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Islamic Terms Useful in Understanding the Middle East

By Craig S. Davis

Part of The Middle East For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Islam is the predominant religion in the Middle East, so if you’re interested in Middle Eastern issues, you need to be familiar with some of basic Islamic terms and concepts. The following list explains a few of the essential Islamic terms:

  • Fatwa: Islamic injunction

  • Hadith: Oral traditions of the Prophet Muhammad

  • Hajj: Annual pilgrimage to Mecca

  • Madrasa: Islamic theological schools

  • Quran: Allah’s message revealed to the Prophet Muhammad

  • Ramadan: Month of Fasting

  • Shahada: Muslim creed (there is no god but God)

  • Sharia: Islamic law

  • Sunna: Traditions of the Prophet Muhammad

  • Zakat: Tithe or alms