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RELIGION TERMS

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Madhava (Hinduism) - Krishna (the descendant of Madhu).
Madhusudana (Hinduism) - Krishna, because he killed the demon Madhu (Slayer of Madhu).
Mahabharata (Hinduism) - The great Indian epic from 2,500 years ago, traditionally written by Vyasa. It tells of the deep conflict between the descendants of Pandu (the forces of light) and Dhritarashtra (the forces of darkness).
Mahala (Sikhism) - Each contributing Guru used the name Nanak in the Guru Granth Sahib, so there needs to be extra identification. So Mahala 5 is Guru Arjun, Mahala 3 is Guru Amardas.
Ma'rifah (Islam) - Divine knowledge or gnosis following the love (mahabbah) and fear (makhafah) of God.
Mahayana (Buddhism) - The great vehicle but which includes various schools of Buddhism, such as the Tibetan, Pure Land and Zen. The principle difference from Hinayana is the claim that the enlightened Boddhissatvas return back to the earth rather than Nirvana to help the still unenlightened.
Mahdi (Islam) - In the context of Islamic history the title of the person who will be sent to re-establish justice on earth before the end of time and to prepare the second advent of Christ. In Sunnism the identity of the mahdl is not specified while in Shi'ism he is identified with the Twelfth Imam. Literally the 'guided one'.
Maimonides (Judaism) - R. Moshe ben Maimon (1135-1204) who was the major philosopher and codifier of Halakhah. He was born in Spain but persecutions forced exile to Morocco and then Egypt where he became physician to the Vizier of Saladin and leader of the Jewish community.
Mala (Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity) - Beads strung together as an aid to meditating upon God, or the Dharma for Buddhists. Christians call such an aid to meditation a rosary: Muslims use the name subha, tasbi or tashir. Sikh and Buddhist malas are made up of a hundred and eight knots or beads.
Manas (Hinduism) - That which receives and retains sensory impressions, which we call the mind.
Mandala (Hinduism, Buddhism) - The individual ten divisions of the Rig Veda or any symbolic and sacred diagram acting as an aid to meditation.
Mandir (Hinduism) - A Hindu place of worship.
Manji (Sikhism) - The stool or string bed upon which the Guru Granth Sahib is placed on as a symbol of its sovereignity.
Manmukh (Sikhism) - A self-centered person who has forgotten God, the opposite of a Gurmukh.
Mantra/ Mantram (Hinduism, Buddhism etc.) - A sacred chant to release spiritual power or simply a repetitive verse to aid meditation. The Sikh Mool Mantra is not a chant but a credo.
Manu - The first man of humankind. There are Laws of Manu.
Marichi (Hinduism) - A demigod in the Vedas (particle of light)
Martyr (Islam, Christianity) - Someone who dies being loyal to the faith and its demand.
Masoretes (Judaism) - A group of Jewish scholars who produced an accurate text of the Hebrew Bible in the 700s CE.
Matta tekna (Sikhism) - Bowing down and touching the floor with the forehead in front of the Guru Granth Sahib as a sign of respect to this Living Guru.
Maya (Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism) - Immersion and attachment in the material world and assuming that this is the be all and end all: for Buddhism this attachment is samsara and has lost the truth that the world is transitory. Hinduism sees it as appearance instead of reality but such appearance is also demonstrative of the creative power of God.
Meditation (Buddhism, Hinduism etc.) - A focussed means of calming the mind and increasing perception. There are breathing, counting, imaging and chanting methods.
Mela (Sikhism) - Any Sikh religious festival other than the birth or death of a Guru.
Menorah (Judaism) - A seven branched candle holder which stood in the Jewish Temple but is now found in synagogues.
Meru (Hinduism) - A mountain at the centre of the world/ cosmos. It is a place of beauty in both cities and gardens.
Messiah (Judaism, Christianity) - The deliverer many Jews expect God to send. For Christians Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Literally 'the anointed one'.
Mezuzah (Judaism) - A small container holding the Shema fastened to the door post of Jewish houses. Literally 'doorpost'.
Mezuzah (Judaism) - Container attached to door posts in a house but specifically contains parchment scroll with words from the Torah (portions of the shema).
Midrash (Judaism) - Corpus of homiletic rabbinic literature; classical midrashim extend until the end of 10th century. It is also the whole genre of interpretation based on allusions in the text.
Mihrab (Islam) - The niche in a mosque which marks the qiblah or direction of Ka'ba at Makkah.
Mikvah (Judaism) - Bath for ritual washing in a synagogue.
Minaret (Islam) - The tower from which Muslims are called to prayer by the muezzin.
Minister - Usually a but not always a nonconformist clergyman.
Mira (Hinduism) - A mediaeval Indian female saint who gave songs to Krishna.
Miri and Piri - Spiritual and worldly matters in balance as introduced by Guru Hargobind and represented by two swords as shown on the Khanda.
Mishkan (Judaism) - The Tabernacle described in book of Exodus being the forerunner of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Mishnah (Judaism) - The earliest codification and record of the rabbinical Oral Traditionproduced around 200 CE under R. Yehudah Ha-Nasi in Israel and records halakhic rulings and details of the religious practices in earlier Judaism.
Missal (Christianity) - The Order of service of the Roman Catholic Mass.
Mithras (Pagan) - An important Iranian god widely worshipped by soldiers in the Roman army.
Mitzvah (Judaism) - A religious command in the Torah (plural: mitzvol), its details transmitted through the Oral Tradition.
Moksha (Hinduism) - Liberation, salvation and illumination. The Hindu term for the ending of rebirths in achieving union with God. Sikhs use mukti. Buddhist Nirvana is quite different because of the belief in no self (and no God) rather than the true self.
Monk (Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity) - A man who has taken vows and become a member of a religious community.
Monotheism (Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism, Islam) - Belief that only one God exists.
Mool Mantra (Sikhism) - Sikh statement of belief on the qualities of God. Sometimes it is spelt Mul Mantra. It is contained in the opening lines of the Japji by Guru Nanak and the beginning of the Guru Granth Sahib. It is considered the cornerstone of Sikhism.

God is one.
His name is True.
He is the Creator.
His is without fear.
He is inimical to none.
His existance is unlimited by time.
He is beyond the cycles of birth and death, self existent and can be realized through the grace of the Guru.
Mosque (Islam) - Muslim building for public worship derived from the Arabic masjid, meaning a place of prostration. The Masjid al-Haram, the Great Mosque or Grand Mosque, Makkah, Saudi Arabia, can hold a million worshippers within its walls and is the location of the Ka'ba. It is the only mosque in the world without a mihrab, the niche in the qiblah wall of a mosque that faces the Ka'ba!
Mu'amalah (Islam) - The portion of Islamic law dealing with transactions (plural: mu'amalat).
Muezzin (Islam) - The person who summons the Muslim faithful to collective prayer.
Mughal (Islam) - The Muslim rulers of India from the 1500s to the 1800s.
Muhammad (pbuh) (Islam) - The final prophet of Islam who from the age of 40 started receiving revelations which, according to Islam, were remembered and given to others to write and eventually after his death came together to form the Qur'an. He is not regarded as its author because it was through him that the revelations came. He is regarded as the final prophet of Islam because Islam existed before him and was continually corrupted until the perfect Qur'an was written. The Qur'an preserves Allah's message. Muhammad (peace be upon him) is said to have helped rebuild the Ka'ba once the Pagan deities were removed.
Mujtahid (Islam) - The one learned enough to give ijtihad being judgment on religious problems.
Mukti (Sikhism) - Spiritual liberation from the cycles of birth and death that Hindus call Moksha.
Mundavani (Sikhism) - This is the concluding poem by Guru Arjun in the Guru Granth Sahib which describes the spiritual qualities of reading and following the Guru Granth Sahib. Mundavani means seal.
Muslim (Islam) - One who submits himself to God by following Islam, particularly starting with the shahadah, the first pillar of Islam.

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