Abrahamic religious glossary

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The Abrahamic religious glossary is a glossary of important terms in the Abrahamic religions as a whole and also within specific religions.

This glossary is about terms used by the majority of practitioners of Abrahamic religions — both sane and insane. If you're looking for racist fuckwits using religion to justify hurting people they don't like, see the Alt-right glossary.

General terms[edit]

These terms are used by all the Abrahamic religions.


"Adam and Eve" by William Blake (1808)
See the main article on this topic: Adam and Eve

Adam was the first human created by God. He lived in the Garden of Eden before he ate the forbidden fruit.


See the main article on this topic: Adam and Eve

Eve was the wife of Adam and was created from his rib. She took the forbidden fruit and ate it when they lived in the Garden of Eden.


God looks remarkably like an elderly Italian man from the Renaissance. Quite possibly because this was painted by one.
See the main article on this topic: God

God is the most powerful entity of all in the Abrahamic religions. Christians call him (or her or it or them) God or their language's equivalent, though The Lord is a synonym. Jews call him Adonai, because they will not say יהוה‎ (Yahweh) when praying or reading the Torah.[1][notes 1] Muslims call him Allah among many other names.[2][notes 2] He created the world.


See the main article on this topic: Heaven

Paradise in Abrahamic mythology. It's where the saved and holy go to rest in the afterlife. How one gets into heaven is a matter of debate amongst religious scholars and denominations, but usually involves some form of blind faith.


See the main article on this topic: Hell

Hell is the underworld in Abrahamic mythology; it's where sinners and nonbelievers (aka the "damned") go to dwell in the afterlife. There is some disputes over what the nature of Hell is like among the different Abrahamic religions and sects; all that can be agreed upon is that is is a place of "spiritual separation from God".[3]


See the main article on this topic: heresy

Heresy is any deviation from the official "orthodoxy" of any given religion, especially the Abrahamic ones. Ideas which are held to be heretical are called heterodox, while those who adhere to such heresies are labeled heretics.[4]

Judgement Day[edit]

The Last Judgment by Hieronymus Bosch
See the main article on this topic: Judgement Day

Judgement Day features heavily in the eschatology of the Abrahamic religions, being the eponymous day of judgement for sinners and saved alike. At the end of days, all people will be resurrected and judged for their sins; those deemed worthy enter paradise, while those deemed unworthy are cast off into the Lake of Fire for all eternity.


See the main article on this topic: Satan

Satan is the Big Bad of Abrahamic mythology. He seduces humans into committing sins and into believing falsehoods, and, according to extra-Biblical sources, is responsible for the Fall of Man. Christians and Muslims see him as the former Prince of Angels who rebelled against heavenly authority, and therefore fell to Hell, where he leads the legions of Hell. Jews typically see him as a metaphor for yetzer hara, or "evil inclination", or alternatively as an agent of God's will.


See the main article on this topic: sin

A sin is a thing or action that is considered taboo by the Abrahamic religions. What counts as a "sin" differs from religion to religion, and even from denomination to denomination. Catholics hold that sinners who are repentant get sent to Purgatory, while those who are not get sent to Hell.

Christian terms[edit]

Immaculate Conception[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception is the idea that the Virgin Mary was not conceived with original sin, as believed in by Catholics.

Holy Ghost[edit]

Depiction of the Holy Spirit as tongues of flame descending upon the heads of the Apostles and Mary
See the main article on this topic: Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost is one of the three "persons" of the Trinity or "Godhead" (explained below). The Holy Ghost or "Holy Spirit" typically refers to the more impersonal aspects of God, the more "spiritual" aspects as it were. Oneness Pentecostals, being Unitarian, believe the Holy Ghost to be merely another aspect of the singular God.[5]


See the main article on this topic: Jesus

Jesus is the supposed Messiah according to Muslims and Christians, but is viewed as a fraud and impostor by the Jews.[6] Jesus is the central figure and namesake of Christianity and is the predecessor to Muhammad according to Muslims.[7] He was supposedly crucified, went to Hell for three days, and resurrected to atone for mankind's sins.[notes 3]

Manichaean Jesus, 10th century

New Testament[edit]

See the main article on this topic: New Testament

The New Testament is the second half of the Christian Bible, and is meant to serve as a "new covenant" for the Chosen People of God to replace the "old covenant," that being the Old Testament.


See the main article on this topic: Purgatory

The place that repentant sinners get sent to be ritually "cleansed" of their respective sins according to traditional Catholic dogma.[8]

Redemptive suffering[edit]

Redemptive suffering is a primarily Catholic concept that is derived from Colossians 1:24, "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church." Pope John Paul II referenced this concept when he said, "Each man, in his sufferings, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ."[9] In practice, this concept can have rather unpleasant consequences for even non-Catholics. Because the Catholic Church is the single-largest healthcare provider in the United States, with 668 hospitals (as of 2021) serving all religions, end-of-life decisions often occur within these hospitals.[10] In these hospitals, terminally ill patients may wish to end their lives early because of extreme pain, but doctors may refuse pain medication based on the hospital's redemptive suffering policy (and also to avoid euthanasia).[10]


See the main article on this topic: Trinity

The Christian dogma that God is one essence, but is composed of three persons. These three are God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.[11] Commonly gets accused of being polytheistic by other Abrahamics. Muslims in particular call the Trinity shirk, loosely translated as either "idolatry" or "polytheism."[12] This dogma is rejected by some groups that practice a nontrinitarianWikipedia variant of Christianity. Jehovah's Witnesses is one of the largest of such groups. Some groups do not believe in the Trinity, most of them Restorationist sects. A common way of explaining the Trinity to those who have trouble understanding it is comparing it to the 3 main states of matter, for instance like how water can be liquid, gas (steam) or solid (ice), so can God be the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.


See the main article on this topic: Unitarianism

The somehow heterodox tenet that God is a singular person, with the three persons of the Godhead being merely different aspects of the same person: God. This is more classically monotheist than Trinitarian Christianity.[13]


See the main article on this topic: universalism

Universalism in Christianity is the notion that all people are granted salvation by Christ, regardless of belief.[14]

Jewish terms[edit]


See the main article on this topic: Jewish holidays § Hanukkah

Hanukkah, also spelled Chanukah, is a Jewish holiday commemorating when a small amount of oil burned until new oil could be made to supply a light in the Temple. Latkes and sufganiyot are often eaten over its eight days.

Rosh Hashanah[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Jewish holidays § Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish holiday. It is on the first and second days of Tishrei.[15] White clothes are worn and apples and honey are eaten.


See the main article on this topic: Septuagint

The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, and is known to be the translation used the most often by the writers of the New Testament.[16]


See the main article on this topic: Jewish holidays § Sukkot

Sukkot is the 15th day of Tishrei. It is a Jewish holiday that commemorates when the Jews lived in sukkot, meaning "booths," after the Exodus. Booths are built in which the celebrants will live and eat.[17]


See the main article on this topic: Torah

The first five books of the Old Testament, alternatively known as the Pentateuch after its Greek name.

Yom Kippur[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is the Jewish holiday on the 10th day of Tishrei. It is a day of atonement where Jews go and pray at the synagogue.

Muslim terms[edit]

Ahl al-Kitāb[edit]

Ahl al-Kitāb refers to the People of the BookWikipedia, or the Christians, Jews, and "Sabians."[18] It later came to be extended to Sikhs, Hindus, Zoroastrians, and MandeansWikipedia.[19]


See the main article on this topic: Allah

Allah is the word for God that all Arabic Abrahamic religious use, but it is especially in use among Muslims. Allah is considered the same god as YHWH.


The meal that ends the fast during Ramadan that is eaten every evening.[20]


See the main article on this topic: Hajj

The Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca all Muslims who are able to and can support their families during the trip are expected to partake in at least once in their lifetimes. It is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.[21][notes 4]


See the main article on this topic: Jinn

The Jinn are supernatural spirits in Islamic lore that are extra-Islamic in nature. They originate from Pre-Islamic ArabianWikipedia mythology. Interestingly, Muslims don't consider the Jinn to be supernatural beings like demons and angels, but rather as mortals like humans subject to the will of Allah.[22] They possess free will and, like humans, are able to accept or reject Allah's guidance at will.[22] Also unlike demons, some jinn can be benevolent, and unlike angels, some jinn can be malevolent. This goes in line with their nature as entities possessing free will.[23][notes 5]


See the main article on this topic: Mecca

Mecca is the holiest place in Islam, it's where Muhammad was born and where he started his religion.


See the main article on this topic: Muhammad

Muhammad was the founder of Islam and the supposed "last prophet" fulfilling the prophecies put forth by Jesus or Isa according to Islamic lore. He was an illiterate merchant warlord who unified the Arabs and is ranked as being one of the most influential persons in history. Unlike Jesus he isn't viewed as divine, merely "divinely inspired."


The Qiblat is the direction to Mecca, and is also the direction where all Muslim burials are pointed at.[24]


See the main article on this topic: Quran

The Quran serves as the holy scripture of Islam, alongside the many hadiths.


See the main article on this topic: Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is famous for its month-long fasting ritual. It serves to commemorate Muhammad's first revelation.


TawhidWikipedia is the Islamic doctrine that there is "no god but god," i.e. monotheism in a nutshell. It is a statement of pure monotheism, and henceforth they reject the Christian Trinity as being shirk, or polytheistic.

See also[edit]


  1. HashemWikipedia is used in contexts outside of religious services.
  2. The word Allah is a contraction of the Arabic word al-ilaha literally translated as "the god"
  3. According to Christians, that is.
  4. The word Hajj itself means "journey" in Arabic.
  5. This also means they will be judged according to their deeds, again like humans.


  1. Why don't Jews say G-d's name?"
  2. Britannica Encyclopedia on Allah
  3. See the Wikipedia article on Hell.
  4. "heresy - definition of heresy in English from the Oxford dictionary". oxforddictionaries.com. 
  5. "THE TRUTH ABOUT ONE GOD" - United Pentecostal Church of Bay Point
  6. Mishneh Torah, Sefer Shofetim, Melachim uMilchamot, Chapter 11, Halacha 4. Chabad translation by Eliyahu Touge.
  7. Klauck, Hans-Josef Klauck (2003). The Apocryphal Gospels: An Introduction. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark. p. 18. ISBN 978-0567083906. 
  8. Catechism of the Catholic Church
  9. See the Wikipedia article on Salvifici doloris.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Medical Emergency: The Church-State Wall Has Collapsed When It Comes To End-Of-Life Care by Kim Callinan (March 2021) Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
  11. "The Holy Trinity" -- The Catholic Encyclopedia
  12. Al Ma'idah 5:73
  13. Unitarian Ministries
  14. "Where have all the universalists gone?"
  15. "You Gotta Know These Jewish Holidays"
  16. Nicole, Roger, New Testament Use of the Old Testament Revelation and the Bible, ed. Carl. F.H. Henry (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1958), pp. 137–51.
  17. Judaism 101: Sukkot
  18. Vajda, G (2012). "Ahl al-Kitāb". In P. Bearman. Encyclopaedia of Islam. 1 (2nd ed.). Brill. p. 264. doiWikipedia:10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_0383. 
  19. The Oxford Dictionary of Islam
  20. Oxford Islamic Studies Online
  21. Nigosian, S. A. (2004). Islam: Its History, Teaching, and Practices. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. p. 110. ISBN 0-253-21627-3. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 Abu l-Lait as-Samarqandi's Commentary on Abu Hanifa al-Fiqh al-absat Introduction, Text and Commentary by Hans Daiber Islamic concept of Belief in the 4th/10th Century Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa p. 243
  23. Eichler, Paul Arno, (1889) Die Dschinn, Teufel und Engel in Koran [microform] p. 60 (German)
  24. "The cemetery where all face Mecca"