hadith

A collection of sayings and acts of Muhammad and the first Muslims. They are the record of the Prophet's Sunna, which is second only to the Quran in authority for Muslims.

hajj

The Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in the appointed sacred (12th) month and one of the five pillars of Islam (din). The pilgrimage is required of any Muslims in good health and with sufficient funds to make the journey. Hajj is the highest of all Muslim practices.

Hamas

From the Arabic acronym for "Harakat Al-Muqawama Al-Islamia"; in English it means Islamic Resistance Movement. Founded after the 1987 intifada (the Palestinian uprising in the Occuped Territories), Hamas is an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The long-term goal of Hamas is the establishment of an Islamic state of Palestine. Hamas is divided into two separate wings, the political wing and the more well-known military wing, Kata-ib Izzidin Qassam.

harem

The section of a house set apart for the women of the family in a Muslim home.

headwaters

The source of water for a river.

hermeneutics

Principles of interpretation; the term is often used with reference to the study of Jewish and Christian scriptures.

Hezbollah

The name of a radical Shii Muslim group from Lebanon. The literal translation is "party of God." Formed in 1982 with the goal of creating an Islamic republic in the country, the group is widely known for its participation in various suicide bombings and kidnappings, and for its opposition to the existence of the state of Israel.

hijab

The modest dress of the Muslim woman; a common usage refers only to the headscarf.

Hijra

An Arabic word meaning "migration." The Hijra refers to the Prophet Muhammad's journey from Mecca to Medina in 622 C.E., in the 12th year of his mission. This event represents the beginning of the Islamic calendar.

Hinduism (Hindu)

The third largest religion in the world (behind Christianity and Islam). Hinduism is native to and predominantly practiced in India. Followers of the Hindu religion are known as Hindus. Hinduism is a diverse body of religion, philosophy, and cultural practice. Unlike Christianity or Islam, Hinduism has no founder. Hindus believe in a supreme soul called Brahman, who has no real shape or form. Different aspects or characteristics of Brahman are represented by the gods and goddesses of Hinduism. Hinduism's three main gods are Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the protector; and Shiva, the destroyer.

Holy Roman Empire

A loose federation of European political entities which existed from the ninth century until 1806. It began with papal coronation in 962 of the German king, Otto I, as the first emperor and lasted until Francis II's renunciation of the title at the instigation of Napoleon in 1806.

hydroelectric

Electricity produced by moving water.