Glossary of Terms: Islam
Abraham Patriarch of both Islam and Judaism. Muslims trace their ancestry through Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar
Allah The Arabic name for God
Five Pillars Five requirements of every Muslim. 1) iman, belief in the oneness of God; 2) salat, daily prayers; 3) zakat, charity; 4) sawm, fasting (during Ramadan); 5) hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime if able
Hadith Literature outside the Qur'an of stories about and sayings of Mohammed
Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca. One of the five pillars of Islam. An obligation to undertake once in a lifetime.
Hijra, Hegira "Flight". Mohammed's flight from Mecca to Medina in 622.
Ihram State of ritual purity required during the Hajj. Requires patience. Also refers to the special garment worn by male pilgrims.
Jihad "Striving". The requirement to continually work in all ways to fulfill the requirements of Islam: both inner striving, against the forces of evil, and outer striving, to establish divine order in the world
Ka'ba "Cube". Central building in the pilgrimage mosque at Mecca, 50 feet high and 40 feet wide. Covered by a black cloth, the interior is empty. On one wall is the Black Stone (about 5 feet above the ground and visible on the outside).
Mecca Religious center of Islam and home of the Ka'ba. Daily prayers are oriented towards Mecca.
Miraj "Ladder", "Ascent". Mohammed's Night Journey, in which he was raised to heaven and met other prophets
Mohammed Last and greatest of a series of prophets beginning with Adam (including Jesus) through whom God's will was revealed.
Mosque Muslim place of worship. Mohammed set up the first mosque in Medina and is buried there
Pilgrim from Late Latin pelegrinus, foreigner,
1 : one who journeys in foreign lands : WAYFARER
2 : one who travels to a shrine or holy place as a devotee
Qur'an "Reciting". Sacred scripture of Islam; revelation dictated to Mohammed
Ramadan Ninth month of the Islamic calendar; the month when Mohammed first received revelations; period of fasting
Shahadah Profession of faith: "There is no God but God
Sharia Islamic law
Shi'a, Shiite "Faction". Branch of Islam that believes that the legitimate successor to Mohammed was his son-in-law Ali and a series of imams; most populous in Iran, Iraq, and some areas of Pakistan, India, Syria, and Yemen
Shirk The sin of believing in more than one deity except the one God
Sunnah Sayings and actions of Mohammed reported in the Hadith; generally, the behavior of the prophet, used as a model in Islamic law
Sunni "Tradition". Majority of Muslims who believe that the successors to Mohammed are to be chosen by the Muslim community
Ummah Community. Community of believers; Muslims