Glossary Terms

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z
Gabriel

The name of the angel that appears in the Bible as sent by God to Daniel and in the Qur’an as bringing the message down to Muhammad’s ‘heart’ (Q 2:97). In hadith and sira literature, Gabriel appears as the constant counsellor and helper of Muhammad. According to authors such as al–Kisa’i (d. 12th c.), Gabriel was sent to every prophet from Adam to Muhammad.

Ghadir Khumm

(Arabic; lit.: ‘pond of Khumm’): Name of a pool (or marsh) located in an area called Khumm between Mecca and Medina, in present day Saudi Arabia. Ghadir Khumm is famous in Muslim history as the location where the Prophet Muhammad, while returning to Medina from his farewell pilgrimage to Mecca in 632 CE, stopped to deliver a sermon during which he uttered the famous words declaring Imam ‘Ali as the mawla (lit. patron, lord, master) of the believers. These words are preserved in hadith collections as: ‘He whose mawla I am, ‘Ali is his mawla’. This event, which falls on 18th of Dhu’l Hijja in the Muslim lunar calendar, is commemorated by all Shi‘a Muslims as Eid (‘Id) al-Ghadir.

Ghaznavids

Muslim dynasty which ruled lands from Khurasan in Persia to Northern India (977–1186).

Ghaznawids

Muslim dynasty which ruled lands from Khurasan in Persia to Northern India (977–1186).

ghulat

‘Exaggerators’ or ‘extremists.’ A term of disapproval in classical Muslim sources against what they regarded as ‘heretical’ exaggeration in matters of doctrine.

ginan

A Sanskrit word meaning knowledge. In particular, a poetic composition in an Indian language (Sindhi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Hindi or Multani), ascribed to one of the Pirs who in the Khoja Ismaili tradition, founded and led their community between the 13th and 19th Centuries. The ginans have elements of didactic and mystical poetry and are legendary in nature. They are assumed to have been preserved orally until they were committed to writing in the Khojki script.

Gospels

The Gospel (Ar. al–Injil) is the message transmitted by Jesus. The word literally means ‘good news’ of Christ’s appearance in history. In the plural, it refers to the books composed by Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, as well as a number of apocrypha.