hayaa’ – Bashfulness, Modesty
Hijaab – A Covering (i.e. Covering Of The Head For Muslim Women)
Hijrah – Migration In The Path Of God

I
Ibaadah – Worship
Iblis – Satan – Also Known As – Shaytaan
Iftar – Breaking Of The Fast Immediately After Sunset (In The Month Of Ramadan – The Holy Month Of Fasting)
Ihsan – Highest Level Of Obedience In Worship – The Worship Of God As If You See Him Knowing That Although You Do Not See Him But He Sees You
Ikhlas – Complete Faith – Sincerity Of The Heart In Worship And Purity Of Intention
‘Ilm – Knowledge
Imam – A Leader In The Community (Also Leads Prayer)
Imaan – Faith
Insan – Human
Insha Allah – If God Wills
Iqamaa – The Call Of Prayer Which Announces The Congregational Prayer Is About To Begin
Iqraa – Read
Isha – The Night Prayer
Islam – Submission To The Will Of God
Istighfar – Seeking God’s Forgiveness For One’s Own Misdeeds

J
Jahanam – Hell
Jahiliyah – Ignorance
Jam’ah – Congregation
Jannah – Paradise
Jazak Allah – May God Reward You
Jibreel – The Angel Gabriel
Jihad – A Struggle
Jin – God’s Creation Made Of Smokeless Fire
Jum’ah – Friday
Juz – A Part Of The Holy Qur’an

K
Ka’aba – Where All Muslims Face When Praying – The Holiest Mosque
Kaafir – Unbeliever – Plural – Kuffar
Kalimah – Statement – Also Known As – Sahadah
Khalifa – A Muslim Ruler
Khutba – Sermon
Kitab – Book
Kufr – Disbelief in God’s Commands

L
Lailatul-Qadr – The Night Of Power – One Of The Last Odd Nights In The Last 10 Nights Of The Holy Month Of Ramadan
La Illaha Ill Allah – There Is No Deity Except God

M
Maghfirah – Forgiveness
Maghrib – Prayer After Sunset
Mahram – A Man Whom A Woman Can Never Marry Because Of Closeness Of Relationship (I.E. Father, Brother, Uncle, Son) – Her Husband Is Also Her Mahram
Mahr – Dowry Given By A Husband To His Wife
Malaikah – Angels – Singular – Malak
Masjid – Mosque – Plural – Masajid
Mubarak – Blessed
Mujahid – One Who Takes Active Part In A Jihad – Plural – Mujahideen
Munafiq – Hypocrite – Plural – Munafiqeen
Mushrik – People Who Associate Partners With God – Plural – Mushrikeen
Muslim – Submission Of Will (To God)
Mustahab – Recommended But Not Obligatory

N
Nabi – Prophet – Plural – Anbiya
Nafilah – Optional Prayer – Plural – Nawafil
Nas – Mankind
Nikah – Marriage
Nisaa – Women
Niyaah – Intention Of The Heart
Noor – Light

O

P

Q
Qabr – Grave
Qadr – Power
Qari – One Who Memorizes The Qur’an By Heart And Constantly Recites It – Religious Scholar Or Teacher – Plural – Qurra
Qiblah – Direction In Which All Muslim Pray (Towards Mecca – The Holy Ka’aba)
Qur’an – The Word Of God – The Final Revelation From God

R
(RA) – Radi Allahu ‘Anhu/’Anha – May God Be Pleased With Him/Her – Plural – Radi Allahu ‘Anhum – May God Be Pleased With Them
Rabb – Lord
Rak’ah- A Unit Of Prayer – Plural – Rak’at
Ramadan – The Holy Month In The Islamic Calander
Rasool – Messenger – Plural – Rusull
Riba – Usury
Rooh – Spirit
Rukn – Pillar – Singular – Arkan

S
Sabr – Patience And Perseverance
Sadaqa – Anything Given Away In Charity For The Pleasure Of God
Sahabi – Companion Of Prophet Muhammad – Plural – Sahabiyeen Sahih – Healthy And Sound With No Defects
Sakinah – Calm, Peaceful Tranquillity
Salaam – Peace
Salat – Prayers
(SAW) – Salallahu ‘Alayhee Wa Sallam (May The Peace And Blessings Of God Be Upon Him)
Shahada – To Bear Witness
Shaheed – Martyr
Shariah – The Islamic Law
Shaytaan – Satan – Also Known As – Iblis
Shuhadaa – Person Who Die For The Sake Of (In The Path Of) God
Shura – Consultation
Siratul-Mustaqeem – The Straight Path
Subhan Allah – Glory Be To God
Sunnah – The Traditions And Practices Of Muhammad – Plural – Sunnan
Surah – A Chapter Of The Holy Qur’an

T
Tafsir – A commentary
Tahara – Purification
Tajweed – Recitation Of The Holy Qur’an With Precise Articulation And Exact Intonation
Taqwa – Fear Of God (Fear To Do Anything That Would Displease God)
Taubah – Repenting After Committing A Sin
Tawheed – The Divine Unity
Thawab – Spiritual Reward Given By God
Tilawat – Reciting The Holy Qur’an And Conveying It’s Message To Others

U Ummah – The Body Of Muslims As One Distinct Integrated Community
Umrah – Pilgramage To Mecca But Not During Hajj

V

W
Wa-‘Alaykum As-Salaam – And On You Be Peace (Reply To The Muslim Greeting Of – As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum – Peace Be Upon You)
Wahy – Revelation
Walee – A Guardian – Plural – Awliyaa
Walima – Marriage Banquet
Witr – A Prayer With An Odd Amount Of Unit
Wudu – Ritual Washing With Water To Be Pure For Prayer

X

Y
Yarhamuku’llah – May God’s Mercy Be Upon You (A Response To A Sneezer When He/She Says – Alhumdulillah – Praise To God)

Z Zakat – The Muslims Wealth Tax – It Is Compulsory On All Muslims – One Must Pay 2.5% Of One’s Yearly Savings ….

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Al Fayda of Islam ~Allah-umma Salli 'ala Sayyidina Mohammadin al-Fati'hi limaa ughliqa, wal khatimi limaa sabaqa, Naasiri-l-'Haqqi bil-'Haqqi wal Hadi ilaa Siratiqa-l-Mustaqim, wa 'ala aalihi 'haqqa Qadrihi wa Miqdaarihi-l-'Adhim.

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