Important Islamic Terms
Allah: Arabic name for God; means “the God”
Allahu Akbar: “God is greater“
Fatwah: a legal opinion given by a religious leader based on Quranic law (see “Quran” below) and thus carrying the utmost authority
Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca; required of every Muslim who is able
Imam: leader of congregational prayer in the mosque. Among Sunnis, the imam is considered an authority in Islamic law and theology. Among Shiites, he would be like a Muslim pope, although no one holds this role at the present time
Injil: an Arabic term that refers to the revelation transmitted by Jesus.
Isa: Arabic name for Jesus; “Isa al Masih” means “Jesus the Messiah”
Islam: literally means “submission” (to God)
Jihad: the concept of extraordinary effort in belief and practice of Islam; often understood and applied as a militancy in defending or extending the interests of Islam. Such could include literal wars against unbelievers or symbolic struggles against sin and temptation.
Kaaba: means “Cube.” It is a cubical stone building covered by a black curtain called the “house of God” and it is located in the court of the mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Allegedly built by Abraham and Ishmael, it houses a mystical black stone kissed by Muslims during their pilgrimage.
Mecca: Muhammad’s birthplace, located in Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims and the destination for the required pilgrimage
Medina: Muhammad’s burial place, located in Saudi Arabia about 250 miles north of Mecca
Muslim: literally “one who submits” (to God)
Ramadan: month of fasting; it is the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar
Sura: a chapter of the Quran; there are a total of 114 suras in the Quran
Quran (or Qur’an): is the central religious text of Islam. Also transliterated as Qur’ān, Koran, Alcoran or Al-Qur’ān