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>>Glossary of Islamic Terms
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© Suhel Farooq Khan
Bab as-Salam
Bab as-Salam is one of the gates to enter al-Masjid al-Haram (The Sacred Mosque).
Bay’ah (Pledge of Allegiance)
Bay’ah is the Arabic word for pledge of allegiance. In the times of Muhammad S, people used to do Bay’ah (Pledge of Allegiance) to him when they accepted Islam.
Bay’ah (Pledge of Allegiance) Ridwan
Bay’ah (Pledge of Allegiance) Ridwan is a famous pledge that Sahabah (Companions) of Muhammad S undertook with him. Hudaybiyah is a place near Makkah. Muslims and the Quraysh entered into a very important treaty at Hudaybiyah. In the year 6H (Hijrah) (629 AD), the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S decided to go for Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage to the Ka’bah), with 3,000 of his Sahabah (Companions). They convoy of unarmed Muslim pilgrims was stopped by armed Quraysh riders at a place called Hudaybiyah. The Quraysh told the Muslims that they would not allow them to travel to Makkah for Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage to the Ka’bah). It was an unusual situation because everyone was always welcome in Makkah for Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage to the Ka’bah). The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S sent ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan R to Makkah to discuss the situation with the Quraysh leaders. Muslims became uneasy when ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan R did not return from Makkah within the stipulated time. They suspected foul play and feared for the safety of ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan R. They took a Bay’ah (Pledge of Allegiance) to Muhammad S who was sitting under a tree. This Bay’ah (Pledge of Allegiance) to the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S is known as Bay’ah (Pledge of Allegiance) Ridwan. They considered this as an act of war by the Quraysh. ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan R returned to Hudaybiyah while Muslims prepared to avenge his death. Quraysh entered into a treaty at Hudaybiyah with Muslims and allowed them to enter Makkah for ‘Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage to the Ka’bah) the year after the treaty at Hudaybiyah. Although the conditions of the treaty were tilted heavily in favor of the Quraysh, the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S signed it. The treaty of Hudaybiyah became the precursor of the final victory of Muslims over Quraysh, two years later.
Bani (Family of) Israil
Israil is another name of Ya’qub A (Jacob). Banu (Family of) Israil means children of Israil or the family of Israil. This term is used quite frequently in the Holy Qur-an to address the Jews.
Banu
(Family of) Isra’il is also the name of the 17th Surah (Chapter) of the Holy Qur-an. This Surah (Chapter) is also known as Surah (Chapter) al-Isra (The Night Journey).
Surah (Chapter) al-Baqarah (The Cow)
Surah (Chapter) al-Baqarah (The Cow) is the second Surah (Chapter) of the Qur-an. It is also the largest chapter of the Qur-an with 286 Ayat (Verses). This very important Surah (Chapter) tells us that the Qur-an is an ultimate guide for mankind. It describes the creation of man. A description of children of Israil, and how the Jews corrupted their Book, is there. It also has the story of Harut and Marut. This Surah (Chapter) also has an account of Ibrahim A (Abraham) and his construction of the Ka’bah. This Surah (Chapter) also differentiates between the Halal (Lawful) and Haram (Unlawful) foods. Fasting during the month of Ramadan is also mentioned in this Surah (Chapter). It also fixes the laws of equal penalty for murder. Wine and gambling was also prohibited in this chapter. Marriage with idol-worshippers was also banned in it. Laws governing divorce are also described here. It also outlines the laws for the breast-feeding of babies. Story of Jalut (Goliath). The story of  Isa A (Jesus) are also mentioned in this Surah (Chapter). This Surah (Chapter) also has the Ayatul Kursi describing the Omnipotence and Omnipresence of Allah (God). Another anecdote from the life of Ibrahim A (Abraham) about his visit to the court of the king of his land Nimrud is given in this chapter. Importance of charity is also mentioned here. This chapter also states that Islam does not believe in compulsion of any kind in religion. Phenomenon of resurrection is also mentioned in it. Interest is prohibited and laws governing debt and trading are also mentioned in this chapter. This Surah (Chapter) ends with a prayer to Allah (God).
Baqqum (Pachomius)

The Ka’bah was badly damaged by the waters of flash floods, when the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S was about 35 years of age. The Quraysh decided to reconstruct it. The Ka’bah did not have any roof or door in those days. The Ka’bah only had walls that were about the height of a man. Water entered the Ka’bah and damaged it. It also destroyed the valuables and other offerings of people. The Quraysh found out that a ship was wrecked near Jaddah (Jeddah). They bought the wood from the shipwreck. A Roman master builder named Baqqum (Pachomius) was also traveling on that ship. He helped the Quraysh in designing the building of the Ka’bah.

Barakah (Abundance)
Barkah means Blessings. In Islamic context, the word Barkah is used for the Blessings of Allah (God) that He Bestows upon His servants.
Batn Arafah
Batn Arafah is a forest area near ‘Arafat. Pilgrims should not stay there.
Battle of Badr
Battle of Badr was the first major battle between Muslims who had migrated to Madinah and the Quraysh of Makkah. Before Islam, the Ka’bah housed 360 idols belonging to various Arabian tribes. These tribes brought a lot of business to Makkah during the times of Hajj (Pilgrimage to the Ka’bah) and caravans. The Quraysh were the main beneficiaries of the business activities in Makkah. The Quraysh tribe was also considered to be the spiritual and business leaders of Arabia. They controlled the economy of Arabia by organizing large trading caravans to various parts of the Arabian Peninsula as well as outside it. The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S was from a highly respectable Quraysh family of Makkah. His grandfather ‘Abdul Muttalib was the chief of Makkah as well as the custodian of the Ka’bah. In the year 13BH (Before Hijrah), Allah (God) chose Muhammad S as His last Rasul (Messenger). He began inviting his fellow tribesmen from the Quraysh tribe to Islam. Many from the Quraysh tribe began to accept Islam. The Quraysh chiefs did not like it. The Quraysh were the guardians of the Ka’bah. With 360 idols of different gods and goddesses, the Ka’bah was the most popular place for pilgrimage in the entire Arabian Peninsula. Pilgrims to the Ka’bah used to bring a lot of money to Makkah, which mainly benefited the Quraysh. Islam, which preached the worship of only one Allah (God), posed a direct threat to their survival. The Quraysh tried all possible methods to stop the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S from preaching Islam. They offered him large amounts of wealth, promised to get him married to the most beautiful girl of the region, offered him to make the chief of Makkah, but the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S promptly rejected all of those and continued preaching the Message of Allah (God). The Quraysh now began physical assaults on Muhammad S and his companions. They began torturing the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S and Muslims of Makkah. Finally they forced the Muslims out of Makkah. Muslims and the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S had to migrate to Madinah to save themselves from the persecution of the Quraysh. Islam prospered in Madinah. Muslims gathered power in Madinah and formed their own state under the guidance and leadership of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S. The Quraysh wanted to stop Islam before it became too strong. The economy of Makkah depended heavily on trading. The Quraysh of Makkah used to lead large trading caravans to Sham (Syria) and Yaman (Yemen). Madinah was on their trading routes to Sham (Syria), their larger trading partner. The Quraysh knew that if the Muslim power continues to increase, their lifeline would be under constant threat. In order to pre-empt the situation, the Quraysh gathered a large force and marched towards Madinah with a well-equipped army of 1,000 soldiers under the command of Abu Jahl. All prominent chiefs of the Quraysh tribe were in the army. Muslims found out about the advancement of the Quraysh army. 313 ill-equipped Muslims marched from Madinah to meet the challenge of Quraysh army under the leadership of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S. The two armies met near the wells of Badr that it why the battle is known as the battle of Badr. The battle of Badr was fought on the 17th day of Ramadan of the year 2H (Hijrah) (623 AD). Muslims won the battle decisively. Seventy-two prominent Quraysh were killed and an equal number of them were taken as prisoners of war. Most of the captives got their freedom after paying the penalties at prevalent rates. The Muslims freed those who could not afford to pay the penalties as a humanitarian gesture. The literate Quraysh captives were freed after they made 10 Muslim children literate. Zayd bin Thabit R, who grew up to become one of the leading Katib Wahi (Writer of the Messages of Allah) was among the children who became literate after the battle of Badr. Most prominent Sahabah (Companions of Muhammad S) had participated in the battle of Badr except ’Uthman bin ’Affan R. The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S had asked him to nurse his wife Ruqayyah R bint Muhammad S. Ruqayyah S , the second eldest daughter of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S died on the same day when the battle of Badr was fought and won by the Muslims. The battle of Badr was fought on the 17th of Ramadan of 2H (Hijrah) (623 AD).

 

Battle of Hunayn
Battle of Hunayn was fought in the year 8H (Hijrah) (629AD), about a fortnight after Muslims had conquered Makkah without any bloodshed. The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S pardoned all residents of Makkah including those who had tortured him and had plotted to kill him and other Muslims. This exemplary behavior in those days impressed the residents of Makkah so much that the entire Quraysh tribe accepted Islam. Hawazin tribe lived in Hunayn. They were old allies of the Quraysh. They could not accept the defeat of their allies Quraysh. Banu (Family of) Hawazin began war preparations for attacking Muslims in Makkah to avenge the defeat of Quraysh. They wanted to strike quickly while the Muslims were unwinding after the conquest of Makkah. Muslims got information about the war preparations of the Hawazin tribe. The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S decided to preempt the Hawazin by attacking them while they were still in their homes. Muslims won the battle decisively and a very large number of Hawazin were taken captive. Muslims also captured a large number of their cattle. All the prisoners of war and their cattle were freed after a daughter of Halimah, the foster mother of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S appealed to him.

 

Battle of Khandaq (Trench)
The battle of Khandaq (Trench) is also known as the battle of Ahzab (Allies). This battle was fought between the Muslims and the Quraysh who had aligned with several Arab tribes and the Jews living in the Madinah. The Jews were the biggest losers after the Muslims established their government in Madinah under the leadership of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S. Although fewer in numbers, the Jewish tribes had always benefited from the quarreling of the two Arab tribes living in the area. Those Arab tribes were Aus and Khazraj. The Jews lent them money at exorbitant rates of interests to these two Arab tribes, dominated them and kept them at each other’s throats. Most of the poor Arabs used to lose their properties and belongings to the scheming of the Jews. Muslims established a system that took care of its poor and needy through a just system. A few Arabs of Madinah, who did not like the just system of Islam, also did not accept Islam honestly. These Munafiqun (Hypocrites-Plural of Munafiq), practiced Islam in front of Muslims and made fun of it when they were with the Jews or other non-Muslims. These Munafiqun (Hypocrites) teamed up with the Jews and went to meet the Quraysh leadership in Makkah. They felt that if the Quraysh, the Jews and some other Arab tribes join their forces, they could easily defeat the Muslims. Munafiqun (Hypocrites) promised to supply inside information of Muslims. The allies put together a formidable army of 10,000 soldiers and marched towards Madinah to finish Islam and Muslims once for all. Muslims had advance warning of the war preparations of the Quraysh and their allies. The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S assembled his Sahabah (Companions) to seek their opinion on how to tackle the situation. A Sahabi (Companions) named Salman Farsi S came up with a unique suggestion. He suggested digging a trench around Madinah to stop the march of Quraysh. Everyone, including the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S, liked the idea and all Muslims of Madinah began digging the trench. The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S also participated in the digging, with his Sahabah (Companions). The mighty army of Quraysh and their allies were shocked to see this unusual defense. Despite of their best efforts, they could not cross the trench. The allied army camped there for a month without any success. One night, a fierce storm uprooted the camps of the allies. Their camels and horses ran away because of the storm. The Quraysh and their allies were terrified and ran away from Madinah under the cover of darkness. Muslims once again defended themselves successfully with the help of Allah (God). This battle was fought in the year 5H (Hijrah) (626 AD). Surah (Chapter) al-Ahzab (The Allies) the 33rd Chapter of the Holy Qur-an has described it.

 

Battle of Uhad
Battle of Uhad was the second major battle between the Quraysh and the Muslims. Quraysh fought this battle in the year 3H (Hijrah) (624 AD) to avenge their defeat at Badr, one year ago. Battle of Uhad was fought outside Madinah, near the mountain of Uhad. Abu Sufyan was the Commander in Chief of the 3,000 strong Quraysh army. He was away with a trading caravan to Sham (Syria) and had missed the battle of Badr. Muslims had a quick and easy victory over the Quraysh. Some of the front line Muslim troops began collecting Mal Ghanimah (War Trophies) after the Quraysh fled. Other Muslims, who were deputed at strategic positions in the back, left their positions and joined those who were collecting Mal Ghanimah (War Trophies), completely ignoring the instructions of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S. The fleeing Quraysh noticed the breach in Muslim defense.  They regrouped and under the leadership of Khalid bin Walid, attacked Muslims from the back. Muslims almost lost the battle of Uhad due to this fresh attack of the Quraysh. Many Muslims achieved Shahadah (Martyrdom), including Hamzah bin ’Abdul Muttalib R, an uncle of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S. The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S was also wounded in this battle. After suffering heavy casualties, Muslims finally succeeded in chasing the Quraysh away.

 

The Bible (The Injil)
The Injil (Bible) is the Divine Book that was revealed to Isa A (Jesus), a Rasul (Messenger) who spread the Word of Allah (God), before the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S. The Injil (Bible) was written quite some time after Isa A (Jesus). Muslims believe that like other previous Divine Books, the words of the original Injil (Bible) were also altered or modified. Allah (God) sent another Message after the previous one was altered or modified by people to suit their own needs. Currently the Bible is available in four different versions Mark, Mathew, Luke and John. None of these four people had heard the verse of the Bible, directly from Isa A (Jesus). These versions are quite different from each other. Newer versions of the Injil (Bible) appear from time to time. Original text of the Injil (Bible) is also not seen or used anywhere. The Injil (Bible), the divine book of guidance, included the code of conduct for the followers of Isa A (Jesus). Followers of Isa A (Jesus) changed the true Message of Allah (God) to suit their needs. Allah (God) sent His last Message, the Holy Qur-an, after the Injil (Bible) was altered and corrupted.

 

Bilal R
Bilal R was a Sahabi (Companion of Muhammad S) of African origin. Bilal R was one of the earliest converts to Islam. He converted to Islam while he was a slave of Umayyah bin Khalaf in Makkah. Umayyah bin Khalaf and other Quraysh chiefs like Abu Jahl and Abu Sufyan tortured him for leaving their religion of idolatry. Conversion of Bilal R was a test case for the chiefs of Quraysh. They were convinced that if their own slaves who were their personal properties, left their religion; then it would become extremely difficult for them to control the tide of Islam.They used to put Bilal R on the burning sands of Makkah and put large stones on his chest to immobilize him. They used to leave him under the desert sun for hours and ask him to denounce his newly found faith Islam. Bilal R’s resolve to stay on Islam was much stronger than the will of his master to revert him to their ancestral religion.Abu Bakr R bought him off from Umayyah bin Khalaf and set him free. He stayed with Muhammad S all his life. Allah (God) had given him a strong and beautiful voice. The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S appointed him as the Mu’adhdhin (Caller of Adhan) of Masjid Nabi (Mosque of the Messenger S). He stopped calling out Adhan (Call for Prayers) after the sad demise of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S.
Bismillah
It means (I begin) In the name of Allah. Muslims recite this phrase before beginning any activity in their daily lives. They begin every thing after saying this phrase. It is a Sunnah (Tradition of Muhammad S).
Books of Allah
Allah (God) had chosen many Rusul (Messengers) among human beings to deliver His Message to the world. They did their job in various parts of the world by at different times. People began altering the Messages of Allah (God) to their advantage, soon after the Rasul (Messenger) who was sent to them. To correct the distortions Allah (God) sent His Message once again through another Rasul (Messenger). Messages given to many Rusul (Messengers) were compiled in the form of BooksIbrahim A (Abraham), Musa A (Moses), Isa A (Jesus) and the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S were some of the Rusul (Messengers) who received divine Messages from Allah; and were compiled into Books. Ibrahim A (Abraham) had received Messages from Allah, which were compiled into Sahifah (Scriptures) [Surah al-A’la (The Most High) Qur-an 87:18-19]. Da’wud A (David) received Zabur (Psalms), Musa A (Moses) received Torat (Torah), and Isa A (Jesus) received Injil (Bible). Allah (God) had also sent revelations to Nuh A (Noah), Ismail A (Ishmael), Ishaq A (Isaac), Ya’qub A (Jacob), Ayyub A (Job), Yunus A (Jonah), Harun A (Aaron) and Sulayman A (Solomon). [Surah an-Nisa (The Women) Qur-an 4:163] The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S, the last Rasul (Messenger) of Allah (God) had received final Message of Allah (God), the Holy Qur-an. The Qur-an was sent because the Injil (Bible), the previous Message of Allah (God) was corrupted and distorted. Currently, several versions of the Injil (Bible) are available and each one of them is significantly different than the other and its original text is not available anywhere. Moreover, the entire philosophy of religion was also distorted by attributing worldly relationships to Allah (God) and taking partners with Him. Against the commands of Injil (Bible), people created pictures and statues of Isa A (Jesus) and began worshipping him along with Allah (God). Allah (God) sent his religion Islam, once again through the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad A. Muhammad S was the last Rasul (Messenger) of Allah and the Holy Qur-an is the last Message of Allah (God) sent to mankind. Allah (God) has promised to protect the Qur-an from corruption. Not even a single letter or punctuation mark of the Qur-an has changed since its first Ayah (Verse) was revealed to the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad S. He had received the first Wahi (Message from Allah) of the Qur-an, when he was about forty years of age. It happened in the year 13BH (Before Hijrah) (609 AD). The Holy Qur-an was completed in the year 10H (Hijrah) (631 AD), almost 23 years after the first revelation.Believing in the Books of Allah (God) is one of the fundamental beliefs of Islamic faith.
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