Bismillahir rahmanir raheem
INSHA ALLAH: AN IMPORTANT PHRASE
InshaAllah literally means if Allah swt wills. Muslims use it after saying they will perform an action in the future to indicate that they will do something only if Allah swt wills it to be.
We find the command of qualifying the things that we say with inshaAllah in Suratul Kahf,
And never say of anything, “Indeed, I will do that tomorrow, Except [when adding], “If Allah wills.” And remember your Lord when you forget [it] and say, “Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct
This is the surah that we should try to recite every Friday (Jumu’ah) for many reasons but one of them is “Whoever reads Surat al-Kahf on the day of Jumu’ah, will have a light that will shine from him from one Friday to the next.” (Narrated by al-Haakim, 2/399)
THE STORY BEHIND INSHA ALLAH
There is a unique and beautiful story behind this ayah. Some men were asked to travel to see the Prophet (saw) by the rabbis and disbelievers of Makkah. They were told to ask the Prophet (saw) three questions about:
- Some young men in ancient times and their story
- A man who travelled a great deal and reached the East and West of the Earth
- The Ruh (the soul/spirit) and what it was
They were told that if He (saw) answered the questions then he was in fact a prophet of Allah swt. If he didn’t, he was making things up and He (saw) should be dealt with as they saw fit. When they went to the Prophet (saw) and asked him these questions. He (saw) said I will tell you tomorrow but did not say inshaAllah.
After 5 days, still no wahee (revelation) came to him through Jibril (as) and the people of Makkah started to disbelieve in him. Then Jibril (as) came with Suratul Kahf and the following
And never say of anything, “Indeed, I will do that tomorrow”, Except [when adding], “If Allah wills.” And remember your Lord when you forget [it] and say, “Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct.”
In total, he (saw) waited 15 days for wahee (revelation) to descend upon him with the correct answers.
USING INSHA ALLAH
The use of the phrase inshaAllah should bring humility and taqwa (piety/God-conciousness) into our hearts. It brings the realisation that unless Allah swt wills it’s not going to happen. A very important hadith on this subject says “And know that what has befallen you was not going to miss you, and that which missed you was not meant to befall you.” Saying inshaAllah is like taking out insurance with Allah swt, believing in this power and majesty.
“The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Sulayman Ibn Dawud (as) said: ‘Tonight I will go around to all my seventy wives (according to some reports it is ninety or one hundred wives) so that each one of them will give birth to a son who will fight for the sake of Allah.’ It was said to him, (according to one narration, an Angel said to him), say, ‘If Allah Wills.’ But he did not say it. He went around to the women but none of them gave birth except for one, who gave birth to a half-formed child.” The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “By the One, in Whose Hands is my soul, had he said, ‘If Allah wills,’ he would not have broken his oath, and that would have helped him to attain what he wanted.” Sahih Bukhari
INSHA ALLAH YES OR INSHA ALLAH NO?
Making the distinction between inshaAllah yes and inshaAllah no can be very confusing! My non-Muslim friends have asked me about this and honestly, I can’t answer! Unfortunately, we as Muslims sometimes use the phrase inshaAllah as ‘no’ and an excuse to not do something.
By saying inshaAllah we’re often taking the phrase to mean “well if I say ‘if Allah swt wills’ and I don’t turn up or do what I’ve been asked then it’s not my fault. Allah swt didn’t want me to do it.” This isn’t the type of Islam we should want to show to the world and it can be very frustrating for the person on the other end of your inshaAllah.
InshaAllah isn’t a means to stop acting but a catalyst to act with the knowledge that you strive for Allah swt and Allah swt alone. Your reward is with Him.
INSHA ALLAH WHEN MAKING DUA
One important thing to note on the use of inshaAllah is that we shouldn’t use it at the end of a dua. Mufti Menk describes it perfectly in this link entitled “Don’t say inshaAllah when making dua“. We should be begging Allah swt, not acting indifferently by saying ‘if He swt wills.’
Will you think the next time you say ‘inshaAllah’?