Saturday, November 29, 2008

Abusing Insha' Allah

Imams Who Don't Care(IWDC) #2: Abusing Insha' Allah

Abuse of the phrase "Insha' Allah" abounds in most mosques across the United States and Canada. First, let's do a crash course on Insha' Allah.

Our Lord in the Holy Qur'an instructs us as follows: "And never say of anything, 'I shall do such and such thing tomorrow. Except (with the saying): 'If God wills!'" (18:24). The phrase Insha' Allah is translated as "If God Wills."

Growing up in a Muslim family I never had any confusion about its usage. In fact, I remember the following childhood story used to illustrate correct and incorrect uses of the phrase:

An uneducated and not-so-religious villager was on his way to the market with his livestock when an acquaintance met him and inquired as to what he was up to. "I have a plan" responded the village, "I will be in the market this afternoon, will sell the animals for a handsome profit and with the money I get, I will build myself a large house." To any Muslim, that sentence has a few missing words, and so this acquaintance sought to remind the obviously ill-educated villager. "You mean to say Insha'Allah, you will be in the market this afternoon and, Insha'Allah, you will sell the animals for a handsome profit, and with the money you get, Insha'Allah, you will build yourself a large house?" The villager didn't see the point of all the extra words. "What's Insha' Allah got to do with anything? Here's my livestock, there's the market. So it's all in my hands."

Later that evening the acquaintance saw the villager returning back from the market, looking visibly shaken and troubled. "How was your day, sell your livestock?" "Oh, friend," responded the villager, "I should have listened to you and used Insha' Allah in my speech. Anyway, here's what happened...Insha' Allah, I went to the market and Insha' Allah, I had a great sale. But, Insha' Allah, someone pick-pocketed me, so Insha' Allah, I have no money. And that dream of the house is, Insha'Allah, all gone!"

End of a story with fairly obvious moral. The phrase "Insha' Allah" has a purpose, a meaning and a proper usage.

Yet, countless Imams Who Don't Care (IWDCs) (ab)use it like many use "ummh," and "errr" in their speech.

See if you can spot the illiterate and uneducated villager in the following announcements in your local masjid:

  1. "Insha'Allah, brothers and sisters, please remain seated during my announcement."

  2. "I hope everybody is well, Insha'Allah."

  3. "Please donate generously, Insha'Allah".

  4. "I have a question, can we, Insha' Allah, sit and discuss this issue a little longer?"

  5. One brother even goes on to say "Assalamu' alaikum, Insha' Allah." I hate being the IA police but it's got to hurt other ears besides mine. And it sets bad acoustics for the younger generation who might pick up a good word but use it incorrectly?

Many mosque leaders have a far more serious problem with the phrase. They use the phrase improperly multiple times in a sentence - and I mean 4, 5 times! Insha' Allah! Oops, I meant, SubHan Allah! What's happened to their 'aql? Big time Imams, established mosque leaders, improperly dropping Insha' Allah to the point of disrespect for the phrase.

Insha'Allah, one of these days, I shall write a simple set of rules under which the use of the phrase is appropriate and all other use is actually an abuse and trivialization of the important command of our Lord.


Anonymous said...


The abuse of Insha'Allah is found at nearly every masjid I've been to! Was this always the case, or is it a sudden pattern?

ThinkingMuslim said...

It has certainly gotten worse with time. Used to be, you could tell the educational level of a person based on their language. But nowadays fairly educated people butcher language by dousing it in greater piety. I don't think our Lord asked for such piety.