A Glossary of Islamic Terms

A Glossary of Islamic Terms

Due to the confusion that abounds today, I think understanding Islamic terms will be very helpful. A lot of apologists are saying these terms mean something different from the official Islamic understanding.

It is our hope that understanding these words will help you better understand Islam, and the problems we face in dealing with the issues involved. It is also our hope that this understanding will help you in your efforts to reach the Muslims God brings across your path for Christ. As you know, reaching Muslims for Christ is one of the major goals of our ministry here at Fortress of Faith.


Sounds Like

Brief Definition


Allah Akhbar

ah-lah ock-bar

god (Allah) is greatest or greater

We are told that this simply means god is good. It actually means Allah is the greatest. It is a supremest term. This is why we hear Muslims crying Allah Akbar when they are carrying out an act of jihad. It means that Allah is greater than any other god, even the God of the Bible, Jehovah. It also has a spiritual side to it. They repeat it over and over when they need Allah’s power. It is like an incantation.



Capture of women to be made concubines or sex slaves for warriors.

This is the doctrine of sexual slavery of women. When a non-Muslim woman is captured, her marriage is annulled immediately. This means that it is not adultery for a Muslim man to have sex with her. He has the right to claim her because she is the possession of his right hand. She is now a slave and he has the right to do whatever he wants with her. Surah 2:223 – “Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will…” A tilth is a plowed field for him to plant his seed when and however he feels fit to do so. This also comes out of Bukari 143, page 700. It goes back to the battle of Kibar when Muhammad killed all of the men. It says, Allah’s apostle killed all of the adult men, and the Prophet took all of the women and children as captives. It means he took them as sexual slaves. This is not only in the Qur’an, it is in the practice of Muhammad.

As-salamu alaykum

a-sa-lom alay-cum

The traditional Muslim greeting – Peace be upon you.

I use this when I greet a Muslim. It gets their attention when they hear a non-Muslims use this term. They don’t know peace yet because Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and I want them to know the Prince of Peace.



A verse in the Qur’an

This simply means verse. When you turn to surah 5 ayat 3 your are saying turn to chapter 5 verse 3. It refers to a specific verse in the Qur’an.



A blessing that Precedes every chapter (surah) in the Qur’an. “In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.”

This is a spiritual blessing and a dedication to Allah. You are actually dedicating something or someone to Allah. Bismallah breaks down to mean “blessing to Allah.”



Successor of Muhammad. The Emperor of the Empire or Ummah

The best way to think of this is as the emperor or the king. He rules the kingdom of Islam and he is above the law.



Dictatorship over the Ummah

This is the kingdom of the caliph. The caliph is the dictator over the “Ummah,” the nation of Islam.



The Anti-Christ – Liar – Deceiver

Most Christians are surprised to learn that Islam has a very well thought out eschatology. They believe that there is an antichrist, however, their antichrist is the Jesus of the Bible. The Dajjal is the false messiah. They believe he is going to come to deceive. They believe that Christians will be fooled by the Dajjal and Isa, the Jesus of Islam, will come destroy him. The Bible and the Qur’an are complete opposites of each other. It is like looking in a mirror.

Dar a Harb


House of War or Infidel

These next two are important because they tell us why Muslims act differently in the West than when they are in the Middle East. Those of us who are not Muslims live in the house of war, and when the Muslim finds himself in our country there are different rules for him to follow. There is no middle ground, you are either in the House of War or the House of Islam.

Dar a Islam


House of Submission

Islam means submission. In the House of Submission, you are submitted to Islam. In the House of War they don’t have to be obedient to all of their scriptures, but in the House of Islam they do. When in the House of Islam, Sharia Law comes into full force. This is why there are so many Muslims being killed by ISIS. Those Muslims who do not follow the Sharia are just as guilty as the infidels. They have two choices, submit or die. In Europe Muslims consider themselves in the house of Islam and even secular Muslims are in danger.



Proselytizing – Evangelism

This is the Islamic missions program. In both houses, they work to convert unbelievers, but in the House of War they don’t have power to kill those who don’t convert.



2nd Class – Sub Classed people. Technically, the “protected one”

This is where Islam allows a non-Muslim to live in subjection to Islam as long as they pay a protection tax. It is not quite slavery, but it is just a step away.

EID al Ftir


Feast – Celebrating the end of Ramadan.

These next two are the most important holidays for Muslims.

EID al Adha


Feast – Celebrating Abraham’s faith to sacrifice his son Ishmael

In the Bible, Abraham sacrificed Isaac. In the Qur’an it was Ishmael who was sacrificed. In the Kaaba, in Mecca, there is a black rock that is supposed to be the rock where Abraham made the sacrifice.



A legal binding opinion from an Islamic scholar

This is a legal and binding ruling from an Islamic scholar. Some of them are death sentences on unbelievers.



Legal Jurisprudence in Shariah law

This term refers to one who is considered a legal scholar.



Traditions of Mohammad. Things his companions witnessed the prophet say or do.

This is a record of what Muhammad did. When a Muslim has a question about the interpretation of the Qur’an, he looks to the Hadith to see how Muhammad practiced it.



Guardian of the recitings (Qur’an)

Qur’an means the recitings, and the Hafiz is one who has memorized and guards the Qur’an. There was a debate in early Islam as to whether or not the Qur’an should be written down. It was not written down until some 20 years after Muhammad’s death. Uthman commanded that it be written down because, in one battle, 40 of the Hafiz were killed and he feared that the Qur’an would be lost.



Pillar of Islam – Pilgrimage to Mecca

One of the 5 pillars of Islam is that once in a lifetime each Muslim must make a pilgrimage to Mecca. While there they circumambulate the Kaaba, spend an evening in the wilderness in meditation, pick up 21 stones and cast them at the Devil, etc.



Permitted or Approved (food)

This is Islamically approved food. It is similar to the Jewish kosher food. The difference is that halal food has been sacrificed to Allah according to Islamic rules. This is becoming an issue in our jails, in grocery outlets like Costco, and it some schools.




This is the opposite of halal.



Head covering like a scarf but does not veil the face.

This is not to be confused with the berqa, it is the head covering. There are different types depending on what part of the world they come from.



Mosque leader (preacher / teacher)

The imam is similar to the Christian pastor.



The four Gospels

The Injil of the Qur’an is a corrupted form of the Gospels. .



The Muslim Jesus

This is a corruption of the biblical Jesus.



Struggle against evil the Kufar (Legal definition is War to establish Islam)

The greater jihad is the personal struggle against evil. It is greater because everyone deals with it.

The lesser jihad is limited in time and space. It is actual warfare to advance Islam. It is called lesser because it is smaller in scope, it is not global all the time. It is defined as waring against the non-Muslim.



Spirit. Could be a demon or an angel.

The Qur’an teaches that Muhammad received his revelations from a jinn. Muslims believe it was the angel Gabriel, but it could also mean an evil spirit. It is from this word that we get our word “genie.”



Protection tax or Poll tax. Extorted from Non-Muslims.

This is mention in Surah 9:29, one of the most famous verses in the Qur’an. This goes with the word “dhimmi” above. When a person is in dhimmitude, he is subject to Islam and pays the jizya, which is a protection tax. The tax can be 50% of what they own and 50% of what they earn. ISIS is receiving this from the Christians they allow to live. The best way to describe it is like the Mafia protection money.



Cube shape Temple in Mecca

It is adorned with a black cloth with gold writing in it. It has gold doors and writings inside. It has the black rock mentioned above. Before Islam, this rock was tied to moon worship. When you see the hoards of people in Mecca going around a black building, it is the Kaaba.



Vile word for unbeliever. The filth or excrement. The word used in the Qur’an to describe the infidel, the unbeliever.

This is really a bad term, it means excrement. This is the word for the unbeliever in the Qur’an. The only thing worse than a kafr is an apostate, someone who was a Muslim and has left Islam.



Tax. Literally a fifth. War booty tax

This is a one fifth tax. Muhammad would get one fifth of the war booty, and his fighters would get the 95% to divide among themselves. They would then pay the khums to Muhammad.



Singlur of Kafr.




Type of doctrine of Islamic law. School of thought or interpretation.

It is the 5 schools, or divisions, within Islamic jurisprudence.




This is a fundamentalist Islamic school. Obama went to one of these when he lived in Indonesia.



Messiah – ‘a guide’

Islam has a messianic figure in their prophecy. He is going to guide them into an Islamic World Order. There is a division between the Sunni and the Shi’ite Muslims on this. Shi’ite Muslims believe he is the 12th imam. They believe he has already come and waiting to be revealed. The Sunnis believe he is yet to come and that he will come with Isa (Jesus) and rule the entire world. It is a mirror image of what the Bible teaches. They also believe that he will sign a 7 year covenant with Israel.



Holiest city in Islam. The birth place of Muhammad.

This is the birthplace of Islam.



City of the prophets. About 100 km North of Mecca in Arabia

In Medina things changed. This is where new revelation abrogated, or superseded, older revelation. This is were Muhammad became a warlord. He was no longer just a prophet, he became an emperor.



Prayer tower at a mosque.




Scholar who can issue Fatwas.




Scholar of the Qur’an,Hadith & Fiqh




The surrendered one

This is someone who is surrendered to Allah.



means Peace Be Upon Him

This is usually referring to Muhammad. The reason they use this term is that in Islam there is no guarantee of salvation, and nothing in Islamic writing that says Muhammad went to Paradise. They are hoping that he is in a place of peace in submission to Allah.



Direction of prayers

The direction of Muslim prayers must be toward Mecca. It is interesting that Muhammad prayed toward Jerusalem when he was in Mecca, but when the Jews rejected him in Medina, he changed it to Mecca.

Qur’an or Koran

ko-ran or k’ran

The recitations of Allah given to the prophet through the Angel Gabriel.

The Qur’an is a compilation of those things recited to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. It was not written down until the 3rd caliph, and we do not have an original manuscript of it anywhere in the world.



The reciters.  Sometimes called Hafiz




Month of fasting.  Eating only permitted after Sunset.




Approved, genuine, authentic.

It usually prefaces the approved texts of the Hadith and Sira.




They try to tell us that Islam means peace, but it does not. This is the Arabic word for peace. Islamic peace comes only when one is surrendered to Islam.



Pillar of Islam – Prayer

Muslims must pray a minimum of 5 times a day. They have to do 17 ritual prayers each time. The must recite specific verses which they have memorized in Arabic, even though they don’t know what they mean.



Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam –  Arabic for PBUH




Pillar of Islam – Fasting

This is the practice of fasting at Ramadan.



Pillar of Islam – The Muslim Creed “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet.”

If you say this with belief in the presence of 2 Muslim, you become a Muslim.



Literally  ‘the pathway’ – Islamic law

The Shariah has religious aspects, but it is also governmental. It is a complete totalitarian system of politics, government, finances, and other legal issues. The Shariah cannot be separated from the Muslim. A faithful Muslim just follow it all.

Shaykh or Sheik 


Spiritual master – ruler


Shi’ite or Shia

she-ite  or


2nd largest sect in Islam – about 12%.  Believes the caliph should be a blood line of the prophet Muhammad.

The major difference between the Shia and the Sunni Muslims is the belief that the caliph should be in the bloodline of Muhammad. The term “shia” means follower in Arabic.



Greatest sin – blasphemy.  Making something or someone equal to God.

They claim that Christians are guilty of this because they teach the deity of Christ. They think we teach that Jesus, a man, was elevated to the position of God.

Sirat or Sira


The Biography (of Mohammad) written by Ibn Isaaq.  Part of the Sunnah




Words of Mohammad.  Combination of the Sira and the Hadith

You have the Qur’an, which are the words of Allah, and the Sunnah, which are the words of Muhammad. The Qur’an is one volume, and the Sunnah is several. Apparently the prophet had more to say than the god.



Largest sect in Islam – about 80%.  Believes the caliph does not have to the blood line of the prophet Muhammad.

Sunni comes from the Sunnah, which means the practice. It means they want to imitate Muhammad in every respect possible.



Chapter.  Like Surah 9 is Chapter 9.




The Doctrine of Deception.  Used to confound the Kufr

This is one of the 4 doctrines of deception in Islam. It’s purpose is to deceive non-Muslims.



Scripture – The Torah or the Pentateuch.  The 5 books of Moses.

Muslims believe Moses was a prophet of Allah, and this is Allah’s revelation. They believe that the Jews have corrupted it.



The Nation of Islam – the global community

This is not to be confused with the Nation of Islam here in America. This is the worldwide super nation that includes all Muslims,



Scripture – The holy book of David (Dawud) and Solomon.  Proverbs and Psalms.

They also believe that David and Solomon were prophets of Allah. Therefore, they believe that Proverbs and Psalms are the revelation of Allah.



Pillar of Islam – The Muslim tax – tithing.

The Qur’an clearly defines what this money is to be used for. It is primarily to be used for Muslims. A part of it can go for literal jihad and fighting.



Followers of Zoroaster.  A cult mentioned in the OT.  Many still live in Persia.

This religion is found in the Old Testament, and was a cult. It was connected to ancient Persia. Islam also considers it a cult.

This ends our glossary of Islamic. Our goal is not to educate you in Islam, it is to help you understand what is being said when these words our used. Islam is an ideology that masquerades as a religion and understanding these terms will help you understand what we are dealing with. Our goal at Fortress of Faith is to reach Muslims for Christ, and these terms should also help you in your evangelistic efforts with Muslims.

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