A glossary of technical terms, as used in the essays and articles published on this platform—this list will be updated periodically, and the terms therein may be subject to revision.
Abbasid: a member of the Abbasid family (banū al-ʿabbās), which is branch of the Hashimid clan within the larger Qurashid tribe.
Abrahamic: the adjective for Abrahamism.
Abrahamism: any religious tendency or sect that emphasises Abraham (e.g., the millat ʾibrāhīm ḥanīf referenced in the Quran); not to be confused with Abrahamitic.
Abrahamitic: the adjective denoting the broad religious-tradition that originated from Bible-associated monotheism, including Samaritanism, Rabbinical Judæism, Christianity, and Islam.
Alawite: a partisan of the early Alawite politico-religious faction (šīʿat ʿaliyy), who believed that ʿUṯmān ibn ʿAffān had become illegitimate and deserved to be killed and replaced by ʿAlī ibn ʾabī Ṭālib.
Arab: the ethnonym commonly used for the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula (bar certain southern tribes), and also used by those claiming ancestry from Arabia (including Arabised mawālī).
Arab Empire: the polity—initially an Emirate, and later a Caliphate—established by the conquering Arab armies of Madinah during the 7th Century.
Arabic: the Semitic language-tradition associated with the Arab nation, which was codified into a classical literary form (al-luḡah al-fuṣḥá) during the Abbasid period; the contemporary descendent of Classical Arabic is ‘Modern Standard Arabic’ (fuṣḥá al-ʿaṣr), although most Arabs also speak regional dialects of Arabic (al-luḡah al-ʿāmmiyyah) with varying degrees of mutual-intelligibility.
Arabicised: to be appropriated into the Arabic language (which, for some loanwords, entailed the invention of suitable Arabic etymologies).
Arabicist: a modern academic specialist in classical Arabic literature.
Arabised: to become culturally Arab (i.e., to adopt culture associated with Arabs), and/or to adopt Arab identity (as did most of the local mawālī of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and North Africa).
Caliph: a ‘Representative of God’ (ḵalīfat allāh) or a ‘Successor to the Messenger of God’ (ḵalīfat rasūl allāh), i.e., a title used by some Muslim rulers and dynasties.
Caliphate: a polity ruled by a Caliph.
Class: a social grouping defined by a systematic relationship to the means of production (e.g., those who control the means of production, those who operate the means of production, etc.).
Collection: a book comprised of multiple items such as essays, reports, and other data (e.g., a collection of Hadith), or the process of creating such a book.
Companion: (Arabic: ṣaḥābī; pl.: ṣaḥābah): a contemporary to the Prophet Muḥammad, per later Islamic usage.
Compendium: a written collection of information on a particular topic (e.g., a collection of jurisprudence).
Compilation: a book assembled from initially discrete materials (e.g., the chronicle of aṭ-Ṭabarī, which was compiled from various prior chronicle), or the process of creating such a book.
Conservative: a person or position advocating the preservation of their contemporaneous politico-economic system and/or culture.
Culture: the material and intellectual manifestations of society.
Dicta: the plural of dictum.
Dictum: an authoritative statement or ruling (e.g., a doctrinal assertion by the Prophet).
Document: a primary written source (including papyri, coins, and inscriptions).
Documentary: having the quality of being a contemporaneous record.
Emir: a ‘commander’ (ʾamīr) in Arabic, such as a ruler, governor, or general.
Emirate: a polity ruled by an Emir.
Ethnicity: a cultural identity based upon a perceived common ancestry and/or language.
Fiqh: Islamic jurisprudence.
Follower: (Arabic: tābiʿ; pl.: tābiʿūn): a contemporary to a Companion, per later Islamic usage.
Formula: a stereotypical literary pattern (e.g., the Rank-Raglan mythotype) or phrasing (e.g., the Quranic device ḡafūr raḥīm).
Formulæ: the plural of formula.
Hadith: an orally-transmitted narrative-report recording an anecdote pertaining to the Prophet Muḥammad (or some other early authority), and collectively, a de facto secondary scripture within Sunnite Islam; Hadith are differentiated from other kinds of Islamic reports in terms of genre, being doctrinal (i.e., theological and legal) reports in particular.
Hashimid: a member of the Hashimid clan (banū hāšim), which is a branch of the Qurashid tribe.
Hashimite: a supporter of the Hashimid clan, or more specifically, a member of the hāšimiyyah (pan-Hashimid, generic Shi’ite) movement that ultimately brought the Abbasids to power.
Historiography: the writing of history, i.e., the literary-tradition of recording past phenomena.
Islam: as a descriptive approximation, the continuum of religious beliefs and practices associated, however vaguely, with the conceptual foci of Muḥammad and the Quran; or, as an autonymic approximation, the continuum of s religious beliefs and practices of the demographic that self-identifies as Muslim.
Islamdom: the geographical area of the collective continuum of Muslim societies; this modern term has some historical equivalence in the Mediæval Islamic juridico-geographical concept of ‘the Domain of Submission’ (dār al-ʾislām).
Islamic: the adjective for Muslim religious phenomena, i.e., specifically-Muslim religious culture.
Islamicist: a modern academic specialist within Islamic Studies.
Islamic historiography: the religio-historiographical literary-tradition of Muslims, both Mediæval and Modern; this includes various linguistic sub-traditions, such as Arabic-Islamic historiography (e.g., aṭ-Ṭabarī) and Persian-Islamic historiography (e.g., ʾabū al-Faḍl Bayhaqī).
Islamic origins: the formative period of Islamic culture, i.e., early Islamic history; this period traditionally begins around 610, and ends around 661 by some estimations and later (e.g., 750 or even 800) by others.
Islamicate: the adjective for Muslim non-religious phenomena, i.e., Muslim-dominated trans-Muslim culture (including non-Muslims).
Marwanid: a member of the Marwanid family (banū marwān ibn al-ḥakam), which is branch of the Umayyad clan within the larger Qurashid tribe.
Methodology: a set of assumptions utilised to analyse data, often in the form of a formula or procedure.
Middle East: the territorial nexus between Anatolia, Iran, Arabia, and Egypt.
Motif: a recurring or dominant idea or theme (e.g., ‘sinners are justly punished’).
Muslim: descriptively, an adherent of Islam; autonymically, any religious person who self-identifies as such.
Narrative: a story or account, which can be written or oral, and can be factual or fictional.
Nation: an ethnic group or ideological community; not to be confused with state.
Orthodoxy: ideally, the ‘true’ beliefs of a given religion; practically, the dominant or majority beliefs—or at least, the beliefs of the leading authorities of the dominant or majority group—within a given religion.
Orthopraxy: ideally, the ‘true’ practices of a given religion; practically, the dominant or majority practices—or at least, the practices articulated by the leading authorities of the dominant or majority group—within a given religion.
Praxis: the practical application of theory.
Progressive: a person or position advocating modifications to their contemporaneous politico-economic system and/or culture.
Prosopography: a compendium of descriptions of people with common characteristics (e.g., a list of the Companions who settled in Kufah); biographical-dictionaries are a sub-genre of prosopography.
Quran: the text (both oral and written) traditionally associated with Muḥammad, which most Muslims regard as God-given scripture.
Qurashid: a member of the Qurashid tribe (banū qurayš).
Radical: a person or position advocating a new politico-economic system and/or culture vis-à-vis their contemporaneous status quo.
Reactionary: a person or position advocating the return to a prior politico-economic system and/or culture vis-à-vis their contemporaneous status quo.
Recension: a revised edition of a text, or the process of revising a text, often by a post-authorial editor (e.g., ad-Dabarī collected and transcribed the materials transmitted from ʿAbd ar-Razzāq, thereby creating a recension).
Redaction: an abridged or partially-censored edition of a text, or the process of abridging or censoring a text, often by a post-authorial editor (e.g., ibn Hišām abridged and partially censored the work of ibn ʾIsḥāq, thereby creating a redaction); redaction is a form of recension.
Šarīʿah: the law of God, as revealed via the Quran and exemplified via the conduct of the Prophet Muḥammad.
Scripture: the central authoritative sacred text(s) within a religion, or alternatively, a text regarded as influenced by good supernatural forces (i.e., divinely-authored or divinely-inspired).
Shi’ism: descriptively, the Islamic religious-tradition based around the veneration of ʿAlī, his family, and his descendants, comprised of numerous divergent sects and sub-sects (including Twelvers, Isma’ilites, and Druze).
Shi’ite: an adherent of Shi’ism.
Sufyanid: a member of the Sufyanid or Harbid family (banū ḥarb ibn ʾumayyah), which is branch of the Umayyad clan within the larger Qurashid tribe.
Sunan: the plural of sunnah.
Sunnah: exemplary practice or custom, such as the precedent of the Prophet (sunnat al-nabiyy).
Sunnism: descriptively, the Islamic religious-tradition based around the veneration of the Companions as a whole, the exaltation of the sunnah of the Prophet Muḥammad above all others, and the acceptance of the Rashidun Caliphs as coequal.
Sunnite: an adherent of Sunnism.
Talibid: a member of the Talibid family (banū ṭālib), which is branch of the Hashimid clan within the larger Qurashid tribe.
Theology: beliefs about God, gods, and/or related ideas, or the study thereof.
Topoi: the plural of topos.
Topos: a literary stereotype, such as motifs and formulæ.
Trope: a figure of speech.
Umayyad: a member of the Umayyad clan (banū ʾumayyah), which is a branch of the Qurashid tribe.
Uthmanite: a partisan of the early Uthmanite politico-religious faction (šīʿat ʿuṯmān), who believed that ʿUṯmān ibn ʿAffān had remained legitimate up until his death, and therefore, that his murder and replacement were illegitimate.