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.