In shaa Allah (If Allah Wills) is a common expression amongst peoples of all faiths in the Arabic-speaking countries.

In other places, it is said almost exclusively by Muslims when speaking to other Muslims.

Even when speaking in their native tongues, non-Arab Muslims always say, In shaa Allah an do not translate it.

In text massages, young Muslims use the shorthand “isa” as in “c u tmw @ 6p isa.”

In shaa Allah is one of the fist phrases Western soldiers learn when they’re deployed to the Middle East – it’s in the glossary of many Western military manuals.

In shaa Allah must be distinguished from another but less whereas Ma shaa Allah, which means “Allah has willed it.”

Thus In shaa Allah is used for an event in the future whereas Ma shaa Allah is used for that which has already happened.

Intending to do something in the future should always be attributed to the Will of Allah, Who Alone knows “what is yet to happen, what is not to be and how it will be if it is to be.” [Tafseer Ibn Kathir]

Allahs’s Will is not like mankind’s will. When we will to do something, it may or may not happen. When Allah wills something that is exactly what happens.

Allah commanded Prophet Mhammad (upon him be peace on blessings) to say:

I have no power over any good or harm to myself except as Allah Wills.” [7:188]

The misuse of In shaa Allah has left many confused as to the actual intention of the person saying it, and at times, angry as well.

Diplomats in the Arab countries often complain about the “In shaa Allah” reply.

It is an unassailable reply, yet its widespread misuse somehow doesn’t inspire the greatest of confidence.

In shaa Allah is misused to express a vague hope that things might happen as we want them to. In shaa Allah does not mean “might happen.”

Some entertainers preforming acts deemed haraam (forbidden) in Islam misuse it thus: “In shaa Allah, my next act will be … .

It is haraam to say In shaa Allah for haraam acts. Such acts incur the wrath of Allah.

In shaa Allah is widely misused to provide wiggle room in situations when on feels ‘obligated’ to agree verbally (often just to be polite) even though the person has no intention to honor the promise.

In such situation the In shaa Allah rely has become a substitute for “a soft ‘no’”!

Such misuse has no place in Islam.

Not intending to honour one’s promise is an attribute of the disbeliver who “when he speaks, he lies.” [Bukhari]

In shaa Allah should be said only when making a promise that one intends to honour as, for example, when Prophet Musa (upon him peace and blessings) said, “If Allah Wills, you will find me patient.” [18:69]

The Divine command to say In shaa Allah is in Surah Kahf, Chapter 18, Verses 23 and 24.

Members of the Quraish tribe sought the help of Jewish priests (whose community had been blessed with many Messengers) to ascertain Muhammad’s (upon him peace and blessings) claim to be the Messenger of Allah.

The priests told them three questions (about some young men in ancient times, a man who travelled a great deal and reached the west and east of the earth, and the soul) which they claimed only a true Messenger of Allah would be able to answer.

When asked these questions, Prophet Muhammad (upon him peace and blessings) promised to give the answers the next day. The Prophet (upon him peace and blessings) did not include In shaa Allah in his reply to them.

There was no revelation the next day and in the days that followed.

The Prophet’s (upon him peace and blessings) enemies began to question his claim to be Allah’s Messenger.

Fifteen days later, Allah revealed the answers, together with the following command:

Never say of anything: ‘I shall do such and such a thing tomorrow,’ without (saying) ‘If Allah Wills.’ [18:23-24]

The Qur’an confirms the truths in the earlier Scriptures that had become corrupted or no longer observed by their followers. [5:48]

The Bible mentions the need to add “if it is The Lord’s Will” when making one’s plans. [James 4:14-17]

Allah commands the Prophet (upon him peace and blessings) to remind mankind with the revelations in The Qur’an. [6:70]

And remember your Lord and mention Him when you forget (to say “In shaa Allah”) and say, ‘I pray that My Lord will guide me and bring me to what is nearer than this to the Right Way.’ [18:24]

By saying “In shaa Allah”, a Believer does not feel alone when he plans for the future. Neither does he show any arrogance when he succeeds, nor is he overtaken by despair when he fails.

In all situations, the Believer remembers Allah, Expressing gratitude to Him for his success, and accepting whatever is Allah’s Will with the firm belief that Allah intends only good for His creation. [2:216]

Believers are trustworthy and honour covenants. Their word is their bond. Allah commands them, “O you who believe! Fulfill your obligations and covenants.” [5:1]

The rewards for obeying Allah’s commands include: “Allah may turn off from them the worst in their deeds and give them their reward according to the best of what they have done.” [39:35]

Let’s earn Allah’s Pleasure by saying In shaa Allah only in the way He has commanded.

By Dr Y Mansoor Marican, Ph. D