Thursday, September 30, 2010

Islam Vocabulary and Concepts

Dear friends,

In my middle school English class at our (former) home school co-op last spring, I gave my students an assignment to read a missionary biography and write a report about it.  In conjunction with this, I taught a series on major religions and world views, explaining the vocabulary and concepts behind Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, atheism/secularism, communism/socialism, tribal religions and Judaism. You can find the Judaism list here: Judaism Vocabulary and Concepts.  

This is the vocabulary word list for Islam.  In addition to the following vocabulary words, I printed out current news reports related to Islam, plus an article about Samuel Zwemer, who was a missionary to Muslims.  We discussed all of this in class, as well as comparing Islam with the Christian Bible.  For more information on Islam from a Christian perspective, visit www.answering-islam.org/.

Islam Vocabulary Words


  • Allah: name for God; they often say "Insha Allah" which means "if Allah is willing"
  • Arabic: the language that the Qur'an is written in
  • burqa: full coverage clothing worn by many Muslim women
  • caliph: ruler of an Islamic Empire -- or a representative
  • Crusades: the battles that the Catholic church waged against Islam in an attempt to capture the Holy Lands during the Middle Ages.
  • fatwa: religious verdict/ruling; (in 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa that sentenced author Salman Rushdie to death for publishing an anti-Islamic book but the fatwa was lifted 1998)
  • Five Pillars of Islam: the main duties of Muslims: shahada, salat, zakat, sawm, and hajj
  • Gabriel: the angel who supposedly spoke to the Prophet Mohammad
  • hajj: A pilgrimage to Mecca, the birthplace of Mohammad, is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith.
  • imam: a leader of Muslim religious services
  • Islam: the name of the religion which worships Allah -- it means "submission to the will of Allah"
  • jihad:“striving” or “holy war”
  • minaret: a tower of the mosque where the muezzin issues the call to prayer
  • Mohammad: prophet who founded Islam, also spelled Muhammad or Mohammed
  • mosque: a Muslim place of worship
  • muezzin: a man who calls others to pray five times a day, usually from a minaret
  • mulla: a scholar or teacher of Islamic law
  • Muslim: a member of the religion of Islam, also spelled Moslem
  • Qur'an: the Muslim holy book, also spelled Koran
  • Ramadan: the month of prayer and fasting (Arabic name for fasting is sawm; it is one of the five pillars of Islam); Ramadan ends in the festival of Eid al-Fitr
  • salat: the Moslem ritual of praying five times a day after a handwashing ritual. It is one of the five pillars of Islamic faith
  • Saudi Arabia: the country where the religion of Islam started
  • shahada: the declaration of Muslim faith: "There is no god but Allah; Mohammad is the messenger of Allah." This is the first of the five pillars of Islam
  • shari’ah: system of law imposed in Muslim countries -- many Muslims are trying to get shari'ah law into European countries
  • Shi’ites: a strict Muslim sect which rejects the first three caliphs, insisting that Mohammad’s son-in-law ’Ah was Mohammad's rightful initial successor; they believe that imams are infallible (never make mistakes); 10% of Muslims (about 170 million) are Shi'ites, and they are predominant in Iran and Iraq
  • Sufi: a small Muslim sect of Iranian (Persian) philosophical mystics who have adapted and reinterpreted Islam to make it a "heart religion" rather than a system of rules; they are often persecuted by other Muslims
  • Sunni: The largest Muslim sect which acknowledges the first four caliphs as Mohammad’s rightful successors; 90% of Muslims (more than a billion!) are Sunni
  • surah: a chapter of the Qur'an -- there are 114 surahs
  • zakat: donations or charity; money given to provide education, keep up or build mosques or help the needy -- one of the five pillars of Islam
Islam Vocabulary Questions

1. What are the Five Pillars of Islam?

_____________________ (declaration)

_____________________ (prayer)

_____________________ (charity)

_____________________ (fasting)

_____________________ (pilgrimage)


2. Which three vocabulary words are names of sects of Islam?


__________________________ (biggest one)

__________________________ (strictest one)

__________________________ (mystical one)




3. Which vocabulary words are different kinds of individual people who lead in Islam?

______________________________

______________________________

______________________________


4. How many surahs are in the Qur'an? What language is it written in? What is another spelling for Qur'an?
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