Before we dive headfirst into the hilarious world on non-Arabic speakers mispronouncing Arabic words – or incorrectly translating Arabic words and phrases, or doing anything which requires one to take the language and put it through the verbal wood-chipper – a quick note:
Astaghfirullah = ‘I seek forgiveness of Allah’.
Masha’Allah = ‘God has willed it’.
As-salamu alaykum = ‘Peace be upon you’.
These are the three main victims of non-Arabic speakers mispronouncing Arabic words. Or, perhaps more accurately, these are the phrases that people most often mishear. And because it’s 2017 and people will practically faint if they don’t put their every thought on social media, these also happen to be the phrases people most commonly misspell on Twitter after they’ve misheard them.
Luckily, the results are very, very funny.
For example, there’s the timeless ‘A Staff Gorilla’ after someone’s misheard ‘Astaghfirullah’:
why do Muslims always say a staff gorilla when they do something bad
— dad (@saintiller) February 13, 2016
‘Excuse me if you’re not a staff gorilla you’ll need to vacate the school premises’.
As ‘A Staff Gorilla’ has such a ring to it, it’s even been adopted by some Muslim fans on twitter:
Muslims, if you say a staff gorilla, is it okay to eat before iftar?
— Mohamad Zoror (@MohamadZoror) May 2, 2017
After all, language is a living, breathing thing, much like an actual gorilla.
Then there’s this:
Why do muslims say Asda fruitella when something bad happens?
— Papi Champú🇬🇭 (@SterlingLDN) December 30, 2016
Which is more plausible, because a pair of Muslims might discuss which major supermarket chain does the best low-cost imitation of Fruitella. We’ve never seen it, but it’s important to not rule anything out.
Next up, this ambitious misinterpretation of Masha’Allah:
why do muslims say martial arts all the time
— JR (@jrhz23_) August 10, 2015
Finally, who wouldn’t want to know why Muslims all seem to like this dude Salman:
y do muslims always shake hands & say 'salman i like him' when they meet in the street who is salman y do they all like him
— rustin electronica (@flesrullikko) December 22, 2014
Wa alaykumu as-salam to you, friend.
As a bonus, here’s another exceptional example of Arabic gone wrong:
when I'm sad, i remember my Muslim friend's boyfriend asking why she always says "enchilada" on the phone w her parents
it was INSHALLAH
— ahmed ali akbar (@radbrowndads) February 9, 2017
In his defense, enchiladas are delicious.
And now we close this blog with a shout out to Lindsay Lohan, who has a habit of doing the social media equivalent of getting the wrong Chinese symbol tattooed on your lower back:
— Fly FM (@FlyFM958) April 22, 2015
While a lot of ancient calligraphy is still open to interpretation, this script is almost certainly not. Sorry Lindsay, but this is a major fail.
Have you got any examples of commonly mispronounced, misspelled, or downright destroyed Arabic phrases? Let us know in the Facebook comments.