Official Islam Glossary
Introduction to Religion
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- The Abbasids--a dynasty of Sunni
Moslems--took over the Caliphate
from the Umayyads in
750 and held it until 1258. They established their
capital in Bagdad. During their reign, Islamic arts,
literature, and culture blossomed and flourished. The
location of the capital in Bagdad had a big impact on
Islam, transforming it from a distinctly Mediterranean
religion to one with more eastern elements.
- Called Ibrahim in Arabic, Abraham is considered to be the
first Moslem, that is,
the first person to submit himself to Allah. He was also prophet. According to
moslem belief, he and his son Ismail (i.e., Ishmael) built the Kaba and established the
practice of Hajj.
- Abu Bakr*
- The first of the Four Rightly
Guided Caliphs, Abu Bakr was an early believer and
follower of Mohammed
who became a close advisor to him. When Mohammed was ill
towards the end of his life, Abu Bakr lead the
congregational prayers and the nineth Hajj. In 632, he became the
first successor to Mohammed following Mohammed's death.
Abu Bakr died in 634.
- The call to prayer,
which traditionally the muezzin
calls from a mosque's minaret five times a day.
This lets moslems know it is time to pray, whether they
come to the mosque or pray where they are. The muezzin
faces Mecca when he
calls the Adhan.
- At the age of ten, Ali Ibn Abi Talib was the second
person to belief in the teachings of Mohammed, after Khadija. A close
associate and advisor of Mohammed all his life, Ali was
renowned as a pious man, an honest judge, a warrior, and
a leader. Shortly after the hijra
(the moslem exodus to Medina), he married Mohammed's
daughter Fatima, thus making him Mohammed's son-in-law as
well as his cousin. After Mohammed's death, Ali became
the focus of the first major split among Moslems. On the
one hand, he became the Fourth Rightly Guided Caliph in
656, for which Sunni
Moslems still revere him. On the other hand, Ali thought
that the caliphate should have gone to him because he was
Mohammed's closest male relative. Those who agreed with
him became known as the Shia
(i.e., the "party"). After his murder in 660,
his followers split from the other Moslems and became
known in English as the Shiites.
Shiite belief elevates Ali to the position of a
"Friend of Allah"--next to Mohammed--and the
center of the differences between the Shiites and the
Sunnis. In Shiite belief, Ali is the first Imam.
- Allah is the one, single god of Islam; he is considered
to be the same god as that worshipped by the Jews and the
Christians (although Moslems
believe the Christian Trinity misrepresents his nature).
The word "Allah" is a contraction of the Arabic
words "al illah" which mean "the
god"; thus, like Christianity which calls its god
"God," Moslems called their god "The
God." According to Mohammed, Allah is a singular
being who was neither born nor gives birth (in contrast
to Christian beliefs). He is the Creator, the Merciful
Judge who will bring the believers into heaven and put
the unbelievers and sinners into hell. In Islam, he is the object of
submission; that is to say, in accordance with the
meaning of "Islam," Moslems submit to Allah.
- Almsgiving (zakat in Arabic) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam,
almsgiving constitutes one of the main means by which
Islam strives for an economically just society. It is an
obligatory "poor tax"--reckoned at somewhere
between two and ten percent of income and holdings--which
can be given directly to the poor or to a distribution
official. The money is used for hospitals, schools,
helping indigent debtors and freeing slaves, as well as
poor support. From the perspective of the giver,
"zakat" (as it is known in Arabic) purifies the
giver and the remainder of his "wealth." It is
also envisioned as a loan to Allah,
who will repay it double.
- In Islam, angels are thought to be created out of light.
Their main job is to praise Allah, and they obey him
perfectly. Gabriel is
considered the chief angel. Angels are not Jinn.
- The Arabs are the Semitic peoples who originally lived in
the Arabian Peninsula (i.e., modern day Saudi Arabia,
Yemen, etc.). Today, large groups of them also live in
northern Africa, as far west as Morocco. They all speak
the Arabic language and share a number of cultural
commonalities. Most Arabs are Moslem, the rest (only
three or four percent) are Christian.
- A Shiite who is learned in Sharia,
Koran, and the Hadith, and who is known
for their piety. This person is considered by his
followers as the most learned person of his time period,
which gives him the authority to make independent
- Caliph (Arab. kalifa) was the title used by the people
who took over the leadership of the Umma (the Moslem community)
after the death of Mohammed.
It means something like "vice-regent" and
implies that they are the temporal leader, fulfilling
roles such as judge, administrator, and general. However,
they are neither the spiritual leader of the community
(in Sunni Islam there is
no spiritual leader for the entire community) nor are
they a prophet like
Mohammed. The institution of the caliphs is called the
"Caliphate." The office of caliph was held
first by the Four Rightly
Guided Caliphs, then by the Umayyads, and then the Abbasids. The death of
the last Abbasid emperor ended the caliphate for all
intents and purposes.
- Charity *
- The third of the Five Pillars
of Islam is more accurately called almsgiving. In Islam,
charity (Arab. zadaqah) is better known as the voluntary
giving of money, food, etc. to the poor. It differs from almsgiving, which is
- See People of the Book.
- Islam views King David as a prophet.
- Dome of the Rock *
- The Dome of the Rock is the shrine in Jerusalem which makes
Jerusalem the third holiest city in Islam. It is set over
an outcropping of bedrock on which the Holy of Holies of
the Jewish Temple supposedly rested. It is from here that
Mohammed rose into
heaven on his Night Journey.
Although the shrine is sometimes called "The Mosque
of Omar," the Dome
of the Rock is technically not a mosque.
- Eid al-Adha
- This is one of two main religious festivals in Islam (not
including Ramadan and the Hajj), the other is Eid
al-Fitr. It is also known as the Festival of the
Sacrifice or the Major Festival. It is called the
Festival of the Sacrifice for two reasons. First, the
first day is the 10th day of the month Dhul al-Hijja, the
day when the pilgrims on Hajj offer the sacrifice in the
valley of Mina, which is one of the final acts of the
Hajj. Second, the festival commemorates the day on which
the Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim)
tried to fulfill Allah's command to sacrifice his son Ishmael (Ismael), but was prevented
from doing so by an angel. The festival lasts for four
days and is a time of feasting, rejoicing and
- Eid al-Fitr
- This is the second of the two main religious festivals in
Islam (not including Ramadan and
the Hajj), the other is Eid al-Adha. It is also know as the
"festival of the breaking of the fast" or the
Minor Festival. It is a time of celebration and rejoicing
for it officially brings the observance of fasting during
Ramadan to a close. Although
called the "Minor" festival, it is often
celebrated with much more rejoicing and gaity than the
- In general, "faqir" means "poor." In
Islam, it is particularly applied to a Sufi who has voluntary
become poor. In Sufism, it also applies to one who is
"poor in spirit," who has according to Sufi
belief humbled himself before Allah.
- Fasting (sawm in Arabic) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. All
healthy and sane Moslems are expected to fast (to abstain
from food, drink, smoking and other bodily pleasures)
during the daylight hours throughout the entire month of Ramadan. This means that
they rise before dawn to eat breakfast and then eat a
large meal after dusk. While they fast during the day,
Moslems are expected to reflect on themselves and their
standing before Allah, and ask for forgiveness for their
sins. The evening meal, by contrast, is often a time of
enjoyment and the gathering of friends and relatives.
- The daughter of Mohammed
and Khadija. She
married Ali who became the
fourth Rightly Guided Caliph
and the leader of the Shia.
- Five Pillars*
- The Five Pillars of Islam indicate the main values and
practices of Islam. They are: the Shahadah, Prayer, Almsgiving, Fasting, and the Hajj.
- Four Rightly Guided Caliphs*
- These are Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali. They are the first four
leaders of Islam after the death of Mohammed. They took the
title "caliph" to make it clear that they were
not a prophet like Mohammed; it is often translated as
"vice-regent," which indicates that the holder
is an administrator (as well as a warrior). After the
killing of Ali, the Umayyad
dynasty became the leaders of the Islamic world. See also
- Friday Mosque*
- On Friday, moslems are expected to gather in community
prayer at noon. This is usually done in a large,
centrally located mosque called a "Friday
Mosque." For further discussion, click here.
- The angel who served as
a messenger between Allah
and Mohammed to bring
him the visions and the Koran.
The Arabic word for Gabriel is Jabreel (=Jabril).
- See Allah.
- The stories about and sayings of Mohammed. After his
death, these were tested for accuracy and collected into
an organized body of material. They provide examples of
proper behavior and instances of Mohammed's understanding
of his role.
- The fifth of the Five Pillars
of Islam. It lays out the goal of each Moslem performing
a pilgrimage to Mecca to
worship at the Kaba and
to rededicate themselves to Allah
at sites important in his life. The Hajj is immediately
followed by the festival of Eid al-Adha.
- A pre-Islamic term referring to certain individuals in
the Hejaz region who
pursued experience of and interaction with the gods of
the region. Mohammed, for example, was initially a hanif
- The mountainous region of the Arabian Pennisula that is
located along the north-east coast of the Red Sea. It is
here that both Mecca and
Medina are located. At
the time of Mohammed's birth, it was populated by
numerous, rival Arab
- The exodus of Mohammed
and his followers from Mecca
to Medina in 622.
- Ibrahim, Ibraheem
- See Abraham.
- (1) In Sunni Islam, the
leader of worship in a mosque.
(2) In Shiite Islam, a
spiritual leader whose authority comes from Mohammed through his
son-in-law Ali. According
to Shiite belief, there is an unbroken succession of
Imams after Ali, although particular Imams may be hidden
by Allah for protection. The line of Imams living in the world has now
ceased, although most Shiites believe that the final one, the Mahdi, is
alive in hiding (occultation) and will return.
- The son of Abraham, Ishmael is known as Ismail in Arabic.
For Islam, Ishmael is the ancestor of the (northern)
Arabs. He is a prophet,
and assisted Abraham in building the Kaba. He is seen as the most
important of Abraham's
two sons; this is the reverse of Judaism and Christianity
which sees Isaac as the dominant son. Indeed, in the
story about Abraham almost sacrificing his son, Islam
identifies the son as Ishmael, not Isaac.
- The religion which focuses on the human submission to Allah. The term
"Islam" itself derives from two different
roots, one which means "submission" and the
other which means "peace." A person enters
Islam by saying the Shahada.
Approximately 80% of Moslems follow the Sunni line, while something
over 15% are Shiites.
According to Islam, Allah is the god of the Jews and the
Christians--indeed, many Jewish and Christian figures are
considered Islamic prophets,
such as Abraham, David, and Jesus--but Mohammed is the final
prophet, who managed to bring to humanity the complete
and true understanding of Allah.
- See Ishmael.
- Jabril, Jabreel
- See Gabriel.
- The third most holy city in Islam. This is due to its
importance to the prophets
of Islam that are also recognized by Judaism and
Christianity. It also comes from the belief that
Mohammed's night visit to heaven began from the ruined
Temple Mount in Jerusalem. In 691, Moslems built the Dome
of the Rock over that specific location. In the earliest
years of Islam, Moslems prayered towards Jerusalem, until
the direction was changed to Mecca.
- In Islam, Jesus is considered an important prophet who
came to deliver Allah's
message to humanity. Unfortunately, that message was not
transmitted accurately and, in Moslem eyes, resulted in
the false notion that Jesus was more than a prophet.
- See People of the Book.
- There are two types of Jihad. The Lesser Jihad is the
expectation that Moslems will defend their homeland and
Islam from attack. The Greater Jihad is the inner battle
which Moslems continually fight within themselves to
submit to Allah and to
fulfill his expectations of humans.
- Invisible begins, in Islamic belief, who were created
from fire. They can be good or bad, are held eternally
accountable for their actions.
- A rectangular structure (about 20 feet by 30 feet and
about 50 feet high) which is build with a special holy
stone as its cornerstone. It is in the center of a large mosque in Hajj.
The Kaba serves as the center of the Moslem world and all
Moslems pray towards it, whereever they may be in the
- Khadija was Mohammed's first wife and his first follower.
She was a moderately wealthy widow who hired Mohammed to
manage the caravan business left to her by her first
husband. Five years later, when Mohammed was 25 and
Khadija was 40, she proposed marriage to him. They had a
happy marriage with several children, including daughter,
Fatima. During her
lifetime, Mohammed took no other wives. She died in 619.
- According to Moslem belief, Allah
composed the Koran (=Quran) and had his angel Gabriel transmit it to sura by sura. These
transmissions--called recitations--began in 610 and
continued until Mohammed's death in 632. Gabriel would
teach each recitation to Mohammed, who would memorize it
and then teach it to his followers, who would also
memorize it. The third Caliph Uthman had the Koran
written down, with the help of Islam's best memorizers,
thereby establishing a fixed text. The Koran is Islam's
sole sacred text; to be sure, the hadith, the sunna, and other writings
are important, but they are the work of humans whereas
the Koran comes from Allah himself. Since the Koran is
the direct words of Allah, it provides God's final and
- At the time of Mohammed's
birth, the Koreish tribe controlled Mecca and the area
around it, including the Kaba.
Since they gained income both from trade that passed
through their territories and from pilgrimage to the
Kaba, they opposed Mohammed's message of monotheistic
worship of Allah. After
the Moslems left for Medina,
the Koreish tribe led armies out to defeat the Medinans.
After their own defeat in 630, the Koreish tribe
converted to Islam.
- See Mosque.
- Mecca, Makkah*
- This is the town in the Hejaz
where Mohammed was
born. It was the stronghold of the Koreish tribe and the
location of the sacred site of the Kaba. After Mohammed was
driven out by the Koreiysh tribe in 622 for teaching the
monotheistic worship of Allah,
the Meccans tried to kill Mohammed through military
attacks. In 630, the Meccans were definitively defeated
by Mohammed's Medinan
forces, and the Moslems took over Mecca and the Kaba.
Since then Mecca has been the most holy site in Islam
(followed by Medina and Jerusalem)
and the destination of the Hajj.
- Medina, Madina*
- Originally called Yathrib, in 622 the elders of this town
asked Mohammed to
come and govern them. He agreed on the conditions that
they accept him as a Prophet and allow him to bring his
followers. Mohammed governed this town until his death in
632. During his stay, the town came to be known as
Medinat al-Nabi ("City of the Prophet"), or
Medina for short. The Moslem exodus to Medina is known as
the hijra. The year of
the hijra, 622, became the first year of the Moslem
calendar. Since Mohammed was buried in Medina, it is
considered the second most holy city in Islam, after Mecca.
- The minaret is a tower attached to a mosque from which the muezzin issues the call
to prayer (the adhan). Although the tower
can be any shape, it is typically round.
- Mohammed, Muhammad*
- Mohammed was born in Mecca
in 570 CE. He was orphaned early in his life and was
raised by his uncle. Mohammed worked in his uncle's
business and quickly established a reputation as a highly
honest person. At the age of twenty he was hired by a
wealthy widow named Khadija
to manage her late-husband's caravan business. When
Mohammed was 25, Khadija proposed marriage and Mohammed
accepted. Although several children were born to them,
only one survived into adulthood, their daughter Fatima. In 610, Mohammed
sought out and began to have visions from Allah. Through the angel Gabriel, Allah
transmitted the entire Koran
to Mohammed. When Mohammed began to preach his new
religion, the rulers of Mecca were strongly opposed. In
622, Mohammed was approached by the elders of a town some
250 miles to the north and asked to be their ruler.
Mohammed accepted on the conditions that they would also
accept him as a prophet and that he could bring his
followers. The exodus to this town, Medina as it later came to
be known, was called the hijra.
The Meccans attacked the Medinans several times, but the
Medinans always managed to drive them off. In 630, the
Meccans were defeated by Mohammed's forces and the
Moslems returned to Mecca to rule there and cleanse the Kaba of all its idols.
Mohammed continued to rule Medina, where he died in 632.
Islam considers Mohammed the last of a long line of prophets of Allah and has
given him the title of the Seal
of the Prophets.
- The mosque (masjid in Arabic) is a house of prayer for
community worship. The main prayer hall of a mosque is
usually fairly empty; having floors covered with fine
carpets rather than chairs. The hall has a niche--called
a mihrab--which indicates the direction of Mecca, towards which
prayers are offered. Although the prayers which Moslems pray
five times a day can be said in private--or whereever a
person happens to be--the mosque is seen as the place for
communal prayer, especially on Friday. To call
worshippers to prayer, the muezzin
climbs the mosque's minaret
and chants the call. As a religious center, a mosque may
have a number of institutions attached to it; these may
include a college, an alms kitchen for the poor, a
hospital, a library, a primary school, a cemetery, and so
on. See also Friday Mosque.
- Moslem, Muslim*
- (1) A person who practices Islam. (2) The adjective of
the noun "Islam."
- The muezzin calls moslems to prayer five times a day
from a high place, usually the minaret of the local mosque by crying out the
Call to Prayer (Arab. adhan).
- In Sunni Islam, a mullah is a
scholar who is learned in the Sharia.
- Night Journey *
- In the Night Journey of Mohammed,
Gabriel took Mohammed
from Medina to Jerusalem. They stopped
momentarily on the spot that later became the Dome of the
Rock. From there, Mohammed ascended into heaven to visit
with prophets who had gone before him. For a long story
about the journey, along with a picture of the Dome of
the Rock, click here.
- People of the Book*
- Islam considers the Jews and the Christians to be People
of the Book. This gives them a special legal status
within Islamic regions, essentially one of second-class
citizenship, but with clearly defined rights and
responsibilities. In Arabic, this status is that of dhimmi. In contrast to other non-Moslems, they
could worship as they wished, own property, and had legal
rights in Moslem courts. They could also serve in
government. By contrast, they could not build new
synagogues or churches, proselytize, or serve in the
military. These rights gave them a place in Moslem
society and protected them from persecution.
- See Hajj.
- Prayer (salat or salah in Arabic) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. All
Moslems are expected to pray five times a day. These are
fixed prayers (including the Shahada and the opening Sura of the Koran) which can be said in
private, where ever one happened to be when the time for
prayer comes, or with the community in a mosque.
- Since Islam considers Allah
to be the god of the Jews and the Christians (see also People of the Book), it
views the important figures of those two religions as
prophets of Allah. Some of the figures Islam considers
prophets are: Adam, Abraham,
Ishmael, David, and Jesus. All these prophets
delivered Allah's message, but somehow it was corrupted
or shortened and so their work was only partially
successful. This is why Mohammed
is considered the Seal of the
Prophets, because he brought the complete, final, and
uncorrupted message of Allah to humanity.
- See Koran.
- See Koreish.
- A woman who was an important eighth-century Sufi. She introduced the
emphasis on love of Allah
into Sufism. From her perspective, selfless love of Allah
was all important, and was vastly superior to loving him
because of fear of hell or desire of heaven.
- Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic year. It is
considered holy because it was during this month that
Mohammed received the first revelation of the Koran. During this month,
Moslems fast during
the daytime. At the end of the month, the festival of the
Breaking of the Fast (Eid al-Fitr)
occurs. It lasts for several days, during Moslems
exchange gifts and greetings, and engage in feasting.
- See Prayer.
- Seal of the Prophets*
- Mohammed is considered the "Seal of the
Prophets." That is, he is the final prophet--the
"Seal"-- in the line of Islamic prophets that goes back
through Jesus, David, and Moses to Adam.
The teachings Allah gave
through him--the Koran--
are the final revelation to humanity.
- The Shahada is the central Moslem statement of faith. It
is short, but in two parts. The first is: "There is
no god but Allah" (Arab. "La illahah illah
'lla"). The second is: "And Mohammed is his
Prophet" (Arab. "Wah Mohammadan rasulu
'llah"). Saying the Shahada in Arabic with the
intent of becoming a Moslem immediately makes a person a
member of the Umma (i.e.,
the Islamic Community).
- Shaikh, Sheikh*
- (1) The leader of a town or village. (2) The head
religious (Islamic) functionary in a town or region. (3)
In Sufism, a spiritual
master. This individual collects disciples around him to
teach them the way of Sufism, and ultimately how to
become a shaikh themselves.
- (1) Historically, the term "Sharia" refers to
all the elements of a proper--i.e., righteous--Islamic
life; these include proper moral behavior, proper respect
towards Allah, correct belief, proper personal piety, and
so on. In other words, it means the right way to life
one's life as a Moslem. (2) In more recent times, it has
come to refer to a much narrower notion, that of
"Islamic Law." This usage is quite common in
the Western press.
- The term "Shia" means "party" or
"partisans," and refers to the followers of Ali who held that Mohammed
had appointed Ali as his successor. After Ali's
assassination, they split from their fellow Moslems (who
became know as the Sunni
Moslems). In English, this branch of Islam is called Shiite Islam.
- Shiite Islam*
- Today, Shiite Moslems make up about 15 percent of all
Moslems (the rest are Sunni).
The main reason for their split from the rest of the Umma lies in their
different understanding of the proper succession after
Mohammed's death. The Shiites believed that Mohammed had
designed Ali as his
successor and spiritual heir. There are two important
aspects here. First, the idea that Mohammed's heir should
be from Mohammed's family. Second, that unlike the caliphate, the successor
should be a religious and spiritual leader as well as a
wielder of worldly and temporal power. Thus the leader
was called Imam rather
than caliph. The Twelver
Shiites believe in the ongoing succession of Imam,
although the last living Imam was the twelveth (born in
873); he has become the Hidden Imam, the coming messianic
figure whose arrival will usher in the end of time (and
the Day of Judgment).
- Sufi, Sufism*
- Sufism is a term that designates Islam's mystical and
ascetic movements. A Sufi is one who practices Sufism.
Sufis attempt to go beyond the restrictions of a
"typical" Moslem life and to seek Allah in more intimate
ways. They strive to break down the barriers between
themselves and Allah by replacing their human
characteristics with divine ones. In many ways, this is
similar to the Buddhist's attempts to reach enlightenment
(the realization that all is one). Since Allah is one
himself, the attempt to reach him can become the
realization of the oneness of all things. Sufis focus on
three kinds of mysticism to accomplish this: love
mysticism (see Rabia),
ecstatic mysticism, and intuitive mysticism (see Smith,
pp. 259-261). There has always been a tension between
Sufism and classical Islam because many of the beliefs,
actions, and statement of Sufism appear heretical to
- The sunna is the paradigm of the behavior of the perfect
Moslem, based on the example set by Mohammed. It includes
aspects of ethics and morality, purity, prayer and
worship, as well as matters of social and familial
relations. This paradigm is derived from the hadith, the stories and
about sayings of Mohammed.
- Sunni Islam*
- The followers of Sunni Islam make up the vast majority of
Moslems, some 80 to 85 percent. Indeed, when people speak
about "Islam," or say "Moslems
believe..." or "Moslems do...", they are
usually referring to Sunni Islam. The basis for the
difference between Sunni Islam and Shiite Islam lies in their
beliefs about the successor to Mohammed. Sunnis believe
that Mohammed did not appoint a successor, and therefore
one had to be appointed by the Moslems themselves. This
lead to the establishment of the Caliphate, a series of men
who took over Mohammed's worldly and temporal power, but
who made no claim to be Mohammed's spiritual successor.
- The Arabic term for a chapter in the Koran.
- Twelvers *
- The Twelvers are the largest branch of Shiite Islam, and are also
known as the Imamiyya. They are named after their belief
that the twelth Imam,
Mohammed al-Mahdi disappeared, being taken by Allah. They
expect him to return before the Judgement Day as a
messiah figure. The Mahdi is know as the Hidden Imam.
- See Mullah.
- The entire community of Moslems, those who have submitted
themselves to Allah.
(See also Islam.)
- Umar was the second of the Rightly
Guided Caliphs. He took over after Abu Bakr's death in 634 and
ruled until being killed by an angry slave in 644. He
began the administrative and religious regulations that
enabled the expansion of the Islamic empire.
- After initially opposing Mohammed, the Umayyad family
became strong Moslems. They became rulers of the Islamic
Empire (as Caliphs)
from 661-750, after the death of Ali, the last of the Rightly Guided Caliphs.
Headquartered in Damascus, they ruled the entire Islamic
Empire--from Spain, across North Africa into the Middle
East and beyond--until they were overthrown by the Abassids.
- Uthman was the third of the Rightly
Guided Caliphs, and ruled from the death of Umar in 644 to 656. Under
Uthman, the Quran was edited into its final form. Uthman
was a controversial appointment as Caliph, since his
extended family--the Umayyads--had been fierce opponents
of Mohammed. He was assassinated in 656.
Wali An Islamic term for saint.
- See Almsgiving.
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For more information, please email PFlesher@uwyo.edu.
Copyright ©1996 Paul V. M. Flesher.
This glossary was written by Paul V. M. Flesher; it is not
drawn from any published work. It is for use with the course RELI
1000, Introduction to Religion, taught at the University of
Wyoming. The main textbook for this course is Huston Smith's The
World's Religions. It has influenced both the vocabulary
choices and the definitions, which are designed to be compatible
with the text.