There’s only one way to praise God, right? WRONG! Islamic terms in Arabic are rich with variation, making room for praise at times of happiness, hours of need, and moments of wonder and contemplation.
Picking up on these nuances can be a bit of a challenge. In fact, they might sound a bit mad!
1. Maybe, baby
“Insha’Allah” means “if God wills” and is usually tactfully used by folks and brethren to say “maybe, if I feel like it”.
2. Marshall Allah
The phrase is actually “masha’Allah” and means “God does whatever he wills”, but is also used to express appreciation in a person’s ability. So, something like, “masha’Allah that was a sick uppercut, bro!” would work when your friend throws a great punch in the gym. Or the odd, “masha’Allah, masha’Allah, he’s sooo cute!” We’re not sure why that works but it just does!
3. Subhans, yo!
“Subhan’Allah” is very similar to the above, but usually used to reflect on a situation or the greater universe, rather than an individual person. You could say “subhan’Allah” when you narrowly avoid a bad situation.
4. Thank God for that
“Al-hamdu-lillah” means “all praise due to God” and is used to show satisfaction at the end of the road. Daily, Muslims say “alhamdulillah” when they finish their meal. It could also be used after getting through a tough period or to express gratitude for every blessing.
5. A staff gorilla
This tweet spread like wildfire and we found it hilarious!
Why do Muslims always say "A STAFF GORILLA" when they do something bad?
Ya Allah, akhiiiiiii…… astaghfirullah LAHHHH!!!
— HalimHikayat (@KateHalem) February 13, 2016
The phrase, of course, is “astaghfirullah” made up of two words in Arabic, “astaghfir” and “Allah” used to seek forgiveness from God. It’s often an expression of disappointment in oneself or others. Like “astaghfirullah bro – how did you forget to brush your teeth this morn?”
Don’t worry if you mispronounce or get mixed up sometimes! It’s all part of the fun and we love the way these phrases connect us to our brothers and sisters.