The independent regulatory commission delivered its verdict on Thursday after a four-day hearing, ruling that Terry must serve a four-game ban and pay a fine of £220,000.
This despite him being acquitted of abusing Ferdinand by Westminster Magistrates' Court in July.
The FA's disciplinary committee announced that the 31-year-old was guilty of abusing Ferdinand on the balance of probabilities, rather than beyond reasonable doubt.
The incident took place in October 2011, when Terry and Ferdinand became involved in an altercation during QPR's 1-0 win over Chelsea.
The 31-year-old announced his retirement from international football the day before his hearing, stating that the FA had made his position within the side "untenable" by pursuing the case.
An FA statement said: "The penalty is suspended until after the outcome of any appeal, or the time for appealing expires, or should Mr Terry decide not to appeal."
Thus Terry will be able to play in the London Derby against Arsenal at the weekend.
Terry's management company have released a statement, stating: "Mr Terry is disappointed that the FA Regulatory Commission has reached a different conclusion to the clear not guilty verdict of a court of law.
"He has asked for the detailed written reasons of the decision and will consider them carefully before deciding whether to lodge an appeal."
Chelsea issued a statement that said: "Chelsea Football Club notes and respects today's decision by the Football Association regarding John Terry. We also recognise that John has the right to appeal that decision.
"It is therefore inappropriate for us to comment further on the matter at this time."
Terry is the second Premier League player to receive a ban and fine after being found guilty of racism in under a year, following Luis Suarez's eight-game sanction and £40,000 fine for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.