Thursday, 6 August 2009

In šāʾ Allāh (إن شاء الله)

In šāʾ Allāh (إن شاء الله) is an Arabic term evoked by Indonesian, Arabic, Malay, Spanish, Wolof, Persian, Bosnian, Albanian, Turkish, Cypriot Greek, Urdu, Hausa, Bengali and many Muslim English, German, and French speakers to indicate hope for an aforementioned event to occur in the future. The phrase translates into English as "God willing" or "If it is God's will", sometimes spoken as DV; the Latin abbreviation for Deo volente or simply "hopefully". In Arabic speaking countries the term is used by members of all religions; meaning the term in and of itself does not denote a religion, but simply means "God willing."

The term is also related to another Arabic term, Mā šāʾ Allāh (ما شاء الله), which means "God has willed it".

This word is often used to indicate a desire to do something that you wish may occur, or to indicate that you want God's blessing for what you are about to do. For example, if you want to do something in particular if you know that it is very hard to achieve, you invoke God's blessing before it occurs or before you set out to do it.

Usage of Insha'Allah derives from Islamic scripture, Surat Al Kahf (18):24: "And never say of anything, 'I shall do such and such thing tomorrow. Except (with the saying): 'If God wills!' And remember your Lord when you forget...'"

triliteral of šāʾ is š-y-ʾ "to will", a doubly weak root in Arabic grammar.

Historical reference
Muslim scholar Ibn Abbas stated that it is in fact obligatory for a Muslim to say Insha'Allah when referring to something he or she intends to do in the future. If carelessness leads to the omission of the phrase, it may be said at a later time upon the realization of the omission.
A similar phrase, law šāʾ Allāh, means "if God willed it" or "if God wished it". In šāʾ Allāh is used for the execution of real actions (I'm going to the store if God wills it); law šāʾ Allāh is used to express a wish or desire one cannot fulfill.

Similarity to Spanish ojalá, and Portuguese oxalá
Spanish phrase, ojalá (que), and the Portuguese phrase, oxalá (que), both meaning "I hope (that)," "would (that)," "would to God (that)," etc., are both derived from the Arabic law šāʾ Allāh.[1] This phrase is an example of the many words borrowed from Arabic due to the Muslim rule of some areas of the Iberian Peninsula from the eighth to fifteenth centuries.

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