Signs for Islam

Signs for Islam

David Bar-Tzur

Created 30 July 2007, links updated monthly with the help of LinkAlarm.

Here are some suggestions for how to convey Islamic concepts in Sign Language. Some use ASL expansion techniques and some are signs from Saudi Arabia. I have picked these because Islam started in Mecca and Medina, which are both in that country. One difficulty with finding indigenous Muslim signs is that there are many Muslim countries (Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, The Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen), unlike Judaism where one could simply adopt Israeli signs. I would be happy to add any suggestions from Deaf Muslims. You can contact me at dbartzur@earthlink.net

EXPLANATION OF THE GLOSSING SYSTEM
(to understand how I describe the signs in this translation).

For relevant countries, see Indigenous signs for countries in the Arab World (الدول العربية). There are many terms at Arab dictionary indicative of the deaf animated. This is a Google Translate of the Saudi website: القاموس الإشاري العربي للصم.Saudi flagSign Language icon, but here are some highlights along with some ASL expansions and translations:


Adalah (عداله)
ALLAH (see below) JUST(ICE).

Adhan (آذان)
SUMMON + (2h)[loose 5], palms face each other, FOs up, hands descend and are clasped at the waist. For a video of the Saudi sign meaning PRAY, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Ahl al-Bayt (أهل البيت)
MUHAMMAD FAMILY.

alaihi asallam (After the mention of prophets: Moses, Jesus, Solomon, etc)
"PRAY" HE HAVE PEACE. Where the first sign is hands clasped together as in prayer, and the hands are shaken slightly back and forth.

Al-Aqsa Mosque (المسجد الأقصى)
[3] rests elbow on dorsum (back side) of [B], PO down, with the handsbent so that FT > NDS. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Al-fatihah (سورة الفاتحة) - First chapter of the Quran and opening portion of the daily prayers
Kiss dorsum (back of hand), and then palm of [B] + [L], PO away, points upwards. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion. (< THANKS-BE-TO ALLAH)

Allah, God (الله تعالي)
[1], PO away, FO up, ascends. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Allahu akbar (نشيد وطني ليبي)
Point to Heaven + ADVANCED. I mouth the Arabic phrase.

Amr-Bil-Ma'ruf (Shia)
GOOD HAPPEN, ENCOURAGE.

angel (ملاك)
(2h)[B] flap wings + (2h)[O^], POs > signer, FOs up, move upwards and open to (2h)[5] at face. (< WINGS + PARADISE.)

Arabic (العربية)
[Y], PO away, FO up, hands moves from rt to lf (whether you are left- or right-handed) while twisting slightly. (< first Arabic fingerspelled letter in the word "Arabic")

astray, "sin" (الضالون)
(2h)[B], NDH PO > DS, FO away, DH PO > signer crosses over the NDH. From http://www.menasy.com/02070.htm (astray), which is no longer extant. (< stepping over an established boundary.)

ayatollah (آية الله)
G-LAW.

burkha (برقه. full body covering)
Cover forehead with DH [B] and mouth with NDH, coming in from the sides + CLOTHES. For veil only, see "hijab".

Dome of the Rock (قبة الصخرة) - Famous golden domed "mosque" in Jerusalem
[5:], PO down, touches top of [B], PO down, FO > DS, then DH rises, closing to an [F]. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

fasting (الصيام)DD>[B], PO > signer is wiped across mouth from NDS to DS. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Five pillars of Islam (أركان الإسلام)
MUSLIM BELIEVE INDEX-LIST-OF-FIVE.

(1) Iman (إيمان) - Faith or belief in the Oneness of God (Allah) and the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad
Touch heart with FT of [B^] + (2h)[B], DH PO > NDS, FO away, slides directly away on upturned palm of NDH. (< HEART STRAIGHT/RIGHTEOUS)

(2) Salah, Salat, Namaz (صلا), Establishment of the 5 daily prayers)
PRAY FIVE-TIME EVERYDAY.

(3) Zakah, Zakat (الزكاة) - Concern for and almsgiving to the needy
(1) ONE-FORTIETH. (2) [V], PO > signer is dragged along forearm from elbow, then [O^], PO up, FO away, moves away while rolling fingers to end in an [A]. If this is confusing, use the previous option. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion. (< POOR-PEOPLE PAY-FOR)

(4) Sawm (صوم) - Self-purification through fasting (الصوم)
[Bb] wipes FT across mouth. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

(5) Hajj (الحج) - The pilgrimage to Mecca
(2h)[O^], DH PO down, NDH PO up, hands revolve around each + [A] moves like throwing something and ends in an [L]. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion. (< worshippers walking around the Ka'bah and throwing stones at an obelisk, which is part of the Hajj)

forgiveness (الغفران)
Radial (thumb) side of [B] brushes the offense off the shoulder twice. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Gabriel (جبريل)
[Bb] holds dorsum (backhand) against forehead + mime flapping wings. From http://www.menasy.com/b0743.htm (Gabriel), which is no longer extant.

hadith (حديث نبوي)
MUHAMMAD STORY.

Hajj (الحج)
(2h)[O^], DH PO down, NDH PO up, hands revolve around each + [A] moves like throwing something and ends in an [L]. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion. (< worshippers walking around the Ka'bah and throwing stones at an obelisk, which is part of the Hajj)

halal (حلال) - Muslim parallel to kosher
ALLAH + [B], PO > signer, FO up, touches FT to mouth, then moves away while closing to a [Bb]. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Happy New Year (عيد رأس السنة)
Index finger touches teeth + NEW. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

hijab (حجاب, veil only)
Cover forehead with DH [B] and mouth with NDH, coming in from the sides.

'Id-al-Adha (عيد الأضحى) - Celebration of Ibrahim not needing to sacrifice his son, Ismail
[5^], PO up, descends down chest and closes to a [O^] + [B], PO down, FO away, slides over the top of [S], PO > DS, FO away. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

'Id al-Fitr (عيد الفطر) - Breaking the fast of Ramadan
[5^], PO up, descends down chest and closes to a [O^] + [Bb] wipes FT across mouth. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Imam (إمام)
DH [1], NDH [5] is held behind it. Both hands are PO away, FOs up, and the DH strikes the palm of the NDH. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Iman (إيمان)
Touch heart with FT of [B^] + (2h)[B], DH PO > NDS, FO away, slides directly away on upturned palm of NDH. (< HEART STRAIGHT/RIGHTEOUS)

inshall (ان شاء الله)
(1) GOD WILLING [mouth "inshall"]. (2) [1], PO away ascends + WILLING [mouth "inshall"].

Islam (الإسلام)
[bC], PO > NDS, FO up, moves slightly > NDS twice. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion (Muslim).

jihad (الجهاد)
GO-TOWARDS-GOAL WORLD IMPROVE. The first sign is like GOAL, but the DH moves in a vertical circle trying to reach its goal.

Kaaba, Ka'bah (الكعبه المشرفة)
[5:] touches FT to palm of [B], PO up, FO away + [O^] touches temple. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

khubatul jumu'a
(1) EVERY-FRIDAY WORSHIP. (2) FRIDAY WORSHIP.

khums (خمس)
ONE-FIFTH.

Makkah, Mecca (مكة)
(2h)[B], PO > signer, FOs up, moves to and fro. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

masjid, mosque (مسجد)
DH [bC], PO away, FO up, rests on the dorsum (backhand) of [B], PO down, FO > DS. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Medina (المدينة المنورة)
[1], PO away, FO up, touches ear and then moves > DS twice. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

minaret (مئذنة)
(2h)[C], POs ><, FOs -CL'tower' + (2h)[C] are cupped behind ears and the mouth is moved like a muezzin who is calling people to prayer.

Mount Arafat (جبل عرفات)
[B], PO down, outlines a hill + (2h)[B], DH PO > NDS, FO up, rests wrist on dorsum (back side) of [B], PO down, FO > DS. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Muhammad, Mohammed (محمد رسول الله)
[B], PO down, FO > NDS, touches chin and descends. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah - the prophet Mohamed) Pease be upon him). (< Muhammad's beard)

muezzin (المؤذن)
LEAD + (2h)[B] are held with palms facing away and thumbs against respective cheeks.

Muslim (مسلم)
[bC], PO > NDS, FO up, moves slightly > NDS twice. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Nahi-Anil-Munkar (Shia)
BAD HAPPEN, FORBID.

Nubuwwah (النبوءة)
ALLAH APPOINT PROPHET. APPOINT is [5], PO away, FO up, closes to [F] while moving > NDS and striking palm of [B], PO away, FO up, with its thumbside.

Paradise (الجنة)
(2h)[S], PO > signer, FO up, ascend and open to (2h)[5]. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion. (< LIGHT.)

pray (يصلي / الصلاة)
(2h)[loose 5], palms face each other, FOs up, hands descend and hands overlap each other at the waist. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

prayer niche (صلاة المتخصصه)
Cup hands behind ears + [N dot], PO down, FO away, "stands" behind [C dot], PO > signer, FO > DS.

prophet (نبي)
[bC], PO away, FO > DS, descends to show the outline of a person + [B], PO up, FO away, ascends. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Qayamat
ALLAH JUDGE (2h)#ALL WILL, where the third sign is (2h)[A], POs ><, FOs up, are held at shoulder height and move away while opening to (2h)[L].

Quran, Koran (القرآن الكريم)
BOOK ALLAH. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

radhia allahu anhu (After the high Kaliphs: Abu Bakar, Omar, Othman, Ali)
"PRAY" HE MAKE ALLAH HAPPY.

Ramadan (رمضان)
[Bb] wipes FT across mouth + MONTH.

salaam alaikum(u)
Salute to the side and then touch your heart. To see a video of this sign, go to imandeaf-serrdeaf.

Salah (صلا)
(2h)[loose 5], palms face each other, FOs up, hands descend and are clasped at the waist [PRAY] + FIVE-TIME EVERYDAY.

Salat (الصلاة)
(2h)[loose 5], palms face each other, FOs up, hands descend and are clasped at the waist [PRAY] + FIVE-TIME EVERYDAY.

sallahu alaihi asallam - After the mention of Muhammad
PRAY HE HAVE ALLAH 'S PEACE.

Satan (الشيطان)
[horn], PO away, FO up, touch forehead and move away and up. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Sawm (صوم)
[Bb] wipes FT across mouth. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Shahadah (شهادتان, "There is none worthy of worship except God and Muhammad is the messenger of God.")
ONLY ALLAH WORTH WORSHIP. HIS-Allah's MESSENGER WHO? MUHAMMAD. [A more literal translation would be that "There is no god but The God (allah = al + ilah), and Muhammad is the messenger of The God".]

Shia (الشيعه)
(1) S-H-I-A. (2) Hands are held rigidly at sides. (< gesture used when praying)

Sunna (السنة النبوية)
[B], PO down, FO > NDS, touches chin and descends + (2h)[B], DH PO > NDS, FO away, slides directly away on upturned palm of NDH. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion. (< MUHAMMAD STRAIGHT [path])

Sunni (أهل السنة و الجماعة)
(1) S-U-N-N-I. (2) Hands are folded at elbows. (< gesture used when praying)

Tabarra
MUHAMMAD FAMILY THEIR ENEMY, CURSE, where the last sign is [5:] is held against mouth and is brought out as a shaken fist.

Tawaaf (circumnabulation of the Kaaba, الطواف)
(2h)[O^], DH PO down, NDH PO up, hands revolve around each + [L], PO > back, FO up. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Tawalla
LOVE MUHAMMAD FAMILY.

Tawhid (التوحيد)
ALLAH ONE*.

The Orthodox Caliphs (الخلفاء الراشدين)
This is hard to explain, so I suggest you look at the link provided, but if it is not there: DH [S], PO > signer, FO > NDS, NDH curls around DH from above. DH opens to a [4], while the NDH is still curled around the dorsum. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Umrah (minor pilgrimage, العمرة)
(2h)[O^], DH PO down, NDH PO up, hands revolve around each. For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion.

Zakah (الزكاة)
(1) ONE-FORTIETH. (2) [V], PO > signer is dragged along forearm from elbow, then [O^], PO up, FO away, moves away while rolling fingers to end in an [A]. If this is confusing, use the previous option.For a video of this Saudi sign, see Arab dictionary indicative of the Deaf animated - Religion. (< POOR-PEOPLE PAY-FOR)

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