Glossary of Islamic Words
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: Leader of a Muslim community. The title of those who succeeded Mohammed and continued to lead into the 20th century.
Da’wa: Muslims calling or summoning the world's "unbelievers" to Islam. Proselytizing and converting "unbelievers" to Islam.
Dhimmis: Literally "protected people." That may sound good, but it's merely the better of two options traditionally offered non-Muslims (Jews and Christians) living under Sharia law. When a territory was conquered by Islamic forces, Christians were offered a choice: death or submission to Sharia law. The latter meant submitting to humiliating regulations and heavy taxes designed to enforce the Qur'an's command that they "feel themselves subdued" within an Islamic system. (Sura 9:29). See www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch
"Collective Punishment Under Islam: "During a recent altercation in Egypt, a Christian inadvertently killed a Muslim [after radical Salafis burned down his home and threatened other property]. ...Collectively punishing dhimmis—non-Muslims who refused to convert after their lands were seized by Muslims, and who are treated as 'second-class' infidels—for the crimes of the individual is standard under Islam. In this instance, dhimmis are forbidden from striking—let alone killing—Muslims, even if the latter perpetrate the conflict.”
Mark Durie wrote in The Third Choice, a book on dhimmitude: "Even a breach by a single individual dhimmi could result in jihad being enacted against the whole community....'The fact that one individual (or one group) among them has broken the statute is enough to invalidate it for all of them.'"
Fatwa: Usually religious regulations or edicts made by Muslim muftis, imams, clerics or other powerful leaders. For example, in 1996 Osama bin Laden issued the fatwa or edict that Muslims kill US citizens -- whether military or civilians -- as part of jihad against the declared enemies of Islam. Seven years earlier, Ayatollah Khomeini had issued a fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the author of The Satanic Verses.
Hadith: Written "prophetic tradition." Compiled two hundred years after Mohammed's death, it includes the sayings and works of Mohammed. It is part of four main sources of Islamic faith and law: The other three are the Quran, the Ijima (consensus), and Qiyas (analogy).
Haram: Forbidden by Islamic law
Haji: Annual pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina - the fifth pillar of Islam.
Halal: Correct according to Islamic law. With regard to food, it would be similar to the Jewish word "kosher."
Hijab: A woman's shawl covering the head, and the belief that women should be modestly dressed in public.
Hirz: A protective amulet, to "guard against evil."
Imam: A Muslim religious leader, the spiritual head of a mosque.
Islam: Submission or surrender to the will of Allah.
Ikhwan (Arabic for brothers) was the Islamic religious militia which formed the main military force of the Arabian ruler Ibn Saud and played a key role in establishing him as ruler of most of the Arabian Peninsula, in his new state of Saudi Arabia." (From Wikipedia)
Jihad: Literally, an "exertion" or "struggle" or "striving" - but historically refers to holy war or crusade in the name of Islam against unbelievers. Moderate Islamic leaders have modernized the meaning to include any good efforts to help others and to expand the influence of Islam.
Jinn: Good or back spirits created by Allah.
Jizya: "Poll tax" required by dhimmis as a sign of submission and surrender to the Islamic regime.
Khafir: A derogatory label for infidels (non-Muslims)
Kalimah: "At the center of Muslim faith is the confession or kalimah that there is no God except Allah, and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle.... Many Muslims hold that no matter how poor the performance may be in the area of 'deeds,' all who confess the kalimah will be saved eventually—though they may have to suffer the pains of purgatorial fire until their sins are 'atoned for.''" ("Islam and Salvation")
Madrassa: Islamic school for training youth to follow the Qur'an.
Mahdi: The coming messianic leader -- "the rightly guided one" -- expected (especially by Shi'ites) to restore the purity and order of Islam.
Mullah: Islamic clerics among the Shi'ites.
Qur'an: The sacred book of revelations believed to have been given to Mohammed by the angel Gabriel in 612 AD.
Ramadan: The holy month of Islam commemorating the time Mohammed began to receive the series of angelic revelations. During this month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset.
Sakat: Ritual prayer to be performed five times a day.
Shahada: The Islamic creed.
Sharia: The law of Islam -- "the way," "the path to God" or "the path to a water hole" -- the sacred law which guides a Muslim's life, choices and community. It calls for the death of any Muslim who converts to Christianity or shames the family by violating the social or cultural traditions of Islam. (See Persecution and notice its application in Islamic lands)
Sheikh: A respectful title for leaders, clerics and elders in the in a Muslim community.
Shia: The Islamic division or sect first led by Ali, Mohammed's son-in-law and cousin, which separated from the Sunnis in the 1690s.
Shi'ite: Follower or member of the Shia.
Sunni: Follower of the Sunna, the largest division (83% of Muslims worldwide) within Islam.
Sura: A chapter of the Qur'an.
Taquia. Makes lies acceptable and deceptions honorable when dishonesty serves the Islamic purposes.
Wahhabi: A strict, fundamental code of beliefs and law named after Mohammed ibn Abdul Wahhab, an eighteenth-century cleric. In the 20th century, it was used by Abdel Aziz ibn Saud to unify the Saudi Arabian tribes.
Umma: "People" - the global community of Muslims
Zakat: Obligatory alms required from all Muslims.