Islam

muezzin

A muezzin is the one who beckons the faithful to prayer five times each day. The call is issued in a clear voice, often from atop the minaret of a masjid.

tauhid

Tauhid means “oneness, unity.” Tauhid is the central monotheistic doctrine of Islam expressed in the phrase: “There is no God but God.”

Gabriel

In Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions, Gabriel is an archangel. In Christianity, Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear Jesus. For Muslims, Gabriel is the angel who conveyed God’s message to the Prophets. He recited the Qur’an to Muhammad, instructed him in matters of conduct, and guided him on his journey through the heavens.

Mevlevi Order

Inspired by the 13th century mystical poet Jalal al Din Rumi, the Mevlevi Sufi order originated in Turkey. Its distinctive mystical dance concert in which the dancers revolve while moving in a circle, symbolizing the return of all creation to the One Creator, earned Mevlevis the nickname “Whirling Dervishes.”

surah

The text of the Qur’an is divided into 114 surahs or chapters, arranged roughly from the longest to the shortest. They include praises, warnings of judgment, exhortations, directives, and occasional short narratives. Every Muslim must learn to recite the opening surah of the Qur’an and some of the shorter ones to perform the ritual prayers properly.

Farrakhan, Louis

Minister Louis Farrakhan (b. Louis Eugene Wolcott, 1933) revived the old Nation of Islam in 1977, restoring its original ideology and organization and establishing the University of Islam in Chicago. He states that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, after his death, commanded him to continue leading the chosen Black race to liberation from slavery.

Makkah; Mecca

Makkah (also spelled Mecca) is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, the hub of the caravan trade in the Arabian Peninsula, and the site of the holy Ka’bah. After receiving the first revelations of the Qur’an on a mountain outside Makkah, Muhammad developed a small following, but he had to flee to Madinah to escape persecution. In 630, Muhammad and his strengthened community returned to Makkah, establishing it as the spiritual center of the Islamic world and performing the first Islamic pilgrimage.

Shi’ah

(also: shi'a, shi'i, shi'ite) The Shi’at ‘Ali (the party of ‘Ali, for which Shi’ah is an abbreviation and from which the adjective Shi’i comes) believed that the Prophet Muhammad designated his son-in-law ‘Ali and his descendants to be leader (imam) of the ummah after his death. The imam is regarded as an infallible interpreter of the revelation as well as the political leader. The various groups of Shi’i Muslims comprise about 15 percent of Muslims today.

dhikr

Dhikr means “remembering” and refers to the Sufi form of devotional worship which usually involves rhythmic chanting of the names of God or litanies, sometimes accompanied by poetry, dance, drums or a reed flute.

Jum’ah

Friday is called Yawm al-Jum’ah in Arabic, meaning the Day of Assembly. On this day, Muslims pause from their work at mid-day to gather for congregational worship. The regular mid-day prayer on Friday is supplemented by a two-part sermon known as the khutbah, in the middle of which a time of personal prayer, or du’a, is encouraged. Read more about Jum’ah

Savior’s Day

Savior’s Day is the most important annual gathering and celebration of the Nation of Islam.

Arabic

Classical Arabic is the language of revelation in Islam as recorded in the Qur’an. Muslims consider every word of the Qur’an to be a direct utterance of God. The Arabic language itself is regarded as perfectly suited as the instrument for God’s communication to humanity because of its purity of sound and clarity of meaning. Thus translations of the Qur’an in other languages are regarded as “interpretations,” not the actual Qur’an.

Isra’

The “night journey” (isra’) and “ascent” (mi’raj) of the Prophet Muhammad refer to the Islamic tradition that the angel Gabriel escorted Muhammad from the Ka’bah of Makkah to the sanctuary of Jerusalem, where Muhammad led previous prophets in prayer and then ascended through the seven heavens. In the uppermost heaven, Muhammad was blessed with a vision of God. These events are remembered in the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem as well as in Persian miniature paintings.

al-Quds

Al-Quds means “the Holy” and is the Arabic name of the city of Jerusalem, the third holiest place on earth for Muslims, because of its association with Muhammad’s Night Journey. Jerusalem was the original direction of prayer for Muslims, before a later revelation changed the qiblah to Makkah.

Al-Amin, Jamil Abdullah

Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin was born Hubert G. Brown in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1943. In the mid-1960s, under the name H. Rap Brown, he became a civil rights activist. While in prison, he studied the tenets of Islam, changed his name and embraced the new religion in 1971. Today, Imam Al-Amin leads an estimated thirty affiliated communities in the United States and the Caribbean. An officer in several organizations and popular speaker in local and national gatherings, he has published Revolution By the Book: The Rap is Live and Women in Islam.

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