In_Sha_Allah, If Allah Wills

By Syed Sharfuddin

In_Sha_Allah or if Allah wills is the most commonly used phrase in the daily Muslim discourse. In some Muslim communities it is spoken seriously with the intention of seeking Allah’s intervention in getting something done as is commanded in the holy Quran: “And never say anything such as 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.” [18:23:24]. However, many times In_Sha_Allah is spoken without understanding its meaning and ironically on some occasions it is spoken as a substitute to saying no, meaning I don’t want to do it but if God wants it done I am happy with that. To understand it fully, let us turn to the holy Quran itself where this commandment is given.

There are important lessons to be learnt from the parables of prophets mentioned in the holy Quran. One of these lessons is the importance of making dua to Allah to seek his help, whether for one’s own self or for others.

Dua is the solemn act of reproaching Allah for the fulfilment of a genuine need or desire. We read in the story of prophet Abraham that he had two wives but he still prayed to Allah for a pious child: “Lord grant me a child from among the righteous” [37:100] and he was blessed with a son, Ismail. Prophet Zachariah also prayed to Allah for an heir when his wife got silver in her hair: “O Lord, grant me from yourself a progeny that is pure; you are the granter of prayers” [3:38]. “O Lord, do not leave me alone; you are the best of inheritors.” [21:89].

In both these examples the underlying message is that no matter how great the effort or resources, Allah’s blessing is still required to get your wish granted.

An example of a prophet praying not for himself but for his people is Prophet Jesus. He prayed for food for his followers: “O Allah our Lord, send us a table spread with food from heaven to be a festival for the first of us and the last of us and a sign from you; (our Lord), provide for us. Verily, you are the best of providers” [5:114]. Prophet Abraham also prayed for the welfare and safety of his progeny who settled in Makkah: “Our Lord, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near your sacred House; our Lord, that they may establish prayer. So make hearts among the people inclined toward them and provide for them from the fruits that they might be grateful.” [14:37]. We see that Allah has fulfilled the dua of both these prophets.

The ancient House of Allah in what used to be a barren valley surrounded by bare mountains is today the most peaceful and sought-after place for Muslim pilgrims, and all kinds of fruits and provisions are found in Makkah. Likewise, Allah has given wealth and abundance of food to the followers of Jesus as a result of his dua for his followers.

Dua is also important for coming out of trouble or recovery from illness. Prophet Job called out to Allah for help after his illness had become unbearable before he found a cure. “And (mention) Job, when he called to his Lord “indeed, adversity has touched me, and you are the most merciful of the merciful.” [21:83). Prophet Jonah would have remained in the belly of the whale had he not sought forgiveness for his escape. “And (remember Jonah), when he went off in anger, and imagined that we shall not punish him” (i.e. in the form of the calamities which had befallen him in the journey). “But he cried through the darkness (saying): ‘there is no god worthy of worship besides you, glorious Allah. Surely I was among the wrongdoers’.” [21:87].

There are also examples of dua being suspended or delayed for acceptance. Prophet Noah was told his dua to save his son in the flood could not be accepted [11:45-46]. Prophet Abraham’s dua for salvation of his father was declined [9:114]. Prophet Solomon’s dua for getting an able successor was not accepted despite him having more than 100 wives (in Hebrew literature it is mentioned Solomon had 141 wives and concubines). But his dua for a being the most powerful king with no parallel in history was accepted. “And we certainly tried Solomon and placed on his throne a body; then he returned. ‘He said, My Lord, forgive me and grant me a kingdom such as will not belong to anyone after me. Indeed, you are the best giver’.” [38:34-5].

The parables of prophets show that dua is the key to getting your wishes granted or getting your needs fulfilled. But whether your dua is granted, withheld, declined or converted into a credit to be used on the day of judgement for upgrading your status in Paradise, is known only to Allah. Man cannot definitely say: if I ask Allah for something, I shall get it. That is the meaning of In_Sha_Allah, if Allah wills.

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23 January 2018