Islam Glossary

Al-Adha, Eid

("Feast of the Sacrifice"). Holiday marking the end of the hajj.

Al-Fitr, Eid

("Feast of the Breaking of the Fast"). Holiday celebrated at the end of the month of Ramadan.


Strict monotheism. One God (Allah in Arabic); the same God revealed (imperfectly) in the Jewish and Christian Bibles


The ritual of abstaining from specific types of food, or more usually all food, for set period of time.


("pilgrimmage"). Pilgrimage to Mecca required of every able Muslim at least once during his or her life. One of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Islam, Five Pillars of

(Arabic Arkan al-Islam, "pillars of Islam" or Arkan ud-Din, "pillars of the faith"). The five primary duties of every Muslim: profession of faith (shahada), ritual prayer (salat), fasting during Ramadan (sawm), pilgrimmage to Mecca (hajj) and charity (zakat). Fulfillment of these duties brings rewards on earth and in the afterlife.


(Greek christos; "anointed one"). The future hero or king of Israel predicted by the Hebrew prophets.


The ninth month in the Islamic calendar, for the duration of which Muslims fast during the daylight hours to commemorate the giving of the Qur'an.


("testimony" or "witness"). The profession of faith that "There is no god but God and Muhammad is the prophet of God," which is the only requirement for joining the Muslim community. As one of the Five Pillars of Islam, it must be spoken aloud with full understanding and faith at least once in one's lifetime. It is also included in the call to prayer, most ritual prayers, and is recited at death.




Almsgiving. One of the Five Pillars of Islam.