Glossary

This page provides an explanation of Arabic terminology used throughout this website.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

 

A

Akhirah: Commonly used to refer to the “after life” or the eternal life. Muslims consider death as a beginning and not an end, since the present life is merely a testing ground that contributes towards determining one’s state in the permanent after life. Hence, success is not only considered in terms of this life but also in terms of the akhirah.

Al-Insan Al-Kamil: literally – the person who has reached perfection. It is an honorific title used to describe Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). It is also considered the prototype that every Muslim aspires to work towards, even if he never fully attains it. Further reading >>.

Al-Firdaus Al-A’laa: The highest garden in Paradise (Jannah). Further reading >>.

 

B

Barakah: Defined as divine blessing that creates increase in whatever it is attached to. Having barakah in time, for example, means one is able to achieve more in a specific time than in time without barakah.

 

D

Da’wah: An Arabic word which means to invite or summon someone. This term is often used to describe when Muslims share their faith with others, in order to teach them more about Islam. Syn: proselityze, teach, share, preach, invite.

 

F

Falah: Success (especially from self-improvement), happiness and well-being. In the Islamic context, according to the Qur’an, actions conforming to Allah’s commands will all lead to falaḥ.

Fawaz: success, victory, prosperity

 

H

Hadith: What the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, did, or approved of. These have been collected with a strict verification mechanism across the ages until today. Further reading >>.

 

I

Ibadah: Any act performed for the sake of seeking the pleasure of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He); i.e. an act of worship. This is not limited to ritual prescriptions such as praying or reciting the Qur’an, but also to day-to-day acts such as bearing a cheerful disposition towards fellow human beings for the sake of pleasing Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).

Ihsan: Translated as excellence. This is mentioned in hadith Jibreel and other hadith and it is applicable to all aspects of a Muslim’s dealings such as work, relationships, and ritual worship.

Ihya: Ihya Ulum al-Din (The Revival of the Religions Sciences) is widely regarded as one of the great works of Muslim spirituality and has, for centuries, been widely read in the Muslim world.

M

Maslaha (plural: masa’lih): considerations of public interest, human welfare, utility and human good. Ash-Sha’tibi said, “What concerns the subsistence of human life, the wholeness of his way of life, and the acquiring of what man’s emotional and intellectual faculties require of him in their absolute sense.”

Mafsada (plural: mafa’sid): Evil, namely anything which violates the five essential values of deen, i.e. life, intellect, lineage, and property.

S

Sakinah: This term is used to denote tranquility or peace of mind that descends on a believer who completely submits himself to the Oneness of God.

Sajdah at-Tilawah: The prostration made at the recitation of specific ayahs in the Qur’an. It is narrated that when the son of Adam recites the Ayat of Sajdah (prostration) and then falls down in prostration, the Satan goes into seclusion and weeps and says, “Woe unto me, the son of Adam was commanded to prostrate, and he prostrated and Paradise was entitled to him and I was commanded to prostrate, but I refused and am doomed to Hell.” [Extracted from Sahih Muslim]

Shari’ah (alt. shariah, sharia): Shariah literally means ‘a well-trodden path to water,’ the source of all life, representing the Path to Allah, as given by Allah, the Originator of all life. It refers to the disciplines and principles that govern the behavior of a Muslim individual towards his or herself, family, neighbors, community, city, nation and the Muslim polity as a whole, the Ummah. One of its chief objectives is mercy, although unfortunately today it is misrepresented as barbarism. Read more>>.

Shaytan (alt. shaitan; plural – shayateen): Linguistically refers to a demonic spirit although this term is commonly used to refer specifically to Iblees (Satan).

Shura: Seeking counsel from others.

Sunnah: what the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, did, or approved of for us to follow. The sunnah is understood through hadith collections that narrate various incidents from the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

 

T

Tahajjud – Loosely translated as “the night prayer”, Tahajjud is a highly recommended prayer observed typically in the last part of the night. It is a time of approaching Allah Glorified and Exalted be He, seeking closeness and a response to our needs.Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying: When half of the night or two-third of it is over. Allah, the Blessed and the Exalted, descends to the lowest heaven and says: Is there any beggar, so that he be given? Is there any supplicator so that he be answered? Is there any beggar of forgiveness so that he be forgiven? (And Allah continues it saying) till it is daybreak. [Sahih Muslim]

Tazkiya:  Purification of the soul, limbs, and senses. See Formula for Success.

Tawfeeq (alt. tawfiq):  Divine assistance facilitating success. (Note: some scholars translate tawfeeq as success itself.)

Q

Qiyam-al-Lail: Engaging in prayer during the night.