ÝÁlim (pl., ÝulamÁ’). A doctor of Islamic sciences, in particular legal and religious studies. The term is occasionally applied to any learned man.
atabeg. A Turkish title literally meaning Ýprince-father’. Originally the atabegs were guardians appointed for minor princes of the Seljuk clan, but eventually they became de facto rulers.
basileus. The royal title used by ancient Greek kings; adopted by Heraclius in the year 610 and subsequently the official title of Byzantine emperors.
caliph. Anglicized form of the Arabic word khalÐfa literally Ýsuccessor’. The title was adopted by the first leaders of the Muslim state after the death of MuÎammad and designated the spiritual and temporal commander of the believers, or Ýprince of the faithful’. By the time of the Crusades, the caliphs were mere figureheads under the domination of other leaders.
dÐwÁn. Although the word has various meanings, the sense here is Ýcouncil’ or Ýcourt’, and by extension the room in which a council or court would meet.
emir. A Turkish title designating a military commander, derived from the Arabic amÐr, originally meaning Ýone who commands’, or Ýprince’.
fidÁ'Ð (pl., fidÁ'Ðn, or fedayeen). Literally, Ýone who sacrifices himself’. By extension, fighters who are prepared to risk their lives with abandon.
ÎammÁm. Public bath; also an important social institution in Arab society.
hijra. The Ýemigration’ of the Prophet MuÎammad from Mecca to Medina in the year 622. It marks the start of the Muslim calendar; the Anglicized form is ÝHegira’.
imÁm. The leader of public prayers; also the leader of a Muslim community.
jihÁd. Holy war against unbelievers. In Islam, jihÁd is a duty of all Muslims, although there is disagreement about the form it must take and the circumstances in which it is appropriate.
khamsÐn. A hot desert wind not unlike the Italian sirocco.
koran. Anglicized form of Qur'Án, the Muslim holy book.
mamlÙk. Originally Ýslave’ (the word literally means Ýowned’); subsequently, a slave trained to be a soldier and even military commander; especially applied to those of Turkish or Circassian origin, who later founded a dynasty.
muezzin. Anglicized form of the Arabic mu'adhdhin, the man who calls the hour of prayer, usually from atop a minaret.
mujÁhid (pl., mujÁhidÐn). Fighter, or freedom fighter. The word is derived from the same root as jihÁd.
mushrikÐn. Polytheists. Derived from a root meaning Ýto associate’, it was originally applied to people who Ýassociated’ other gods to the One True God.
qÁdÐ. A judge administering religious law, which in Islam is the basis of civil law as well.
ra'Ðs. President or Ýhead’. Applied to various posts of civic responsibility.
sÁÎil. Coast or coastline.
sharÐf. A noble. Originally applied only to descendants of the Prophet, of the Hashemite clan.
ShiÝi. A Muslim who is a member of the religious current founded by the supporters of ÝAlÐ, the fourth caliph and cousin and son-in-law of MuÎammad. ShiÝism (derived from the word shÐÝa, Ýparty’ or Ýfaction’, meaning the party or faction of ÝAlÐ) became the major minority religious grouping of Islam. Here, in contrast to Sunni (see below).
souk. A market-place, often consisting of dozens, even hundreds, of stalls and shops.
Sufi. A Muslim mystic, usually a member of a particular religious order with its own distinctive rites.
Sunni. A Muslim of the majority current of Islam. So-called because the Sunnis claim the authority of the sunna, or Ýpractice’ of the Prophet.
ÝulamÁ’. See ÝÁlim.
vizier. Anglicized form of the Arabic wazÐr, or Ýminister’. Under the Fatimid dynasty of Egypt, the vizier was in charge of the administration of the realm, in the name of the caliph.