ʾIn shāʾ ALLAH (Arabic: إن شاء الله, is the Arabic language expression for “GOD willing” or “if GOD wills”. The phrase comes from a Quranic passages which states that believers have to use it when speaking about future events.[Quran 18, 23-24] The phrase is commonly used by Muslims, Arab Christians, and Arabic-speakers of other religions, to refer to events that one hopes will happen in the future. It expresses the belief that nothing happens unless GOD wills it and that the will of the CREATOR supersedes all human will.
23 And never say of anything: “Indeed, I will do that tomorrow.”
24 Except [when adding], “If GOD [ALLAH] wills.” And remember your LORD when you forget [it] and say, “Perhaps my LORD will guide me to a nearer course to the right then this.”
(Qran 18 [al Kahf ], 23-24)
Table of Contents
DEO volente (GOD willing)
This was often used in conjunction with a signature at the end of letters. It was used in order to signify that “GOD willing” this letter will get to you safely, and “GOD willing” the contents of this letter come true. As an abbreviation (simply “D.V.”) it is often found in personal letters (in English) of the early 1900s, employed to generally and piously qualify a given statement about a future planned action, that it will be carried out, so long as GOD wills (see James 4, 13-15, which encourages this way of speaking).
13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”
14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is GOD’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.
17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
(James 4, 13-17)
Only One GOD: Abrahamic Religions
- The Muslims say: “Insh’ALLAH”
- The Jews: “Im yirtsé HaShém (אם ירצה ה׳)” If GOD will want it so; or Be’ezrát HaShém (בעזרת ה׳): “with the help of GOD”
- The Romans would have said: “DEO Volente”
This practice makes us understand how close traditions and cultures are among the Abrahamic religions, but this phrase is not a sort of superstition, rather it is to affirm that destiny does not exist outside the Plans of GOD. Our life is in the hands of our CREATOR and not in ours, if GOD grants us another day tomorrow it will only be a gift, just as it is today. The purpose and the plan for that day will be exactly the same purpose and the same plan as today: To love Love is to love GOD, to seek Truth through Knowledge, this is to follow the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.
But the will of GOD is not always manifest, and very rarely can one follow a simple and unhindered path. Unexpected events, blind roads and hard climbs where you are not at all sure what will happen tomorrow. So, knowing where to go and what to do will not be a priority, the important thing is the direction in which you travel, that is, forward (metaphorically speaking) towards progress, moving away from the mistakes that we inevitably made to get where we are today without recriminations:
22 No disaster strikes upon the Earth or among yourselves except that it is in a Book before We bring it into being, surely that, for GOD, is easy.
23 In order that you not despair over what has eluded you and not exult [in pride] over what He has given you. And GOD [ALLAH] does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful
(Quran 57, 22-23)
When we are not sure what His will is for us, we always have prayer, which is meditation, remembrance and thanksgiving. God wants us to do something, each of us knows what is the right thing to do and what is not to do, that is what evil is for us. If we are honest with ourselves we will discover that our problem is often not that we don’t know what GOD wants us to do but that we don’t want to do what GOD wants us to do.
- Rebecca Clifta1; Fadi Helania2. “Language in Society – Inshallah: Religious invocations in Arabic topic transition – Cambridge Journals Online”. Journals.cambridge.org. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
- Abdur Rashid Siddiqui (2015-12-10), Qur’anic Keywords: A Reference Guide, Kube Publishing Ltd., ISBN 9780860376767
- John L. Esposito, ed. (2014). “Insha Allah”. The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780195125580.001.0001. ISBN 9780195125580.