1.) Holy Qur’an – Holy Qur’an is the primary source of the Muslim law.  The Quran is the final revelation of the long list of revelations sent for mankind from Allah the absolute, the eternal. The Quran defines itself as a book that provides guidance, moral references to men and sense to life and existence. Its linguistic meaning is “the recitation or the reading”. The most appropriate definition of the Qur’an is “The Arabic speech of Allah which he revealed to Muhammad in wording and in meaning which has been preserved in the Mushafs or a collection of written sheets or a book, and has reached us through muttawaatir or transmitted narrations, and is a challenge for mankind to produce something similar to it.”


“He is the One who sends down clear revelations to His servant to bring you out of darkness and into light. For indeed Allah is Ever Gracious and Most Merciful to you.” Surah Al-Hadid 9


“We sent them with clear proofs and divine Books. And We have sent to you O Prophet the Reminder [i.e., the Qur’an] so that you may explain the people what has been revealed to you for them, and perhaps they will reflect” Surah An-Nahl 44


Indeed, it is We who sent down the message [i.e., the Qur’an], and indeed, We will be its guardian. Surah Al-Hijr 9


2.) Abu Bakr: Muhammad’s father-in-law and first political successor (caliph)


3.) Ali: Muhammad’s son-in-law and cousin, the first after Khadija to accept Muhammad’s teaching; the fourth caliph and the first Imam of Shi’ite Islam


4.) Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala (SWT) is the proper name for God in Arabic. SWT literally translates to “May He be praised and exalted”. Allah is the lord of Mankind, the one and only and who created the heavens and the earth. Allah has 99 names, the most familiar and frequent are “the Most Compassionate ” (Ar-Raḥmān) and “the Most Merciful” (Ar-Raḥīm).


5.) Caliph:  from khalifa (literall, ‘deputy,’ ‘representative’); successors of Muhammad in leading Islam.


6.) Eid al-Adha: Muslim feast of sacrifice


7.) Eid al-Fitr: Muslim feast of fast breaking.  Celebrates a return to normal life after the prolonged fast of Ramadan


8.) Five Pillars of Islam: the basic obligations individual Muslims observe:  1) the profession of faith, 2) daily prayer, 3) the alms tax for the needy, 4) fasting during the month of Ramadan, and 5) taking the hajj at least once.


9.) Hadith – Hadith is the record of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (saw). The sayings and conduct of Prophet Muhammad (saw) constitute the Sunnah. Hadith has come to supplement the Holy Qur’an as a source of the Islamic religious law. It is the second pillar after the Qur’an upon which every Muslim rests his faith. It consists of Mat’n and Isnad. Mat’n means the text of the Hadith, while Isnad means the chain of transmitters to that Hadith.


10.) Hajj:  pilgrimage each Muslim is supposed to make once in a lifetime to the shrines in and around Mecca


11.) Hijrah:  literally means, “migration”; the migration of Muhammad and his disciples from Mecca to Medina in 622 C.E.


12.) Iblis: Fallen angel who is the Satan figure in Islam


13.) Ijma – It is the Arabic term which refers to the consensus of Muslim scholars of a given generation after the death of Prophet Mohammad on religious issues. It may also refer to the universal and infallible agreement of the Muslim community, especially of Muslim scholars, on any Islamic principle, at any time. The ruling laid down by Ijma is considered to be authoritative, permanent and binding and its validity is not confined to a time limit.


14.) Imam: literally means, “one who stands before”; in Sunni Islam, the leader of worship in the mosque.  In Shi’ite Islam, a spiritual successor to Muhammad who is endowed with the power to interpret the truth in the age in which he lives.


15.) Jihad: literally means, “struggle”; referring to the obligation of all Muslims to struggle against error.


16.) Kaaba: literally means, “cube”; the central shrine of Islam, located in the Grand Mosque of Mecca.  It symbolizes the center of the world and is visited by Muslims on the hajj.


17.) Khadija: Muhammad’s wife and the first to accept his teaching


18.) Mahdi: literally means, “the guided one”; in Islam in general, a descendant of Muhammad who will restore justice on earth.  In Shi’ite Islam in particular, a messianic imam who will appear to end corruption.


19.) Masjid: Muslim house of prayer


20.) Muslim: literally means, “submitter” (one who submits to the will of God); one becomes a Muslim by utterance of the Shahadah:  “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.”


21.) Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam (SAW) is the last prophet of Allah sent to mankind.  He was sent to complete the mission of the previous Messengers (including Abraham, Moses, Jesus and others) of calling people to believing in Allah and following the guidance and teachings of Allah. Muslims regard Prophet Mohammad (SAW) as their highest role model and they aim to follow in his footsteps in all of their actions.


“We have sent you O Prophet only as mercy for the whole world.” Surah Al-Anbiya 107


22.) Ramadan: month during which devout Muslims do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset.  The fast celebrates the month in which the Prophet received the Qur’an.


23.) Shahadah: Creedal statment of Islam:  “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.”


24.) Sharia: the path or way Muslims are to follow; hence, Muslim ‘law’


25.) Shi’ite: literally means, “the party of”; this Muslim group, which accounts for approximately 14% of all Muslims, split from Sunni over the issue of rightful succession to Muhammad


26.) Sufi: literally means, “woolen”;  Muslim group that seeks a mystical knowledge of God


27.) Sunni: the largest of the two main branches of Islam; where the Qur’an is not explict this movement appeals to Sunna  (the manner of behavior associated with Muhammad; via hadith)


28.) Surah: Chapter division within the Qur’an


29.) Umma: literally means, “community”; the entire community of Muslims throughout the world


30.) Wahhabi: Ultraconservative Muslim movement founded in the 18th Century and oppoed to all forms of change within religion and culture