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Glossaries

Term Definition
Fatimah Zahra (s.a.)

Fatimah Zahra (605 or 615 AD-632 AD), daughter of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Imam Ali's (a.s) wife and mother of Shia Imams. In Islamic texts she is compared with Holy Mary (s.a).

Synonyms: Fatimah Zahra,Fatimah
Fatima Ma'sumah

Hazrat Ma'sumah (790-816), Imam Reza's (a.s) sister enshrined in Qom. Pilgrimage to her shrine has been highly recommended; therefore, enjoys a paramount position among the Shia.

Synonyms: Fatima Ma'sumah,
Fasting

Fasting is a mandatory Islamic ritual observed in the month Ramadan. During this month, Muslims do not eat or drink after the pre-dawn meal until the post-sunset meal.

Dry ablution

Tayammum which in Arabic means "dust" is "the substitution of sand or stones for water during the ablutions for prayer when necessity requires it" (CEI 203). In English, tayammum is called "dry ablution.

Synonyms: Tayammum
Clergy

In Islamic context, the term clergy describes those learned and educated in Islam to the extent of explaining the various aspects of it and also issuing religious opinions. Literally, the word "roohani" modifies the one not chained to the worldly matters and accordingly his/her life is more directed by the transcentdental. Indeed, Muslims expect their religious teachers and scholars to be as such.

Synonyms: Clergy
Black chador

Black chador: Some Muslim women to maintain an active role in public unisex spaces choose to wear black chador whereby they create mutual ethical safety and minimize sexual attentions.  

Bism Allah

It is a part of the complete utterance bism Allah e Rhaman al-Rahim ("In the Name of Allah, the All-Gracious, the Most-Merciful"). This holy utterance "precedes each chapter of the Quran except the ninth, surat at-tawba, and is said and written by Muslims as a preface to many activities, speech-acts and writings" (CEI 42). One of the reasons behind saying this holy utterance before starting a task, of any kind it may be, is a tradition from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), which says: "Any task not started with the name of Allah is vain and inconclusive" (Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 73: 305). Needless to say, tasks which are in agreement with the principles and obligations of Islam are capable of being started with this holy utterance, otherwise, (using bism Allah before forbidden and repugnant deeds) that would be irrational and inconsistent.

Synonyms: Bism Allah,bism Allah e Rhaman al-Rahim,
Bayt al-mal

Bayt al-mal, house of property or treasury, refers to the properties and wealth in control of the Islamic government. The properties kept as bayt al-mal are to be spent solely for the interests and well-being of the Muslims. Therefore, in this sense all Muslims have a share of bayt al-mal.

Synonyms: house of property,treasury
Ashoora

Ashoora is the day of martyrdom of Imam Hussain (a.s.), the justice-seeking grandson of the Prophet (pbuh). Muslims annually commemorate his martyrdom to renew their faith with his sublime ideals. Shia consider Ashoora the most tragic point in history.

Allameh Tabataba'i

Sayyid Mohammad Hossein Tabataba'i aka Allameh Tabataba'i (1903-1981) was a prominent contemporary Quranic exegetist, philosopher, thinker, and Islamic leader. He authored "Tafsir al-Mizan" and "The Principles of Philosophy and the Method of Realism" among other works.

Allah o Akbar

Allah o Akbar is of the most important Islamic mottos and means "God is the greatest." At times of ease, misfortune, victory, or defeat, it is articulated to seek a spiritual communion and assurance from the Gracious God. Quite suspiciously, nowadays terrorist groups use this phrase during their acts of violence.

Al-Mizan Exegesis

One of the most comprehensive and reliable Shia interpretations of Quran authored by Allameh Tabataba'i (1903-1981) the prominent Iranian Islamic scholar and philosopher.

Ahl al-Bayt

Literally, the term Ahl al-Bayt means "the people of the household." According to the Exalted Quran, the Holy Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt are thoroughly purified (33:33).  In Shia view, supported by great many traditions, Ahl al-Bayt refers "principally, to the Prophet and his immediate family that is Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Hussain [pbut]… and extending to all the Imams" (DSI 222). On the account of a well-known tradition (Thaghalain tradition), the Shia hold that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has left two precious things for the Muslims by which to reach eternal felicity; the one being the Holy Quran and the other his Ahl al-Bayt.

Adhan (Prayer call)

"The adhan along with its abridged accompaniment, the iqama, is an oral rite linked to mosques, daily prayer, sacred identity, and birth rites. The adhan and the iqamah are usually called outside and inside mosques, respectively: The former signals prayer times, and the latter the beginning of congregational prayer…. Finally, the adhan is chanted into the right ear of a newborn and the iqama into the left ear" (EIMW 13).

Abu dhar al-Ghifari

Abu dhar al-Ghifari was among the first (the 4th Muslim) to convert to Islam and also among the early true companions to the Prophet (pbuh), and later a supporter and follower of Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), as the rightful successor of the holy Prophet (Madelung 141). Prophet Muhammad had described Abu dhar as exceptionally truthful and his way of life very similar to that of Jesus Christ (pbuh). Abu dhar is famous for his serious and fearless objections against the lavish and extravagant lifestyle of Uthman ibn Affan, which at last earned him his exile first to Syria and then to Rabadha desert, where he died in 562 A. D. (Lalani 26).

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