Audio Glossary: A

A ceremonial waving of a lamp before a murti as part of the concluding ceremony to worship in Hinduism.
Biblical figure. First of the three Jewish Patriarchs and founder of the Jewish people; (see Ibrahim in Islam).
Adi Granth
Original name of Guru Granth Sahib still sometimes used.
The start of the Christian year beginning four Sundays before Christmas and ending on Christmas Eve; a time when Christians look for the return of Jesus.
In Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism the principle of not harming living things.
A religious movement founded in 19th century India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who proclaimed himself the Mahdi ('divinely guided one' expected by Muslims). Members of this sectarian movement are not regarded as Muslims by the rest of the Islamic community.
Akal Purkh Ki Fauj
The Followers of the One Immortal God; a term Sikhs use of themselves.
Akal Takht Sahib
Seat of Sikh temporal authority located beside Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar.
Akhand Path
A continuous reading of the entire Guru Granth Sahib during a 48 hour period.
The afterlife in Islam, contrasted with the present life (dunya).
In Islam, a generic word for behaviour, ethics and attitudes.
Cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad. To Sunni Muslims the fourth Caliph, to Shia Muslims the first Imam.
Arabic word for God, used by Muslims (and also Arabic speaking Christians).
(Dr B. R; 1891 to 1956)
An important figure in the recent history of India and the architect of that country's constitution. Ambedkar was born into a low caste. While practicing law in Bombay he became active in nationalist politics as a champion of low caste people and was elected to public office. After India's independence from Britain, he joined the new government as law minister in Nehru's government and was chair of the constituent assembly. Before he died, he had renounced the Hindu religion, converted to Buddhism, and led millions of followers throughout India to do the same.
In Sikhism, a mixture of water and sugar stirred with a double edged sword by five 'Beloved Ones' (panj piara) while specific scriptures are read; used in the initiation ceremony (Khande Da Pauhal).
amritvela (Amritwela)
The time just before dawn, held in Sikhism and Hinduism to be particularly appropriate for prayer and meditation.
A world-wide episcopalian Christian tradition of which the mother church is the Church of England. The Anglican Church became independent of Rome at the Reformation and contains Catholic and Protestant elements.
Books not found in the Hebrew Bible, belonging to the inter-testamental period. There are differences of practice and doctrine among Christians about the inclusion of the Apocrypha in the Bible.
Apostles' Creed
A statement of the fundamentals of Christian belief used extensively in the Western Church, particularly as a profession of faith at baptism.
apostolic succession
The doctrine of apostolic succession decrees that the religious authority and mission conferred by Jesus on Saint Peter and the other Apostles have come down through an unbroken succession of bishops (led by the most senior of bishops otherwise know as the Pope).
A Sikh prayer which recites Sikh history before petitioning God for the needs of humanity and of the congregation.
From a root meaning 'to be worthy', the word is used in Theravada Buddhism to denote one who has achieved the goal of the Buddhist life, i.e. by attaining insight into the true nature of existence.
Aron Ha-Kodesh
The Holy Ark in which the Sefer Torah is kept in a synagogue normally on the wall facing Jerusalem.
artefact / artifact
In religious education any object associated with religious practice, often exhibited in a classroom and used as a teaching aid.
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Ascension, the
The Christian and Muslim belief that Jesus was taken up bodily into the heavens at the end of his time on earth.
Jews from a German or Eastern European background.
In Hinduism, the duties and responsibilities associated with the four ashramas.
The four stages of traditional Hindu life for men: student, householder, forest dweller and renouncer.
In the Islamic calendar the tenth day of the month of Muharram, a holy day for Sunni Muslims. For Shia Muslims it is the anniversary of the murder of Imam Husayn (grandson of the prophet Muhammad) by the troops of the Caliph Yazid.
Hindu word for individual soul, which is ultimately one with Brahma, the all-encompassing reality of being.
Aum (Om)
A Hindu name for God as the all-encompassing reality of being.
The descent (ava, 'down') of a Hindu god to earth where, appearing in human or animal form, he helps humanity; a concept particularly associated with the tradition of the worship of the deity Vishnu.
A title meaning 'sign of God' given to high ranking Sh'ia experts in Islamic Law, the most senior are accorded the title object of Grand Aytollah - object of emmulation.