“Muslim Words” That Shouldn’t Scare You But Probably Do

It’s been a while since I put my thoughts to paper due to travelling and other commitments. But since the media is back at it again with the propaganda I decided to write a piece that I had been thinking about for a while. Before I begin, I just want to clarify that I don’t intend to insult anybody’s intelligence but I have to go over some basic facts.

First of all, no one is actually ‘from Islam’ or even ‘Muslimstan’. Islam isn’t a country, it is a religion and people who follow the religion are called Muslims. The chances are that if you tell a Muslim to ‘return to Islam’ they will probably take it as a spiritual reminder and say ‘they’re right, I should return to Islam..I haven’t been praying recently or giving to charity’ rather than an insult to return to a non-existent country.

Second of all, no one ‘speaks Muslim’ either. As previously said, a Muslim is a follower of the religion and is not considered by any means an ethnicity, nationality or language. As Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, you will find Asian Muslims, Caucasian Muslims and African Muslims who will all speak their own language. However, as the Islamic holy book (The Qur’an) was originally written in Arabic, many Muslims learn Arabic in order to make sure that everybody interprets the Qu’ran the same way. Because of this, many Muslims speak Arabic as an universal language with each other and it is the native language of over 422 million speakers around the world. However, due to the reoccurring theme of the media, people have got negative connotations to the Arabic language in general and in particular words and phrases that Muslims use on a daily basis – meaning that they are cautious of saying them around non-Muslims.

So here I am to give some examples of what “Muslim Words” are and how we can become more accepting of hearing it around our Muslim friends, family and neighbours.

  1. Allah

So as said before, Arabic is the language of the holy book, the Qu’ran. Allah literally means ‘God’. It is the same as Mexicans saying ‘Dios’ and the French saying ‘Dieu’. I don’t really get why it boggles people’s minds. You can be a native Arabic speaker and say the word Allah without being a Muslim because it is just the translation. In countries like Egypt and Palestine, there are lots of Christians that will also call God ‘Allah’. It’s such a simple translation yet people over complicate by asking questions like “so do you worship Allah instead of God?” They’re. The. Same!

2. Allah-u Akbar

A phrase that most likely everyone is familiar with due to television programmes and social media corrupting the phrase. It’s like ‘Allah’ but with a twist – got an Akbar after it. The literal translation means ‘God is great’ which is a phrase many people say in English all the time, so why is this different? Muslims use this phrase in positive situations such as:

You passed your driving test? ALLAHU AKBAR!

“You gave birth to a healthy baby? ALLAHU ABKAR!

It is definitely not used in the way most people think. Muslims tend to say it frequently throughout their day, including during prayer, which they do 5 times a day.

3. Alhamdulilah

A word I actually say myself ALL THE TIME. I actually got told off for saying it when I was in America because I said it too much. It just sounds way prettier to say in Arabic than in English. The translation of Alhamdulilah is “Thank God” (yet again ANOTHER common English phrase). Muslims particularly say this one all the time to show gratitude, even if their day isn’t going great.

Are you feeling better now?” “Yes alhamdulilah

Alhamdulilah I have my health, family, safety, wealth etc.”

4. Asalamelikum

A common greeting between Muslims. It is used as hello and goodbye and typically when you say Asalamelikum to someone, they will reply with Wa elikum asalam (basically say it backwards). The translation is “may peace be with you.” and “may peace be with you as well.” I just personally find this phrase really nice to hear. To think that when you’re meeting up with your friends or family and the first thing they say to you is that they wish you peace is actually pretty cute and meaningful. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were to say that to peace in English? I would recommend remembering at least this phrase. It’s used as a greeting and people are normally really impressed with you when you say it. It might even get you a cheeky discount at your local shisha bar!

Proof: I said it to a Muslim in Los Angeles and not only did he get a massive smile on his face but I ended up getting money off an excursion. I’m telling you, people glow differently when you take time to learn about them!

5. Inshallah

Probably the biggest word out of them all, which is why I saved it until last. ‘Inshallah’ means literally ‘God willing’ but in more modern terms it’s like saying ‘hopefully.’ Muslims say it pretty much after everything, to confirm that something will only happen if it’s in their destiny. Kind of like “if it’s meant to be, it will be.” Classic examples would be “I’ll see you next Saturday inshallah” because honestly you don’t know what could change between now and that Saturday. There’s also a bit of a joke between Muslims that if your parents say ‘Inshallah’ to your request, it most likely means ‘no’. For example, “Can we buy a pet?” – “Inshallah Inshallah..” and then it never gets mentioned again for as long as you live.

So there we have it, 5 Arabic words that are commonly used amongst Muslims to express their emotions and gratitude. I sincerely hope that I have helped you understand the meaning of these words and the context that they are used in if you didn’t already know. So there’s no need to feel anxious or uncomfortable around hearing Arabic speakers and Muslims using these phrases just because some media outlet has told you to be afraid.

On a final note (just because I feel like giving out a free Arabic lesson) I decided to finish with to more words that are used a lot and are also quite nice to say.

Wallah! (I swear to God)

If you’re lying and someone tells you to say ‘wallah’ to prove your innocence.. then game over son, just admit that you lied.

Yallah! (Come on/Hurry up)

Particularly fun to say during a rush..Yallaaaaaaaaaaaah you’re taking forever!” It is also said on the phone before you hang up “Yallah Bye!” (okay bye)

So if you have got this far in reading my post and you’ve absorbed any information, you will notice that I should probably say Asalamelikum now…Yallah bye!!

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