Islamic Key Terms

Key terms for Islam paper

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  • Created on: 02-06-10 16:09

Features of a Mosque: Vocabulary








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Dome - The dome in the Mosque represents the universe Allah created, over which he rules. It also allows air circulationa and good acoustics

Mihrab - Niche or alcove in a mosque wall, indicating the Qiblah (the direction towards Makkah, towards which all Muslims perform Salah)

Minaret - The distinctive towers or columns on a Mosque

Minbar - The stand from which the Imam (leader of communal prayer) delivers the Khutbah (special speech on Jumu'ah prayers etc.) or speech in the Mosque

Mosque - The holy place of worship in Islam

Muezzin - The person who performs the call to prayer

Wudu - Cleaning or washing before daily prayers. There are special washing stations provided for this in Mosques

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Key beliefs in Islam: Allah



Muhammad (PBUH)








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Allah - The Arabic word for God. There is no plural; only one

Immanent - Allah is close to everyone

Muhammad - Allah's final Prophet of Islam

Omniscient - Allah sees everything

Omnipresent - Allah is everywhere

Omnipotent - Allah is able to do anything

Prophets - Those Allah has given 'insights' or guidance to about Islam

Shirk - Comparing someone to Allah is the greatest sin of Islam, and is unforgiveable

Tawhid - Belief in the one-ness of Allah; absolute monotheism

Transcendent - Allah exists outside and beyond everything he has created

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Key beliefs in Islam: Life after death




Judgement Day


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Akhira - The belief in everlasting life after death

Barzakh - A state of waiting for all those who die before Judgement Day. There is no going back

Jahannam - Hell, a place for non-believers and sinners, where they will suffer in fire for all eternity

Judgement Day - When, after the world has ended, one stands alone before Allah and is fully judged, to determine whether they suffer or rejoyce for all eternity

Paradise - Where all those who pass judgement go to, a place of peace and beauty, beyond imagining on Earth

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Key beliefs in Islam: Life of Muhammad








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Hijrah - What Muhammad's move to Madinah was called, meaning 'departure'

Hira - Near to Makkah, where Muhammad went to meditate. This is where he received the first revelation

Idols - Statues worshipped as God, which Muhammad saw in Makkah and felt was wrong

Khadijah - Muhammad's first wife

Makkah - The city where Muhammad was born

Madinah - Though the people of Makkah didn't like Muhammad, he was asked by the town of Madinah to preach to them

Mediatate - To enter a state of deep contemplation. Muhammad was meditating when he was visited by an angel, and told he was Allah's messenger

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Key beliefs in Islam: Jihad

Harb al-Muqadis



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Harb al-Muqadis - Holy War: in defence of Allah, to restore peace, or to gain freedom form tyranny. It must be led by a spiritual leader, e.g. The Pope in Catholicism

Jihad - And effort made out of love for Allah, to serve him to the best of your ability. Often applied to war (Military Jihad). Jihad does not include:

  • Wars of aggression or ambition
  • Border disputes
  • The intent to take over another country
  • Forcing people into accepting a faith they do not believe

Shahid - Someone who dies serving Allah as a martyr

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Key beliefs in Islam: the Qur'an






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Al-Fatiha - 'The Opening', first chapter of the Qur'an. It describes the main attributes of Allah

Ayah - A unit within a chapter of the Qur'an

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim - 'In the name of Allah - All Gracious, All Merciful'. The beginning to all the Surahs of the Qur'an

Qur'an - The Divine Book revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Allah's final revelation to mankind, which cannot be altered

Surah - Division of the Qur'an: there are 114 in total

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Key beliefs in Islam: Family


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Ummah - The central belief that followers of Islam are one big family

Note: Islam teaches respect for elders, as they are the most wise and knowledgeable, and that children should be brought up with compassion and in the correct Islamic way

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Key beliefs in Islam: Special occasions (birth & c





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Aqiqah - When after 7 days, a baby is given its name, has its head shaved

Bismillah - When the child learsn the first lesson of the Qur'an

Khitan - The circumcision of male babies

Tahnik - When sugar or honey is placed on a baby's tongue, symbolizing making the child sweet

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Key beliefs in Islam: Special occasions (marriage

Arranged marriage






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Arranged marriage - A common practice in Islam, when the partner is carefully selected by the families

Iddah - The waiting period before a divorce is final

Khul - If the wife has a geniune issue, e.g. abuse, she can get a divorce by returning the husband's wedding gift in return for the end of the marriage

Li'an - A divorce where the wife is accused of adultery

Mubara'ah - When the divorce is mutually agreed, and the finances can be sorted out

Talaq - A divorce requested by the husband

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Key beliefs in Islam: Special occasions (funerals)





Salat al Janazah

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Cremation - Burning a body to ash; an alternative to burial. Cremation is forbidden in Islam, so bodies are always buried

Ihram - The white robes worn on Hajj, which many are buried in, as Hajj is a time of great religious significance in one's life

Imam - The Imam presides over the funeral prayers

Makkah - The direction in which Muslims are buried

Salat al Janazah - The funeral prayer

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Key terms: Hajj







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Arafat - A plain, a few km from Makkah, where pilgrims gather to pray, worship and seek forgiveness. This happens the day before Eid-ul-Adha

Dhul-Hijjah - The month of Hajj, the last month in the Islamic calendar

Eid-ul-Adha - Celebration of the Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son for Allah. There's a feast where Halal meat is eaten

Hajj - Annual pilgrimage to Makkah which each Muslim must undertake once in a lifetime, if they're sufficiently wealthy/in good physical health

Ihram - The state in which Hajj is performed, normally disallowing things such as sex and material thoughts. Also the name of the plain white clothes worn, to show equality ad purity between all those on Hajj

Ka'bah - A cube shaped structure in the centre of the grand Mosque in Makkah. It was the first house built for the worship of Allah, and is circled 7 times, performed on the first day (see Tawaf)

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Key terms: Hajj (2)




Safa and Marwah

Tawaf as-Sadr


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Mina - Place near Makkah, where pilgrims stay on the 10th-12th days of Dhul-Hijjah, and perform some activities of Hajj

Miqat - Place appointed where the pilgrims enter the state of Ihram

Muzdalifah - Place where the pilgrims on Hajj stop for a time during the night of the day they spend at Arafat

Safa and Marwah - Two hills in Makkah pilgrims run between, to remember how Hajar, wife of Ibrahim, ran searching for water

Tawaf as-Sadr - The departure Tawaf around the Ka'bah

ZamZam - The well between Safa and Marwah, where Hajar found water. Many pilgrims bottle the water and take it home

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Useful general vocabulary

Bismillah - In the name of Allah

Du'a - A personal prayer

Fard - Obligatory duty, according to divine law e.g. praying five times a day

Hadith - The sayings of the Prophet Muhammad

Halal - Any action or thing which is permitted or lawful

Haram - Any action or thing which isn't permitted or lawful

Ibadah - All acts of worship

Iman - Faith, Belief

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