The Kalima The Ka'ba The 99 Most Excellent Names of Allah A Brief Islamic Dictionary
The Salat The Mosque The 114 Surahs of the Qur'an Who's Who in Islam

The Kalima

This is the prescribed confession of faith:

"La llaha illa Ilahu: Muhammadun Rasulu llah".

"There is no deity but Allah: Muhammed is the Apostle of Allah".

Back to the menu

The Salat

The Salat is the daily prayer cycle to be repeated five times every day. The content of the prayer is prescribed and has to be recited in Arabic. Each Salat consists of Rak'ats (pronounced Rak'ah). These are prostrations prescribed in every detail. With each the fixed prayer has to be recited. The number of Rak'ats is fixed to the prayer time:

Twice in the morning, once at noon, four times in the afternoon, three times in the evening and four times at bedtime. This makes a total of seventeen times a day, over 6 200 times a year, and 100 000 times in sixteen years. We have no idea what psychological effect this has on a person's life!

Here is the prayer for one Rak'at:

Allah akbar! (Allah is great).

Holiness unto Thee, O Allah! And praise be to Thee!

Great is Thy name! Great is Thy greatness!

There is no deity but Thee!

I seek refuge of Allah from the cursed Satan.

In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful.

"Praise be to Allah, Lord of all worlds!

The compassionate, the merciful King of the day of reckoning!

Thee only do we worship, and to Thee only do we cry for help.

Guide Thou us in the straight path. The path of those to

whom Thou hast been gracious. With whom Thou art not angry

and who go not astray. Amen".

Surah 1

"Say: He is Allah alone. Allah the eternal!

He begetteth not, and is not begotten, and there is none

like unto him". Allah is great!

Surah 112

I extol the holiness of the Lord, the most High! (3x)

Allah is great! (2x)

I extol the holiness of the Lord, the most High! (3x)

Allah is great!

The adoration of the tongue are for Allah, and also the

adoration of the body, and alms giving!

Peace be on Thee, O Prophet, with the mercy of Allah and

His blessing!

Peace be upon us and upon Allah's righteous servants!

I testify that there is no deity but Allah, and I testify

that Mohammed is the servant of Allah, and the messenger of Allah!

O Allah have mercy on Muhammad and on his descendants, as

thou didst have mercy on Abraham and on his descendants.

Thou art to be praised, and Thou art great. O Allah, bless

Muhammad and his descendants as Thou didst bless Abraham

and his descendants!

Thou are to be praised and Thou art great!

O Allah, our Lord, give us the blessings of this life,

and also the blessings of life everlasting.

Save us from the torments of fire!

Back to the menu

The Ka'ba

According to legends this cube-like building (approx. 14 x 18 m, 12 m high) made of stone blocks of varying sizes, was first built by Adam. It was destroyed by the flood and rebuilt by Abraham and Ishmael. The famous Black Stone, fitted into the East corner, was allegedly given to Ishmael by the Angel Gabriel. It was white originally, but turned black because of the sin of the people.

History knows that the Ka'ba was definitely pre-Islamic and the centre of idol worship. The Ka'ba in Mecca was by no means the only one in Arabia, but probably the most important one. It was destroyed and rebuilt several times, once in the year 608 AD. Muhammad played a role in the rebuilding of it.

With Mecca falling into Muslim hands, the idols were destroyed. It is said to have contained 360 idols, but this is historically uncertain. Most of the idols worshipped in Arabia at that time were distributed over a number of places. The idols were largely family or clan deities. Hubal was kept in the Ka'ba, but was destroyed by Muhammad.

An interesting fact is, that at the time of Muhammad, the inside of the Ka'ba was decorated with pictures painted on the walls; "Pictures of the prophets ... and angels and one of Abraham, the friend of God ... and a picture of Jesus, son of Mary with his mother ...". The tradition continues to say that Muhammad went into the Ka'ba and ordered all pictures to be washed down with Zamzam water. He spread his arms protectively over Jesus and Mary, saying: "except these".

The worship in and around the Ka'ba, together with its rituals has, however, not been changed, though it was assumed that the original meaning was restored. The Ka'ba, with its black stone, which is set in silver and venerated by being kissed by all pilgrims, is the direction to which all Muslims pray when prostrating.

The Ka'ba has a door, but about 2 metres above the ground near the black stone, which is about 1,4 metres above the ground.

The Ka'ba is covered all over with a black draping (Kiswah) made of silk and cotton, which is embroidered with golden verses of the Qur'an. It is changed annually.

Back to the menu

The Mosque

In the TEXTBOOK OF ISLAM by Quraishy we read:

"It is not ... necessary to have a particularly consecrated place for the holding of divine service. One may say his prayer wherever he likes and this will not detract from the efficacy of the prayer. However, there is a need to have a masjid or a mosque in which Muslims can worship Allah comfortably. The mosque is the undying symbol of Islam. Where there is no adhan or prayers in congregation, there can be no Islamic community."

TBI, p. 67

There is a strategy in building mosques everywhere in Africa: to show that Islam is already there and has an impact on the community particularly in rural areas; to show the greatness of Allah in beautiful buildings; to proclaim the oneness of Allah and the prophethood of Muhammad (a mosque often has the Kalimah written on the walls).

A former Imam explained: "First we got in contact with the elders in that village and established friendships. Then we helped with food, medicine and the like. We suggested to have a school built and to teach the children of that village. Swahili and its cultural background (and with it Islam) was part of the curriculum. Later some became Muslims and there was automatically a need of a worship place. That’s how we built a mosque and how we spread Islam."


Only true Muslims should maintain a mosque because it is a place to worship and remember Allah. It is built for ritual purity and for moral and social development. Muhammad built the second mosque in Medina, the first one is believed to be the Kaaba in Mecca, built by Adam and rebuilt by Abraham. (see Surah 72:18 and 9:108)

The third holiest mosque is Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem from which Muhammad is said to have taken his journey to heaven (miraj).

The mosque is the centre of all Muslim activities. The Masjid al-Nabi in Medina presents Muslims with a good example:

"Teachers and missionaries were dispatched from this mosque to those tribes who accepted Islam. A shady place at the north wall was the home of shelterless Companions of the Prophet. Here some of them received regular training in the early Islamic sciences of the Qur’an and Hadith. The Prophet’s mosque was also used for consultation on important political and military matters. ... Deputations coming from outside Madina were put up in the Prophet’s Mosque . For instance, when the Christians of Najran sent a deputation, the Prophet made arrangements for their stay in the mosque. The Prophet also used to distribute the gifts of war booty among his Companions at the same mosque. It also served as a court of justice, for legal disputes were also settled in it. The Prophet himself used to spend ten days of Ramadhan in I’tikaf (retirement) in his mosque."

TBI, p. 68 f.

Today a mosque may be used for administrative, political, social, educational and religious purposes. Especially in villages this is still the case. But Muslims lament that it is hardly done in towns like in former days. They wish to restrengthen the place of their mosque beyond a place of worship. Thus it often becomes a place of fundamentalist efforts.

Women may enter a mosque, provided they do not use perfume (men may use perfume and often do so on Fridays). Among the prohibitions were the pronouncement on stray animals, transactions of sales and purchases and administration of corporal punishment. (TBI, p. 70) Young children and unsane people should also be prevented of entering a mosque. But Christians can enter it, even though many Muslims do not like it and will not allow it.


Mosque, by Rashid Ahmad Chaudhri, p. 36+37

Back to the menu

The 99 Most Excellent Names of Allah

These are the names and in brackets the number of times it is mentioned in the Qur'an:

The Merciful (169)

The Compassionate (114)

The King (6)

The Most Holy One (2)

The Peace (the Sound One) (1)

The Faithful One (who gives safety and security) (1)

The Protector (and guardian) (2)

The Unique and Mighty One (89)

The Super Strong One (who compels his creatures to obey) (1)

The Supreme or Proud One (1)

The Creator (8)

The Maker (Originator of all creation) (2)

The Fashioner (1)

The Forgiving One (5)

The Dominant (Irresistible Conqueror) (6)

The Bestower (giving freely and richly) (3)

The Provider (who provides all sustenance) (1)

The Opener (who opens all things and overcomes everything) (2)

The Omniscient (the Knower) (158)

The Restrainer (who takes hold and draws together)

The Spreader

The Abaser (for unbelievers)

The Exalter (for believers)

The One who exalts and raises to honour

The Destroyer (who humbles)

The All-Hearing One (46)

The All-Seeing One (44)

The Ruler or Arbiter

The Just or Righteous One

The Subtle One (7)

The Aware One (45)

The Clement (Forbearing One) (12)

The Grand One (8)

The Mostly Forgiving One (91)

The Grateful One (expressing thankfulness in rich rewards) (4)

The Exalted (Most High One) (6)

The Powerful Guardian (the preserver) (1)

The Strengthener (who provides his creation all their needs) (1)

The Reckoner (4)

The Majestic (Sublime One) (2)

The Pure and Generous One (3)

The Watcher of All (5)

The Approver (who responds to every need) (1)

The Comprehensive One (with unlimited capacity) (9)

The Ultimately Wise (95)

The One Who shows Sympathy (2)

The Most Glorious One (2)

The Raiser (who sends the dead to life)

The Witness (who is omniscient) (21)

The Right and the Truth (who is justice and the reality) (8)

The Advocate (and faithful trustee) (13)

The Strong (11)

The Firm (and Reliable One) (1)

The Friendly Protector (21)

The Praiseworthy One (17)

The Counter (who keeps exact statistics)

The Beginner (originator)

The Restorer (12)

The Quickener (2)

The Killer

The Living (and absolute percipient one) (5)

The Subsisting One (who stands firm in himself) (3)

The Finder (who has no needs)

The One Glorified

The One and only (21)

The Eternal (1)

The Mighty and Powerful One (who does as he pleases) (44)

The Prevailing One (4)

The One who brings forward

The Deferrer (who keeps all at a distance from him)

The First (1)

The Last (1)

The Outwardly Manifest and Evident One (2)

The Inward (Hidden One) (2)

The Governor (31)

The Exalted (1)

The Righteous Benefactor (Dutiful One) (1)

The One who causes and receives (10)

The Avenger

The Pardoner (5)

The Kind and Indulgent One (10)

The Ruler of the Kingdom (who controls all possessions) (2)

The Lord of all Majesty and Honour (2)

The Equitable One (who hands out justice)

The Collector (who combines everything to accomplish his purpose) (2)

The Rich One (who is independent and needs nothing) (18)

The Enricher

The Giver

The Withholder

The Distresser (who is responsible for evil)

The Profiter (who is responsible for good)

The Light (5)

The Guide (and leader) (10)

The Incomparable Magnificent One (2)

The Enduring One

The Inheritor

The Director (who gives judicious guidance) (1)

The Patient One (who has perfect timing in all things)

Back to the menu

The 114 Surahs of the Qur'an

Back to the menu

A Brief Islamic Dictionary

Abu Father
Ahlu'l-Kitab The People of the Book - Jews and Christians
Ahl-i-Kitab The People of the Book - Jews and Christians
Ahmadiyya Islamic sect
Allah'u-akbar Allah is great(er)
al-Masih the Messiah
Alim a learned person (pl. ulama)
Ansar friends; those who assisted the Muslims in Medina
ar-Rahman the merciful; title of Allah
ar-Rahim the compassionate; title of Allah
Assalaam-Alykum greeting (peace to you)
Aya 'sign' used for verse in the Qur'an
Azan call to prayer
Bait'allah actually house of God, but used for the Ka'ba
Banu tribe
Bilal the first 'muezzim'; caller to prayer
Bint daughter
Bismillah the formula with which each Surah (except one) begins: "In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful"
Da'wah the missionary movment of Islam an 'invocation', an actual practice of the occult
Deen (Din) the practices, duties in Islam
Eid feast day
Fiqh Islamic dogmatic theology; law
Furkan that which distinguishes between good and evil; lawful and unlawful; used also as a title for the Qur'an or a Surah
Hadith (Hadis) collection of traditions about the life of Mohammed
Hafiz person who can memorize the whole Qur'an
Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca; one of the pillars of faith
Hajji (Hadji) Muslim who has been in Mecca
Hanif 'one who is inclined' to Islam; also for Mohammed
Halaal lawful (food to eat)
Hamduli'llah praise to Allah
Haqq truth
Haram unclean (food)
Hazrat title of respect
Hira mountain near Mecca, in a cave in which Mohammed had his (first) revelation
Hijrah (Hejira) the "flight" of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina; beginning of the Muslim calendar
Hijaz the wider territory around Mecca and Medina; sacred area
Houris beautiful maidens with almond-shaped eyes and fair skinned, who delight the faithful (men) in paradise
Hubal an idol which was in the Ka'ba before Islam
Iblis the devil (also 'Shaitan')
Ibn (ben) son
Imam the leader who guides the prayers in the mosque
Iman faith
Injil the Gospel
Insha'llah if Allah wills
Isa Jesus
Islam 'submission' to God; correct name for Muslim religion
Isnad chain of Hadith transmittors
Israfil and Israil angels of resurrection and death
Jannah paradise (actually 'garden')
Jahannam hell
Jihad Holy War to promote Islam
Jinns spirits
Ka'ba cube-like building at Mecca. On its Eastern corner the black stone, 'come from heaven'(meteorite), is located. The Ka'ba was allegedly built there by Abraham and was used for worship in pre-Muhammedan times. It indicates the direction to which every Muslim must bow in prayer.
Kafir unbeliever
Kafira head covering of men
Kalima Islamic creed: 'There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet'
Kalimatu'llah 'The Word of God'; Jesus, the Messiah
Khalif (Caliph) successor of Muhammad
Kitab book; used for 'holy books', also the Bible
Kitabi one of the "People of the Book" - Jews and Christians
Khutba sermon on Fridays
Khatib preacher
Kufr unbelief
Madrassah Islamic school
Mahdi 'the guided one'; the returning 'Messiah'
Malak angel (pl. Malaika)
Malik the angel presiding over hell
Mansukh portion of the Qur'an which has been abrogated
Marwa and Safa two little hills in Mecca
Masjid mosque
Maulana teacher of Islam
Mecca the 'holy city' of Islam; home town of Muhammad
Medina Muhammad's city of exile after the hedjrah; formerly Yathrib
Mihrab niche in the mosque marking prayer direction (Qibla)
Mimbar pulpit in mosque
Minaret tower of a mosque to call people to prayer
Miraj a nightly journey 'in the spirit' by Muhammad to the 'seventh heaven'
Mirza title of respect
Mishkat a collection of 'most authentic' Sunni traditions; the full name is 'Mishkatu'l Masabi'
Mizan great balances (scales) to 'weigh' a man's good deeds against the bad at judgment
Muazzin a caller to prayer from the minaret (Muezzin)
Mujahid warrior in the cause of Islam
Mullah teacher of Islam
Mankar and Nakir angels who examine the dead in the grave
Murtadd apostate of Islam
Mushaf original document of the Qur'an (pl. Masahif )
Mushrik one who adds a companion to Allah (also Christians)
Muslim (Moslem) one who submits (to Islam)
Namaz Salat; an Indian expression
Nabi a prophet; one who received direct inspiration by means of angels, dreams or 'in the heart'
Nasikh portion of the Qur'an or Hadith which abrogates a previous one
Nazil 'sent down'; Islamic concept of inspiration
Purda cloak which covers pious women
Qadar predetermination
Qadi (Qazi) judge
Qibla direction of prayer
Qismat (Kismet) acceptance of Allah's sovereign (arbitrary) action
Qur'an 'the reading' or 'reciting' , the holy book of Islam
Qurban sacrifice
Rabb Lord
Rak'at prescribed prostration in prayer
Ramadan 9th month on the Islamic calendar; the fasting month
Rasul (Rasool) messenger; apostle; one who brings a book to men
Ruh spirit
Ruhul'l-Quddus Holy Spirit
Sawm fasting
Sabaens ancient inhabitants of South West Arabia; worshippers of sun and stars
Sahih tradition collectors from Muhammad's companions
Salaam peace
Salat prayer recited five times daily
Shaikh teacher of Islam (actually 'old man')
Shahda obligatory confession of faith
Shariah (Shariat) law of Islam
Shi'h 'division'; Islamic sect insisting that a Khalif must be a physical descendant of Muhammad
Shirk the sin of adding a partner of Allah
Siratu'l Rasul 'The life of the Prophet'; a biography of Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq, revised and edited by Ibn Hisham
Sufi a Muslim sect seeking mystical experiences
Sunnat (Sunnah) 'path'; imitation of the life of Muhammad as recorded in the traditions of Islam
Sunni 'one of the path'; main group of Muslims
Surah chapter of the Qur'an
Taqdir 'measurement'; actually predestination or measured out fate
Tasbih rosary with 99 beads for prayer
Taslim benediction
Taurat (Tourat) the five books of Moses
Tawaf circumambulation (walking around) the Ka'ba seven times during the Hajj
Ulema Islamic teachers (singular Maalim)
Umm mother
Umma (Umat) nation; family; mostly used of religious congregation; the people of Islam
Umrah minor Hajj
Wudu ritual washing before prayer in mosque
Zabur Psalms

Back to the menu

Who's Who in Islam


Abu-Bakr close follower of Muhammad and first Khalif (632-634 AD). He was also Muhammad's father-in-law (through Aisha).
Umar (or Omar) second Khalif (634-644 AD). He was assassinated while in prayer.
Uthman (or Osman) third Khalif (644-656 AD). He ordered the editing of the Qur'an. Thereafter documents were destroyed to keep unity of text. He was murdered.
Ali nephew and adopted son of Muhammad, who married Fatima and became the fourth Khalif. He was murdered.


Khadijah first wife and only companion for 25 years
Sa'uda Bint Zama  
Aisha Bint Abu Bakr the only non-widow he married
Hafsah Bint Umar  
Zainab Bint Khusaima  
Umm Salama  
Zainab Bint Jahsh  
Umm Habiba  



Miryam (Mary the Copt)







Abdu'llah father of Muhammad; 'a slave of Allah'
Abdu'l-Muttalib grandfather of Muhammad; his first guardian
Abdul Cassim the proper name of Muhammad
Abu Talib uncle and guardian of Muhammad
Ahmad 'praised one'; same word root as Muhammad. It is claimed that Ahmad was prophecied in the Bible (Surah 61:6).
al-Baizawi commentator (900 AH)
al-Baqawi (or al-Baghawi) commentator (515 AH)
al-Bukhari collector of traditions about Muhammad (810-870 AD)
al-Ghazzali Islamic teacher (450 AH)
Allah (from al-illah); apparently the chief deity in pre-Islamic Mecca; later the one god of Islam
al-Tabari historian and commentator
al-Vaqidi a later biographer of Muhammad
Amina mother of Muhammad
Dawood (or Dawud) David
Fatima the daughter of Muhammad, who had an offspring through Ali
Halima nurse of Muhammad
Ibn Ishaq biographer of Muhammad
Ibn Khaldun historian
Ibn Sa'd biographer of Muhammad
Ibrahim Abraham
Ibu Hisham Editor of Ibn Ishaq's biography
Isa name used in the Qur'an for Jesus
Jalalu'deen commentator (900 AH)
Jibril Angel Gabriel
Moosa (or Musa) Moses
Muhammad (or Mohammed) the prophet of Islam (= the praised one)
Muslim one who submits to the will of Allah in Islam, also name of a Hadith compiler
Quraish Arab tribe from which Muhammad originated and from which all Khalifs were to be chosen
Suleiman Solomon
Yahya John the Baptist
Zaid-ibn-Harith Muhammad's adopted son, whose divorced wife Zainab he later married
Zaid-ibn-Thabit compiler of the Qur'an (14 AD)

Back to the menu