Akhirah – The next life or hereafter
Allah – God
Allahu Akbar – God is Greater
This phrase is used during prayer, during the call to prayer, and also when in conversation to express joy or happiness. This is known as “takbeer.”
Alhamdulillah – Praise be to Allah
This word is used by Muslims upon expressing joy or thanks to God (ex: after eating, when accepting a compliment, or in response to “how are you?”)
Asr – The afternoon prayer
This is the third obligatory prayer of the day for Muslims. It consists of four rakat.
Assalamu Alaikum – Peace be upon you
This is the standard phrase Muslims use when greeting each other. You might also hear “Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh,” which means “May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you.” The response to this is “Wa alaikum salam,” which means “and unto you, peace.”
Astaghfirullah – I seek forgiveness from Allah
Athan – The Islamic call to prayer
Audhu billahi min ash-shaytan ir-rajim – I seek refuge with Allah from the outcast Satan
Muslims say this before reciting or reading Qur’an.
Awrah – Nakedness, or the parts of the body that must be concealed from others
Aya – Verse (in the Qur’an)
Barakah – Blessing
Bismillah – In the name of Allah
Muslims say this before reading the Qur’an or starting anything (ex: before eating, drinking, making wudu/ghusl, cooking, etc.)
Caliph – Successor
The spiritual leaders who succeeded the Prophet (pbuh) after his death
Dawah – Making an invitation
In Islam, Dawah is the act of teaching others about Islam and inviting them to the faith
Deen – Religion
Dhikr – Remembrance
This refers to the remembrance and praising of Allah. Dhikr can be done by repeating phrases such as Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, Allahu Akbar, La illaha, illAllah, etc.
Dhuhr – The noon prayer
This is the second obligatory prayer of the day for Muslims. It consists of four rakat.
Dua – Prayer
Different from the obligatory salah, dua can be made in any language and at any time. It is the act of praying to Allah for something that you want or need (or praying for someone else).
Dunya – This life, this world
Eid – Feast
Eid Al-Adha – Feast of the Sacrifice
This is the second major holiday celebrated by Muslims each year. It falls on the tenth day of the Islamic month Dhu al-Hijjah and lasts for four days.
Eid Al-Fitr – Feast of Breaking the Fast
This is the first major holiday celebrated by Muslims each year. It celebrates the end of the holy month of Ramadan and lasts for three days.
Fajr – The dawn prayer
This is the first obligatory prayer of the day for Muslims. It consists of two rakat.
Fard – Obligatory
Something in Islam that is required to do.
Fatwa – An opinion or decree from an Islamic scholar
Ghusl – A full-body ritual cleansing
Ghusl is performed to cleanse the body from major impurities prior to praying (ex: after sexual activity, menustration).
Hadith – The sayings, actions, and approvals of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
Hafiz – an individual who has memorized the Qur’an
Hajj – Pilgrimage to Mecca
This is the fifth pillar of Islam that Muslims are required to fulfill at least once in their lifetime if they are physically and financially able to.
Halal – Lawful
Allowed for a Muslim (ex: oftentimes you will see “halal meat”)
Haram – Forbidden
Not allowed for a Muslim
Hijab – Veil
Hijab is commonly conflated with a headscarf, but the concept of hijab represents more than a scarf. Modesty is observed by Muslim men and women alike.
Ibadah – Worship
Iftar – Breaking of the fast
This is the meal Muslims eat after breaking their fast during Ramadan.
Imam – Leader
A spiritual leader in Islam, the one who leads the prayer and oftentimes delivers the khutbah (lecture).
Iman – Faith
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un – Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return
This is a verse in the Qur’an (2:156) that Muslims recite upon hearing the news of someone’s death.
Insha’Allah – If Allah Wills/God Willing
Muslims use this phrase when talking about something in the future, because everything is in the will of Allah alone.
Iqamah – Second Islamic call to prayer
Given immediately before the prayer begins
Isha’ – Night prayer
This is the fifth and final obligatory prayer of the day for Muslims. It consists of four rakat.
Islam – Submission, Peace
Jahannam – Hell
Jannah – Paradise, heaven
Jazak Allahu Khair/Khayrun – May Allah reward you for the good
Muslims often use this phrase as a way to thank someone and express gratitude.
Jihad – Strive or struggle
Jinn – Supernatual spiritual being
Invisible spiritual beings that Allah created. They can be good or bad and are held accountable for their deeds.
Jumu’ah – Friday/Friday prayer
Juz – Part
Often used when referring to the Qur’an, which is split into 30 juz or sections
Ka’bah – Cube
This refers to the cube-shaped structure in Mecca to which all Muslims face during prayer. This is also the site of Islamic pilgrimage for Hajj.
Kafir – Disbeliever
Someone who covers up the truth and refuses to submit to or believe in Allah.
Khalifah – Successor
The successor of the Prophet who acts as a leader for Muslims around the world.
Khutbah – Lecture
La Ilaha Illalah – There is no God worthy of worship except Allah
This is an important phrase that one says to declare their belief in the oneness of God, the first pillar of Islam. It is the first part of the shahada.
Mabrook – Congratulations
Maghreb – The sunset prayer
This is the fourth obligatory prayer of the day for Muslims. It consists of three rakat.
Mahram – Guardian
Malak – Angel
Mashallah – Allah has willed it
Muslims commonly use this phrase to express happiness, when giving a compliment, or when they see something they like.
Masjid – Mosque
Muslim – Submitter
One who believes in Allah and submits to the teachings and beliefs of Islam
Mustahab – Recommended
Nabi – Prophet
Niyyah – Intention
Intention is highly regarded in Islam. It is important to make a niyyah or intention prior to doing many things such as salah, ghusl, or wudu.
PBUH – Peace be upon him
This is commonly written or said directly after writing or saying one of the Prophets’ names as a way to show respect. This is an English translation of “Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam,” so you may also come across “SAW.”
Qibla – The direction of prayer
This is the direction of the Ka’bah in Mecca, to which all Muslims turn to during prayer.
Qur’an – The holy book of Islam
Quraysh – The tribe that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) belonged to
Rakat – Unit of Islamic Prayers
A Rakat consists of the prescribed movements and words that make up a single unit of salah. (ex: fajr prayer consists of two obligatory rakat, while isha prayer consists of four obligatory rakat).
Ramadan – The 9th month in the Islamic calendar in which Muslims fast from dawn until dusk
Rukoo – Bow down
During salah, Muslims bow down or perform rukoo to show respect to Allah
Sabr – Patience
Sahaba – Companions
Commonly used when referring to the companions of the Prophet (pbuh)
Salah/Salat – Prayer, supplication
Salam – Peace
Shahadah – Declaration of faith
This is the first pillar of Islam, and when an individual says and believes in the shahadah, they become Muslim. The Shahadah is: “Ashhadu en la illaha illalah, wa ashhadu ana Muhammadan Rasulillah.”
Shaitaan – Satan, devil
Sheikh – Islamic scholar
Shukran – Thank you
Subhanallah – Glory be to Allah/Allah is perfect
This phrase is commonly used by Muslims when they appreciate something.
Sujood – Prostration
The act of bowing on the floor to Allah during salah
Surah – Chapter of the Qur’an
Taqwa – Consciousness and fear of Allah
Tawaf – The act of circling around the Ka’bah
This is performed by Muslims who are completing Hajj.
Tawheed – Belief in the oneness of God
Ummah – Community
Commonly used to refer to the community of Muslims.
Umrah – To visit a populated place
This refers to the smaller pilgrimage to Mecca which can be undertaken at any time in the year, in contrast to Hajj which can only be performed at a specific time of year according to the Islamic calendar.
Wallah – I swear to God
Waalaikum Salam – And unto you, peace
This is the standard response to the Muslim greeting “Assalamu Alaikum”
Wudu – Ablution
Ritual cleansing and purification that Muslims perform prior to praying or reading Qur’an
Zakah – Charity
This is the third pillar of Islam, and it refers to the purification of one’s wealth through compulsory charitable giving.