Terms and abbreviations used  

Muslims use some Islamic terms and phrases when talking and certain abbreviations when writing. Here I will list some of the most commonly used.



(saw) or                           

sallallahu alayhe wa sallam                 'may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him', and is

                                                           used after mentioning the name of Muhammad  as a

                                                           sign of respect.


(swt) or                                             short for 'sub'hana Wa'ta'ala', translated as 'Glory

                                                           be to Allah'. Used after mentioning the name of

                                                          Allah (swt) as a way of glorifying him.


Adhan                                                call to prayer, this is always done by human voice

                                                          and not by bell, horn or other instrument.


Ahadeeth                                            sayings and traditions of prophet Muhammad .


Alhamdulillah                                      'praise be to Allah (swt)'. This Muslims say after

                                                          they sneeze. Also they say it when hearing

                                                          something nice.


Allahu Akbar                                        Allah is the greatest.


(as)                                                     short for 

                                                          1) Alaika salaam    -  peace be upon him  

                                                          2) alaiki salaam     -  peace be upon her and  

                                                          3) alaikum salaam  -  peace be upon them


Assalaamu alaikum                              'peace be upon you'. this is the greeting of the

                                                          Muslims. the reply to this greeting is  'wa alaikum

                                                          assalaam' meaning 'and on you be peace'.

You can extend this greeting to 'Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh' (peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you) and replying 'wa alaikum assalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh' (and may the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you).


Bismillah                                             In the name of Allah. A Muslim says bismillah

                                                           before beginning any lawful action.


Eid ul Fitr                                            the festival celebrating the end of the month of 

                                                           Ramadan, which is the month of fasting for all



Eid ul Adha                                         the festival of the sacrifice. commemorating

                                                          prophet Ibrahim (as) and his obedience to Allah

                                                          (swt) by being prepared to sacrifice his only son

                                                          Ismail (as).


Dua                                                    supplication


Figh                                                    Islamic law


Hajj                                                    pilgrimage to Mecca.  This is obligatory on every

                                                          Muslim at least once in their lifetime, if they can

                                                          afford it and have the means to do this.


Halal                                                  something which is lawful and permitted in Islam


Haram                                                something which is unlawful and prohibited in Islam.


Hijab                                                  the required Islamic dress code for Muslim women.


Imam                                                 Leader of the prayer. Also used to refer to the

                                                          head of an Islamic state. 


 Iman                                                 Faith and trust in Allah (swt).


Insha Allah                                         If Allah wills. when making plans for something a    

                                                          Muslim must say Insha Allah, as nothing happens

                                                          without the will of Allah (swt).  


Ka'bah                                                A cube shaped building in Mecca to which Muslims

                                                          face when praying no matter where in the world

                                                          they are. It is the first house of worship built for

                                                          mankind for worshipping Allah (swt). It was   

                                                          originally built by Adam (as) and later rebuilt by

                                                          Ibrahim (as) and his son Ismail (as).


Masha Allah                                       praise be to Allah (swt)


Masjid                                                mosque


Qiblah                                                the direction Muslims face when praying, which is

                                                          the direction of the ka'bah in Mecca.


Quran                                                the holy book of Islam. Literally it means 'that which

                                                          is often recited'.


(ra)                                                    short for  

                                                         1) Radi'Allah'Anha   -  may Allah (swt) be pleased 

                                                         with him

                                                         2) Radi'Allah'Anhi    -  may Allah (swt) be pleased

                                                         with her and

                                                         3) Radi'Allah'Anhum  -  May Allah (swt) be pleased

                                                          with them.


Sadaqah                                            charity


Shahada                                            declaration of faith. when a person reverts to Islam

                                                         the shahada is recited, the wording is 'I testify that

                                                         there is no God but Allah (swt) and I testify that

                                                         Muhammad is the messenger of Allah (swt).


Subhan Allah                                      glory be to Allah (swt)


Sunnah                                               recorded accounts of what the prophet Muhammad

                                                         said and did.  


Sunan                                                plural of Sunnah.


Surah                                                 chapter of the holy Quran. there are 114 surahs in 

                                                          the Quran.


 Wudhu                                              the purification with water done before each prayer.  

                                                         also called ablution.


Zakat                                                charity tax. this charity is 2 % of wealth, given every

                                                         year to the needy. Charity is very important in



Zamzam                                           the name of the sacred well in Mecca.



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                                                                         page updated 20/03/08