Islamic Terms

Ahad. Quranic term for the Transcendental Unity/Oneness of the Godhead.

Al Afuw ~ The Pardoner

Baqa. Sufi term for a state of everlasting being.

Batin. Quranic term for the hidden, the unmanifested; one of the Divine Names.

Baraka. Islamic Term for blessing, grace, or sacred aspect or benefit.

Faqir. Literally, one who is a beggar; in Sufi usage one who has attained the station of poverty (faqiri), who practices complete trust in God.

Fatiha. The short opening chapter of the Quran, beginning, In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, Praise be to God, the Lord of the Worlds…It is an indispensible part of the daily worship (salat).

Al Ghaffar ~ The Forgiver

Al Ghafur ~ The All Forgiving

Ghauth. Literally, the Refuge; one of the Divine Names; also the popular title of Addul Qadir Jilani (d. 1166), the founder-figure of the Qadriya Sufi order.

Hafiz. Literally, one who protects; one of the Divine Names; and also the popular title of one who has memorized part or the whole Quran.

Al Halim (The Forebearing One)

Haqiqat. The mystical-philosophical term for reality, as opposed to the unreal and contingent.

Hu. Third person singular; otherness/transcendence of God.

Ilah. The Quranic term for divinity; any object towards which one is totally inclined.

Il’ l ‘ Allah. Nothing but God; the affirmative end of the Islamic testimony “There is no god but God.”

‘ilm. The Quranic term for knowledge as opposed to conjecture and opinion.

Iman. Faith, synonymous in meaning with knowledge; generally used in reference to faith in God, in life hereafter and in the unseen.

‘Irfan. Gnosis; also means mysticism, esoteric philosophy in general.

Ithbat. Affirmation; primarily refers to the affirmative end of the Islamic testimony “There is no god but God”, and also to the affirmation of the world as the meaningful and purposeful creation of God.

Jazb. Literally, absorption; in Sufi usage, a state of complete ingathering of the soul, an absorption, as it were, into the source of all-being.

K’aba. The shrine at Mecca, said to have been built by Abraham (Ibrahim), which Mohammed (pbuh) cleared of idols and to which Muslims make their pilgrimage. It symbolizes the heart empty of anything other than God.

Al Karim ~ The Generous One

Kashf. Uncovering; in Sufi usage, attaining knowledge of the mysteries during contemplation.

Khizr. The Islamic representation of the figure of Elijah; in Sufi lore, one who guides without revealing one’s true identity (but in the Quran chapter 18, he identifies his spiritual station while Moses encounters him.)

Kitab ~ Scripture

Kun. The Quranic imperative “Be!” It stands for the Divine Command of creation.

M’arifat. Gnosis, self-realization of truth.

Majzub. One who is in a state of Jazb, spiritual absorption.

Mathnawi. The title of the six-volume corpus of mystical poetry by Jalaluddin Rumi (d.1273)

Mithal. In Quranic usage it refers to parables (plural amthal); and in the esoteric custom it represents the middle realm between the sensible and the intelligible worlds, alam al-amthal.

Al Muhaymin ~ The Protector

Nafs. Quranic term for self, person, also soul in her individualized status. The Quran refers to humankind as nafsin wahidah, indivisible self, a psychic unity (4.1).

Nubuwwa ~ Prophethood

Qalander (Persian). A wandering homeless sage; a Sufi master of high rank; in esoteric understanding, one who is directly initiated into gnosis by the Prophet, or Ali or Khizr (Elijah)

Qawwali. Devotional poetry and music sung primarily at the shrines of great masters; an Indian institution originating in the first half of the 14th century.

Qutb. Literally, the axis; in Sufi lore, the highest sage of the day, hidden from ordinary eyes.

Ar Rahim ~ The Merciful

Ar Rahman ~ The Beneficent

Al Ra’uf ~ The Compassionate

Risala ~ Apostleship

Ar Razzaq ~ The Provider

Salaam’ alaikum. Peace by upon you; the traditional Muslim greeting.

Salat. The sequence of utterances and actions of Muslim worship which is prescribed as one of the Pillars of Islam.

Shajrah. From Arabic shajr, meaning tree; in Sufi usage it refers to the tree of mystical connections, a symbol of spiritual genealogy.

Sufi. Derived from the Arabic root safa, meaning purity; one who has been purified, one who has a pure heart, or a heart which holds nothing but God’s remembrance as presence.

Tariqa/Tariqat. Quranic in origin, meaning way, in Sufi usage, an inner path with a master as the guide, in contrast to shariah, which is the outer path, tariqat means the principle of the inner path, a mystical doctrine.

Tawhid. The Islamic doctrine of the Oneness/Unity of God; the principle of monotheism.

Al Wadud ~ The Loving

Al Wahhab ~ The Bestower

Al Wali ~ The Protecting Friend

Zakir. One who is remembering God, through zikr.

Zikr. Quranic in origin, meaning remembrance of God, along with fikr which is intellectual contemplation of the signs of God. In Sufi usage, it means a particular mode of remembrance, the recital of a Divine Name imparted to the novice for guidance and enlightenment.

One thought on “Islamic Terms”

  1. Hello Hasan; I consider your blog a good resource for my endeavors. My subject is Christian Counseling , but I want to include people of other faiths. To be more helpful in my community, I’ve read several books on world faiths. A a few psychotherapy books on members of various religions. I think you’ll like this statement from one of them. “(It’s) beautiful…how organically interconnected psychotherapy and religious experience is.”

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