Glossary

A Quranic Odyssey: Towards Juz ‘Amma and Ya Seen: a hifdh journey in America are written primarily in English; however, the text also includes words from many different languages (all appearing in italics), including Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Urdu. The Quran was revealed in Arabic; Italian is the mother tongue of Abdurrahman and his family. Nonna and Nani are learning Spanish and it is widely spoken throughout Houston, and finally, Urdu is the mother tongue of the narrator (Ammi) and her family. These pages will hopefully provide some help to readers trying to navigate the various different languages incorporated in the text. Many words appearing in the glossary are transliterations of Urdu and Arabic. There is, however, more than one way to transliterate.

Abaya: traditional modest cloak, worn by Muslim women (Arabic)

Abasa: refers to the 80th surah of the Quran

Achar: pickled relish/chutney (Urdu)

Addio: goodbye (Italian), when anticipated next meeting may be further in the future, as opposed to ‘ciao’ or ‘Arrivederci’

Ahadith: plural of hadith, sayings of the Prophet Muhemmed SAW

Ahista, ahista: slowly, slowly, little by little (Urdu)

Ahsan: the best (Arabic)

Alif: first letter of the Arabic alphabet (Arabic)

‘Ala sirat al mustaqeem: a straight path/way, mentioned first in 1:6 in the Quran (Arabic)

Alhamdulilah: thanks be to Allah/God (Arabic)

Allah (Subhanahu wa-ta‘ala): Allah/God, glorious and exalted is He (also abbreviated as Allah SWT), also sometimes referred to as Allah ta’ala (Arabic)

Allah Hafiz: May Allah protect you (Urdu), farewell greeting

Anda: egg (Urdu)

Arrivederci: goodbye (Italian)

‘Asr: third prayer of the day, after dhuhr salah, also refers to the 103 surah in the Quran

Assalamu ‘alaykum: peace be upon you (Arabic), the response is ‘Wa alaykum salam’

Assalamu’alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh: extended/complete greeting meaning ‘May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be with you’

Astaghfirullah: said when begging for forgiveness from God/Allah
Ayah: line in the Quran (Arabic), also means ‘a miracle’
Ayat-ul-Kursi: verse of the throne, 2: 55, in the Quran (Arabic)
Ba: second letter in the Arabic alphabet (Arabic)

Baita: boy child, with baiti, meaning girl child, but used for both boys and girls alike (Urdu)

Bambino: child (Italian)

Bhai: brother (Urdu)

Bhai jaan: beloved brother (Urdu)

Bilcul: of course (Urdu)

Biryani: tradition South Asian rice dish (Urdu)

Bus, bus: enough, enough (Urdu)

Chalyae: go (politely) (Urdu)

Daadi: paternal grandmother (Urdu)

Deen: way of life, often used synonymously with Islam (Arabic)

Desi: someone from/of the South Asian Subcontinent (Urdu)

Dhikr: remembrance (of Allah), (Arabic)

Dhuhr: middle of the day salah/prayer in Islam (Arabic)

Du’a: prayer (Arabic)

Dupatta: a long scarf, traditionally worn by women in South Asia, especially Pakistan (Urdu)

‘Eid (al Fitr): the feast/celebration of the breaking of the fast, namely the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan (Arabic)
Fajr: early morning prayer, preceding sunrise in Islam, also refers to the 89th surah of the Quran (Arabic)

Fard: obligatory (Arabic)

Hifdh: memorization/preservation of the Quran (Arabic)

Hadith: sayings of the Prophet Muhemmed SAW, plural ahdath

Haleem: a thick stew, generally made of barley, lentils, and meat, eaten in Pakistan, as well as Bangladesh, India, Turkey, Iran, Northern Iraq, and throughout the Caucasus (Urdu).

Horoof-e-Muqatta-aat: there are 14 Horoof-e-Muqatta-aat, Arabic letters that are largely considered to have a secret (or veiled) meaning, shared between Allah and Prophet Muhemmed SAW (Arabic).

‘Ibadah: worship (Arabic)

Iftar: the evening meal, in Ramadan, during which Muslims break their fast (Arabic)

Ikhlas: the 112th surah in the Quran, translated as ‘the Purity of Faith’ (Arabic)

Imam: one who leads the prayers, and may perform other religious duties as well (Arabic)

Iman: faith (Arabic)

Insha’Allah: God willing (Arabic)

‘Isha: the night-time obligatory prayer, for Muslims

Ishraq: an optional prayer, ie not one of the 5 required daily prayers, which may be performed approximately 15minutes after sunrise until approximately 10-20 minutes before the sun reaches its zenith (Arabic)

I’tikaf: undertaken by individuals, retreating in a mosque, for intense prayer, recitation, dhikr, and reflection, during the last ten days of Ramadan, partial i’tikaf is an option for those who may have myriad responsibilities and who do not have the freedom to take off for a full 10 days (Arabic)

Jannah: paradise (Arabic)

Janu: term of endearment, dear one, life/love (Urdu)

Jeem: fifth letter of the Arabic alphabet

Jihad: inner spiritual struggle and outer physical struggle, with the greatest jihad being the former (Arabic)

Jumu’ah: refers to both Friday and the congregational dhuhr prayer of Friday (Arabic)

Juz ‘Amma: the Quran is divided into 30 juz (parts/sections), Juz ‘Amma is the 30th and last section of the Quran (Arabic)

Magreb: refers to prayers offered after sunset (Arabic)

Masha’Allah: this is what Allah willed, used to express awe/appreciation, without any sense of covetousness (Arabic)
Masjid: mosque (Arabic)

Mushaf: “The printed text is referred to as the Musf-haf which means ‘bound pages’. The orally transferred, untainted and untouched, mentally preserved, recited text is what all refer to as ‘the Quran’.” (Londt 2008:23, Arabic)

Nafl: optional, often refers to the optional/nafl prayers in Islam (Arabic)

Nahin: no (Urdu)

Per favore: please (Italian)

Paratha: fried/oily roti/flat bread (Urdu)

Pulao: rice dish, often supplemented with meat (Urdu)

Qiyamah: the day of resurrection, also referring to the last day, the day of judgment (Arabic)

Radiallahu ‘anhu: a) Allah is pleased with him/her; b)may Allah be pleased with him/her (Arabic), abbreviated as RAA and RA, and used after any mention of the companions of Prophet Muhemmed SAW as well as for other pious individuals, albeit primarily following the latter meaning

Ramadan: month of fasting (Arabic)

Ruku’: a position of prayer, which involves bowing by bending over, after recitation of Quran, and preceding prostration (sujud)

Sabr: patience (Arabic)

Sadaqah: voluntary charity, in contrast to ‘zakat’ which is compulsory (Arabic) 

Salam: peace (Arabic), also used as an informal greeting

Salah: prayer

Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, SAW: May Allah bless him and grant him peace (Arabic) referring to Prophet Muhemmed, abbreviated as SAW, and said by Muslims after any mention of the Prophet’s name

Sawm: fasting (Arabic)

Sehri: meal taken in the morning, before sunrise, during Ramadan (Arabic)

Shaytaan: devil (Arabic)

Shalwar Kameez: traditional Pakistani clothing

Subhanahu wa-ta‘ala: glory and exalted is He, also abbreviated as SWT, and often mentioned after each iteration of ‘Allah’ (Arabic)

Sujud: position of prayer, prostration (Arabic)

Sunnah: as done by Prophet Muhemmed SAW, also meaning ‘recommended’, and often refers to the recommended/sunnah prayers in Islam

Surah al Kahf: the 18th surah (chapter) in the Quran

Surah An Naba: 78th surah (chapter) in the Quran, and the first surah in Juz ‘Amma, the 30th or last part of the Quran

Surah An Naziat: the 79th surah (chapter) in the Quran

Surah Ar Rahman: the 55th surah (chapter) in the Quran

Suwar: plural of ‘surah’, chapter of the Quran (Arabic)

Ta: third letter in the Arabic alphabet (Arabic)

Tafseer: interpretation of Quran, exegesis (Arabic)

Tahajjud: an optional prayer, performed at night, after ‘isha salah (Arabic)

Tajweed: rules governing proper pronunciation of Quran (Arabic)

Taraweeh: congregational prayers, prayed during the month of Ramadan (Arabic)

Tarteel: refers here to recitation of Quran in slow, measured tones (see Quran, 73:4) , (Arabic)

Tasmia: is Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem, which is translated as ‘in the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful’. It is recited before every

surah in the Quran, except, Surah At Tawbah. It is also recited before virtually any activity (Arabic)

Thawb: ankle length garment, worn by men, especially in the Arabian peninsula (Arabic)

Tilawah: refers here to reading of the Quran (Arabic)

Ummah: community of believers, referring to Muslims (Arabic)

Umrah: the lesser pilgrimage, in contrast to hajj, the greater pilgrimage (Arabic)

‘Uthmani: ‘uthmani script refers to the notation in the mushaf and may be contrasted with an Indo Pak script, with the latter providing additional notation for the non-Arabic speaker

Wa alaykum salam: and upon you peace (Arabic), the response to the greeting, ‘Assalamu ‘alaykum’

Wudu: ritual cleaning/purification, undertaken before salah (prayer)

Ya Sin: refers here to the 36th chapter of the Quran (Arabic)

Zakat: among the five pillars of Islam, compulsory charity of every capable Muslim adult, as a percentage of his/her wealth (Arabic)

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