Explanation of Islamic Terms
Alim: One who has attained a considerable amount of Islamic knowledge. He could also be referred to as an Islamic scholar.
Barakah: Literally means "blessings". It refers to the experiencing of abundance in things, which are apparently insignificant or little, both in value and amount.
Bid’ah: Literally means "innovation". In Islam it refers to introducing new things into religion which have no basis in the Quran or Sunnah, and in addition to this, to regard these new things as acts of ‘ibadah. A bid'ah is a major sin in Islam.
Dua ul-maghfirah: Supplicating to Allah Ta'ala and asking Him for His forgiveness.
I’la: Annulment of a marriage after the husband's sworn testimony to have refrained from sexual intercourse with his wife for a period of at least four months. For further details, refer to the chapter on ‘i la’.
Fard: Literally means "compulsory". In Islam it refers to those acts and things which are compulsory on a Muslim. Abandoning or abstaining from a fard act is a major sin. Rejecting a fard act amounts to kufr.
Fatwa: A formal legal opinion or verdict in Islamic law.
Ghayr mahram: Refers to all those persons with whom marriage is permissible. Based on this, it is incumbent to observe purdah with all ghayr mahrams.
Ghibah: Slander or backbiting.
Hayd: Monthly periods or menstruation experienced by a woman.
Hajj: Literally means "pilgrimage". In Islam it refers to the annual pilgrimage to Makkah.
Halal: That which is lawful or permissible in Islam.
Haram: That which is unlawful or prohibited in Islam.
Hur: Refers to the large-eyed women of jannah, promised to the believers.
Ibadah: Literally means "worship". In Islam it refers to all those acts of worship which one renders to Allah Ta'ala.
Iddah: A period of waiting during which a woman may not remarry after being widowed or divorced. For further details, refer to the chapter on iddah.
Ihram: Two pieces of unstitched cloth donned by the person performing hajj or umrah.
Jama’ah: A group, party, community.
Kafir: Literally means "a disbeliever". In Islam it refers to one who rejects Allah and does not believe in Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as the final messenger of Allah.
Kaffarah: Literally means "penance, atonement, expiation". In Islamic law it refers to redemption from the omission of certain religious duties by a material donation or a ritual act. For further details, refer to the chapter on kaffarah.
Khula: Divorce at the instance of the wife who must pay compensation. For further details, refer to the chapter on khula.
Kuffar: Plural of kafir.
Li'an: Sworn allegation of adultery committed by either husband or wife. For further details, refer to the chapter on li'an.
Madrasah: Literally means "a school". Also used to refer to a religious school.
Maghrib: Literally means "evening or sunset". Also refers to the time of sunset and the salat that is offered thereafter.
Mahr: Dower or bridal money.
Mahram: Refers to the person with whom marriage is not permissible and with whom strict purdah is not incumbent.
Mahrul mithl: The dower or bridal money that is equal to or similar than that which was given to a girl's paternal grandmothers. For further details, refer to the chapter on mahrul mithl.
Masa'il: Plural of mas'ala.
Mas'ala: Literally means "an issue, problem or question". In Islamic jurisprudence, it refers to a rule or regulation.
Mustahab: Literally means "preferable or desirable". Refers to that act which was carried out by Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam or the Sahabah occasionally. Carrying out these actions entails reward and leaving them out does not entail punishment.
Nadhr: A vow or solemn pledge.
Nifas: Refers to the flowing of blood after child-birth.
Perdah: An Urdu word meaning "seclusion". It is an equivalent of the Arabic word "hijab". Refers to the seclusion of women from strangers. There are different stages of purdah, the highest of which is that the woman should not come out of her home except for a valid Islamic reason.
Qada: Literally means "carrying out or fulfilling". In Islamic jurisprudence it refers to fulfilling or completing those duties that one may have missed out due to some reason or the other.
Qadiani: A heretical sect which regards Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani as a prophet of Allah. Qadianis are regarded as disbelievers.
Qiblah: The direction in which one faces when offering salat.
Qurbani: Literally means "sacrifice". In Islam it refers to the sacrificing of animals solely for the pleasure of Allah Ta'ala on the day of idul-Ad'ha and the two days following it.
Ramadan: The ninth month of the Islamic calendar which is regarded as the most sacred month.
Salam: Literally means "peace".
Shari‘ah: The Islamic Law.
Shaytan: Satan or the devil.
Shi’ah: A heretical sect found primarily in Iran.
Sunnat-e-Mu’akkadah: Refers to those actions which Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam carried out continuously. It is a sin to leave out such a sunnah without any valid excuse.
Sunni: Refers to those who belong to the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama'ah. This term is generally used as an opposite to Sh i ‘ah.
Surmah: Antimony. A black powdery substance that is applied to the eyes. It is sunnah to apply surmah.
Talaq-e-kinayah: A divorce that is issued in vague terms without clearly uttering the words of talaq.
Talaq-e-sarih: A divorce that is issued in clear terms without leaving any vagueness or doubt.
Talaqul ba'in: A divorce, which causes the annulment of the marriage. If a person wishes to retain his wife to whom he had issued a talaqul ba'in, he will have to remarry her, i.e. their nikah will have to be re-performed.
Talaqul mughallazah: A divorce which not only causes the annulment of the marriage, but if the couple wish to remarry, the woman will have to marry another person first, when he divorces her or passes away, only then can she remarry her first husband.
Talaqur raj'ai : A revocable divorce.
For further details with regard to all the above forms of talaq, refer to the relevant chapters.
Ulama: Plural of alim.
Ummah: Literally means "community or nation". Here it refers to the Muslim community and nation.
Wajib: Literally means "obligatory". In Islamic jurisprudence it refers to that act which has not been established by an absolute proof. Leaving out a wajib without any valid reason makes one a fasiq and entails punishment.
Wali: In the context of marriage or divorce, it refers to the legal guardian of a minor.
Walimah: Refers to the feast that is organized after a marriage. It usually takes place after the bride and bride groom have spent a night together.
Wudu: Literally means "purity or cleanliness". In Islamic terminology, it refers to the act of washing oneself before offering salat.
Zihar: Likening one's wife to one's mother. It is a form of divorce. For further details, refer to the chapter on zihar.