In shaa Allah: When to say In shaa Allah and when not to
What is ‘In shaa Allah‘? It is an Arabic expression meaning ‘If Allah wills’ (this is usually said when referring to a situation in the future) – For eg: I will go to the grocery shop tomorrow in shaa Allah. “In”, which means “if”; “Shaa‘ ”, which means “will (wish)” and “Allah,” meaning “God.” So if someone says “In Shaa Allah”, you can also say “In Shaa Allah” in return.
In the Qur’an, Allah says:
“And never say of anything, “Indeed, I will do that tomorrow,”. Except , “If Allah wills.”… [Quran – 18:23-24]
We also see Muhammad (ﷺ) using “in shaa Allah” in his conversations.
‘Itban bin Malik said: “I used to lead my people Bani Salim in prayer. I came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and said: ‘I have lost my eyesight and the rainwater prevents me from reaching the masjid of my people. I would like you to come and pray in my house in a place that I can take as a masjid.’ The Prophet (ﷺ) said: ‘I will do that, if Allah (SWT) wills.’ The next day, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came, and Abu Bakr was with him, after the day had grown hot. The Prophet (ﷺ) asked for permission to enter, and I gave him permission. He did not sit down until he asked: ‘Where would you like me to pray in your house?’ I showed him the place where I wanted him to pray, so the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) stood there and formed a row behind him, then he said the salam and we said the salam when he did.” [Nasai 1327]
Muhammad (ﷺ) said ‘in shaa Allah’ because he genuinely wanted to go and then he did as well. Saying ‘if Allah wills’ is a sign that you don’t know for sure what will happen tomorrow. You may get sick or even die – future is never known! But it’s never an excuse for an intention to not do something. When determining to do something in the future; the will of Allah should always be referred to because He is the only One who knows what is to be and what is not to be.
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As mentioned here:
“As far as the claim that if one writes “inshaAllah”/ “inshallah” it will mean “create Allah,” this is incorrect. Because the verb “create” is classified as فعل الأمر (imperative verb) in Arabic. The imperative form of “create” using the root word إنشاء is أنشئ (Anshi’ with a sharp ending, unlike an alif). When the word الله is joined to the imperative أنشئ, the final letter of the imperative is given a kasrah ( ئِ ) based on the rules of morphology: أنشئ الله. Technically speaking, the transliteration should then be “anshi illah.” It is therefore incorrect to scrutinize a transliteration based on the technicalities of another language. In light of the above, the various forms of transliteration for “insha Allah” are permissible.”
When to use ‘in shaa Allah‘:
1. What is to be done in the future (when you INTEND to do something):
The word ‘future’ here means anything that is yet to happen. However, there should be an intention of action. That is, to put what is intended into action. For instance, Allah says in the Quran:
“(Isma’il) said: “He said, “O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast.” [Quran – 37:102]
In the verse, Prophet Isma’il (peace be on him) had the intention to have patience, but the situation was tense and anything could have happened. Nonetheless, he was patient and hence passed his test.
2. When in doubt, but having a strong belief nonetheless (when you WANT to do something):
In a situation of doubt, where the person in doubt says he will get it right, In shaa Allah should be used in company of the person’s assertion. For example, Allah says in the Quran:
They said, “Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is. Indeed, cows look alike to us. And indeed we, if Allah wills, will be guided.” [Quran – 2:70]
The people in the above verse were in doubt. So, they said In shaa Allah. They wanted to do something that they weren’t sure they could do.
Wanting and intending are different in a way that intend is to fix the mind upon something to be accomplished and then plan while want is to wish for or to desire something. Both ways, a person has a desire to do it, but they do not disregard Allah’s will and qadr in the process.
3: When you want to achieve something because you put in all the effort (but you leave the results with Allah):
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be on him) used InshaAllah in two of his sayings – while visiting the sick and after fasting. In the case of fasting,
ذَهَبَ الظَّمَأُ وَابْتَلَّتِ الْعُرُوقُ وَثَبَتَ الأَجْرُ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ
…Prophet (ﷺ) said when he broke his fast: Thirst has gone, the arteries are moist, and the reward is sure, if Allah wills. [Abu Dawud 2357]
On visiting the sick, it was reported that
The Prophet (ﷺ) visited a bedouin who was sick. Whenever he visited an ailing person, he would say, “La ba’sa, tahurun in sha’ Allah .” [Bukhari]
When NOT to say ‘in shaa Allah‘:
1. Not As an excuse:
O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do? Great is hatred in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do. [Quran – 61:2-3]
It showed that saying ‘in shaa Allah‘ doesn’t mean that you are NOT going to do something (as some Muslims have turned this phrase into an excuse and a way to get off the hook). ‘In shaa Allah‘ is a firm commitment to walk the walk and talk the talk, while simultaneously being an expression of humility and acceptance of God’s control over all things.
2. Not In your duas (supplications):
Prophet prohibited saying In shaa Allah in supplication.
When one of you makes a supplication (to his Lord) one should not say: O Allah, grant me pardon, if Thou so likest, but one should beg one’s (Lord) with a will and full devotion, for there is nothing so great in the eye of Allah which He cannot grant. [Muslim]
Because Allah can do everything and when you ask from Him, ask with conviction that He will listen – because Allah is what you think of Him.
It is worthy of note, the status of saying ‘in shaa Allah’ in Islam is that of a recommended act; not compulsory in all cases. The below Hadith beamed light on this:
“On the day of the battle of Khaibar, Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “I shall hand over this banner to one who loves Allah and His Messenger, and Allah will give us victory through him…” [Muslim]
In the line – “and Allah will give us victory through him…”, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not add ‘in shaa Allah‘ and the ‘victory’ is futuristic.
Nonetheless, a good deed, no matter how little or small it may be, should not be belittled or neglected. Nobody knows which of the good deeds pleases Allah the most and which are accepted by Him. Remember, no good deed should be belittled even if it is meeting your brother (Muslim) with a smiling face or something as small as saying ‘in shaa Allah‘ with a good intention.