mandate

A system of trusteeships established by the League of Nations for the administration of former Turkish territories and of former German colonies at the close of World War I.

Maronite (also Maronite Christian)

A Christian community in Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, and the U.S. which is affiliated with the Catholic Church.

Mesopotamia

Considered to be the birthplace of the first civilizations, Mesopotamia is located in the valley between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers (present-day Iraq).

Messiah

Literal translation from Greek: "anointed one." In Judaism, the term came to mean a royal descendant of David who would restore the united kingdom of Israel and Judah and usher in an age of peace, justice, and plenty. Christians apply this term to Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is also "Messiah" in Islam.

minaret

A tall slender tower on or near a mosque, from which a muezzin summons the people to prayer.

monarchy

A state or government in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of a monarch (king or queen). The position of monarch is usally inherited.

monogamy

The practice of having one mate at a time.

monolithic

Something which is characterized as a single, often rigid, uniform whole.

monotheism, monotheistic

The belief that there is only one ultimate God.

mosque

Arabic for "place of prostration"; a Muslim temple of worship.

most favored nation trading status (MFN)

Currently known as Normal Trade Relations (NTR). All World Trade Organization members as well as U.S. trade partners not in the WTO are protected under this system, which allows participating nations to pay a fixed tariff when bringing their goods into the U.S.

Mughal (also Mogul, Mongol, or Mongolian)

The Muslim dynasty that ruled India from 1526-1857. One of the most impressive achievements of this time is the building of the Taj Mahal monument in 1648.

Muhammad

Arab prophet and founder of Islam. As commanded by God (Allah), the angel Gabriel made a series of revelations to Muhammad beginning in 610 C.E. and continuing over 23 years. Muhammad wrote down these revelations verbatim, and they became the Quran. Muhammad began to preach the message of the new religion and to convert people to Islam.

mujahideen (also mujahedeen or mujahidin)

Muslim guerrilla warriors engaged in a jihad, or holy war.

Mullah (also Molah, Mulla)

A Muslim male trained in the doctrine and law of Islam and usually holding an official post. Also, the head of a mosque.