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>>Glossary of Islamic Terms
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© Suhel Farooq Khan
Surah (Chapter) al-An’am (The Cattle)

Surah (Chapter) al-An’am (The Cattle) is the sixth chapter of the Holy Qur-an. It contains 165 Ayat (Verses). Surah means Chapter. An’am means Cattle. It does not mean that this chapter of the Holy Qur-an is on cattle. Names of the chapters of the Qur-an only mean that the title is somewhere mentioned in that particular chapter. Surah (Chapter) al-An’am (The Cattle) is a Makki Surah, revealed in the late Makkan period. It means that this Surah (Chapter) was revealed while the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S was still living in Makkah and was about to migrate to Madinah. This Surah (Chapter) talks about Islam versus idol worshipping, the creations and controls of Allah (God) on this world and others. This Surah (Chapter) also contains a story of Ibrahim A (Abraham) arguing with his people who used to worship other gods. This Surah (Chapter) also talks about the unbelievers who are following a path of deception for which they would be punished. Towards the end the right path of Allah (God) is identified. (Qur-an 6:50)

Surah (Chapter) al-Anfal (The Spoils of War)

Surah (Chapter) al-Anfal (The Spoils of War) is the eighth chapter of the Holy Qur-an. It contains 75 Ayat (Verses). This Surah (Chapter) is a Madani Surah meaning that this chapter of the Holy Qur-an was revealed after the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S had migrated to Madinah.This Surah (Chapter) was probably revealed soon after the battle of Badr, that had taken place on the 17th day of Ramadan of the year 2H (623 AD). This Surah (Chapter) talks about the battle of Badr and many new laws being formulated after that. Allah (God) had put all war-trophies at the disposal of His Messenger. His followers thankfully and happily accepted the victory against all odds and the trophies that came with it. Complete obedience to Allah (God) ensures success against evil. All odds can be overcome by faith and the will to uphold the truth.

Surah (Chapter) al-‘Ankabut (The Spider)

Surah (Chapter) al-‘Ankabut (The Spider) is the twenty-ninth chapter of the Holy Qur-an. It contains 69 Ayat (Verses). This Surah (Chapter) is a Makki Surah. It means that this Surah (Chapter) was revealed while the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S was still living in Makkah and was about to migrate to Madinah. This Surah (Chapter) mentions the problems that arise in upholding faith or the Truth. Examples of the adversities Nuh A (Noah), Ibrahim A (Abraham) and Lut A (Lot) had to face are cited. This Surah (Chapter) also talks about the punishment for rejecting Allah (God)’s directives to the people of Ad, and Thamud and Qarun, Fir’aun and Haman who considered themselves above the Divine Laws and always challenged Allah (God). This Surah (Chapter) repeats that the Holy Qur-an teaches about the right and the wrong and it was practically demonstrated by the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S. This Surah (Chapter) also reminds people of the life after death. 

‘Aqabah

‘Aqbah is a place near Makkah, where the pilgrims of Hajj (Pilgrimage to the Ka’bah) stayed before Islam. Before migrating to Madinah, the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S used to invite the pilgrims of Hajj (Pilgrimage to the Ka’bah) to Islam staying around Makkah. In the year 2BH (Before Hijrah) (618 AD), the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S met a group of pilgrims of Hajj (Pilgrimage to the Ka’bah) from Yathrib (Madinah), who were staying at ‘Aqbah. Twelve pilgrims from Yathrib (Madinah) accepted Islam when the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S delivered the Message of Allah (God) to them. ‘Aqbah would always be remembered in the history of Islam, because it was the place from where the Message of Islam was accepted outside Makkah for the first time. Next year more than seventy pilgrims from Yathrib (Madinah) accepted Islam at ‘Aqbah. By the time Muhammad S migrated to Yathrib (Madinah), almost all households there had Muslims.

‘Aqiqah (Shaving the head of a child)

‘Aqiqah is a tradition of shaving the head of a newborn within a few days after the birth of a child. One or two goats or sheep are also slaughtered to show one’s gratefulness to Allah (God) for His blessings.

Arabic language

Arabic is the language spoken in the Arab world. Arabic is also the language of the Holy Qur-an.Allah (God) chose it to be the language of the Qur-an, because Muhammad S, whom He chose to send the Qur-an to, was an Arab. Every Muslim must strive for learning Arabic for developing a better understanding of the commands of Allah given to us in the Holy Qur-an.

Surah (Chapter) al-A’raf (Position between Heaven and Hell)

Surah (Chapter) al-A’raf (The Heights) is the seventh chapter of the Holy Qur-an. It is a Makki Surah (Chapter) meaning that this Surah (Chapter) was revealed before the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S had migrated to Madinah. Surah (Chapter) al-A’raf (The Heights) consists of 200 Ayat (Verses). The struggle between Evil and Good from the very beginning is mentioned in this Surah (Chapter), through the story of Adam A (Adam) and Iblis (Satan). It warns mankind against excesses, arrogance and deceit. Warnings are issued to those who do not listen to Allah (God)’s advice, and mention of rewards for the believers is also made in the life after death. It also tells the stories of Nuh A (Noah), Hud A, Salih A, Lut A (Lot) and Shu’ayb A and how their people did not listen to them; but eventually they triumphed over evil. The struggle of Musa A (Moses) with Fir’aun (Pharaoh) is discussed in details. Misadventures of the people of Musa A (Moses) is also mentioned.Finally it mentions that with the increasing mankind only the righteous stay on the right path and many reject the truth without realizing its consequences.

‘Arafah

The second day of Hajj (9th of Dhul Hijjah) is called the day of Arafah. On this day, pilgrims stay in ‘Arafat. It is one of the key rituals of Hajj.

‘Arafat

Plains of Arafat are about twelve miles southeast of Makkah. Going to ‘Arafat is an integral part of the Hajj pilgrimage. The pilgrims of Hajj spend the second day of Hajj (9th day of Dhul Hijjah) at ‘Arafat. This day is known as Yaumul Wuquf, or the Day of Staying. The Hajj pilgrims stay in ‘Arafat after Zawal (After sun crosses meridian) and pray to Allah (God). They leave for Muzdalifah after sunset.  Muhammad S delivered his famous last Khutbah (Sermon) at ‘Arafat during his farewell Hajj (Pilgrimage to the Ka’bah) in the year 10H (Hijrah) (631 AD). A little later Muhammad S received the last Wahi (Message from Allah) of the Holy Qur-an at ‘Arafat.

Ash-hadu An La Ilaha Illallah

Ash-hado An La Ilaha Illal-lah means “I bear witness that no one is worthy of worship other than Allah (God)”. This is the fundamental belief of Muslims.

Ash-hadu Anna Muhammadar Rasul Allah
Ash-hado Anna Muhammadur Rasul Allah means  “I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (God)”. This is the fundamental belief of Muslims. It is also one of the phrases recited in Adhan (Call for Prayers).

Ash-hadu Anna Muhammadun ‘Abduhu Wa Rasuluhu
Ash-hadu Anna Muhammadun ‘Abduhu Wa Rasuluhu means that I testify that ‘Muhammad  is a servant and a Messenger (of Allah)’. This is one of the fundamental beliefs of Muslims.

Ashwat (Plural of Shaut) / Shawt
Ashwat is the plural of Shawt. One complete round of the Ka’bah is called Shawt. Hajr Aswad (Black Stone) marks the starting point of each Shawt. Completion of seven Ashwat (Plural of Shawt) completes one Tawaf (Walk around the Ka’bah). Pilgrims walk around the Ka’bah in a anti-clockwise manner to make Tawaf.

Surah (Chapter) al-‘Asr (The Time)
Surah (Chapter) al-‘Asr (The Time) is the 103rd chapter of the Holy Qur-an. It is an early Makki Surah (Chapter) meaning that this Surah (Chapter) was revealed before the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S had migrated to Madinah. Surah (Chapter) al-‘Asr (The Time) consists of only three Ayat (Verses).  It mentions that time has repeatedly shown that evil does not last and it only favors the believers who live a straight life and have patience.

‘Asr Salah (Late Afternoon Prayers)
There are five daily Fard (Compulsory) Salah (Prayers), which every Muslim adult must offer. ‘Asr Salah (Late afternoon Prayers) is the third of the five daily Fard (Compulsory) Salah (Prayers). It is offered in late afternoon. ‘Asr Salah (Late afternoon Prayers) could be offered till a little before sunset. ‘Asr Salah (Late afternoon Prayers) consists of four Fard (Compulsory) Rak’ah (Units). These Fard (Compulsory) Rak’ah (Units) may be preceded by four Sunnah (Tradition of Muhammad S) Rak’ah (Units).

As-salam ‘Alaykum Wa-rahmatullah Wa-barkatuhu / Assalamu Alaykum
As-salam ‘Alaykum Wa-Rahmatullah Wa-Barkatuhu is the complete Islamic salutation. It means, “May the peace, blessings and the bounties of Allah (God) be with you”.Usually its shorter version “Assalam Alaykum” meaning “May the peace be with you” is commonly used by Muslims to great others. Its typical reply is “Walaykum Assalam” meaning “May the peace be with you too”. The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S had instructed Muslims to outdo each other in greetings. A better way to greet is “As-salam ‘Alaykum Wa-Rahmatullah” meaning “May the peace and blessings of Allah (God) be with you”. Its answer to better it would be “Walaykum As-salam ‘Alaykum Wa-Rahmatullah Wa-Barkatuhu ”. It means, “May the peace, blessings and the bounties of Allah (God) be with you too”.

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