Windsor-Brooke Books

Glossary of terms used in this book

ABAAYA  A black, full-length outer garment worn by Saudi women. 

ABU  Father. 

Al RAS  School for girls in Saudi Arabia. 

AL  SA'UD  Ruling family of Saudi Arabia. 

ARABIC  Language relating to Arabs or Arabia. 

ASSIUT  Village in southern Egypt. 

BACKGAMMON  Board game popular in Middle East. 

BAHRAIN  Island nation in the Arabian Gulf. 

BEDOUIN  A nomadic desert people, the original Arabs. 

BIN (or IBN)  Following a man's given name and preceding a man's father's or grandfather's name.  Means "son of." 

CAIRO  Capital of Egypt. 

CHRISTIANITY  Religion derived from the teachings of Jesus Christ. 

DHU AL HIJAH  The twelfth month of the hejira calendar. 

DHU AL QIDA  The eleventh month of the hejira calendar. 

DUBAI  A city located in the federation of the United Arab Emirates bordering Saudi Arabia.

EGYPT  Country in Africa and on Sinai Peninsula. 

EMIRATES  United Arab Emirates, which is a federation of small emirate states located on the Arabian Peninsula. 

FRENCH RIVIERA  Fashionable Mediterranean resort area in southeastern France famed for its scenery, warm climate, and excellent beaches. 

GAMAA AL ISLAMIYA  Islamic extremist group formed in Egypt in the early 1980s. 

GREEN BOOK  Qaddafi's Green Book: Philosophy of Colonel Qaddafi of Libya. 

HADITHS  Sayings and traditions of Prophet Mohammed that help to formulate Islamic law. 

HAJ  Annual pilgrimage to Makkah made by those of the Islamic faith. 

HAJJI  Pilgrim who makes the pilgrimage to Makkah (a title that denotes honor). 

HEJIRA  Islamic calendar that started on the date that Prophet Mohammed fled Makkah and escaped to Madinah (622). 

IHRAM  Special time during Haj that all Muslims refrain from normal life and dwell on nothing but religious matters. 

IMAM  Person who leads communal prayers and/or delivers the sermon on Fridays. 

INFANTICIDE  Practice of killing an infant. In pre-Islamic times a common practice in Arabia of ridding the family of unwanted female children. 

ILSAM  Religious faith of Muslims of which Mohammed was the Prophet. Islam is the last of the three great monotheistic religions to appear. 

JEDDAH  Saudi Arabian city located on the Red Sea. 

JUDAISM  Religion developed among the ancient Hebrews. 

KAABA  Islam's holiest shrine, a sacred sanctuary for all Muslims. The Kaaba is a small building in the Holy Mosque of Makkah, nearly cubic in shape, built to enclose the Black Stone, which is the most venerated Muslim object. 

KOHL  A black powder used by Saudi Arabian women that goes on the eyelid of the eye to enhance the beauty of a woman. 

KORAN  The Holy Book of all Muslims that contains the words of God as they were given to Prophet Mohammed. 

KUWAIT  Small sheikhdom that borders Saudi Arabia that has more than 10 percent of the world's oil reserves. 

LA  Arabian word meaning "no." 

MADINAH  Second holiest city of Islam. The burial place of Prophet Mohammed. 

MAHRAM  Males to whom a woman cannot be married, such as her father, brother, or uncle, who are allowed to be a woman's escort when traveling. Must be a close relative. 

MAKKAH  Holiest city of Islam. Each year, millions of Muslims travel to Makkah to perform the annual pilgrimage. 

MONOTHEISM  Belief that there is only one God. 

MORALS POLICE  Religious authorities in Saudi Arabia who have the power to arrest those they believe commit moral wrongs or crimes against Islam or go against the teachings of Islam. 

MUEZZIN  The crier who calls the faithful to pray five times a day. 

MUSLIM  Adherent of the religion founded by Prophet Mohammed in the year 610. 

MUT'A  Temporary marriage allowed to those of the Islamic faith. 

MUTAWWA  The religious police, also known as the morals police. Men who seek out, arrest, and punish those who do not abide by Saudi religious law. 

NAJD  The traditional name for central Arabia. The inhabitants of this area are known for their conservative behavior. The ruling family of Saudi Arabia are Najdis. 

PLO  Palestine Liberation Organization. 

POLYGAMY  Marriage to more than one spouse at the same time. Men of the Muslim faith are legally allowed four wives at one time. 

PURDAH  A practice of confining women to their homes. This total seclusion of females can occur in some Muslim countries. 

PURIFICATION  The ritual of cleansing prior to offering prayers to God practiced by Muslims. 

RED SEA  The sea between Arabia and Africa. 

RIYADH  The capital city of Saudi Arabia, which is located in the desert. 

RIYAL  Saudi Arabian currency. The exchange varies but was recently about 3.75 to the dollar. 

RUB AL KHALI  An enormous desert wilderness that occupies the southeast portion of Arabia. It is often referred to as the "Empty Quarter." 

SAN'A  A The capital city of Yemen. 

SAUDI ARABIA  Country in Asia that occupies most of Arabia. Saudi Arabia has at least one quarter of the world's known oil reserves. 

SECULAR  Not religious. 

SHAWARMA  Popular sandwich sold in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries made of lamb, beef, or chicken wrapped in pita bread, mixed with sauces and tomatoes and peppers. 

SHAYLA  Black gauzy scarf worn by women of the Muslim faith in Saudi Arabia. 

SHIITE  The branch of Islam that split from the Sunni majority over the issue of Prophet Mohammed's successor. One of two main sects. 

SUNNA  Traditions of the Islamic faith as addressed by Prophet Mohammed. 

SUHNI  The majority orthodox branch of Islam. Saudi Arabia is 95 percent populated by those of the Sunni sect. The word means "traditionalists." One of two main sects. 

TAIF  Mountain resort city in Saudi Arabia that is located close to Makkah. 

TEHRAN  The capital city of Iran. 

THOBE  A long shirtlike dress that is worn by Saudi men. It is usually made of white cotton, but can be made of heavier, darker colored fabric for the winter months. 

UMM AL QURRAH  "Mother of Cities" or "The Blessed City" that is Makkah. 

UMRAH  A short pilgrimage (to Makkah) undertaken by those of the Muslim faith that can be made anytime of the year. 

VEIL  Black fabric that is used to cover a Saudi Arabian Muslim woman's face. The material can be sheer or thick. 

WOMAN'S ROOM  Room in a man's house used to confine Saudi Arabian women who go against the wishes of their husbands, fathers, or brothers. The punishment can be for a short period or a life sentence. 

YEMEN  Country located in the southwest corner of the Arabian peninsula, neighboring Saudi Arabia. 

ZAKAH  Obligatory alms giving required of all Muslims that is the third pillar of Islam.


Other Works by Jean Sasson           The Princess Trilogy         Explore Saudi Arabia    Saudi Arabian Music

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