Saturday, October 6, 2012

Key Islamic Terms

ahl al-bayt familial descendents of Muhammad

Akhbari traditionist, scripturalist, Twelver Shi‘i school of thought that stresses the importance of scripture as the only real source of knowledge and authority

‘alim scholar, learned

amal al-ta’ifa the righteous sect, reference to Shi‘ism used by Shi‘is

‘aql reason, usually implies Aristotelian logic

al-‘aql al-hissi sensible reasoning

‘arif enlightened knower

asl original legal case

‘Atabat lit. thresholds, Shi‘i cities in Iraq, including Najaf, Karbala, Hilla, and Samara which contain shrines for remains of holy Shi‘i figures

‘azan call to prayer

bab al-ijtihad An important debate among early modern Muslim scholars was whether the gate of ijtihad was opened or closed. See also ijtihad.

bab al-‘ilm gate of knowledge

badiha common knowledge

batin inner or esoteric knowledge derived through inspiration, as opposed to exoteric knowledge (zuhur)

bida‘ blameworthy innovation

dalil (pl. dalala) indicator, as a legal term dalil is a proof that indicates true knowledge

dalil ‘aqli rational indicator

dalil shar‘i indicator from the Lawgiver (God)

da’wa missionary activity

dhimmi protected status granted to non-Muslims by Muslim rulers

din-i ilahi lit. Divine Faith, syncretic belief system of Mughal emperor Akbar

fana’ ceasing to exist, annihilation in God, highest state of Islamic mysticism

fatwa legal judgment issued by a legal official

fiqh Islamic jurisprudence

furqan intuitive knowledge

furu‘ al-fiqh positive law, lit. branches of jurisprudence

Hadith collection of reports of the sayings and actions of Muhammad (and the Imams for Shi‘is)

haqiqa absolute reality, the ultimate non-relative truth, truth according to God

hawza Shi‘i seminary or educational system emphasizing the study of Islamic law, also madrasa

hikma (or hikmat) mystical philosophy, wisdom

hikmat al-ilahi see ishraqi

al-hikma al-muta‘aliya transcendent wisdom

hujja (or hujjat) proof

hujjiyya probative force, authoritativeness

hukm legal ruling

ibadat commands related to worship or ritual duty

Idrisi early modern Sufi movement established by Ahmad Ibn Idris al-Fasi (1760-1837)

ihtiyat caution

ijaza lit. permission, license or diploma issued from cleric to student indicating the permissibility for the student to exercise the rights of a jurist

ijma‘ legal consensus

ijma‘ zanni conjectural consensus

ijtihad independent personal judgment exercised by a jurist (mujtahid) based on the principles of Islamic law (usul al-fiqh)

ikhtilaf disagreement, opposite of consensus (ijma‘)

 ‘illa ratio legis, rationale, effect cause

‘ilm knowledge

‘ilm al-khawass special knowledge

Imam According to Shi‘is, Imams are successors of Muhammad, believed to be endowed with infallibility (‘isma)

imam jum‘a Friday prayer leader

Ishraqi (or hikmat al-ilahi) theosophy or illuminationist philosophy that originated with Shihab al-Din Yahya Suhrawardi (d. 1191), who promoted the idea that true knowledge is the result of both rational and intuitive emanations from the mind

‘isma sinless, infallible, see ma‘sum

isnad chain of transmission of a hadith report

istihsan juristic preference

istishab al-hal presumption of continuance

istislah public welfare or interest

jahiliyya ignorance

jihad holy war, struggle

jizya head tax paid to Muslim rulers by non-Muslims

kadkhoda village leader

kafir (pl. kuffar) infidel, unbeliever

kalam theology

karamat miraculous phenomena

kashf divine inspiration, intuitive revelation

Kashfiyya see Shaykhi

khabar (pl. akhbar) hadith report

khabar al-wahid (pl. akhbar al-ahad) isolated hadith report, hadith report that does not have multiple transmitters

khawass elite, special

khums (lit. one-fifth) Islamic tax paid on specific items

lisan language

lugha language, linguistic

al-lugha al-‘urfiyya customary language

luti thug, gang, homosexual

madhhab school of Islamic legal thought

madrasa school, often denoting religious school

mafhum (pl. mafahim) linguistic implication

Mahdi Hidden Imam, According to Twelver Shi‘is, the Mahdi (Muhammad al-Mahdi) is the twelfth Imam, who has been in a state of spiritual occultation since 873 CE. In other words, the Mahdi (or qa’im, lit. the one who will arise) did not die, but is also not physically present in the world – although he allegedly may periodically manifest himself on the physical plane

marja‘ al-taqlid (lit. source of emulation), Shi‘i jurist (mujtahid) whose legal judgments are emulated by lay Shi‘is (muqallid)

maslaha public interest, common benefit

ma‘sum infallible, sinless, often attributed to the Shi‘i Imams

matn text of a hadith report

millet confessional community

mirghadab executioner

mu‘amalat non-ritual legal duties

mu’assis founder

mufti legal judge

mujaddid renewer or reviver of Islam thought to appear every century. Based on the prophetic hadith: “At the beginning of every hundred years, God will send a person who will revive the religion (i.e. Islam) for the community (ummah).”

mujtahid legal scholar who carries out ijtihad

mukallaf sane person who is subject to the law

mulazama belief that revelation and reason are in complete agreement

mullabashi lit. head cleric, highest ranking government appointed cleric, especially in the Safavid period

muqallid emulator, follower of a mujtahid, lay Shi‘i

murawwij reviver

mutashabih unclear, ambiguous Qur’an verse

mutawatir widespread, hadith report transmitted through multiple chains of hadith transmitters

Muwahiddun lit. Monotheists, Unitarians, title by which Wahhabis initially referred to themselves

na’ib deputy, see al-niyaba al-‘amma

najes ritual impurity

naql scripture, foundational Islamic texts (i.e. Qur’an and Hadith)

al-niyaba al-‘amma general vicegerency on behalf of the Imam

qadi Islamic legal judge

qarina textual evidence used to derive a non-literal meaning

qat‘ legal certainty

qiyas analogy, principle used by some legal scholars to formulate a new law

qizilbash lit. read head, supporters of Shah Isma‘il who assisted him in establishing the Safavid dynasty

qutb al-zaman axis of the age

ra’y personal legal judgment

rijal Hadith transmitters

riwayat companions of Muhammad

sadr chief religious dignitary

sahib al-zaman Lord of the age, one of the titles of the Mahdi

shakk legal doubt, opposite of certainty (qat‘)

shafa‘a intercession

salah prayer

sharh (pl. shuruh) textual commentary

shari‘a God’s law

shaykh (or pir) Sufi master

Shaykhi Shi‘i school of thought established by Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa’i, also known as Kashfiyya

shirk idolatry, polytheism

silsila chain

Sunna Islamic legal custom and practice

ta‘adiyya transference, method of transferring a ruling from an original case to a novel case

ta‘arud contradiction found within revelatory texts

tabaqat biographical dictionaries of Shi‘i clerics

tabarra’iyan those who publicly curse the first two Caliphs

tafsir explanation of revelatory texts

takfir declaration of unbelief or infidelity

takhyir legal choice

taklif legal obligation

tanqih al-manat discovering the rationale of a law with certainty

taqiyya dissimulation

taqlid emulation of an Islamic scholar’s legal judgment(s), precedent

taqwa fear of God

tariqa Muhammadiyya brotherhood or Sufi order of Muhammad

tawqifi (or tawaqquf ) suspension of a legal decision

tawhid monotheism, oneness of God

ta’wil interpretation of a text, exegesis

 ‘ulama religious scholars

‘urf custom, customary

usul al-din theological principles

usul al-fiqh principles of Islamic law

Usuli rationalist, Twelver Shi‘i school of thought that accepts the use of ijtihad and other extra-textual methods of deriving knowledge and authority. Usulis are often referred to as Mujtahids.

Wahhabi puritanical Sunni movement established by Muhammad Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1792), also known as Muwahiddun

wahy prophetic revelation, the manner in which Muhammad received the Qur’an from God

waqf religious endowment

al-wilayat al-takyini cosmic guardianship

yaqin certainty

al-yaqin al-‘adi ordinary certainty

zahir outer or exoteric knowledge, as opposed to esoteric knowledge (batin)

zann legal opinion, probability

zawiya Islamic religious school or monastery

zikrullah remembrance of God

zina’ extramarital sex

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