Glossary Of Terms (for Islam 101)


The following is one chapter of Islam 101:

Allah: "God"; Arabic Christians also worship "Allah," but an Allah of a very different sort.

Allahu Akhbar: "God is Great (-est)"; term of praise; war cry of Muslims.

AH: "after Hijra"; the Islamic calendar's system of dating; employs lunar rather than solar years; as of January 2007, we are in AH 1428.

Ansar: "aiders" or "helpers"; Arabian tribesmen allied with Muhammad and the early Muslims.

Badr: first significant battle fought by Muhammad and the Muslims against the Quraish tribe of Mecca.

Caliph: title of the ruler or leader of the Umma (global Muslim community); the head of the former Islamic Empire; the title was abolished by Kemal Attaturk in 1924 following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the founding of modern Turkey.

dar al-Islam: "House (Realm) of Islam"; Islamic territory ruled by Sharia law

dar al-harb: "House (Realm) of War": territory ruled by infidels

dar al-sulh: "House (Realm) of Truce": territory ruled by infidels but allied with Islam; territory ruled by Muslims but not under Sharia law

Dhimma: the pact of protection extended to non-slave "People of the Book", usually Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians, which permitted them to remain nominally free under Muslim rule.

dhimmi: "protected"; people under the protection of the dhimma.

dhimmitude: word coined by historian Bat Ye'or to describe the status of dhimmi peoples

hadith: "report"; any of thousands of episodes from the life of Muhammad transmitted orally until written down in the eighth century AD; sahih (reliable or sound) hadiths are second only to the Quran in authority.

Hijra: "emigration"; Muhammad's flight from Mecca to Medina (Yathrib) in AD 622.

Islam: "submission" or "surrender."

jizya: the poll or head tax prescribed by Sura 9:29 of the Quran to be paid by Christians and Jews in Muslim-held territory.

Kaba: "cube"; the Meccan temple in which numerous pagan idols were housed before Muhammad's conquest of Mecca in AD 632, which is still the most venerated object in Islam; the Kaba's cornerstone, which is believed to have fallen from heaven, is the stone on which Abraham was to sacrifice his son, Ishmael (not Isaac).

Mecca: holiest city of Islam; place of Muhammad's birth in AD 570; its Great Mosque contains the Kaba stone; early period in Muhammad's life where more peaceful verses of the Quran were revealed; site of Muhammad's victory over the Quraish in AD 630.

Medina: "city," short for "city of the Prophet"; second holiest city of Islam; destination of Muhammad's Hijra (emigration) in AD 622; later period in Muhammad's life where more violent verses of the Quran were revealed; site of third major battle fought by Muhammad against the Quraish tribe from Mecca; formerly called Yathrib.

Muhammad: "the praised one."

Muslim: one who submits.

Quran (Kuran, Quran, etc.): "recitation"; according to Islam, the compiled verbatim words of Allah as dictated by Muhammad.

razzia: "raid"; acts of piracy on land or sea by Muslims against infidels

Sira: "life"; abbreviation of Sirat Rasul Allah, or "Life of the Prophet of God"; the canonical biography of the Prophet Muhammad written in the eighth century by Ibn Ishaq and later edited by Ibn Hisham; modern translation by Alfred Guillaume.

Sunnah: the "Way" of the Prophet Muhammad; includes his teachings, traditions, and example.

Sura: a chapter of the Quran; Quranic passages are cited as "Sura number:verse" number, e.g., 9:5.

Uhud: second major battle fought by Muhammad against the Quraish tribe of Mecca.

Umar: second "rightly-guided" Caliph; ruled AD 634-644, succeeded Abu Bakr; conquered the Holy Land.

Umma (ummah): the global Muslim community; the body of Muslim faithful.

Uthman: third "rightly-guided" Caliph; ruled AD 644-656, succeeded Umar; compiled the Quran in book form.

Yathrib: city to which Muhammad made the Hijra (emigration) in AD 622/AH 1; renamed Medina.

[ return to the Table of Contents of Islam 101 ]

Islam 101 was written by Gregory M. Davis, author of Religion of Peace?: Islam's War Against the World, and the producer/director of Islam: What the West Needs to Know.



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