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Its Jargon


See, I went off on a tangent yesterday, venting about that crappy Iftar and by the time I was done I didn’t have the energy to share the Halaka* part.  Remember, the two things I could remember?

One of the things I find so difficult about listening to the lectures at Friday prayers is that even when the Imam is speaking in English, or there is a translator for English, there are Islamic terms or Arabic words thrown in the middle that I just don’t know.  More often than not, it is a pivotal part of the meaning of the lecture, and if you don’t know what it means you loose the whole gist of the talk.

So, when I was Halaka a few weeks ago, we were asked what topics would be good to cover in between times we work on tafseer* I said that I would like help with the Islamic Jargon, the Arabic Jargon that is thrown into the khutbas.*  I explained that I often sit with my phone at my side so I can send text messages to my husband and ask him what words mean, or I will make notes to ask him later.  But usually I get lost in the message because I don’t know what the Imam is  talking about.  It ends up being a spider web of words that I need to unravel later once I know all the parts.

On Sunday, the leader of our group gave a great lecture about the word ‘Taqua’ (pronounced TaKwaa.)  This is a word that cannot be defined by a one word definition, and this is why it is not translated into English.  If I have understood it correctly, Taqua is a state of being where the believer has become so God conscious and reverent, that there is a forcefield protecting them from the evils of the world.  It is like, when you see that person who is so pious, so blessed and so true, that bad things just bounce right off of them.

When I was thinking about the jargon, I realized that I might be doing something similar in my writing here when I throw words in that seem run of the mill terminology to me now, but not until I looked it up did I know the meaning.  Hence the reason for the asterisked words and definitions.  I don’t want to leave anyone out of the discussion.

I’m off to make some jewelry!  Happy Tuesday!

* Halaka – Meeting of a group of like-minded people, discussing religious topics.  (Like a Bible Study) (We don’t always stay on track though.  We’ve been known to talk the whole 1 1/2 hours on how to deal with quirky in-laws that don’t speak English.)

* Tafseer – Translation and Commentary of The Quran.

*Khutba – The sermon. 🙂

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    08/24/2011 4:00 PM

    Sister, I’m an American revert of many years ago and I initially had trouble with the many words in Arabic sprinkled throughout khutbas and other occasions. May I suggest most humbly to you that there really is no substitute for you taking the initiative to begin reading and learning on your own. Do not wait for someone to answer your questions; pick up books and read. Now with the advent of the internet (not around 20 years ago!) you can even find sites with glossary of terms, etc. If you wait to gather all these bits of knowledge as time goes by, you will miss out on a great deal of beauty in Islam.

    • 08/25/2011 10:18 AM

      Salaam, Thank you for your suggestion. Do you have any books to recommend? We do not have a good selection in town so I would need to order online, and I’m apprehensive to order books about Islam online for fear that they are not well written. I would really appreciate some titles~!


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