In Sha' Allah

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In sha' Allah (also written as inshallah or insha'Allah), in Arabic إن شاء الله, is an Islamic phrase used not only by Arab Muslims, but also by English-speaking Muslims. The literal meaning of "in sha' Allah" is "if wills God" and Muslims have to (because of verses 18:23-24) say this phrase whenever they say their plan to do something.

The phrase in Arabic

With diacritics it is written as:

  • إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ

In the old Qur'anic Uthmani script, the شَاءَ is written with alif maddah:

  • إِن شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ

The three words are:

  • إِن - in - (a particle) if
  • شَاءَ - sha' - (3rd person perfect verb) wills [1]
  • اللَّهُ - Allah - (proper noun) God

The three letters in شَاءَ are:

  • ش - shin
  • ا - alif
  • ء - hamza

Hamza is read as a glottal stop (closing the throat), which is indicated by the apostrophe "In sha' Allah".

The root of شَاءَ is شيا.

Some Muslims write in and sha together, so they get insha. انشاء الله (insha' Allah) means "we created/invented Allah" (insha is from a different root نشا). So by writing in and sha' together they proclaim that Allah is a man-made god. [2]

In the Qur'an

The verses 18:23-24 are the most important since they command Muslims to say in sha Allah. The verse 18:24 actually says أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُ (an yasha' Allah) and not ان شاء الله (in sha' allah):

18:23 And never say of anything, "Indeed, I will do that tomorrow,"

18:24 Except [when adding], "If Allah wills." (أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُ) 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."

These verses say in sha Allah. Shakir translates the phrase as "if Allah pleases":

They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what she is, for surely to us the cows are all alike, and if Allah please we shall surely be guided aright.
Then when they came in to Yusuf, he took his parents to lodge with him and said: Enter safe into Egypt, if Allah please.
He said: If Allah pleases, you will find me patient and I shall not disobey you in any matter.
He said: I desire to marry one of these two daughters of mine to you on condition that you should serve me for eight years; but if you complete ten, it will be of your own free will, and I do not wish to be hard to you; if Allah please, you will find me one of the good.
And when he attained to working with him, he said: O my son! surely I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you; consider then what you see. He said: O my father! do what you are commanded; if Allah please, you will find me of the patient ones.
Certainly Allah had shown to His Messenger the vision with truth: you shall most certainly enter the Sacred Mosque, if Allah pleases, in security, (some) having their heads shaved and (others) having their hair cut, you shall not fear, but He knows what you do not know, so He brought about a near victory before that.

In the Qur'an sometimes it is also written as "law sha Allah" (لَوْ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ):

On this world and the hereafter. And they ask you concerning the orphans Say: To set right for them (their affairs) is good, and if you become co-partners with them, they are your brethren; and Allah knows the mischief-maker and the pacemaker, and if Allah had pleased (وَلَوْ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ), He would certainly have caused you to fall into a difficulty; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.

In the hadith

Oaths with in sha' Allah are unbreakable:

It was narrated from Ibn 'Umar: "Whoever swears an oath and says In sha' Allah, will never break his oath."

Muhammad's religious tolerance:

Narrated 'Umar bin Al-Khattab: That the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "If I live - if Allah wills - I will expel the Jews and the Christians from the Arabian Peninsula."

Solomon's wives didn't get pregnant, because he didn't say in sha' Allah:

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "(The Prophet) Solomon once said, 'Tonight I will sleep with ninety women, each of whom will bring forth a (would-be) cavalier who will fight in Allah's Cause." On this, his companion said to him, "Say: Allah willing!" But he did not say Allah willing. Solomon then slept with all the women, but none of them became pregnant but one woman who later delivered a halfman. By Him in Whose Hand Muhammad's soul is, if he (Solomon) had said, 'Allah willing' (all his wives would have brought forth boys) and they would have fought in Allah's Cause as cavaliers. "


In Ibn Ishaq's sira (biography of Muhammad), we can read that some people were sent to Jewish rabbis, to ask them how to determine whether Muhammad is a real prophet. They prepared 3 questions for Muhammad and if he answers them right, then he is a prophet. Muhammad said, he will give them the answers tommorow, but after 15 days he was still without any answers. Supposedly because he didn't say "in sha' Allah":

...they sent him and `Uqba b. Abu Mu`ayt to the Jewish rabbis in Medina and said to them, 'Ask them about Muhammad; describe him to them and tell them what he says, for they are the first people of the scriptures and have knowledge which we do not possess about the prophets.' They carried out their instructions, and said to the rabbis, 'You are the people of the Taurat, and we have come to you so that you can tell us how to deal with this tribesman of ours.' The rabbis said, 'Ask him about three things of which we will instruct you; if he gives you the right answer then he is an authentic prophet, but if he does not, then the man is a rogue, so form your own opinion about him. Ask him what happened to the young men who disappeared in ancient days, for they have a marvellous story. Ask him about the mighty traveller who reached the confines of both East and West. Ask him what the spirit is. If he can give you the answer, then follow him, for he is a prophet. If he cannot, then he is a forger and treat him as you will.' The two men returned to Quraysh at Mecca and told them that they had a decisive way of dealing with Muhammad, and they told them about the three questions.

They came to the apostle and called upon him to answer these questions. He said to them, 'I will give you your answer tomorrow,' but he did not say, 'if God will.' So they went away; and the apostle, so they say, waited for fifteen days without a revelation from God on the matter, nor did Gabriel come to him, so that the people of Mecca began to spread evil reports, saying, 'Muhammad promised us an answer on the morrow, and today is the fifteenth day we have remained without an answer.' This delay caused the apostle great sorrow, until Gabriel brought him the Chapter of The Cave, in which he reproaches him for his sadness, and told him the answers of their questions, the youths, the mighty traveller, and the spirit.

I was told that the apostle said to Gabriel when he came, 'You have shut yourself off from me, Gabriel, so that I became apprehensive'. He answered, 'We descend only by God's command, whose is what lies before us, behind us, and what lies between, and thy Lord does not forget.
Sirat Rasul Allah, page 133

The last sentence by Gabriel became a verse in the Qur'an:

And we do not descend but by the command of your Lord; to Him belongs whatever is before us and whatever is behind us and whatever is between these, and your Lord is not forgetful.

After 15 days Muhammad revealed vague answers to the questions. The revealed answers seem to be collected from rumors of the people and not from an all-knowing being, because they include phrases like "some people say" with a list of different rumors, instead of giving the exact number. They also include the "Allah knows best" excuse. This verse deals with the number of the sleepers of Ephesus:

18:22 (Some) say: (They are) three, the fourth of them being their dog; and (others) say: Five, the sixth of them being their dog, making conjectures at what is unknown; and (others yet) say: Seven, and the eighth of them is their dog. Say: My Lord best knows their number, none knows them but a few; therefore contend not in the matter of them but with an outward contention, and do not question concerning them any of them.

Immediately after that verse (18:22), come the verses (18:23-24) about the necessity of saying in sha' Allah:

18:23 And never say of anything, "Indeed, I will do that tomorrow,"

18:24 Except [when adding], "If Allah wills." (أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُ) 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."

So if Islam is true, then Allah refused to help Muhammad with his challenge to prove his prophethood, just because Muhammad didn't say in sha' Allah. But somehow after 15 days he helped him anyway. Also Allah's knowledge seems to be limited by the knowledge of people around Muhammad, because instead of giving the exact number of the sleepers of Ephesus, he gave an answer like "some people say this and some people say that".

And if Islam is false, than it means that Muhammad probably didn't have the answers to the questions and hoped someone would help him with it until the next day, but eventually it took him 15 days to collect at least some vague answers and then as an excuse for his delay he said that it was because he didn't say in sha' Allah.


Saying in sha' Allah is supposed to help people achieve their goals/wishes. If people don't say in sha' Allah, then their goals shouldn't be achieved (for example, Solomon couldn't have kids without saying in sha' Allah). But since people from other religions and atheists can achieve their goals without saying in sha' Allah and Muslims do not always achieve their goals despite saying in sha' Allah, then the effectiveness of this phrase on achieving goals is approximately 0%.

See Also


  2. Insha is used in the Qur'an. For example in 23:78:
    • وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنشَأَ لَكُمُ
    • It is whe who created (أَنشَأَ) for you