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.

Islam "Submission".

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