The Quran has about 77,430 words, 18,994 distinct words, 12,183 stems, 1,685 roots, and 3,382 lemmas. It is difficult to create a full glossary of the Quran in a single article. However, we have listed here 15 important terms in Arabic that appear a lot in the Quran and that Muslims might use on a daily basis, without always realizing what it truly means.
Let’s dive right in! And as a bonus, learn about the Corpus Quran Dictionary and how it can help improve your understanding of the Book of Allah SWT!
15 Important Words Used Often In The Quran:
1. Deen (دِين)
Means: creed, religion
Usually translated as “religion”, the term “deen” actually covers everything from a doctrine (the rituals, laws and norms) to the teachings, practice and even spirituality of that religion: a complete way of life. In the Quran, it also often specifically refers to the True Religion, Islam.
2. Imaan (إِيمَان)
Means: faith, beliefs
In Islamic theology, “imaan” refers to complete belief in the six pillars of faith of Islam, which are listed in one of the 40 Hadith of Imam An-Nawawi, narrating a beautiful exchange between the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and “a man dressed in extremely white clothes and with very black hair” who was in fact Angel Jibreel (or Gabriel, peace be upon him). In the long hadith, Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah SWT be pleased with him) reports that Jibreel (peace be upon him) asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him):
“Inform me about Imaan (faith).” He (the Prophet) answered, “It is that you believe in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and in the Last Day, and in fate (qadar), both in its good and in its evil aspects.” He said, “You have spoken the truth.” (Hadith 2, 40 Hadith An-Nawawi)
3. Salaah (صَلَاة)
Prayer is one of the five pillars of Islam and the most important one after the Shahaadah, the testimony of faith, i.e. declaring and believing that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Here is the Shahaadah in Arabic, with transliteration and translation in English:
لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ There is no deity but Allah
مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ ٱللَّٰهِ Muhammad is the messenger of Allah
4. Zakaah (زَكَاة)
Means: prescribed almsgiving
Zakaah is the third pillar of Islam and an obligation ordained on all Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth to help the poor and the needy. The term is derived from the root letters ز ك و which also carry meanings of purity, purification and piety.
5. Halaal (حَلَال)
It is in the Quran to refer to what Allah has made lawful for Muslims, as opposed to what He has made unlawful. Commonly known examples are foods and beverages. As a side note, it is important to remember that not everything is categorized as Halaal (permissible, allowed) versus Haraam (illegal, forbidden) – the reality is much more subtle. In Islamic jurisprudence, we refer the a classification known as “the five decisions”:
6. Haraam (حَرَام)
This might relate to anything precious to which individuals who are not in a condition of purity are not allowed access, or to an evil hence, a sinful activity that is unlawful.
7. Hajj (حَجّ)
Hajj refers to the pilgrimage to the Ka’bah (the House of Allah SWT) and other highly symbolic sites in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is held every year in the Hijri month of Dhul Hijjah. It is a religious responsibility that Muslims must perform at least once in their lifetime, if they have the financial and physical means to do so. Learn more about Hajj here!
8. Umrah (عُمْرَة)
Umrah is the minor Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. It can be performed at any time of year, as opposed to Hajj, which takes place on specified dates prescribed by Allah SWT, following the Islamic calendar. It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Umrah during Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj.” (Sunan Ibn Majah 2994)
9. Jannah (جَنَّة)
While the literal meaning of “jannah” is “gardern”, it is extensively used in the Quran to refer to Paradise.
10. Jahannam (جَهَنَّم)
This word appears 77 times in the Quran and is said to come from Hebrew and/or Persian. It alludes to a hereafter realm of torment for evildoers in Islam. Jahannam is also known as:
11. Al-Jumu’ah (الجُمُعَة)
Means: Friday, the day of congregating
It comes from the root letters ج م ع which carry meanings of a gathering, a congregation. The term itself refers to the Friday ritual in Islam, a sermon followed by a congregational prayer performed by Muslims in the mosque. In the Quran, a whole Surah carries the name “Al-Jumu’ah” and talks about the importance of this special day of the week in the life of a Muslim.
12. Ad-Dunyaa (الدُّنْيَا)
Means: this life or this world
It carries the literal meaning of “the nearer/nearest” or “the lower/lowest in value” as opposed to “Al-Aakhirah”, the Hereafter. You will often find it in the Quran in the expression الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا (al-Hayaat (u)d-Duniyaa), literally “the life of this world”.
13. Al-Aakhirah (الْآخِرَة)
Means: the Hereafter
This Arabic word comes from the root letters which carry the meaning of something that comes last, the end, the final part of something. In its definite form, it refers to the Hereafter, the final Life that comes after the one we are living now.
14. Yawm (يَوْم)
We find this word being used often in the Quran, and many times, you will see it paired with another word like in one of the following constructs, which all refer to the Day of Judgment:
15. Rabb (رَبّ)
Means: lord, master
Often translated as “Lord” for lack of a better English term, the word “rabb” actually encapsulates so much more than just that. The Arabic word “rabb” comes from the root letters ر ب ب which carry meanings of someone who owns, who guards, who pampers, raises and educates, who cares for and nurtures, a master. When we address Allah SWT as our “Rabb”, all of these meanings are intrinsically connected and this is Who Allah SWT is for us.
What Is the Corpus Quran Dictionary?
The Corpus Quran Dictionary is a linguistic resource that displays the Arabic grammar, syntax, and morphology for each word in the Holy Quran online. There are three layers of analysis available in the corpus: morphological annotation, a syntactic treebank, and a semantic ontology.
The Quranic Ontology defines major ideas in the Quran using knowledge representation and demonstrates the links between these concepts using predicate logic.
Named entities in verses, such as the names of historical persons and locations referenced in the Quran, are related to ontological concepts.
The Quranic treebank is an attempt to map out the complete grammar of the Quran by connecting Arabic terms via dependencies.
The mathematical graph theory is used to depict the linguistic structure of poems. Using dependency graphs, the annotated corpus gives a new representation of Quranic syntax.
This initiative adds to Quran studies by analyzing the Arabic text of each verse using natural language computer technologies.
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