Definitions of Terms/Phrases From the Journal:

(A work in progress)


Alhamdulillah (wa Shukr) – “All Praise (and Thanks) Belongs to Allah”, a common phrase used to praise The Most High, especially when showing appreciation or expressing gratitude.

Allah – God, The One, Creator of the Heavens and Earth, Master of The Day of Judgment, The Almighty. There is none like Him, He is Alone, with no partners or helpers. The only Deity worthy of worship.

Ameen – “Amen”, said after a supplication is made in agreement.

‘Asr – The third of the 5 daily prayers Muslims perform. The time for ‘Asr is the late afternoon, after the sun has settled into the lower part of the sky and the shadows have increased to equal the length of their objects

Axé – Used in the Brazilian martial arts form of Capoeira to describe the adrenaline rush experienced during intense demonstrations of skill amongst a group of active participants.


Capoeira – A Brazilian form of martial arts that blends combat, dance, song, and musical instruments. Originally developed by Angolan slaves that were brought to Brazil to work on plantations. They masked their combat training in song and dance to be able to openly practice in front of their slave masters without being discovered.

Circumambulate – To walk in circles around an object, in this context, the Ka’aba.


Day of Judgment (DoJ) – The Final Hour, The Last Day, The Day of Reckoning. All creation will be destroyed and brought back to life to observe this momentous occasion, where all will be publicly judged and then sentenced to an eternity in Heaven or Hell.

Desi – Refers to the ethnic groups that make up the countries of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, due to a loosely common culture.

Dhuhr – The second of the 5 daily prayers Muslims perform. The time for Dhuhr is the early afternoon, after the sun has moved away from its zenith.

Du’a – “Supplication”, asking Allah with sincerity from whatever your needs and desires may be.


Fajr – The first of the 5 daily prayers Muslims perform. The time for Fajr is before dawn, the early morning, before the sun rises.

Fasting – abstaining from food, drink and intercourse during the daylight hours. While fasting, it is also strongly advised to refrain from false or useless speech and behaving with aggression. It is encouraged to increase worship while in this state.


Hajj – “Pilgrimage”, one of the pillars of the Muslim faith. All Muslims must perform the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lives to fulfill this obligation, or at least maintain the intention of doing so until they are able. Hajj can only be performed once a year, during the Islamic lunar month of Dhul Hijjah, from the 8th-13th.

Hajji – “Pilgrim”, one who travels to Mecca, with the intention of fulfilling the rites of Hajj.

Haram – “The Sacred Area”. This was designated by Allah as being holy – none of its plants may be cut, nor its game may be hunted. There is no violence or fighting in the Haram. Any found objects may not be picked up, unless they are publicly announced.

Hereafter – The next life, “Al-Akhira”, the finale. The eternal resting place of all creation – The Grave, The Day of Judgment, Heaven, Hell.

Hira – A cave in Jab Al-Nur, “The Enlightened Mountain”, where the Prophet Muhammad SAW used to retreat to meditate. It was here that he received the first revelation through the Archangel Gabriel.


‘Ibadah – “Worship”, can be done in many, many ways. The core component of all worship is sincerity and genuineness in devotion to Allah.

Ihram – “The Sacred State”, in order to make pilgrimage, one must enter this state. Consists of showering, wearing only two clean, white sheets, and making the intention of performing pilgrimage and praying 2 rak’ahs. While in this state, one may not fight, argue, hunt, have intercourse, cut one’s hair or fingernails, or act with any form of aggression towards others or towards nature. Women may wear their normal clothing, but men may only wear the two sheets, nothing else.

InshaAllah (iA) – “If it is God’s Will”, indicates that something will happen if Allah intends it to, and you recognize it is out of your hands.

‘Isha – The fifth of the 5 daily prayers Muslims perform. The time for ‘Isha is at night, once the sun has completely set and darkness has settled.

Islam – “Submission (to the Will of Allah)”, Allah reveals His Will through revelations to Prophets.


Jannatul Baqi’ – “The Holy Graveyard”, the cemetery where close to 10,000 Companions of the Prophet Muhammad SAW are buried, with unmarked and anonymous graves. The cemetery is located adjacent to the Eastern wall of the Masjid Nabawi.

Jeddah – A city in Saudi Arabia with the nearest airport to Mecca. Located approximately 53 miles East of Mecca.


Ka’aba – Also known as The Sacred House. A cube-like structure in Mecca, built by the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmail upon Allah’s command, to be established as a house of worship. Directly above the Ka’aba, in the Heavens, is the location where the Throne of Allah sits, around which Angels circumambulate. Believers in Mecca mirror this same act, when performing tawaf around the Ka’aba.

Khair – “Good”, can be said as an expression of optimism, showing hope for the best of outcomes.


Labbayk Allahuma Labbayk – See “Talbiyah”.


Maghrib – The fourth of the 5 daily prayers Muslims perform. The time for Maghrib is just before sunset, at dusk.

Maktab – “Office”, each pilgrim is registered with a specific office that handles their logistical arrangements during Hajj.

Maqam of Ibrahim – “The Station of Abraham”, a small structure near the Ka’aba that contains a stone with the footprints of Prophet Abraham. This stone was brought from Heaven by the Angel Gabriel for Abraham to stand on to complete the construction of the top of the Ka’aba, his feet sunk 4 inches into the stone, leaving an imprint that is clearly visible still.

MashaAllah (mA) – “It is as Allah wills”, said in praise of things working out according to The Divine Plan. Also used to show appreciation and acknowledgment of Allah’s role in providing the blessings in our lives.

Masjid – A house of worship in the Islamic faith.

Masjid Al-Haram – The central house of worship in the Islamic faith, located in Mecca. Contains the Ka’aba, the Maqam of Ibrahim, the well of ZamZam, and the Massa. All deeds here are multiplied by 100,000 times, good or bad.

Masjid Nabawi – The central house of worship in Medina, built in the Sacred Lands there. Contains the Rawda and the Riadh al-Jannah, sits adjacent to Jannatul Baqi. All deeds here are multiplied by 1,000 times, good or bad.

Mecca – The Birthplace of The Prophet SAW. The most sacred city, the destination for all pilgrims, located in Saudi Arabia.

Medina – also known as Madinatun Nabi, “The City of The Prophet”. The original capitol of Islamic civilization. The Prophet emigrated to Medina in the early stages of Islam to escape persecution and hardship in his birthplace of Mecca. Medina is also regarded as a sacred city, whose gates are guarded by angels. Located in Saudi Arabia, approximately 340 miles North of Mecca.

Musallah – “Place of Prayer”, physical space, specifically designated for prayers.

Muslim – One who submits his will to Allah and follows the path of Islam.


Nabi – A Prophet that receives revelation, but is not obligated to share or teach others. Purely for their own enlightenment.


Prophet – An individual that receives supernatural communication, revelation, from Allah. They either receive these revelations for their own enlightenment (a Nabi) or to teach others (a Rasul). Muhammad SAW was both a Nabi and a Rasul.

Pilgrims – Those that travel to Mecca, with the intention of fulfilling the rites of Hajj, a “Hajji”.


Qibla – “Direction”, refers to the Ka’aba. Throughout the world, Muslims face the Ka’aba when performing their prayers.


Rabb – Lord, Cherisher, Sustainer, Educator, Caretaker. Also, “Ya Rabb”, “O Lord, Cherisher, Sustainer, etc.”

Rasul – A Prophet that receives revelation, and is obligated to share and teach it to others. They are also given scripture from which to teach others.

Revelation – Supernatural communication with The Divine, undetectable to anyone other than the recipient. Also known as “wahy” in Arabic. Those receiving revelation are known as Prophets.

Riyadh al-Jannah – “Garden of Paradise”, a blessed area inside of Masjid Nabawi, between his pulpit and his grave, where the Prophet Muhammad SAW used to lead prayers.

Roda – A demonstration circle in the Brazilian martial arts form of Capoeira. Fighters show off their skills against one another, while encircled by others that clap, sing and play instruments to cheer them on.

Rowda – The grave of the Prophet Muhammad SAW, located inside Masjid Nabawi. The graves of his Companions, Abu Bakr & ‘Umar, are also contained therein.


Sabr – “Patience, Fortitude, Integrity”, actively enduring through hardship to maintain the most ethical and moral manner of behavior, while having full faith and hope in the Divine Plan of Allah.

Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam (SAW) – “May the Prayers and Peace of Allah Be Upon Him”, said after mentioning the name of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) out of respect and devotion.

Seerah – A study of the biography of the Prophet Muhammad SAW. Must also include a study of the greater Arab society and culture at the time to contextualize the understanding of his life.

Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (SWT) – “We glorify Him, and He is The Most High”, said out of reverence, after mentioning the Name of Allah.

SubhanAllah – “All Glory Belongs to Allah”, typically used to express wonder and surprise at the Ever-Expansive Magnitude of Allah and His Creation.


Tawaf – To circumambulate the Ka’aba, as an act of worship and devotion.

Talbiyah – “Waiting for orders”, refers to a prayer recited especially by pilgrims on the journey to Hajj, declaring their arrival and preparation for the pilgrimage. In Arabic, the talbiyah is: “Labbayk Allahuma Labbayk. Labbayka la shareeka laka labbayk. Innal hamda, wan ni’mata, laka wal mulk. La shareeka lak.” Translation: “I am answering your call, O Allah, I am answering your call. I am answering your call, you have no partners. Surely, All Praise and All Blessing is for You, and Yours is the Dominion. You have no partners.”

Thobe – An Arab garment worn by men. Looks like a shirt that extends to the ankles, made of thin, breathable fabric.


‘Umrah – “Visit”, refers to a smaller form of pilgrimage that can be performed at any time throughout the year. Entails performing tawaf 7 times around the Ka’aba and then Sa’iy 7 times, while in the state of ihram.


ZamZam – A well in Mecca that was revealed by the Angel Gabriel to Hagar and Ishmail, after they were left in the ancient land of Bakka (modern day Mecca) by the Prophet Abraham. Its water is pure and blessed, continuously flowing in the middle of the desert. Fresh ZamZam can be found in great abundance at the Masjid Al-Haram.