Glossary of Common Islamic Terms

Glossary Dictionary Definitione single word close up

Glossary of Common Islamic Terms

As I’m working my way through Seven Times: Understanding the Times, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and God’s Ultimate Plan for the world I’m compiling a list of commonly used Islamic terms. I’ll try and add to this list as my work continues.  If you think a term should be added, please fee free to contact me on my Facebook Page.

Items like * Al-Qaeda, with the star and colored red are Islamic terrorists groups.


* Abu Sayyaf – is an Islamic Sunni militant group based in and around the islands of southwestern Philippines.

* Al-Qaeda – is a broad based Islamic Sunni militant group founded by Osama bin Laden and a few others.

* Al-Shabaab – is a jihadist terrorist group based in East Africa and in 2012, it pledged allegiance to the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda.

Allah – is the Islamic term for god. While the concept is the same as the Christian God, the personalities of each are different.

Allah Akbar – the phrase means Allah is most great. Used when recognizing an individual or event. Many terrorists have been heard quoting the phrase before committing acts of violence.

Ayatollah – Is a title given to a spiritual leader among the Shia.

Caliph – a successor to Muhammad.

Dajjal – The Islamic Antichrist.

Hadith – A collection of Muhammad’s sayings, deeds or traditions. They are taught as Islamic theology and are second below the Quran and are used to interpret the Quran.

Hajj – Pilgrimage to Mecca during the twelfth month of the Muslim calendar.

Hijra – The flight of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in AD 622.

Hejab – A veil that covers the head and sometimes chest and body of Muslim women beyond the age of puberty and worn in the presence of adult males outside of their immediate family.

* Hezbollah – Shia Islamist militant group and political party based mostly in Lebanon.

Imam – A religious leader or head of local community.

Jihad – A struggle or effort in the cause of Allah. It can refer to an inner struggle or actual war to protect the interest of Islam.

Kafir – A person who refuses to submit to Islam.

Kufi – A hat sometimes worn by Muslim men.

Mahdi – The term means guided one. It’s also the term for Islamic Messiah. The person Islam claims will return in the last days and lead the Muslims.

Muhammad – Is a prophet in Islam and lived between AD 570 and AD 632.

Murtad – A Muslim that has converted to another religion.

Quran – This is Islam’s most sacred book. Claimed to have been written by Muhammad under inspiration of the angel Gabriel.

Ramadan – Month of fasting for Muslims and occurs in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is believed when Muhammad started receiving Quranic revelations.

Shariah – A term for Islamic Law based upon the Quran, Hadith and Sunnah.

Sunnah – Verbally transmitted deeds, sayings and teachings of Muhammad.

Shia (Shi’ite) – a Muslim believer that thinks the leadership should follow from Muhammad’s line.

Sunni – Make up about 90% of all Muslims. Unlike Shia they believe leaders do not have to be descendants of Muhammad.

Takfiri – Is a Sunni Muslim who claims another Muslim or person of another Abrahamic faith apostasy.

* Taliban – A group of fundamentalist Islamic Sunni militants mostly found in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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