Islamic Glossary

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Alayhi Salam (عليه السلام)

`Alayhi-salam means 'Upon Him/Her Be Peace'. It is a respectable phrase said after mentioning a Prophet, an Imam or other very high-status figures. It is often represented by the acronym (AS), or the English acronym of Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH).


Albert is an English name meaning 'Noble or Bright'.


Alex, short for Alexander, is an English name meaning 'Great Protector'.


Alexander is an English name meaning 'Great Protector'.


Alfred is an English name meaning 'Supernaturally Wise'.

Alhamdulillah (الحمد لله)

Praise be to Allah. This phrase is said in thanks to God.

Ali (علي)

(1) Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) is one of the most famous sahabah (companions) of Prophet Muhammed (SAW). Ali is actually the Prophet's cousin and he became the husband of the Prophet's daughter, Fatimah (AS). Ali and Fatimah had four children and the most famous were Hassan and Hussain. Ali was blessed with the title Ameer Al Mumineen (Commander of the Faithful) by the Prophet. Ali became the fourth Khalif after the death of the Prophet and Ali is often titled Imam Ali and is loved by all Muslims. Ali is a very popular boy's name.

(2) Ali may also mean high in grandeur but the spelling of this word is usually altered like this 'aliy' or in other ways as the word aliy may be used as a description of God - Al Aliy ul Adheem - The Most High and Most Mighty. In Arabic the word Ali and Aliy are spelt the same.

Ali Ibn Abi Talib (علي ابن ابو طالب)

See Ali, Ibn and Abu Talib.

The Abi in Abi Talib should be written as Abu.

Alim (عالم)

A learned person in Islam. A scholar.

Allah (الله)

Allah is the Arabic word for 'God'.

The word Allah was in usage since the days of pre-Islamic Arabia. Islam is a monotheistic and Abrahamic faith. This means that Muslims believe that there is only one God, and that this God is the same God that Christians and Jews (referred to in Islam as the People of the Book) worship. Muslims believe that Abraham, Moses and Jesus, and mostly all the other Prophets of the Old and New Testament, were all prophets of God. Arab Christians use the word Allah to refer to God.

The Islamic concept of mankind's place in the universe hinges on the notion that Allah, or God, is the only true reality. There is nothing permanent other than Him. Allah is considered eternal and uncreated, whereas everything else in the universe is created. The Qur'an describes Him in Sura 112: "Say: He is Allah, Singular. Allah, the Absolute. He begetten not nor was begotten. And to Him have never been one equal. The Qur'an condemns and mocks the pre-Islamic Arabs for attributing daughters to Allah (sura 53:19.)

Allah is considered by Muslims to be omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. He is said to be "in Heaven" (Qur'an 67:16) and "in the heavens and the earth" (Qur'an 66:3), but also said to be "nearer to him [man] than his jugular vein" (Qur'an 50:16); He constantly watches all that goes on in the world, and knows all things. This suggests that He is present in the heart as the supreme witness. 'And He it is Who takes your souls at night (in sleep), and He knows what you acquire in the day, then He raises you up therein that an appointed term may be fulfilled; then to Him is your return, then He will inform you of what you were doing. (sura 6:60)'

Muslims do not try to draw or depict Allah in any way, according to Islamic belief it could lead to idol worship. Instead, they focus on His 99 attributes/names that are stated in the Quran, the holy book of the Muslims. Nearly one third of the book is used describing Allah's attributes and actions. Also, 'hadith qudsi' are special recorded sayings of Muhammad to Muslims where he quotes what Allah says to him. The ninety-nine attributes are frequently written in calligraphic Arabic as a permissible decoration, which adorns mosques and homes of Muslims.

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