• Glossary of Arabic Terms

    Glossary of important terms, abbreviations and their meanings

    Prayer Abbreviations

    saw: Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam:- meaning “may the blessings of Allah and peace be upon him” and is written only after the name of the Holy Prophet (saw).

    as: Alaihissalam:- meaning “peace be upon him” and is written after the name of all prophets other than the Holy Prophet (saw).

    ra: Radi yallahu Anhu/ Anha:- meaning “may Allah be pleased with him/ her” and is written after the names of the Companions of the Holy Prophet (saw)and of the Promised Messiah (as).

    ru: Rahma tullah ‘alaih:- meaning “may Allah shower His mercy upon him” is written after the names of deceased pious Muslims who were not Companions of the Holy Prophet(saw) or of the Promised Messiah (as).

    atba: ayyadah Allah tala be-Nasray hil-Aziz:- meaning “may Allah assist him” and is written after the current Khalifatul-Masih’s official title.


    Glossary of Terms

    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    Allah: Allah, One God, the personal name of God in Islam. To show proper reverence for Him Muslims often add Ta’ala meaning the Most High, when saying His Holy name.

    Adhan: Call for formal Islamic Prayer.


    Ahadith: Plural of Hadith i.e. Sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).


    Ahmadiyya Muslim Community: Community of Muslims who have accepted the claims of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as)of Qadian as the Promised Messiah. The Community was established by the Promised Messiah (as) in 1889, and is now under the leadership of his fifth Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (atba). The Community is also known as Jama’at Ahmadiyya. A member of the Community is called an Ahmadi Muslim or an Ahmadi.


    Allah: The one and only God.


    Allama: A learned person.


    Aleem: An attribute of Allah, which means the ‘All Knowing’.


    Amal: A deed, act or action.


    Ameer: TheLeader / President of the Jama’at (community) in a country, province, or Muslim community.


    Ameerul Mumineen: Leader of the faithful, the title used for a Caliph.


    Amila: Central committee responsible for carrying out the activities of the organisation.


    Annual Conference: A conference held annually in a country with a large Ahmadi populace attended in large numbers. Non-Ahmadi guests, sometimes VIPs from around the world are invited and regularly attend. The annual conference was initiated by the Promised Messiah(as) in 1891. It is usually referred to by its original Urdu name, Jalsa Salana.


    Ansar: ‘Helpers’. Refers to the Companions in Medina of the Holy Prophet (saw), that received the Prophet (saw) and the Muslims who migrated from Mecca.


    Ansarullah: ‘Helpers of Allah’. (Singular: Nasir i.e. Helper). Refers to the Ahmadiyya Jama’at auxiliary organisation of male members over the age of 40 years.


    Aququl-walidain: An Arabic term meaning disobedience to parents, not showing them their due respect or treating them with little tenderness of heart or neglect.


    Asr: The late afternoon formal Islamic prayer. Requires the offering of 4 raka’at (units) of Fard (obligatory) prayer.


    Assalamu Alaikum: An Arabic term meaning ‘Pace be upon you’ used by Muslims when grating one another. A more comprehensive version is Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuhu which means ‘Peace be upon you and the Mercy of Allah and His Blessings’.


    Atfal: Children (Singular: Tifl i.e. Child)


    Atfalul Ahmadiyya: ‘Children of Ahmadiyyat’. Refers to the Ahmadiyya Jama’at auxiliary organisation of male children between the ages of 7 and 16 years.


    Bahishti Maqbara: The Celestial Graveyard in Qadian (India) and Rabwah (Pakistan). The graveyard where the Promised Messiah (as) in Qadian, and some of the Khulafa of the Jama’at are buried. A person who joins the institution of Wassiyyat may also be buried in these graveyards.


    Bai’at: Taking of the oath of allegiance to the Ahmadiyya Community by reciting the pledge in unison with Huzoor (atba).


    Baitul Maal: State treasury.


    Chanda: Financial sacrifice in the way of Allah. Some Chanda schemes are obligatory for members of the Jama’at.


    Chilla: Spending 40 days in seclusion, sayings prayers for communion with God.


    Daee Ila-Allah: Caller to the path of Allah - i.e. Islam.


    Dajjal: Arabic term literally means ‘Deceiving’ or ‘Deceiver’. It is commonly used in reference to those falsely claiming to be prophets as found in some sayings of the Holy Prophet (saw). It is a comparable to the figure of the anti-Christ in Christianity.


    Darood Shareef: Invocation of blessing on the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). Also known as Salat-un-Nabi.


    Dars al-Quran: Exegesis (explaining the text) of the Quran.


    Du’aa: Prayers made to God Almighty. Du’aa can be made at any time and in any language. It does not require any formal prescribed posture. It is separate from the formal Islamic prayer i.e. Salaat.


    Fajr: The early morning formal Islamic prayer, between dawn and sunrise. Requires the offering of 2 raka’at (units) of Sunnah (usual practice of the Holy Prophet (saw)) and 2 raka’at (units) of Fard (obligatory) prayer.


    Fard: Arabic term denoted religious duty. Usually translated asObligatory’.


    Fatwa: A religious edict or declaration, usually given by a Mufti.


    Firdaus: The term is used in reference to the highest Paradise in reference to the afterlife in Heaven.


    Hadith: Sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).


    Hadith Da’if: A Hadith with an unreliable narrator, either in respect of memory or intelligence or integrity. So much so, that even if one of the narrator’s Hadith conflicts with others, in spite of the rest seeming reliable, the Hadith istreated as weak. This does not mean the Hadith is not the words of the Holy Prophet (saw), only that its chain of transmission has some weaknesses.


    Hadith Fi’li:  A Hadith that does not quote any word or statement of the Holy Prophet (saw) but narrates some act of his.


    Hadith Marfu: A Hadith that traces a statement directly to the Holy Prophet (saw) without any break in the chain of reporters.


    Hadith Maudu: A Hadith which is proven to have been invented by a lying narrator.


    Hadith Mauquf: A Hadith that cannot be traced to the Holy Prophet (saw) but stops short and does not proceed beyond a particular reporter. The nature of the Hadith and the tenor and tone of the testimony should warrant the conclusion that the Holy Prophet (saw) must have been heard making the statement.


    Hadith Muttasil: A Hadith wherethe reporters of this Hadith are known and mentioned and are known and placed in a serial order where none of them is found missing or left unidentified.


    Hadith Qauli: A Hadith that directly quotes the words of the Holy Prophet (saw).


    Hadith Qudsi: A Hadith where the Holy Prophet(saw) ascribes a word or act to God, saying that He had commanded him thus. Such a statement is other than the Qur‘anic revelation.


    Hadith Taqriri: A Hadith that relates to neither a statement nor an act of the Holy Prophet (saw). Instead it records what a particular person did or said in the presence of the Holy Prophet (saw)and that it was not forbidden for that person to do or say it.


    Hazrat: A term of respect used for a person of established righteousness and piety.


    Hafiz: A person who has memorized the entire text of the Holy Quran.


    Hajj: 5thPillar of Islam.Annual pilgrimage made to Mecca by Muslims who can afford to without any security fears.


    Hajji: A person who has performed the pilgrimage to the Ka’ba in Mecca.


    Hakeem: A philosopher or a practitioner in natural medicine.


    Holy Prophet (saw): A term used exclusively for Hazrat Muhammad (saw) the Holy Prophet of Islam.


    Holy Qur’an: The book sent by Allah for the guidance of all mankind. It was revealed to the Holy Prophet (saw) over a period of twenty-three years in Mecca and Medina.


    Huzoor: Your Honor/Holiness, His Honor/Holiness. It is normally used to address the current Khalifat al-Masih.


    Ibn: Son of, for example:- Isaas ibn Maryam – Isaas (Jesus) son of Maryam (Mary).


    Ijtema: Gathering. (Plural: Ijtema’at).


    Imam: Spiritual leader or guide. Also a person who leads the Salaat (prayers) in a parish or congregation.


    Imam Mahdi: Muslim reformer prophesied by the Holy Prophet (saw).


    Insha’ Allah: An Arabic term meaning if God wills it (God willing), used to call down God's blessing in a matter.


    Ishaa: The late night formal Islamic prayer, between dusk and dawn. Requires the offering of 4 raka’at (units) of Fard (obligatory) prayer, 2 raka’at (units) of Sunnah (usual practice of the Holy Prophet (saw)) and 3 raka’at (units) of Witr which known as a Wajib prayer i.e. necessary, and should be offered at some point before Fajr.


    Islam: Name of the religion whose followers are Muslims. The term has two meaning, ‘Peace’ and ‘Submission’ i.e. to the Will of God.


    Istikhara: Seeking goodness/guidance from God in a matter, by making niyya (intention) and reciting a specific prayer after Ishaa prayer.


    Istighfar: A prayer for suppression of the tendency towards sin, or reciting the prescribed prayer after the commission and remorse of a sinful act.


    Jalsa Salana: Annual Conference, or Convention.


    Jama’at: Community or organization. Usually used in reference to the Ahmadiyya Community.


    Jamia: A theological seminary or training college for Ahmadi missionaries.

    Jazakallah (singular) / Jazakumullah (plural): May Allah reward you. Used in order to express gratitude to others.

    Jumu’ah: Friday. Refers to the Friday prayer service.


    Ka’ba: The cube shaped, sacred shrine of Islam at Mecca. The birthplace of the first House of Worship built by the first prophet Adam (as) and subsequently restored hundreds of years later by the prophet Ibrahim (as).


    Kalima: Fundamental belief of Muslims that “There is no god but God, Muhammad is the Messenger of God(La ‘ilaaha ‘illallaah, Muhammadur-rasoolullah).


    Khabeer: An attribute of Allah, which means the ‘All Aware’.

    Khadim: Servant


    Khalifa: Caliph is derived from the Arabic word Khalifa, which herein means the successor. In Islamic terminology, the word righteous Khalifa is applied to one of the four Khulafa (plural of Khalifa) who continued the mission of Muhammad (saw) the Holy Prophet of Islam. Ahmadi Muslims refer to a successor of the Promised Messiah (as)as Khalifatul-Masih.


    Khaliq: An attribute of Allah, which means the ‘Creator’.


    Khatamun Nabiyyeen: An Arabic term meaning the ‘Seal of the prophets’, or best of the prophets – a title of Apostle of Allah.


    Khuddam: Plural of Khadim i.e. Servants.


    Khuddamul Ahmadiyya: Means the ‘Servants of Ahmadiyyat’. Refers to the Ahmadiyya Jama’at auxiliary organisation of male members between the ages of 16 and 40 years.


    Khusoof: Eclipse of the Moon, during which a special Prayer is to be offered.


    Kusoof: Eclipse of the Sun, during which a special Prayer is to be offered.


    Lajna: Hand maiden.


    Lajna Imaillah: Hand-maidens of Allah. Refers to the Ahmadiyya Jama’at auxiliary organisation of female members over the age of 16.


    Lakh: A number term used heavily in the sub-continent meaning one hundred thousand


    Madrassa: An Islamic public school, or a seminary.


    Maghrib: The formal Islamic prayer offered immediately after sunset until dusk. Requires the offering of 3 raka’at (units) of Fard (obligatory) prayer and 2 raka’at (units) of Sunnah (usual practice of the Holy Prophet (saw)).


    Maharajah: The Chief Prince or Ruler of a state particularly in India.


    Mahdi: The Guided One. Many religious groups within their scriptures believe in the coming of a Mahdi in the Latter Days.


    Majlise Intikhab: Electoral College - body of people whom elect a Caliph.


    Majlis: Association, organization.


    Mamoor min Allah: The commissioned one from God Almighty.


    Markaz: Central Administrative offices.


    Masha’ Allah: An Arabic term meaning whatever Allah wishes, spoken as a token of appreciation.


    Masih-e-Maud: the Promised Messiah.


    Masjid: AMosque. Literally translates as a ‘Place of prostration’. It has the same root word as Sajdah (prostration).



    Masjid al-Nabi: The Prophet’s Mosque. Refers to the mosque established by the Prophet Muhammad (saw) in Medina.


    Maulana: A learned person, courtesy title for a Muslim scholar.


    Maulvi: A religious leader, or Mullah - a Muslim scholar.


    Musi: A person who has bequeathed 1/10 to 1/3 of his property to the Community, and abides by all the conditions laid down in the booklet 'The Will'.


    MTA: Muslim Television Ahmadiyya (Sky Channel 787).


    Muallim: Teacher or religious instructor.


    Mubahila: Prayer duel to ascertain the truthfulness of one party over the other. Both parties pray to God that whoever is wrong should be ruined in the lifetime of the other.


    Muhaddath: A Recipient of Divine communion.


    Muhaddith: A compiler, scholar or editor of Hadith.


    Mufti: A Jurist. An official who pronounces verdict on an issue from an Islamic point of view i.e. Fatwa. An expounder of Shariah (Islamic law).


    Mujaddid: A reformer or re-newer of faith.


    Munshi: Language teacher, law clerk, learned person.


    Mu’min:  Believer.


    Murabbi: Patron, a person supporting a cause or a person. Term is also used in reference to the Missionaries of Jama’at Ahmadiyya.

    Mushairah:  Poetry recital.

    Musleh Maud: A term, meaning Promised Reformer, applied to Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih II, Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra). He is called Musleh Maud because he was born in accordance with a prophecy made by the Promised Messiah (as) in 1886 about the birth of a righteous son who would be endowed with special abilities, attributes and powers. The life and works of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) are a testimony to the fulfilment of the prophecy.


    Nafl: To do more than is required by duty or obligation i.e. voluntary.


    Nasiratul Ahmadiyya: Helpers of Ahmadiyyat (Feminine). Refers to the Ahmadiyya Jama’at auxiliary organisation of female members under the age of 16.


    Nawafil: The plural of Nafl. Nawafil, which are similar in form to Salat, may be offered independently or in conjunction with a prescribed Prayer. Performance of Nawafil, though not obligatory, is highly meritorious. One Nafl Prayer of great merit is Tahajjud, the late

    night Prayer offered between Ishaa and Fajr.


    Nikah: Religious procedure for marriage. A public declaration of getting married.

    Nizam-e-Jama’at: System of the Community.

    Pardah: A veil, curtain, screen or concealing garment used predominantly by Muslim and some Hindu women to conceal their bodies from the gaze of men or strangers. In Islam, men are told to lower/restrain their eyes (ghadd al basr).


    Promised Messiah: This term refers to the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian. He claimed that he had been sent by Allah in accordance with prophecies of the Holy Prophet (saw) about the coming, in latter days of a Mahdi (the Guided One) and Messiah from among the Muslims.


    Pundit: A Hindu religious leader, and an authority on their teachings.


    Qadar: Fate, destiny, lot or predestination.


    Qadian: A town in North-West India where the Promised Messiah (as) Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was born and lived.


    Qaid: ElectedLeader of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya at a local level.


    Qadhi: A judge in an Islamic court, a title of respect.


    Qadir: An attribute of Allah, which means the ‘All Powerful’.


    Qana: A judgement or injunction.


    Qardah: A debt.


    Qardah Hasanah: A debt of honour, debt without interest.


    Qiadat: Refers to local area. Boundaries set by Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya.


    Quddoos: An attribute of Allah, which means the ‘Holy’.


    Rabwah: A town in Pakistan established in 1948 by the Second Khalifa, Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) where the central administrative offices of the Ahmadiyya Community are located. The Punjab Government unfairly changed the name to Chenab Nagar in 1998.


    Ramadhan: 9th month in the Islamic lunar calendar ascribed by God for the prescribed fasting. The month in which during the last ten days the Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (saw), often referred to as the Night of Decree.


    Rasoolul Allah: An Arabic term meaningMessenger of Allah’.


    Rukhstana: A reception given at the time of setting out of a girl as bride after the Nikah ceremony has taken place.


    Sadaqa: Charity.


    Sadr: President of an independent auxiliary organisation such as Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya, or President of a local Jama’at comprising of all members of the auxiliary organisations. 


    Sadr Anjuman: The Central Ahmadiyya Directorate that regulates the administrative affairs of the Community.


    Sahabi: Companion of a Prophet, a person who has taken the oath of allegiance at the hand of a Prophet.


    Sahib: Mr. or Esquire, added to people as a sign of high respect.


    Sahihain: The two most authentic works of Hadith, compiled by Imam Bhukhari and Muslim.


    Salaat: The five daily prayer services prescribed for all Muslims. Unlike Du’aa, Salat has fixed timings and modes of performance. A Rak'a is a term used for the motions and postures made during prescribed prayer, Salaat. There are standing Qiyam, bowing Ruku, sitting Qa’adah, and prostration Sajdah. The prescribed Prayers have three components,  

    those enjoined by Allah (Fard), those offered regularly by the Holy Prophet (saw) and enjoined by him (Sunnah) and voluntary components (Nafl).


    Saum: Fasting or fast.


    Seerat-un-Nabi: Character of the Prophet (saw). On an annual basis a meeting is held in order to celebrate the life of the Prophet of Islam (saw). It is commonly referred to as the Seerat-un-Nabi Jalsa.


    Shaheed: Amartyr. A person who has laid his life in the cause of God.


    Shariah: An Arabic term means ‘Path’ or ‘Way’. It refers to religious law. The laws are dictated by the word of God from the Holy Qur'an.


    Shirk: Association of partners with God.


    Shura:  Consultation. Every year, the various auxiliary organisations meet for a consultation of policies they want to implement in the future. These are discussed and agreed before presenting the report on the discussion to Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih (atba) for approval.


    Sihr: Illusion, magic, witchcraft, sorcery, spell or charm.


    Sultanul Qalam: Master of the Pen, a title conferred on the Promised Messiah (as) by God. The Jama’at has recently setup an organisation by the name ‘Ansar Sultanul Qalam’ i.e. ‘Helpers of the Master of the Pen’.


    Sunnah: Practice/habit of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).


    Surah: A chapter in the Holy Quran, which is composed of 114 Surah.


    Tabligh: Preaching the message of Islam


    Tahajjud: A Nafl Prayer that is not prescribed for all Muslims to do but is seen in high esteem by Allah.This prayer is said in the late hours of the night after Ishaa and before Fajr. One must sleep before performing this prayer. The Promised Messiah (as) has mentioned the offering of Tahajjud as part of the 3rd Condition of Bai’at i.e. “shall try his/her best to be regular in offering the Tahajjud” prayer.


    Tahmeed: Expressing thanks to Allah by reciting Alhamdu-lillah meaning “All praise belongs to Allah.”


    Takbeer. Proclaiming the Greatness of Allah by reciting, Allahu Akbar meaning “Allah is the Greatest.”


    Tajneed: Registration with the Jama’at.

    Ta’leem: Education

    Talqeen-e-Amal: Admonishment towards righteous deeds. Usually a short speech delivered at Ijtema’at.


    Taqwa: Fear of Allah; Righteousness.


    Taraweeh: Voluntary (Nafl) prayers offered during Ramadhan after Ishaa during which the reading of the whole Qur’an is completed in the month.


    Tarbiyyat: Discipline. Tarbiyyat department of the Jama’at focuses on increasing the moral training of the members as per the injuctions of the Qur’an.


    Tasbeeh: Glorification of Allah by reciting phrases such as SubhanAllah meaning “Holy is Allah” and other phrases.

    Taubah: Repentence.

    Tauheed: Islamic belief in the unity of Allah.


    Tayammum: A dry ablution for prescribed prayer,to wash oneself with clean dust where clean water is unavailable. One should pat a clean dusty solid surface with open palms of both hands, then make a motion with both hands, passing them first over the face and then the back of each hand, successively, as if washing them. This is only a token ablution to remind oneself that whenever possible, proper ablution should be performed.


    Tawakkul: Reliance, dependence, trust or confidence, especially upon God.


    Tehrike Jadid: An organization founded in 1934 that oversees the Ahmadiyya missions established in various countries around the globe. Through this scheme the firm foundations of the propagation of Islam and Ahmadiyyat all over the world were to be laid down.


    Tirmidhi: A book which contains a collection of Ahadith i.e. sayings of the Holy Prophet (saw).


    Ulama: Scholars. Plural of alim.


    Ummah: An Arabic term meaning religious community and followers of Prophet

    Muhammad (saw).


    Umra: The lesser pilgrimage to the house of God in Mecca.


    Waqfe Jadid: An organization that looks after the spiritual upbringing of the members living in the rural communities of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at. The primary objective of this scheme was to provide Mualimeen (teachers) who were devoted to the upbringing of the Jama’at.


    Waqfe Nau: A child dedicated to the cause of God before his/ her birth.


    Waqfe Zindagi: A person who has devoted his life to the cause of God.


    Wassalam: Form of greeting. Means ‘With Peace’ usually in reply to a greeting.


    Witr: A necessary prayer said after the prescribed Ishaa prayer and before resting for the night. It was Sunnah for the Holy Prophet (saw) to say this prayer and so much encouraged that it is almost obligatory. It is part of the Wajib category of prayers like Fard, Sunnah and Nafl.


    Wudu: Ablution. Washing of hand, face, arms and feet set by Allah as preparation for prayers.


    Yaum-e-Masih-e-Maud: Promised Messiah Day. Refers to the annual meeting that celebrates the establishment of the Jama’at through the Promised Messiah (as). The meeting date tends to coincide with the date of the first Bai’at i.e. 23rd March 1889.


    Yaum-e-Khilafat: Khilafat Day. Refers to the annual meeting that celebrates the re-establishment of Khilafat as a blessing of Allah. The meeting date tends to coincide with the date of the election of the First Khalifatul-Masih Hazrat Maulana Nuruddin (ra) i.e. 27th May 1908.


    Yaum-e-Musleh Maud: Promised Reformer Day. Refers to the annual meeting that celebrates the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Promised Messiah (as) about a son that would be born to him who would be a source of the manifestation of Divine Majesty. The meeting date tends to coincide with the date the Promised Messiah (as) published the prophecy in 1886 of the Promised Reformer after he spent 40 days in intense prayer i.e. 20th February 1886.


    Zakat: Prescribed alms/ charity enjoined upon Muslims, one of the five pillars of Islam.


    Zikr-e-Habib: Remembrance of the beloved, which has traditionally been a speech about the personality and qualities of the Promised Messiah (as).


    Zikr-i-Ilahi: An Arabic word meaning the remembrance of Allah.


    Zuhr: The formal Islamic prayer at noon. . Requires the offering of 4 raka’at (units) of Sunnah (usual practice of the Holy Prophet (saw)), 2 raka’at of Fard (obligatory) prayer and 2 or 4 raka’at (units) of Sunnah (usual practice of the Holy Prophet (saw)).