islamic jurisprudence

ISLAM 101: Basic Islamic Phrases

Akhira: Hereafter

Alhamdulilah: Praise be to Allah (God)

Allah: God

Allahu Akbar: God is the greatest

Aqidah: Theology

Assalaam Alaykom: Peace be upon you (Islamic greeting)

Astagfarallah: I seek refuge (protection) in God 

Ayah: A verse in the Qur’an (also used to mean a sign)

Barakah: Blessing

Bismillah: In the name of God (said before completing a task to invoke the Lord’s name)

Dua: Supplication or prayer

Dunya: The physical world (as opposed to the Afterlife)

Fatwa: A legal opinion of a Muslim jurist (i.e. Muslim law)

Fiqh: Islamic Jurisprudence

Hadith: The sayings, actions, and approvals of the Prophet (pbuh)

Halal: Something lawful or permitted in Islam

Haram: Something that is sinful or impermissible in Islam

Hijab: Literally a cover, but commonly used to describe the headscarf that some Muslim women choose to wear

Iblees: Satan

Ilm: Knowledge

Islam: A submission to God

Jahannam: Hellfire

Jannah: Paradise

Jazak(i) Allahu Khairan: May God reward you with something good

Jihad: A struggle

Jummah: Friday Prayer or just Friday as a day (holy day for Muslims)

Kafir: People who conceal the Truth and actively plot against Islam

Masha Allah: Literally means “Whatever God wills,” but is taken to basically mean, “Glory to God”

Masjed: Mosque, place of worship for Muslims

Muslim: One who follows the religion of Islam

Nafs: The soul or lower self (ego/id)

Niyyah: Intention

Pbuh: Peace Be Upon Him (said to invoke peace and blessings on the Prophet Mohammad)

Rab: Lord

Sabr: Patience

Salah: Obligatory 5 prayers or any other of the structured prayers in Islam

Salaam: Peace

Seerah: The biography of the life of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

Sheikh: Muslim clergy 

Subhan Allah: Glory to God

Sunnah: The example of the Prophet (pbuh) that Muslims try to follow. 

Surah: A chapter in the Qur’an

Tafsir: Qur’anic exegesis 

Taqwa: Righteousness and piety

Tawakkol: Reliance on God

Waalaykom assalaam: And on to you be peace (reply to greeting)

Fatima al-Fihri

1. In 859 CE, she founded the world’s oldest degree-granting university: University of Al Quaraouiyine. Yes you heard me right, the world’s first university was founded by an oppressed Muslim woman. 

2. Alongside the Qur’an and Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), other subjects that were also taught were grammar, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, history, geography and music. Gradually, a broader range of subjects were introduced in the university particularly natural sciences, physics and foreign languages.

3. Non-Muslims were welcome to matriculate. The university played a leading role in cultural and academic relations between the Islamic world and Europe. In fact, the University’s outstanding caliber attracted Gerber of Auvergne who later became Pope Sylvester II and went on to introduce Arabic numerals and the concept of zero to medieval Europe. One of the university’s most famous students was a Jewish physician and philosopher, Maimonides.

4. The university exists to this day, located in Fes, Morocco 

It’s not that people cannot criticize Islam–criticism of ideologies, factors of lifestyle etc etc, should always remain an open ground for criticism–it’s that people must be specific in their criticism.

They cannot say “Islam is a terroristic religion” and merely disregard the overwhelming majority of adherents to Islam who do not mirror that statement. They cannot say “Sharia is oppressive” and disregard the fact that a variety of different interpretations of Sharia and Sharia standards exist, and that different schools of Islamic jurisprudence exist. They cannot say “Islam is oppressive towards women” and disregard the entirety of the historical and social status of women through an “Islamic” point of view–furthermore, they cannot disregard the hundreds of millions of women that find liberation and peace and comfort in religion that they do not feel oppressed by. If you are going to criticize an entire platform of religion, lifestyle, and culture it is YOUR responsibility to be specific in your criticism. 

Which aspects of Islam are terroristic? Which factor of Sharia do you deem unacceptable and why? How and in which instances are the application of Islamic values oppressive towards women? These are the questions you are obligated to answer instead of aiming misdirected hatred towards people who do not deserve it. 

Narrated Abu Huraira (radhiAllāhu ‘anhu):

“Two fasts and two kinds of sale are forbidden: fasting on the day of ‘Eid ul  Fitr and ‘Eid-ul-Adha and the kinds of sale called Mulāmasa and Munābadha. (These two kinds of sale used to be practiced in the days of Pre-lslamic  period of ignorance; Mulāmasa means when you touch something displayed for  sale you have to buy it; Munābadha means when the seller throws something  to you, you have to buy it.)”

—  [Sahīh Bukhārī Vol. 3, Hadīth no. 213. Translated by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khān]
Convert a Lemon into a Sweet Drink

An intelligent and skillful person transforms losses into profits; whereas, the unskilled person aggravates his own predicament, often making two disasters out of one.

The Prophet (bpuh) was compelled to leave Makkah, but rather than quit his mission, he continued it in Madeenah — the city that took its place in history with lightning speed.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was severely tortured and flogged, and yet he emerged triumphant from that ordeal, becoming the Imam of the Sunnah. Imam Ibn Taymiyah was put into prison; he later came out an even more accomplished scholar than he was before. Imam As-Sarakhsi was held as a prisoner, kept at the bottom of an unused well; he managed therein to produce twenty volumes on Islamic jurisprudence. Ibn Atheer became crippled, after which he wrote Jam'ey al-Usool and An-Nihayah, two of the most famous books in the Science of Hadith. Imam Ibn al-Jawzi was banished from Baghdad. Then, through his travels, he became proficient in the seven recitations of the Qur'an. Maalik ibn ar-Rayb was on his deathbed when he recited his most famous and beautiful poem, which is appreciated until this day. When Abi Dhu'aib al-Hadhali’s children died before him, he eulogized them with a poem that the world listened to and admired.

Therefore, if you are afflicted with a misfortune, look on the bright side. If someone were to hand you a glass full of squeezed lemons, add to it a handful of sugar. And if someone gives you a snake as a gift, keep its precious skin and leave the rest.

“And it may be that you dislike a thing that is good for…” (Qur'an 2:216)

Before its violent revolution, France imprisoned two brilliant poets: one an optimist, the other a pessimist. They both squeezed their heads through the bars of their cell windows. The optimist then stared at the stars and laughed. while the pessimist looked at the dirt of a neighboring road and wept. Look at the other side of a tragedy — a circumstance of pure evil does not exist, and in all situations one can find goodness and profit and reward from Allah.

A. Al-Qarni, Don’t be Sad, Riyadh: IIPH, 2005.