Queen’s Children
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Queen’s Children

Why I Use Islamic Words and Phrases in My Writing

It’s my way of spreading some love and blessings.

Photo Credit Mohamed Ismail

During his presidential candidate debate with Trump, Biden, used the word Inshallah, as a sort of pejorative, meaning, ‘Yeah, right, it will never happen,’ when Trump was asked will he show his tax papers. And while many in the Arab world used Inshallah as a way of saying, “No,” both cases are wrong. It is wrong, because as Allah has said in the Quran, these three words, in sha Allah, should be used when beginning an action. Meaning Allah has the power to make it happen. And since in Islam, everything is by intention, both the words and the intentions matter. So, when people abuse these words, of course, it will have a negative effect. I guess, for Biden, he learned it as a negative, however, it is meant to be a positive.

In my short essay on the Queen’s Children publication, the editor, Jean Carfantan, asked me to explain terms like dunya and al hamduillah. He was one of the few ones on Medium brave enough to do so. Why do I use them? It is both a religious obligation and a way of praising my creator. Let me explain.

Islamic Terms and Their Uses

Disclaimer: I am am NOT a religious authority. Other than studying the recitation and rules of reading Quran, I have no training in Islamic matters. I am just sharing what I learned. For further information, please seek professional advice.

The Kalimat (Sayings)

Al hamduillah- All praise and gratitude is for Allah. It is used in both good situations and at times when you are in a calamity.

The reason for this is in each there something unforeseen that may benefit you or, despite what tragedy has happened, one should try not to dwell on it and see it as something Allah has written for you. Like in the novel the Alchemist when he says it’s maktoob-written. Or in everyday terms, it was just meant to be.

Ma sha Allah-Look at what Allah has done! Or literally, what Allah as brought into being.

Said when looking at child, a thing of beauty or when you are delighted by something wonderful.

In Sha Allah- If Allah allows it to happen.

Every Friday, we read Surah al Kahf, and in it Allah tells us, “Before you attempt any action, say in sha Allah,” and this I try to do it without fail.

Sub han Allah- Glory to Allah

This is how the angels praise Allah and we too, are commanded to use it. The context in general is when something extraordinary happens. Some use it, when the are surprised or shocked. However, I am not sure if this is the proper way to use it.

Have a Blessed Day

When I say these kalimat (these sayings)to everyone, I encounter, some will say, “Why do you do this? They are not Muslim or you don’t know if they are Muslim.” I do it because, this is what Allah has commanded and I do. I have no ill intension.

Photo credit: Trevor Noah

For those who are not Muslim, just think of it as just my way of saying things. It is a blessing for you as well as me. Last night, while speaking at the Sharjah International Book Fair, Noah told the audience how much he appreciated the kalimat, in sha Allah:

“I like this concept, because after Covid, I learned, nothing is guaranteed.” He said he heard it in Dubai, and if no one had mentioned this to him, he wouldn’t had learned. And so, he too is now benefitting from it.

I want the same for you all, as his friends wanted for him, 💕❤😉

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Maryam Ismail

Maryam Ismail

Mom. Journalist. Pizza maker New School for Social Research Alum, MA in Sociology and Historical Studies.