Islam's Beliefs, Practices and History

Allah: believed by Muslims to be creator of the universe, all-knowing, all-powerful

Apostle: used in the Qur’an to mean Muhammad, who is also called the Messenger and the Prophet

believer: for Muslims, one who believes and practices the tenets of Islam

Cause of Allah: “…Fight them [the un-believers] on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah altogether and everywhere …” (Qur’an Surah 8:39)

dhimmi: a Jew or Christian who agrees to pay the jizya tax and suffer continual humiliation by Muslims for the privilege of living in an Islamic state

faith or The Faith: used in the Qur’an to mean Islam, believed by Muslims to be the only true religion

fatwa: an Islamic religious decree made by a well-known imam or a respected political leader; sometimes a call to war or a death sentence

fire or The Fire: term used in the Qur’an to mean hell; also “the lake of fire”

Gabriel: for Muslims, the angel who revealed Allah's words to Muhammad; and the same angel who informed Mary she would give birth to Jesus

garden or The Garden: term used in the Qur’an to mean paradise, or heaven

global brotherhood of Islam: term used to emphasize that devout Islamists everywhere are united, as brothers, in their faith and in their goal of world conquest

Gospel: term used in the Qur’an to mean the Holy Bible of Jews and Christians

hadith: collections of contemporaneous writings that describe what Muhammad did and said, commonly called his “traditions;” the highest Islamic authority after the Qur’an

imam: A male spiritual and temporal leader regarded by Shiites as a descendant of Muhammad divinely appointed to guide humans. Also, the male prayer leader in a mosque.

infidel: for Muslims, any non-Muslim (also: “kafir” or “unbeliever”)

injeel: Arabic for the Gospel, or the New Testament

Islam: ideology founded in AD 610 by Muhammad in Mecca, Arabian Peninsula

jihad: continual fight to convert, enslave or kill every non-Muslim

jinn: according to Surah 55:15 of the Qur’an, jinn are minor spiritual beings created by Allah from smokeless fire who, like humans, are capable of salvation or damnation.

jizya: money or goods extorted as tax by Muslims from non-Muslims living in Islamic states

kafir: term used in the Qur’an for non-Muslims. Under Islamic law, it is not a crime or a sin for Muslims to deceive, kidnap, rape, torture or murder kafirs. (more)

madrassa: an Islamic school where children are taught the Qur’an—and often how to wage war

Messenger: used in the Qur’an to mean Muhammad, who is also called the “Apostle” and the “Prophet”

Muhammad: the prophet of Allah, also called the “Messenger” and the “Apostle”

mosque: a place, often a domed structure, where Muslims gather to recite prayers in Arabic recruit jihadists, and plan attacks

Muslim: one who professes belief in Islam or whose father is a Muslim

Muslim Brotherhood: organization founded in Egypt in 1928 with the goal of overthrowing the Egyptian government and establishing an Islamic state—and which now seeks to destroy western governments from within and establish a global Islamic dictatorship

orphan: a wife, concubine, slave, or child of a slain jihadist

People of the Book: term used in the Qur’an to identify Jews and Christians

polytheist: a term frequently used by Muslims to label Christians

Prophet: used in the Qur’an to mean Muhammad, who is also called the “Apostle” and the “Messenger”

Qur’an: the holy book of Islam claimed by Muhammad to have been revealed to him by Allah through the angel Gabriel over a period of 22 years, beginning in AD 610

Shaheed: a Muslim who is killed while fighting in the Cause of Allah; the highest honor in the world of Islam (more)

Sharia law: Islamic law rooted in the Qur’an, the hadiths and the sira

sira: biography of Muhammad written by Ibn Ishaq in AD 750

surah: a chapter of the Qur’an

tilth: the finely worked top layer of soil made ready for seeding; used in the Qur’an to instruct males on how they should treat females: “as a tilth”

unbeliever: for Muslims, one who does not believe or practice the tenets of Islam (also: “kafir” or “infidel”)

We: Allah, as he refers to himself in the Qur’an; also, Our means “Allah’s”

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