Islamic Terms (part 2 of 2)


Description: A continuation of the list of some of the most common Islamic words and phrases, their meanings and their significance.

By Aisha Stacey (© 2014 NewMuslims.com)

Published on 15 Dec 2014 - Last modified on 24 Feb 2015

Printed: 190 - Emailed: 0 - Viewed: 16,673 (daily average: 5)


·To understand and thus be comfortable using these new and unfamiliar words.

Arabic Terms:

·Shirk – a word that implies ascribing partners to Allah, or ascribing divine attributes to other than Allah, or believing that the source of power, harm and blessings comes from another besides Allah.

·Ummah - Refers to the whole Muslim community, irrespective of colour, race, language or nationality.

5.    SubhanAllah.  It is usually translated as ‘Glory be to Allah, but its more accurate translation would be: ‘Far removed is Allah from every imperfection’.  It is a phrase used to glorify Allah.

      IslamicTerms2.jpgThe word SubhanAllah contains two words, Subhan and Allah, and it means to glorify, praise, magnify, and extol Allah, by tongue or by heart.  It includes declaring that Allah has no flaw and is  above any imperfection,  that He is not in any way similar to His creation and that He is free from all kinds of shirkSubhanAllah can also be used as an exclamation.  For example, one might see a beautiful sunset and exclaim SubhanAllah.

      Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah said that the command to glorify Him by saying SubhanAllah implies declaring Him to be above every fault and shortcoming, and affirming His attributes of perfection.  You may also hear the phrase Subhanahu wa ta’ala.  This means ‘glorified is He and exalted’.  This expression is often seen abbreviated in the written form as SWT.

6.    MashaAllah.  It means, as Allah wills.  Three words (ma-sha-Allah), often said as if they are one word.  This phrase is used when admiring or praising something or someone, it recognises that everything comes from Allah and should be considered a blessing.  For example if a person says, “This is my newborn baby girl”, you would reply “MashaAllah”, or a father says, “My son is a very good swimmer” you would reply “MashaAllah”, meaning this is what Allah has willed, it is a blessing from Him.

7.    Jazak Allah khair.  It means, may Allah reward you with good.  It is an expression of thanks or gratitude.  It is thought of as a better way of expressing thanks then the Arabic word for thank you – shukran.  The best thanks is to request Allah to reward the person to whom you are grateful. 

          Masculine: Jazak Allah khair

          Feminine: Jazaki Allah khair

          Plural: Jazakum Allah khair

      Prophet Muhammad said, “Whoever has a favour done for him and says to the one who did it, ‘Jazak Allah khair,’ has done enough to thank him.”   Jazak comes from the Arabic root jazaa and means to payback or to give someone absolutely, so that there is no dissatisfaction.   Thus we are expressing that there is no better reward or thanks then the reward that comes from Allah.  You will often hear the reply “wa eyakum” - meaning ‘may He also reward you’.  Or you may hear someone reply Barak Allah feekum.

8.    Barak Allah feek.  It means, may Allah bless you.  And is an alternative word for thanks, similar to Jazak Allah khair.  It can also be used as a reply to Jazak Allah khair.  One would say Barak Allah feeki to a female or Barak Allah feekum to a group of people.  Baraka is the Arabic term that means blessing.  Baraka is a state which indicates Allah’s approval and blessings upon those who strive to establish his commands.  If Allah bestows His baraka on a person it results in a state of betterment and divine protection.

9.    Sal-lal-lahu alaihi wa salam.  You may here this saying every time the name of Prophet Muhammad is mentioned.  It is commonly translated as, ‘may Allah bestow peace and blessing upon him’ and is often abbreviated in written form to SAW or in English PBUH.  In reality, a more accurate translation would be ‘may Allah extol/exalt/praise the mention of Prophet Muhammad and protect him from all evil.’

      “Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O you who believe! Send your blessings on him, and salute him with all respect.”  (Quran 33:56)  Prophet Muhammad said, “Allah has angels who go around on earth, conveying to me the salam of my Ummah.” 

10.  Azza wa Jal is a way of praising Allah and is often mentioned after saying the name Allah.  The word azza is derived from izah, which means might and power and the word jal is derived from al-jalaal, which means greatness and reverence.  Therefore, the term Azza wa Jal is an attribute of Allah that means He is the Owner of Greatness and Reverence the Most Strong, the One who is never defeated.

11.  Astaghfirullah means, I seek the forgiveness of Allah.  The act of seeking Allah’s forgiveness is called making Istighfar.  You will often hear a person repeating the word quietly, astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah… so you would say they are making istighfar.  After finishing the prayer Prophet Muhammad would say, Astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah, (I seek the forgiveness of Allah, I seek the forgiveness of Allah, I seek the forgiveness of Allah).   Seeking forgiveness is a very beneficial thing to do.

“Declare (O Muhammad) unto My slaves, that truly, I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most-Merciful.” (Quran 15:49)

“So take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness.” (Quran 41:6)

12.  Allahu Akbar is an Islamic phrase that means, God is greater.  Or there is none greater than Allah .This is an expression used at various times throughout any average day and for special occasions.  It is used during the call for prayer, during prayer, when a person is happy, when one wishes to express their approval for what they hear or see, when an animal is slaughtered, to praise a speaker, or to express excitement.  Sometimes you might hear one person shout takbir and a group or congregation will shout back Allahu AkbarTakbir is the Arabic expression that means, say Allahu Akbar.

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