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In Islam any action can be classified in on of the following categories:

  • Haram حرام
  • Makrooh مكروه
  • Mubah مباح
  • Mostahab مستحب
  • Wajeb واجب

What are the accurate English translation of each category?

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Haram: Forbidden. If you do it you commit a sin, if you avoid it you get a reward.

Makrooh: Disliked. If you do it it is not necessarily a sin, but if you persist on it you may be sinning. If you avoid it you get a reward.

Mubah: Allowed. This one is neutral and depends on the intention and goal of the action(such as driving a car, it is neither good nor bad, but depends on where you're going).

Mostahab: Recommended. If you do it you get a reward, if you avoid it you are not committing a sin but you are missing out on a great reward.

Wageb: Mandatory. Leaving it is a sin, doing it is a reward.

This being said, there is Wageb and there is Fard. I'm not 100% sure of the distinction but I think Fard is stronger than Wageb in terms of requirement, but I can't think of a ready example.

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    @Ansari This is how the Hanafis understand the difference between Fard and Waajib: Fard - an obligation established via evidence that is definite in its transmission AND meaning (i.e. Mutawaatir/Mashhur and Nass Sareeh) Wajib - an obligation established via evidence that is indefinite in its transmission AND/OR meaning (i.e. Khabr Wahid and/or Nass Muhtamal) The distinction itself was not made by the early Hanafi scholars or Imam Abu Hanifa and was introduced by Hanafi scholar and was introduced by Hanafi scholars who came later (can't say whole history in comment) – Abdullah Jun 27 '12 at 16:42
  • Apart from that Fard and Wajib is the same thing. Except the distinction made by Hanafi Madh-hab. – Abdullah Jun 27 '12 at 16:42
  • @Ershad : here you go :) islam.stackexchange.com/questions/852/… – Ansari Jun 27 '12 at 16:51

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