EXPLANATION OF ISLAMIC TERMS
Translation of certain Arabic words into English
The late Dr. Ismail Raji al-Faruqi in his book "Towards Islamic English" writes:
"Many Arabic words are simply not translatable Into English. Many are rendered into English with
Some of such words are:
- As-Salah often translated as "prayer." Prayer actually more closely corresponds to "Dua." Salah Is the act of worship performed five times daily according to prescribed ways.
- lbadah often translated as "worship" actually means to worship Allah
and out of love for Him to obey Him in what He has ordered and to follow the example of His Prophet
Muhammad (peace be upon him).
- Iman often translated as "faith" etc. actually means the conviction or
certainty that Allah Is Indeed the One and Only God and that Muhammad is His last prophet and
commitment to obey their commands.
- Zakah often translated "Alms Tax," "charity" etc. actually means
obligatory sharing of wealth with the poor and the community in order to purify the rest. This is to
say the right of Allah in the fortune of His servants, which right is assigned to specific categories of the needy.
- Sabr often translated as "patience" etc. actually means to remain firm
and steadfast against ordeals and calamities.
- Qadar often translated as "fate" actually means Allah's assignment of
ends to all process of life and existence.
- Shirk often translated as "association of some being with Allah"
actually includes all means, things and concepts, etc.
- Kafir often translated as "disbeliever" etc. actually means one who
solemnly says that Allah is not God or is not the subject of His attributes. It also means that who
disavows the bounties of God, the ungrateful.
- Zulm often translated as 'transgression" etc. actually means the act
or action of committing injustice.
- Fitnah often translated as "mischief" or "tumult" etc. actually means
misguidance, dissuasion etc. from the path laid by Allah.
- Fasad often translated as "dispute" etc. actually means all of the
following: disruption - Imbalance - disharmony - corruption - danger - drought.
- Ihsan often translated as "doing a favor" etc. actually means the
perfect fulfillment of the commandments of Allah in whatever one is doing in relation to others or to
- Jihad often translated as "holy war" etc. actually means self exertion
in the cause of Allah including against baser self or others and including peaceful and violent means.
Published with authorization from Ch. Nazar Mohammad