S.A.W. Abbreviated form of Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, often seen written after the Prophet Muhammad’s name or any of its equivalents are written in text. In English the phrase translates to ‘Peace be upon Him’, and is similarly abbreviated to ‘PBUH’ or some similar variant.

sawm, seeam In common parlance, sawm is taken to mean fasting, especially (but not exclusively) during the daylight hours of the month of Ramadan. While this is broadly correct, sawm is specifically the period characterised by the foregoing of eating, drinking, smoking, sexual intercourse, having impure thoughts and breaking Islamic law. Sawm is the third Pillar of Islam. The principle behind sawm is to make a sacrifice, to concentrate the mind and be closer to Allah, but also to give a sense of empathy with those who have no food or drink. Because Ramadan, like all Islamic months, follows the lunar cycle rather than the cycle of the earth’s orbit around the sun, it arrives at a slightly earlier time for each year of the Gregorian calendar. This means that Ramadan can start in the summer or the winter. Because sawm is traditionally observed between sunrise and sunset, this phasing effect can cause problems to Muslims who live towards the north and south poles (for example, in Scandinavia), where summer days can last for 24 hours. Naturally they cannot forego food and drink completely, so dispensations are made. Sawm is also avoided by the sick, those who have not yet reached puberty, pregnant women, mothers of newborns and women who are menstruating.

sa’y The ritual running between the two hills of al-Safa and al-Marwah during the Hajj, to commemorate Abraham’s wife Hagar’s search for water after she had been put there by God’s command with few provisions.

Sayyid, Said, Sayed, Sayyed An honorific title given to the male descendants of the Prophet Muhammad.

scrip A scrip is a (largely US) term for anything that is used as a substitute for money, for example a credit note. In the world of finance, it is a temporary document representing the share of a stock distributed by a company through a stock, a split or a spin-off. The owner may complete the share by purchasing the remaining portion.

scripture Scripture is any form of religious text from any religion. It usually takes the form of some kind of holy book, for example the Bible (Christianity), the Qur’an (Islam), the Torah (Judaism) or the Shruti (Hindusim) and many more. The scriptures of religions are normally considered to be divinely inspired, often delivered by messengers, prophets, angels or people having visions (for example). Scripture often takes the form of a chronological story, tracing events through family lines, rulers, prophets, and contains rules and observances that members of the respective religions must follow.