This page covers
  • Spelling Conventions
  • Naming Conventions
  • Abbreviations
  • The Islamic Calendar
  • Hajj Holy Sites
  • Prophetic Medicines
  • Islamic Finance
  • Seasons

Spelling Conventions

There are multiple conventions for transliterating Arabic into English, leading to many spelling variations of the same term. This blog uses the following conventions:

Bai' for bai or bay or bay', meaning sale, a term used in Islamic finance.

Hajj (حج) for Haj, the pilgrimage to Makkah, KSA that should be performed at least once during a Muslim's lifetime.

Haram (حرام) for haraam, a description for things which are forbidden in Islam.

(Al) Ijarah (الإجارة) for ijara, an Islamic finance instrument.

Infaq (إنفاق) is expenditure to please God, without expectation of rewards or returns.

(Al) Ka'abah (الكعبة) for Ka'aba, Ka'bah, Kaaba, Kaabah, the holiest site in Islam, found in Makkah, KSA. Muslims face the Ka'abah when they pray. 

Madinah for the city of Medina in KSA. Madinah is also known as al-Madinah al-Munawwarah (المدينة المنورة)

Makkah (مكة) for the city of Mecca in KSA.

Mudarabah (مضاربۃ) for mudaraba or mudharabah, an Islamic finance instrument.

Muhammad for Mohammed and other variations in spelling of the Prophet Muhammad's (ﷺ) name. The ligature ﷺ that follows a mention of his name is a stacked form of صلى الله عليه و سلم (transliterated sall allahu Alayhi wa sallam), meaning 'peace be upon him'.

(Al) Murabahah (المرابحة) for murabaha, murābahah, murâbaḥah, an Islamic finance instrument.

(Al) Musharakah (المشاركة) for musharaka, müşaraka, musyarakah, an Islamic finance instrument.

Quran for Koran, Coran.

Qurban (قربان) for korban, animal sacrifice.

Ramadhan (رَمَضان) for Ramadan, Ramazan, the holiest month on the Islamic calendar.

Seerah (سيرة) for seerat, sira, sirat, the study of the life of the prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).

Shari'ah (شريعة) for shari'a, sharia, shariah, syariah, Islamic law.

Suhoor (سحور) for sahur, sehri, suhour, suhur, the pre-dawn meal that is taken when fasting.

Sukuk (صكوك) for sukūk, Islamic bonds. This is often used as a singular term but on this blog it refers to both singular and plural.

Ulama' (علماء) for ulema, Islamic scholars.

Umrah (عمرة) for umra, 'umrah, a pilgrimage to the holy sites in KSA taken outside of the Hajj period. It is used in the plural.

Wakalah (وكالات) for wakala, wakālah, an Islamic finance instrument.

Wudu (الوضوء) for wudu', the ablutions made before obligatory prayers.

Zakat (زكاة‎‎) is an annual payment, obligatory for Muslims, whose amount is calculated on the value of selected assets. The money is used for specific charitable and religious purposes.

Naming Conventions

People are referred to in the second and subsequent instances by their family names as far as possible. Where only the father's name is mentioned, I use the first name.

Abbreviations and style notes

' - foot
" - inch
AED - Emirati dirham. Dhs also refers to the Emirati dirham but this abbreviation is not used. Billion - taken to mean a thousand million if a figure in millions is provided.
CAGR - compound annual growth rate
CEO - Chief Executive Officer
CIO - Chief Information Officer
COO - Chief Operating Officer/Chief Operations Officer
CSR - corporate social responsibility
CTO - Chief Technology Officer
eDM - electronic direct mail, marketing-oriented email
EVP - Executive VP
GCC - Gulf Cooperation Council, collectively Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, KSA, and the UAE
GM - General Manager
HD - High Definition; sometimes FHD for Full HD and UHD for Ultra HD may also be found
HE - His Excellency/Her Excellency
HH - His Highness/Her Highness
HQ - headquarters
ICT - information and communication technology
IDR - This abbreviation is not used for Indonesian rupiah. Rp is used instead.
INR - This abbreviation is not used for Indian rupees. Rs is used instead.
IT - information technology
JPY - Japanese yen; this abbreviation is not used, 'yen' is used instead
Jr - Junior
K - 1,000
KSA - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Lower case names - these are capitalised at the beginning of a sentence but left lower case elsewhere.
Md - Mohammed, Muhammad and variations of the name
MD - Managing Director
MENA - Middle East and North Africa
PM - Prime Minister
QoQ - quarter on quarter, meaning a figure compared compared to the same figure a quarter ago.
QR - Qatari riyal
RM - Malaysian ringgit (MYR)
RO - Rial Omani. The abbreviation OR for Omani rial is not used.
RMB - Chinese renminbi (CNY)
SGD - Singapore dollar; this abbreviation is not used. S$ is used instead
Sq ft - square feet
Sq m - square metre
Sr - Senior
SR - Saudi rial
SVP - Senior VP
THB - Thai baht
Trillion - Taken to mean a thousand billion if a figure in billions or millions is provided
UAE - United Arab Emirates
UK - United Kingdom
US - United States of America. USA is not used.
USD - US dollars. This abbreviation is not used. US$ is used instead
VP - Vice President
YoY - year on year, meaning a figure compared compared to the same figure a year ago.

The Islamic Calendar

The Islamic year, sometimes referred to as the hijri year, AH, or anno hegirae, begins from when the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) moved from the city of Makkah (Mecca) to the city of Madinah (Medina) in Saudi Arabia in 622 AD. The Islamic year 1436 runs from October 2014 to October 2015.

The first month in the Islamic calendar is called Muharram (مُحَرَّم). The 9th month is called Ramadhan (or Ramadan, رَمَضان), and is preceded by Sha'aban and followed by Shawwal. Eid Al Fitr begins on 1 Shawwal. The 11th month is called Dhul-Qa'adah (ذو القعدة). It is significant in that on 29 Dhul-Qa'adah, the dates of the Hajj are determined, as explained below. The 12th and final month in the Islamic calendar is called Dhul-Hijjah (ذو الحِجّة). The Hajj is performed between 8 and 13 Dhul-Hijjah. Eid Al Adha begins on 10 Dhul-Hijjah.

The months of this calendar can start on different days in different countries, and last either 29 or 30 days. This is because the 1st of the month depends traditionally on whether the new moon is sighted. If it is not, then the following day is the 1st of the month. This is particularly crucial during Ramadhan and Dhul-Hijjah as the sighting of the moon ceremony determines when people begin and end fasting for Ramadhan, and also when they can celebrate both Eids, as well as when they can perform the Hajj. In some countries astronomical calculations are used to decide whether the new moon would be visible, and the lengths of the months are determined mathematically instead.

Hajj Holy Sites

Some blog posts refer to holy sites in Saudi Arabia visited as part of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. These include
  • The plain of Arafat, more than 12 km from where accommodation is, at Mina. The walk is in the open. 
  • Muzdalifah, a destination about 13 km after Arafat. The walk to Mina is in the open. 
  • The three Jamaraat pillars, which include the Stone Pillar of Aqabah, at Mina. The walk is in the open.
  • The Ka'abah at Makkah, more than 6 km from the pillars. The walk is in the open. 
  • Running between the hills of Safa (As-Safa, الصفا‎‎) and Marwah (Al-Marwah, لمروة) seven times, a distance of 450m each time. The walk between Safa and Marwah is called the sa'i (سعى). Safa is about 100m from the Ka'abah. The walk is in an air-conditioned space.
  • KSA refers also to the Mataf (the area around the Ka'abah, where the counterclockwise circumambulation [طواف‎, tawaf] occurs), the Masaa (the area between Safa and Marwah), and the Maqam Ibrahim (Station of Abraham).
Prophetic Medicines

Prophetic medicines are those which the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is said to have recommended for improving health, and include products made from dates (also called kurma), honey, herbs such as the Habbatus Sauda (also called black cumin or Nigella Sativa), camel milk and camel urine. Procedures such as cauterisation, wet cupping (حجامة hijama), and prayer are also recommended and usually included under prophetic solutions.

Habbatus sauda, also called nigella sativa, 'black cumin', or 'black seed', is well-known in Islam as a cure-all recommended by the prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). The seeds of the plant, or an oil derived from them, have been found to be effective against a wide range of bacteria and fungiimprove male fertility, enhance spatial memory, promote bone healing, prevent osteoporosis; eliminate depression, reduce gastrointestinal damage and promote the healing of gastric ulcers; and benefit diabetes sufferers.

Islamic Finance

Please refer to other sources for definitions of the various instruments in Islamic finance, for example


Occasionally companies I blog about talk about spring, summer, autumn or fall and winter. In terms of calendar months, I would class these as:

Spring: March to May, between Q1 and Q2 of the calendar year
Summer: June to August, between Q2 and Q3
Autumn/Fall: September to November, between Q3 and Q4
Winter: December to February, between Q4 of the current year and Q1 of the following year

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