Glossary of Terms - Islam 101

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The complete text on one page (good for printing)

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 .

Islam 101 also appears on JihadWatch: Islam 101 on JW and on Citizen Warrior: Islam 101 on Citizen Warrior

You can view the complete movie online.


The Basics

Jihad and Dhimmitude

Frequently Asked Questions

Glossary of Terms

Allah

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

Allahu Akhbar

"God is Greatest"; 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--44, 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--56, succeeded Umar; compiled the Quran in book form.

Yathrib

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