Have you ever pondered over the phrase ‘In sha Allah’? Have you given thought to its importance and its significance? Or, is it just a phrase which habitually leaves your lips, without a second thought or any understanding?
The phrase ‘In sha Allah,’ meaning ‘If Allah wills,’ is a very beautiful phrase with an equally beautiful story behind it. It is a phrase which reflects our reliance upon Allah and our belief in His power and His decree. This phrase is one which both the practicing and non-practicing utter, a phrase which was taught to us as toddlers, a phrase which has become ingrained into our Muslim culture and a phrase which carries much barakah.
In Surah Kahf there is a special mention of the phrase ‘in sha Allah’, in fact this is the only Surah which makes mention of this phrase as well as the phrase ‘ma sha Allah.’ Surely, there must be a reason for this placement? For, every letter, every word, every sentence in the Qur’an has been positioned precisely and is a gem for those who desire to derive the treasures from it.
وَلَا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَيْءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٌ ذَٰلِكَ غَدًا
إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ ۚ وَاذْكُر رَّبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ وَقُلْ عَسَىٰ أَن يَهْدِيَنِ رَبِّي لِأَقْرَبَ مِنْ هَٰذَا رَشَدًا
“And never say of anything, ‘Indeed, I will do that tomorrow,’
“Except [when adding], ‘If Allah wills.’ And remember your Lord when you forget [it] and say, ‘Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct.’” [Kahf:23-24]
Allah begins the ayah with a command, He says “And never”. When Allah begins an ayah with an adverb such as this one, it becomes an imperative sentence. Allah is ordering us to take heed and pay attention to what is to follow as it is something important.
The verse continues… “And never say of anything, ‘Indeed, I will do that tomorrow,’ except [when adding], ‘if Allah wills’” Allah is instructing us to never say about anything you intend to do in the future, without saying, “If Allah wills.”
There is an incident mentioned in the Seerah related to the revelation of this verse. In Makkah, the Quraysh wanted to challenge the Prophet (saw) because they wanted to mock him and somehow ascertain that he wasn’t a real prophet.
They brought him three questions which were passed onto them by the Jews who were learned in their scriptures. One of the questions they posed to him was “Who were the youth who disappeared and how many were there?” As we know, the Prophet (saw) did not know the unseen, or the events of the past, present or the future and thus his reliance was upon Allah to send him divine inspiration or verses regarding what the Quraysh questioned him with. The Jews would only then believe that the Prophet (saw) was in fact a messenger as only a prophet would know such a story.
The Prophet (saw) was clueless in regards to who these youth were and the answer to their question, and so he told them he would answer their question tomorrow in hope that Allah would send him the answer through the angel Jibraeel (as). Nevertheless, the Prophet (saw) forgot to say ‘if Allah wills’ and as a result, revelation stopped coming to the Prophet (saw) for a total of fifteen days. This worried the Prophet of Allahgreatly.
At this point, the Quraysh began to greatly revile the Prophet (saw); abusing him and putting him down, making claims that he wasn’t a Prophet. However, Allah would not abandon his prophet and so, the revelation eventually came and the question raised by the Quraysh was answered in the form of Qur’an, in Surah Kahf. As we know, there as entire section detailing the story of the people of the cave.
The Prophet (saw) then narrated to the people of Quraysh the story who then had no comments to make for they knew deep down it was the truth from Allah.
In the middle of this story, Allah (swt) rebukes and reminds the prophet (saw) by revealing these two verses. Don’t speak of doing anything in the future without mentioning that it would only be possible if Allah wills it, and if you do forget, in that case say, “perhaps my Lord will guide me to that which is nearer than this to right conduct.”
This story teaches us the profound meaning of In sha Allah and its importance. It is not just a phrase we say because we have to. Rather, it’s a phrase full of meaning and blessings. When we utter this word we are in fact tightening our rope and placing our trust in Allah who is the only one who can make our future plans or ideas a reality. Without saying ‘if Allah wills’ we are implying that what we want to do tomorrow, or the day after, will happen of our own accord, forgetting to place our trust in Him who ordains a matter and decrees for us what is good for us.
So, next time you use the phrase “in sha Allah” remember its meaning, remember the story behind it and really say it from the heart, place your trust in Allah and have full yaqeen that it is only with Allah’s help that things are possible.
May Allah (swt) guide us to the path of righteousness and increase us in knowledge which brings us closer to Him, ameen.
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“Say, [O Muhammad], ‘If you should love Allah , then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.'” [3:31]
A simple method for attaining the love of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and attaining forgiveness: follow the prophet Muhammad (sullulahu alaihi wa salam).
This ayah is a test for us, a litmus test of faith and love of Allah. Allah (swt) is asking us to PROVE our love for Him! And, SubhanAllah, the proof of our love for our Rabb (Lord) lies in following His Messenger. And, even more amazing is the reward that Allah has promised for following His Messenger: Allah’s Love! What can be a greater reward than this?
This ayah clearly shows the great status of the prophet (saw) and the great status of his sunnah. It is a clear proof against those who reject the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saw).
Allah (swt) immediately after this says,
قُلْ أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ ۖ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْكَافِرِينَ
“Say, ‘Obey Allah and the Messenger.’ But if they turn away – then indeed, Allah does not like the disbelievers. “ [3:32]
Allah (swt) emphasizes the message from the previous ayah with a direct command: Obey Allah and obey the Messenger. It is not enough to merely obey Allah, because obedience in Allah entails the obedience of the Messenger. Allah (swt) directly links His obedience with obedience to the Messenger (saw) inextricably. What an honour for the Prophet (saw) and what a clear sign for us to follow his Sunnah.
And, in case more emphasis of this was needed, this ayah also indicates that defiance and turning away from the obedience of Allah or His Messenger (saw) is kufr/disbelief. Thus, we cannot claim to love Allah and to be true believers unless we follow the prophet (saw) and obey him. Belief in Allah and belief in the prophet (saw) go hand in hand. That is why even our declaration of faith includes witnessing the prophethood of Muhammad (saw).
لا إِلّهَ إلاَ اللهُ مُحَمَدُ رَّسُول الله
There is no diety worthy of worship except Allah, Muhammad is His Messenger.
Notice the absence of a “و” or the word “and” between the two statements. The absence of the word “and” from this statement serves the purpose of conjoining the two statements. Again, emphasizing their inextricable nature.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala guide us in following our beloved prophet (saw) and giving him the proper reverence that he deserves. Ameen.
Action Item: Choose at least one sunnah that you haven’t been practising and incorporate it into your daily schedule with the intention of following the Prophet sullulahu alaihi wa salam. Eg. Saying bismillah before everything you do.
In Surah Baqarah, Allah describes Hypocrisy as a disease. A spiritual disease.
فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَهُمُ اللَّهُ مَرَضًا ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْذِبُونَ
“In their hearts is disease, so Allah has increased their disease; and for them is a painful punishment because they [habitually] used to lie.” [2:10]
Normally, if we heard that there was a disease epidemic such as swine flu, we would rush to find out the symptoms to make sure we aren’t afflicted. All other widespread diseases have symptoms too, and you will find that many people begin to rush to the doctors if they see a slight sign or symptom that might indicate they have that disease – even if it’s something as normal as an itch!
Likewise with hypocrisy, if we see a slight sign of the disease we need to address it, and find a way to cure it (Insha’Allah). Some of the symptoms of hypocrisy include habitually lying, and breaking promises.
Allah (swt) says that the hypocrites will have عَذَابٌ أَلِيمُ – “a painful punishment”
This type of punishment is WORSE than the type of punishment a disbeliever will get, as Allah describes the punishment of hypocrites as “painful” whereas for the disbelievers He says “a great punishment.” This depicts that the punishment of the hypocrites is something that will be constant and ongoing. These Hypocrites will experience the pain constantly, and their pain won’t decrease in any way.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us from hypocrisy.