Meanings of Arabic Terms of Common Usage
There are several words of Arabic language that have entered into the vocabulary of non-Arabic speakers due to Islamic influence. Here are the meanings of some Arabic terms of common usage.
Adhan: The call to prayer
Da’wah: Call or mission
Fajr: Dawn. It is usually said with reference to the first daily obligatory prayer.
Fatwa: A religious verdict
Fitnah: Trial, test, temptation, affliction.
Ghusl: A ritual bath obligatory after intercourse, ejaculation and after a woman becomes clean from her menses.
Hadith: Report s of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) sayings, actions and approvals
Hajj: Major pilgrimage to the city of Makkha.
Halal: Permissible, allowed
Halaqa: A study circle
Haram: Prohibited, not allowed
Hijab: Cover. It is usually used in reference to the proper clothing of Muslim men and women.
Hijrah: Migration of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to the city of Madinah
Imam: The leader of prayer, or a distinguished scholar of Islam
Iman: Faith, belief
Isha: Night. It is usually used with reference to the fifth and last of the daily obligatory prayers.
Jamaah: A Muslim congregation
Janazah: A funeral, body of the deceased prepared for burial.
Jihad: Striving in the path of Allah. This struggle can be with forces outside oneself or with oneself against the temptations created by Satan.
Jumuah: Friday. Mostly used with reference to the Friday prayer that is offered in congregation by Muslims.
Kafir: A person who rejects faith.
Kufr: The act of disbelief in God
Khutbah: Speech or sermon. Commonly used with reference to the speech in Friday congregation.
Maghrib: Sunset. Usually used with reference to the fourth daily obligatory prayer.
Mujahid: A person who performs Jihad
Qiblah: The direction the Kabah in Mecca
Riba: Usury or interest
Ruku: Bowing in prayer
Sadaqah: Charity which can be in monetary terms or in terms of actions.
Sahabah: Companions of the Prophet
Salam: Peace, also the Islamic way of greeting
Shaykh: Elderly man, used in reference to a person with certain degree of Islamic knowledge
Shaytan: Satan, evil
Sujud: Prostration (as in prayer)
Surah: Quranic chapter
Tafsir: Quranic interpretations.
Takbir: Saying “Allahu Akbar—Allah is greatest”
Tawaf: Circumambulation around the Kabah
Ummah: Community, nation or followers
Umrah: A minor pilgrimage
Wudu: Compulsory ablution for prayers.
Zakah, Zakat: Obligatory charity which is a fixed percentage of an individual’s wealth.
Zina: Adultery or fornication
Zuhr: Noon. Normally used with reference to the second obligatory daily prayer.
Closer Than a Garment: Muhammad Mustafa al-Jibaly