03 Nov Basic Islamic Phrases: Part 4
Hijra: To migrate. This term refers firstly to the great migration of the Muslims in the year 622 from the hostile city of Mecca, which was controlled by idol-worshippers, to the safer city of Madinah (then called Yathrib) where Islam could exist freely. The Islamic calendar begins with the Hijra as the first year.
‘Ibadah: This term is often translated as “worship” but it is not a correct translation. The word worship in English just means praying and bowing, like worshipping in a church. But the term ‘Ibadah literally means “service” and it comes from the root word, “to serve.” When we say that Islam considers all life to be ‘Ibadah, we mean that our whole life should be lived in the service of Allah. We are here to serve Allah. In Islam, any good deed, action or thought, even just holding a steady job or smiling at someone is considered doing ‘Ibadah for Allah.
Iftar: The meal you eat after sunset in Ramadan. Suhoor is the light breakfast before first light in the morning during Ramadan.
Imam: Literally: leader. Although most Muslims take this term in the sense of a leader of the prayers, it does apply to the group leader outside of prayer as well. An Imam must be elected by the Muslims or at least accepted by them if he is appointed from outside. If the community rejects him, then he cannot be the Imam.
Eman: (Eemaan) Belief or faith. The root word of Eman is Amuna. It implies three meanings: 1) to believe, 2) to confirm that belief in your heart, and 3) to feel safe. Eman is what makes a person a Muslim. Often spelled “Iman”.
Ihsaan: Usually translated as “goodness”. The Prophet (p) defined it as knowing that Allah is watching you even though you don’t see Him.
Injeel: The Gospel of Prophet ‘Esa (Jesus). The New Testament of the Bible is not the Gospel of Jesus. The New Testament was written by a lot of different authors well after Jesus went up to the heavens, and it contains stories about Prophet ‘Esa, but it is not ‘Esa’s message. The present New Testament was assembled three hundred years after the time of Prophet ‘Esa by a group of white men on a Greek Island who voted on what their “holy” book should contain. Most of the votes were hotly debated! The Roman emperor who ordered them to do it then told all Christians to accept this new compilation of writings. All other Christian writings were ordered to be destroyed. The New Testament contains four books called Gospels: (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). Hundreds more “Gospels” from other authors were burned. A few such as the Gospel of Barnabas and Thomas have survived. The Gospel of Jesus was never written down and is lost.
Insha’llah: If Allah wills something to happen only then will it happen.
Iqamah: The second call to prayer just before the actual prayer begins.
Islam: A submission to God. To surrender to Allah and find peace. To submit oneself TOTALLY to the lord.
Jam’a: Together, in a group.
Jannah: Paradise, Heaven. It literally means “the Garden.”
Jibra’il: The angel that brought Allah’s revelation to the Prophet. Allah is so powerful and majestic that it is beneath him to reveal Himself to humans. We are like an ant next to a star in comparison to Allah. He sends the angels to do these small jobs, though He doesn’t need them. In English his name is Gabriel.
Jihad: A struggle
Jinn: These are another type of creature Allah created. They are invisible to us but they can see us. They were made from fire elements and thus are pure energy. They are not like ghosts or weird monsters. They can influence your thoughts, encourage you to do wrong, and whisper fears into your mind. They can be good or bad. The good jinn leave us alone. The bad ones, who are also called Shayateen, or Devils, want to destroy you. Astrologers and fortune tellers get their “predictions” and “readings”from them. Jinn spy on the Angels and learn secrets about the future, then they whisper it into the minds of the fortune tellers. Jinn live, die and have families like us but they exist on another plane altogether. The Prophets could control the Jinn but none of us ordinary people can. Although we believe Jinn can possess a human body, Islam teaches that it’s not very common. Don’t believe every “Jinn story” Muslim immigrants will tell you about their aunt or second cousin’s brother. Most of it will be superstitious stories that are culturally based.
Jumu’ah: The Friday Prayer in which all Muslims gather to hear a sermon called a Khutba. It’s time is in place of the Zuhr Salah, usually somewhere between 12 pm and 2 pm. It is mandatory on all men to attend. It is optional for women. The Prophet said if you miss three Jumu’ahs in a row then hypocrisy will start to enter your heart.
Kafir: People who conceal the Truth and actively plot against Islam. Usually we say the easier English word “unbeliever.” The plural is Kuffar. (Unbelievers.) The noun (unbelief) is Kufr.
Khalifah: This word means Steward, Manager or Care-taker. Allah made humans to be the Khalifah of the earth. In other words, we were given the earth as a trust to take care of. We shouldn’t ruin it or pollute it. The head of the Muslim Ummah is also called a Khalifah because he is to take care of the Muslim community. Muslims are supposed to elect a Khalifah, but there hasn’t been a world-wide Khalifah for a long time.
Khatib: The person who gives the Khutbah, or Friday sermon. The preacher during Friday services.
Kitabullah: The Book of Allah. (The Qur’an.) The word Kitab means book.
Mahr: The money (or whatever else) that the man has to give to a woman in order to marry her. It is called the marriage-gift and a woman can ask for whatever she wants. If it is money, it can be deferred and paid gradually over time. The husband can never take it away for any reason.
Malik ul Mawt: The Angel of Death.
Masjid: Literally means, “the place of bowing.” This is the name for a Muslim prayer hall or commonly known as Mosque.
Madhhab: This means, “School of Thought.” In Islam we have the Qur’an, the example of the Prophet and the sayings and guidance of the Prophet’s companions. Through the centuries, various Muslim scholars have tried to make those teachings easier for Muslims to live by through organizing them, talking about them and trying to use those tools to find answers to questions where those first three sources are quiet.
Of course different opinions developed between different scholars and some people chose to follow one scholar or the other. Those differences in ideas about how to follow Islamic rules are called “Schools of Thought.” There are 4 main schools today. Some people say you have to “follow” one of those schools to be a Muslim, but this is not true. You have to follow Islamic teachings but you don’t have to put some label on yourself. Each of the four schools is named after the scholar who founded or inspired it. The four are: Maliki, Hanafi, Hanbali, Shaf’i. The books and writings of the schools are a good source of information about the particulars of Islam, but our real label is, “I am a Muslim, and only a Muslim.” The Hanafi and Shaf’i schools are considered the easiest school and the Hanbali is considered the hardest in terms of social and personal rules.But they are all right in their own way and it is recommended to follow one in order to safe guard ones self from following ones own desires although it is not obligatory it is recommended.
Mecca: (Also spelled Makkah). A city in Arabia founded thousands of years ago by Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). At that time it was called “Becca.” Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was born there in the year 570.
Medina: (Also spelled Madinah). A city about 200 miles north of Mecca. The Prophet established the Islamic community there. He passed away there and is buried there.
Mu’adhan: The person who does the call for prayer.
Mujahid: A person who does Jihad or holy war.
Mu’min: A person with Iman(faith). A true believer.
Mus-haf: The Arabic text of the Qur’an. “Brother, hand me a Mus-haf.” (Qur’an with the Arabic in it).
Mushrik: A person who commits Shirk (making partners with Allah). Usually an idol-worshipper. A Hindu would be considered a Mushrik because they bow down to many idols and statues.
Muslim: A person who surrendered to Allah and is working at finding peace.
Nabi: This term means Prophet.
Nafs: This is often translated as “soul” but it really means “the self,” i.e. “You and only you.”
Naar: The fire (of Hell).
Nikkah: The Islamic wedding ceremony.