Glossary of Islamic Terms

Shahadah – Declaration of the Islamic Faith. One of the five pillars of Islam.

Salah/Salat – Act of offering prayer to Allah Almighty. One of the five pillars of Islam.

Zakat – A certain proportion of wealth given to the poor and needy. One of the five pillars of Islam.

Hajj – Pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca. One of the five pillars of Islam.

Saum – Act of worship in the form of Fasting. One of the five pillars of Islam.

Wudu – A purification process consisting of several steps by which Muslims cleanse themselves for prayer and for reciting the Quran.

Surah – A chapter of the Holy Quran.

Ayat/Ayah – A verse from the Holy Quran.

Quraysh – The ruling family of Mecca at the time of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Umrah – A non-obligatory minor pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca.

Tawheed – Belief in the One and only God (Allah Almighty). The central concept of Islam.

Rakah – A Unit of Salah/prayer.

Takbeer – Saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ which translates to “Allah is the Greatest”.

Kaaba – Cube-shaped stone structure in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The most sacred site for Muslims.

Mecca – The holiest city in Islam. Birthplace of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Madinah – The second holiest city in Islam. The migration city and burial place of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Eid-ul-Fitr – Festival to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Eid-ul-Adha – Festival to celebrate Hajj.

Adhan or Azaan – The call to mandatory prayers/Salah in Islam.

Iqamah – The second call to prayer/Salah. It is given right before Salah begins.

Qiyamah – The Day of Judgment.

Asma-ul-Husna – The beautiful names of Allah Almighty.

Dua – Prayer.

Ihram – A sacred state that a Muslim must enter in order to perform the Hajj or Umrah.

Tawaf – Circumambulation of the Kaaba in an anti-clockwise movement.

Hijrah – The migration of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) from Mecca to Madinah.

Shirk – Associating partners with Allah Almighty. Polytheism or idolatry.

Laylayt-ul-Qadr – The night of power. One of the odd nights in the last ten nights of Ramadan in which the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Mihrab or Mehrab – A place in the wall of a mosque or a room in the mosque that indicates the direction of Mecca. Also, a specific design in the middle of a Muslim prayer rug pointed towards Mecca during worship.


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