What's He Chattin About? Islamic Terminology used in Newsletter - May 2001


How many times have you read an Islamic book or listened to a talk that contained fancy Arabic words, and you didn't have a clue what the geezer was chattin' about?

Well, here's your guide to the main 11 terms used in Islamic law (shari'ah):

  1. Fardh: The Obligation. This is a ruling that must be carried out, if you don't it is a big-time sin. It is directly from Quran and Sunnah so to deny it is an act of kufr (disbelief). Example: The 5 pillars of Islam
  2. Wajib: The necessary. This is a ruling that should be carried out, if not it will again be a sin, and Him (swt) upstairs will not be happy. So, to deny this act as obligatory is not kufr. Example: Eid Prayer and the Witr prayer after Isha.
  3. Sunnah Muakkidah: This is an act that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam (Peace and Blessings be upon him) did continuously throughout his lifetime. So this action is highly recommended. If you continually ignore this Sunnah then it will be a sin and you will be seen as a chap turning away from the practise of the Prophet (saw). Example: Praying in Jam'aah (congregation) and saying the Adhaan.
  4. Sunnah Ghair Muakkidah: This was an act of the Prophet (saw), which he did not perform regularly. If you do it you will be rewarded, if not it will not be a sin. One should do his best to carry out this form of Sunnah to increase the Iman. EXAMPLE: The four Sunnah of Asr and Isha.
  5. Mustahab: Desirable. These are actions, which the Shariah approves and agrees with. If you carry it out you will be rewarded and if you don't there's no punishment. Example: Voluntary fasts and prayers.
  6. Haraam: Unlawful. This is a ruling, which forbids something, and therefore it must be avoided. It is a direct command from the Quran and Sunnah. To regard an unlawful act as lawful is kufr. To commit the unlawful is the mother of all sins. Example: Drinking alcohol, gambling, adultery etc.
  7. Makru Tehreemi: Major offence. This is a ruling, which is not proved by a definite text or argument. To ignore this ruling is a sin, which is punishable, but to regard it permissible is not an act of kufr. Example:Smoking.
  8. Isa'ah: The Offence. It is a sin to do it and doing it regularly is a major sin. Example: Shaving the beard.
  9. Makruh Tanzeehi: Minor offence. A ruling, which makes something undesirable, and it is best to avoid it, but there is no sin or harm in doing it. Example: Splashing water on the face during wudhu.
  10. Khilaf-E-Aula: The undesirable. This is the opposite of Mustahab, it is best to avoid it but there is no harm in doing it. Example:Reading many prayers with one Wudu.
  11. Muba'ah: The Permissible. An action that is neither prescribed nor prohibited by the Shar'iah. I t carries NO reward or any punishment. Example:Talking about something that has no harm and no benefit.

© The Revival 2001