Islamic Economics Institute

JKAU-IE Cumulative Glossary

Arabic Term


ʿadālah / ʿadl

ʿadālah and ʿadl are basically two forms of the same word. It is a general term which means justice, equity, equitableness and fairness.


All acts performed by an individual are of three types: (i) ʿādāt, (ii) ʿibādāt, and (iii) muʿāmalāt. ʿĀdāt are the habits, customs, and all other acts which an individual performs as part of his normal life, e.g., like eating, drinking, bathing, etc. In other words, ʿādāt refers to those acts that are not performed as an act of worship (ʿibādah). For the definition of the other two types of acts, see below.


Plural of ḥadīth. For meaning, see below.


Plural of ḥukm. For meaning, see below.


Remuneration or recompense. It basically refers to the ‘price’ (compensation) paid for services received or usufruct utilized.


Refers to the Day of Judgement (when Allah will resurrect all creatures) and all the events that will follow culminating in admission to heaven or hell.


Plural of khuluq. The term refers to the practice of ethical values, morality and manners.

akl al-māl bi al-bāṭil

This term refers to any means of unlawful/wrongful acquisition of wealth as prescribed and detailed by the Sharīʿah.

al-ajīr al-mushtarak

A worker who may concurrently serve or be contracted by a number of clients, for instance a lawyer. It also refers to a worker, such as a tailor, who offers his services to many and thus may be contracted by several clients at one point of time.

al-ḍarūriyyāt al-khamsah

It refers to those five basic necessities or dire needs without which a person may face death or irreparable loss. These are: religion, life, intellect, property, and progeny.


Commonly translated as “God”. In fact, it is one of the ‘personal’ names of the Creator of this universe Who has uncountable attributes. The closest rendering of the word in English would be “the Only One worthy of worshiping”.

al-rizq al-iḥbāsīyah

Also known as irṣād. For definition, see above.


Security granted by a person from any harm by others or by a conqueror to the conquered peoples.

amānah / amānāt

Amānah (plural amānāt) literally means trust or being trustworthy. Amānah entails absence of liability for loss except in breach of duty. It also refers to deposits in trust.


A worker entitled to remuneration. Usually, it is used to refer to the person(s) and/or entity responsible for zakāh collection. Zakāh collectors are one of the eight categories prescribed by the Holy Qur’ān as recipients of the zakāh proceeds.


Trustee, a person safeguarding others’ entrusted property as if it was his own; he is not liable in case of any damage to the trust property without any negligence or misconduct on his part.


Peace; safety; security.


‘Aqd is a central term in Islamic business law, which means, “contract”. ‘Aqd also refers to any transaction, which takes place and creates any right and liability for the parties.

ʿaqd tabādulī

An exchange contract. Any contract in which one counter value is exchanged for another.


ʿAqīdah refers to those matters that a Muslim must believe in, in order to be regarded as a Muslim. These matters must be believed in with certainty and conviction in one’s heart and soul without being tainted with any doubt or uncertainty. More clearly, ʿaqīdah is to believe in Allah and everything related to Him; His worthiness of worship and lordship, His names and attributes, belief in the angels, the Holy books, all the Prophets and Messengers, predestination, the resurrection and the last day of judgment, heaven and hell, and everything authentic in the religion.


Kins or the persons of relationship who share any financial responsibility, especially blood money; an ancient Arab custom considered to be the essence of modern Islamic insurance.


Gratuitous loan of non-fungible objects; loan of a particular piece of property, the substance of which is not consumed by its use, without anything taken in exchange. In other words, it is the gift of usufruct of a commodity that is not consumed on use. ʿĀriyah is generally used to refer to the neighborly lending of small articles.


Plural uṣūl. Principles or general rules of Islamic jurisprudence.


Plural of waqf. For meaning, see below.

ãyah (pl. ãyāt)

Ãyah (plural ãyāt) refers to one verse of the Holy Qur’ān.


Plural of ʿayn, meaning determinate property; property that is not dayn – the things that could be used for paying a liability; generally, the commodities of material value in themselves.


This term refers to a person having reached legal age as prescribed by the Sharīʿah. Upon reaching this age, all injunctions of the Sharīʿah are applicable upon the person. Having reached this age is a pre-condition for the validity of most contracts.


Barakah means to grow and increase with stability and continuity beyond expectations. The Islamic concept of barakah is that Allah grants it whom He wishes and that such growth and prosperity only comes from Him alone and it cannot be attributed any worldly measure.


Void, invalid; refers to a transaction, a contract governing a transaction or an element in a contract which is invalid.


Sale. In Islamic finance it is often used as a prefix when referring to different sale-based modes, like bayʿ al-mu’ajjal (sale on deferred payment basis), bayʿ al-salam (sale on advance payment basis, etc.).

bayʿ al-dayn

Sale of debt or debt instruments, e.g. discounting/rediscounting of debt-based securities, collateralized debt obligations, etc. The provision of debt-based capital by way of sale/purchase of debt instruments and papers. These types of contracts/transactions are prohibited according to the majority of the scholars including AAOIFI and the Jeddah-based Islamic Fiqh Council.

bayʿ al-ʿīnah

Also known as buy-back. This refers to a contractual arrangement between two parties to sell and buy-back a commodity/asset simultaneously. This type of buying/selling is prohibited because the deal can easily be designed as a subterfuge for prohibited ribā.

bayʿ al-murābaḥah

The shorter form ‘murābaḥah’ is more commonly used. For meaning, see below.

bayʿ al-rajā’

A type of sale in which the seller expects to repossess the commodity sold. This sale is usually used as a subterfuge for ribā, and hence is not permissible. The debtor sells some commodity (usually land/house) to the lender in lieu of the loan; the loan amount acting as the price of the commodity. The lender benefits from the commodity for the period of the loan. Once the debtor repays the loan, the lender gives back the commodity to the debtor; the repayment of the loan acting as the re-purchase price. This type of sale is very much similar to bayʿ al-ʿīnah.

bayʿ al-salam

A sale contract in which payment is made in advance by the buyer and the delivery of goods is deferred by the seller. The date of delivery and fairly accurate description of goods must be given in the contract.

bayʿ al-arf

It means currency exchange. Other than the exchange of modern fiat money, it also includes exchange of gold for gold, silver for silver and gold for silver or vice versa. The rules of bayʿ al-sarf dictate that when both counter values are of the same kind (e.g., gold for gold, silver for silver, dollar for dollar, etc.), both counter values must be the same in quantity and the exchange must be done hand to hand without delay. If however, the counter values are of different kind (e.g., gold for silver, silver for dollar, pound for euro, etc.), then only one condition applies i.e., that the exchange must be done hand to hand without delay.

bayʿ al-ʿurbūn

A sale contract in which the buyer gives a small part of the price of goods/services bought as down payment and parties commit themselves to the conditions agreed in the contract. The final contract is concluded upon full payment. If the buyer cancels the sale, he loses the down payment. If the seller cancels the contract he has to pay double the amount of the down payment as a penalty for backing out of the deal. These are customary practices in modern days. However, fiqhī opinions differ with respect to their permissibility. Most modern scholars permit these in the broader interest of market discipline.

bayʿ al-wafā’

Literally, it means a ‘sale of honor’. It involves the sale of an asset with a right for the seller, having the effect of a condition, to repurchase the property by refunding the purchase price within a set period of time; and the buyer agrees to honor the condition of the seller. Basically, a pledge; the sold asset is treated as collateral till the amount is paid back by the seller. Most of the scholars do not consider it to be permissible as it is a case of bayʿ al-ʿīnah.

bayʿ bi-thaman al-ãjil / bayʿal-mu’ajjal

Technically, bayʿ bi-thaman al-ãjil (also known as bayʿal-mu’ajjal) means a sale contract in which payment is delayed. There is no necessity that the delayed payment is higher than the cash price. However, in current practice, the deferred payment is higher than the cash price and is paid in instalments. Hence, in practice this term and bayʿ al-murābaḥah are the same and are used alternatively.

bayt al-māl

The public treasury of the Islamic State/Muslim Community. Historically, it was also used as a charitable institution meant to help the poor and needy.


Becoming a bāligh. See above.


Literally, it means weak. Technically, it is an attribute used to describe that a particular ḥadīth is not authentic. It can also be used to describe one of the narrators of the ḥadīth, meaning that he/she is not of sound character and/or memory which will render his narration unauthentic.


A contract of guarantee where a person underwrites any claims or obligations that should be fulfilled by a debtor in the event that the debtor contractor fails to fulfill his obligation; any third party can become surety for the payment of debt. It is a covenant/pledge given to a creditor that the debtor will pay the debt or any other liability.

ḍamān al-ʿaqd

Guarantee/liability arising from terms and conditions stipulated in a contract.

ḍamān al-itlāf /

ḍamān al-mutlafāt

Liability due to damaging or destroying something.

ḍamān al-māl

Financial liability and/or guarantee.

ḍamān al-nafs

Guaranteeing the presence (usually in court) of an individual upon demand in criminal or commercial offence bail.

ḍamān al-yad

Liability to pay/compensate arising from possession of an asset on trust. It is the liability on someone who was originally liable to hold something in trust, however, as a result of his carelessness, the asset is damaged or destroyed.


Plural of ḍamān. For meaning, see above.


Guarantor. The person(s) who provides guarantee or is liable to compensate, i.e., the person providing ḍamān.


Plural ḍarūrāt. It means a necessity or a dire need without which a person may face death or irreparable loss to life, intellect, progeny, property or religion. It is usually used in the context of the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’, whereby something otherwise prohibited becomes temporarily permissible.


Something which is a ḍarūrah (plural ḍarūrāt). It means a necessity or a dire need without which a person may face death or irreparable loss to life, intellect, progeny, property or religion. It is usually used in the context of the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’, whereby something otherwise prohibited becomes temporarily permissible.


It refers to those basic necessities or dire needs without which a person may face death or irreparable loss to life, intellect, progeny, property or religion.


Singular ḍābiṭah. It means a general rule of Islamic fiqh which is applicable to a particular chapter or area of fiqh but is not applicable to other chapters or areas. In this sense, ḍawābiṭ are different from qawāʿid as the qawāʿid are more general in nature and are applicable to many chapters/areas of fiqh whereas the ḍawābiṭ are particular to only one chapter/area.


Call, Invitation. It is used to refer to acts that involve propagation of Islam; inviting people to embrace Islam or Muslims to adhere to the teachings of Islam.


Dhimmah is a term in Islamic jurisprudence that refers to an attribute of a person by which he or she is ready to uphold obligations and responsibilities imposed by the Lawgiver toward any mukallaf (sane adult).




Currency in the form of gold coins used by Muslims throughout Islamic history.


Currency in the form of silver coins used in the past in several Muslim countries, and still used as legal tender in some Muslim countries.


It refers to the register kept by the state in which the names or documents relating to the army or those who were given stipends were recorded.

diyah (pl. diyāt)

Compensation for taking a person’s life (blood money) or harm inflicted on an organ/part of the body.


Virtue; any attribute which makes one person better than the other in that particular respect.


Falāḥ means to thrive, become happy or to have success. Technically, it implies success and happiness both in this world and in the hereafter.


A jurist, who is an expert in Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) and who gives rulings on various juristic issues in the light of the Qur’ān and the Sunnah.




Farā’iḍ (singular farḍ), literally, refers to all actions and deeds that are obligatory upon a Muslim according to the Sharīʿah. Technically, the term farā’iḍ is also used to refer to the Islamic law of inheritance as detailed in the Qur’ān and Sunnah.


All actions and deeds that are obligatory upon a Muslim according to the Sharīʿah. The term wājib is used almost synonymously.

farḍ al-kifāyah / farḍ kifā’ī

Farḍ al-kifāyah (also known as farḍ kifā’ī) is that type of obligation which is a duty on the community as a whole. If some people perform it, others are absolved of it. If no one performs it, all are sinful. An example is offering funeral prayers for the deceased.

fasād / fasād fi al-ar

Fasād or fasād fī al-arḍ is a terminology used in a number of the verses of the Qur’ān which broadly means to act corruptly on earth disobeying Allah Almighty’s commands.


Plural of fatwá. For meaning, see below.

fatḥ al- dharīʿah

It is the opposite of sadd al-dharīʿah. For meaning, see below.

fatwá (pl. fatāwá)

Fatwá (plural fatāwá) is a ruling on a point of Islamic law or Islamic way of life given by a religious scholar or recognized authority.


Booty acquired without actual fighting, i.e., due to the other party’s surrender.


Refers to the whole corpus of Islamic jurisprudence. In contrast with conventional law, fiqh covers all aspects of life, religious, political, social, commercial or economic. The whole corpus of fiqh is based primarily on interpretations of the Qur’ān and the Sunnah and secondarily on ijmā (consensus) and ijtihād (juristic judgment). While the Qur’ān and the Sunnah are immutable, verdicts based on ijtihād may change due to changing circumstances.

fiqh al-buyūʿ

Refers to fiqh matters specific to the field of trade.

fiqh al-iqtiṣād

Refers to fiqh matters specific to the field of economics.

fiqh al-muʿāmalāt / fiqh muʿāmalah

Generally, it is used to describe fiqhī rules relating to relationships/contracts among human beings as opposed to fiqh al-ʿibādāt which refers to the fiqhī rules relating to the acts of worship. Sometimes it is used in a specific meaning, i.e., it is used to refer only to that branch of fiqh which relates to Islamic commercial jurisprudence, or the rules of transacting in a Sharīʿah compliant manner.


Relating to fiqh.


Refers to the primordial human nature created by Allah in every human being which urges them to choose ‘good’ over ‘bad’ in all things.

fiṭrānah (zakāẗ al-fiṭr)

Fiṭrānah is a term usually used in the Indian sub-continent region. The more commonly used Arabic term is zakāẗ al-fiṭr. For meaning, see below.


Plural of faqīh meaning jurist, who is an expert in Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) and who gives rulings on various juristic issues in the light of the Qur’ān and the Sunnah.


Singular ghanīmah. War booty acquired after fighting as opposed to fay’ which is acquired without a fight (see above).


Literally, it means deception, danger, risk and uncertainty. Technically it means exposing oneself to excessive risk and danger in a business transaction as a result of uncertainty about the price, the quality and the quantity of the counter-value, the date of delivery, the ability of either the buyer or the seller to fulfil his commitment, or ambiguity in the terms of the deal; thereby, exposing either of the two parties to unnecessary risks. In economic terminology its meanings are close to “asymmetric information”.


The wrongful appropriation of property by force.


Cheating, fraud, deception. All such things are prohibited by the Sharīʿah.


Literally, it means loss or liability. It is usually used as part of the legal maxim ‘al-ghunmu bi al-ghurm’ which means that one is entitled to a gain (in finance and business) only if one is prepared to bear the responsibilities and liabilities that come with the transaction including the possibility of loss.


Plural ḥudūd. Specific punishments ordained by Allah for serious violations of His commandments, e.g., adultery, stealing, drinking wine, etc. These punishments are prescribed for only a handful of the most serious sins. Punishments for all other sins/violations are left at the discretion of the ruler with certain limits and guidelines prescribed by the Sharīʿah.

ḥadīth (pl. aḥadīth)

Sayings, deeds and endorsements of Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) narrated by his companions.

ḥadīth qudsī

It refers to those types of aḥādīth in which the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) specifically attributes the words to Allah Almighty; as opposed to other aḥādīth, in which the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) conveys Allah’s message in his own words.

ḥājah (pl. ḥājāt)

Ḥājah, plural ḥājāt, means need. It is usually used in the context of the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ (see ḍarūrah above) and is different from the term ḍarūrah in the sense that ḍarūrah refers to a dire need or essential necessities without which the person faces either death or irreparable loss, whereas ḥājah refers to a need without which one can survive but faces immense or undue hardship.

ḥājī (pl. ḥājiyyāt)

Ḥājī, plural ḥājiyyāt. It is basically a different form of the term ḥājah (plural ḥājāt) mentioned above.


Hajj, is the fifth pillar of Islam. It involves pilgrimage to Makkah and other Holy places around it and performing specified worships between the 8th and the 13th day of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah (the twelfth month in the Islamic lunar calendar). This duty is compulsory only once during each Muslim’s life time provided he/she is financially and physically able to carry it out.


Things and activities permitted by Sharīʿah.


A school of Islamic jurisprudence named after Imam Abu Hanifah.


A school of Islamic jurisprudence named after Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal.


Truth, right. Al-Haqq, the Truth, is one of the names of Allah. In the fiqh of financial transactions, the term haqq signifies a right which a party possesses, for example the creditor’s right to payment. Plural ḥuqūq.


Things and activities prohibited by the Sharīʿah, e.g., giving or taking ribā, gambling, eating pork, etc.

ḥasan ṣaḥīḥ

Technical term used to describe the degree of authenticity of a ḥadīth. It refers to a ḥadīth belonging to the second category of authenticity with the first category being denoted as ṣaḥīḥ. This term is mostly used by Imam al-Tirmidhi in his book al-Sunan.


It means transfer; legally, it is an agreement by which a debtor is freed from a debt by another becoming responsible for it; or the transfer of a claim of a debt by shifting the responsibility from one person to another – contract of assignment of debt. It also refers to the document by which the transfer takes place.


The term ḥawl is used by the jurists to describe the period of time which must pass before a Muslim in possession of funds equaling or exceeding the exemption limit (nisāb) must pay zakāh on his wealth. In the case of cash, gold and silver it is one Islamic year, i.e., a lunar year of approximately 354 days.


Its meaning is close to modesty, shyness, and bashfulness. However, technically it refers to that trait of inner shyness/modesty which prevents a Muslim from committing sins.


Hibah means gift, an act of transferring of ownership of an asset or usufruct without an exchange of counter value during the lifetime of the transferor.

ḥifẓ al-nafs

Right pertaining to protection of life.


Literally, Wisdom. Technically, the wisdom or rationale behind Devine commandments.


Plural ḥiyal; ruses, tricks used in transactions to circumvent the basic prohibitions.

ḥisbah (al-ḥisbah)

Technically, it refers to an institution that existed through most of Islamic history for implementing what is proper and preventing what is improper. The main role of al-ḥisbah was the regulation and supervision of markets to ensure proper market conduct by all concerned.


Singular ḥīlah; for definition, see above.


Another term used for waqf/awqāf. For meaning, see below.


Plural of ḥadd. For definition, see above.


Literally, Orders. Technically, Devine commandments. Plural aḥkām. In fiqh, it refers to the Sharīʿah rulings (e. g. obligatory, recommended, neutral, reprehensible, or forbidden) associated with any action.


Ḥukr was a mode of financing used especially for waqf properties. In this mode, the financier takes the waqf property on a long-term lease and pays two types of rent. The first is paid in advance usually being equal or close to the price of the property. The second is a small amount paid annually to the waqf. In return, the lessee is entitled to all forms of benefit from the property except its sale, as if he was the owner of the property. This right (the right of ḥukr) is also inheritable.


Plural of haqq. For definition, see above.

ḥuqūq al-ʿibād

The rights and responsibilities of a Muslim towards other human beings (the society at large).


Literally, it means beauty or prettiness. Technically, it means that whatever is in accordance with the rules of the Sharīʿah, is good and is permissible and praiseworthy. It is usually used to determine a ruling in those contemporary matters in which there is no clear evidence from the Qur’ān or Sunnah. Whatever is good and beneficial and does not contradict any rule of the Sharīʿah, is ḥasan (derived word from ḥusn) and is thus permissible. Antonym: qubḥ.

ʿibādah (pl. ʿibādāt)

ʿibādah, plural ʿibādāt; meaning worship or any type of ritual act performed with the intention to gain the pleasure of Allah


Permissibility from a Sharīʿah point of view. The term is also used when someone declares that his property/belongings are permissible to use by others (the general public or a set group of people), free of charge.


Release/discharge. Technically, it means voluntarily giving up one’s established claim against someone or one’s recognized right (financial or otherwise); fully or partially.


Refers to the time period a woman must observe after her divorce or after the death of her spouse during which she may not marry or be betrothed to another man.


Dire necessity. Usually used for the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’, whereby something otherwise prohibited becomes temporarily permissible.


Literally, it means to transgress, exceeding the limits that should be observed. In financial context, it is used almost synonymously with the term taʿaddī (explained below).


Beneficence, kindness, virtue.


Hoarding; the prohibited practice of purchasing essential commodities, when not available in the market in bulk, such as food, and storing them in anticipation of an increase in price.


Offer, in a contract; see also qabūl.


Leasing. Sale of usufruct of an asset. The lessor retains the ownership of the asset with all the rights and the responsibilities that go with ownership. Ijārah also refers to services offered by persons/institutions.

ijārah muntahiyah bi al-tamlīk

Lease culminating into transfer of ownership of the leased asset to the lessee in such a way that the lease and sale contracts are kept separate and independent transactions. It is also sometimes referred to as ijārah wa-iqtinā’.


A consensus of Islamic scholars (fuqahā’). Ijmāʿ is one of the sources of Islamic law.


In technical terms, it refers to the efforts by jurist(s) to derive a rule or reach a judgement based on evidence found in the Islamic sources of law, predominantly, the Qur’ān and the Sunnah.


Liability, responsibility or obligation.


Literally, it means a leader, guide or ruler. Usually, it is used to refer to an Islamic scholar who has vast knowledge and excellent grasp of the Qur’ān and the Sunnah and has a following.


Faith or belief; the acceptance and affirmation of Oneness of Allah, His books, His messengers, His angels, the hereafter and Divine decree.


Short form of bayʿ al-ʿīnah; also known as buy-back. This refers to a contractual arrangement between two parties to sell and buy-back a commodity/asset simultaneously. This type of buying/selling is prohibited because the deal can easily be designed as a subterfuge for prohibited ribā.


Short form for sharika al-ʿinān. For meaning, see below.


Spending. In the literature of Islamic economics, it usually refers to spending in the way of Allah i.e. it is a general term which encompasses all the different forms of charity in Islam including expenditure on self and family.

infāq fi sabīlillāh

Spending in the way of Allah. See infāq above.


Assignment of land by the government as private property.


A waqf established by the ruler/king for the benefit of the public.


It refers to the chain of narrators in a Ḥadīth.


Extravagance, excessiveness (especially in expenditure). It covers spending on lawful objects but exceeding moderation in quantity or quality; spending on superfluous objects while necessities are unmet; spending on objects which are incompatible with the economic standard of the majority of the population.


Exchanging one thing with another. It is usually used in the context of waqf properties, i.e., replacing the original waqf property with another when the original property becomes such that benefit can no longer be derived from it.


A type of sale, in fact used to conceal a usurious loan. In this sale, the borrower supposedly sells to the lender a piece of real estate in lieu of the loan; the loan amount acting as the price of the land/house. Once the borrower repays the loan, the asset reverts back to him; the repayment of the loan acting as the re-purchase price. In the meantime, the lender leases the asset to the borrower (so that the borrower could go on using it) and the “rent” acts as the interest for the loan. In reality, this is simply an interest-bearing loan transaction with a piece of real estate as security, and hence is not permissible.


It is a doctrine of Islamic law that allows exception to strict legal reasoning, or guiding choice among possible legal outcomes, provided the same is not against the basic texts of Qur’ān and Sunnah, when considerations of human welfare so demand.


This is one of the secondary sources of Islamic law and legal deduction. Literally, it means permanency. Technically, it refers to the presumption of continuity, i.e. that a situation or a fact whose existence or non-existence had been proven in the past should be presumed to have remained as such until the contrary is proven. A scholar can use the concept of istiṣḥāb in deducing a ruling if other proofs are absent. For example, a person is considered free from liability until proven otherwise.


Used as a short form for bayʿ al-istiṣnāʿ. Refers to a contract whereby a manufacturer (contractor) agrees to produce (build) and deliver a well-described good or (premises/road etc.) at a given price on a given date in future. As against bayʿal-salam (a similar sale contract maturing in future where no manufacturing is involved. For definition see below) in istiṣnāʿ the price need not be paid in advance. It may be paid in instalments, or partly at the front end and the balance later in accordance with the agreement between the parties.




Ignorance, lack of knowledge; indefiniteness or uncertainty in a contract, sometime leading to gharar.

jalb al-malaḥah

To achieve or promote maṣlaḥah. For details, see definition of maṣlaḥah below.


Striving or fighting in the way of Allah for the establishment of Islam.


Singular jināyah. It refers to all types of injuries/harm inflicted upon a person or his property.


Usually translated as “genie”, which according to Advance Learners Dictionary means “an imaginary spirit with magic powers in ancient Middle Eastern stories”. That is not correct. According to the Holy Qur’ān, jinn is a real (not imaginary) creation of Allah. It is the only creation of Allah, besides human beings, who have the discretion to choose the way they want to act and are hence responsible for their deeds. Like human beings, they will have to account for their deeds on the Day of Judgment.


Poll tax imposed on non-Muslim citizens of an Islamic state against protection granted to them.


Payment for performing any job or providing any service, result of which is not sure to be achieved. An example is finding a lost property. Payment is contingent on fulfilment of the prescribed job or service. Even though some uncertainty is involved, the determination of the end result is considered sufficient to make it permissible.


Kafālah means responsibility, amenability or suretyship; legally, in kafālah a third party gives surety for the payment of debt. It is a pledge given to a creditor that the debtor will pay the debt, fine etc.


The party assuming responsibility in a kafālah contract for repayment of another’s debt.


One who does not believe in Allah or refutes any of His commandments.


Vicegerent. For definition, see khilāfah below.


Literally, it means any financial obligation imposed on someone. Technically, it refers to a specific tax on land imposed on conquered lands in return for the land remaining with the original owners and the state not acquiring it.


Refers to a person who is a frequent and persistent sinner.


Vicegerency. According to the Qur’ān, man is the vicegerent of Allah on earth and as such, must follow and implement His laws on earth.


A breach of trust, betrayal or treachery.


Option or a power of a contracting party to annul or cancel a contract.

khiyār al-ʿayb

Option due to defect, i.e., the buyer has the option to return the goods if they are found defective. According to the Sharīʿah this option is automatically available to the buyer.

khiyār al-ghabn

Option related to the price. If the seller sells a good at a price which is exorbitantly higher than the market price and the buyer is deceived into thinking that he is buying at the market price (whether this deception is from the seller or due to the buyer’s lack of knowledge/expertise), then the buyer has the option to revoke the contract and get back the price as this is a form of deception which is explicitly prohibited in Islam.

khiyār al-ru’yah

Option to revoke a sale contract to be exercised on seeing the goods.

khiyār al-sharṭ

A right, or an option, stipulated by one or both of the parties to a contract, to cancel the contract for any reason for a fixed period of time, e.g., three days.

khiyār al-waf

Option of quality – where goods are sold by specified quality, if that quality is absent, the goods can be returned, i.e., the buyer has the option to revoke the contract.


In Islamic fiqh, it refers to when a wife demands divorce through court in return for foregoing/repaying the dower or giving a monetary compensation to the husband.

kullīyah fiqhīyah

A general fiqh principle/rule applicable in a vast number of cases. This is similar to the more commonly used term qawāʿid fiqhīyah (see below). The difference between these two is that the term qawāʿid is more general in nature. Qawāʿid is used to refer to universal principles of fiqh which cover almost all chapters/branches of fiqh, while kullīyah fiqhīyah is used for general rules/principles applicable to a few or a single chapter and not all. Sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably as well.


Religious schools.


Anything harmful. Opposite of manfaʿah (explained below).


Pulral madhāhib - way of going; a fiqh school or orientation characterized by differences in the methods by which certain source-texts are understood and therefore differences in the Sharīʿah rulings which are deduced from them. There are four well-known madhāhib among Sunni Muslims whose names are associated with the classical jurists who are said to have founded them (Ḥanafī, Mālikī, Shāfiʿī and Ḥanbalī).


Plural mafāsid. Anything declared harmful by Sharīʿah, or anything hampering the achievement of the maqāṣid al-sharīʿah.

majlis/majlis al-ʿaqd

Refers to the place and time where a contract is entered into. The majlis al-ʿaqd remains valid until the contracting parties separate and leave the place of contract.


Anything that can be possessed; includes money such as gold, silver and monetary units, commodities such as clothes and foodstuffs, and immovable properties such as houses and factories, or any established rights.

māl mutaqawwam

Items that are lawful to use or consume in Sharīʿah; or wealth considered commercially valuable by Sharīʿah. Legal tenders of modern age that carry monetary value are included in māl mutaqawwam. It is possible that certain wealth may have no commercial value for Muslims (i.e., it is non-mutaqawwam) but is valuable for non-Muslims. Examples are wine and pork.


A school of Islamic jurisprudence named after Imam Malik.


Literally it means benefit or beneficial. Technically, it means the yield which any utilizable property produces. The term is often used by the fuqahā’ to describe the usufruct associated with a given property, especially in leasing transactions. In an automobile lease, for example, the term manfaʿah might be used to describe the benefit which the lessee derives or may derive from the use of the vehicle for the duration of the lease (as opposed to the actual ownership of the vehicle).