Abrahamic: A term used to describe religions descended from that of the patriarch Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam. The term is currently used by some to avoid the exclusiveness of the phrase “Judeo-Christian”, thus including Islam. According to Islamic sources, Abraham practiced a form of monotheism that was the basis for these three religions. Again according to Islamic sources, Judaism and Christianity, in their turn, were provided the “true word of God”, but those religions later corrupted the true message that God was giving. Islam sees itself as the latest—and last—delivery of the message of God.

Salafi: “Predecessors”, or “early Muslims”, a term used by Saudi Arabians to name their interpretation of Islam. It implies a true following of traditions, devoid of innovations that have crept into Islam—in their view—since the time of the Prophet.

Takfir : “To call one a fakr or non-believer”. Perhaps the gravest—and most dangerous—insult one Muslim can hurl at another is to call him a “non-believer” or heretic. To be called a non-believer not only puts one outside the religion, but also outside the community. Usama bin Laden is severely criticized within the Islamic world for his readiness to cast those who disagree with him outside the realm of Islam. The criticism is also applied to many Saudi imams for their use of the term.

Wahhabi: A term used to name the form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia. The term is taken from the name of Abdul Wahhab, the 18th C. religious reformer who sought to cleanse Islam of corrupt practices that had crept in over the centuries since the Prophet Mohammed lived. These “corrupt practices” included praying to holy men, the worship of shrines and tombs, and secular activities which were either not mentioned or condemned in the Quran or Hadith, such as the wearing of jewelry by men, music, and most innovations. “Wahhabi” is now used primarily by critics of this interpretation. Saudis themselves prefer “Salafi” or “Wahidi”.

Wahidun: “Unitarian”, a term preferred by Saudi Arabians to name their interpretation of Islam. The term focuses on the monotheistic message of Islam, that God has no partners, and that associating anyone with God is heretical.

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