6 Words Everyone Should Know: Muslim Slang 101

Do you speak Muslim? Muslims get this question many times. A lot of people think all Muslims have a common language. Fortunately, that is not the case. The official liturgical language of Islam is Arabic, but that does not mean all Muslims actually speak it. Even though many Muslims speak other languages than Arabic, there are a few words that we all know and that we use on a daily basis. This is an article for all the people out there who once got confused when their Muslim friend used ‘Muslim slang’.

As-salamu Alaikum

This one is very well known by both Muslims and non-Muslims. It means ‘peace be upon you’. You might think: When do you guys even use this? ‘As-salamu Alaikum’ basically replaces the classic ‘hello’ or ‘whassuuuuuuup bro?!’. We use it when meeting or greeting people and we also use this one when saying goodbye. Depending on where you live and on whether you are a man or a woman, it can be accompanied by a handshake, a hug or 24 kisses.
Fun fact: for the more advanced people there is also ‘Asalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh’, which is used in the same situation. But you add something more to the meaning. This extended version means ‘May the peace, the mercy, and the blessings of Allah be upon you.’

salaam

Mash’Allah

‘Mash’Allah’, mainly used by girls when being around each other. It basically means ‘What Allah wants, He gives.’ Muslims use this to praise people when Allah has blessed or honoured them with something. Many people overuse this word a lot.
‘Mash’Allah your manicure is so pretty’
‘Mash’Allah you finished that computer game!’
‘Mash’Allah your new shoes look so nice’

mashallah

Insh’Allah

This one can be used in two different situations. The actual use of this word is when you make resolutions or when you plan on doing something. Because ‘Insh’Allah’ means ‘if Allah wills’. But parents all over the world have inherited this word to train their kids not to whine when asking for something.
‘Mom, dad can I go to the movies tomorrow?’
‘Insh’Allah.’
We used to think that this means that they put the trust in the hands of Allah, but growing up we all know that it actually means no.

Subhanallah

If you are Muslim and you’ve ever watched National Geographic with your grandparents you have probably heard of this word before. SubhanAllah means ‘glory to Allah’, which is used in many situations. For example when you witness something beautiful, this is where you praise God for His Creation. But it can also be used when witnessing someone who is being very ignorant towards something that was created by Allah.

subhanallah

Astaghfirulah

When a Muslim wants to ask Allah for forgiveness he will say ‘Astagfirullah’. It literally means ‘I ask Allah for forgiveness.’ The funny thing is that it is meant to use this word for mistakes you made yourself but many people like to use this word to judge others for their ‘mistakes’.
‘Astagfirullaaaaaaaaah sister, your hijab doesn’t cover your hair properly!’

astaghfirullah

Allahu Akbar

Many people have ruined this word for us in a way that we can no longer say it out loud in airports or in public transport. People who do not understand the meaning think it is some kind of shout terrorists use, but the actual meaning is ‘Allah is the greatest’. Muslims use this when they approve of what they hear or when they witness something beautiful. It has such a beautiful meaning, too bad some people have messed up this word and its meaning.

So next time you hear Muslims use one of these words: no need to get confused or scared. These are just sayings we use on a daily basis. If you really want to know the meaning of something your Muslim friend says, just ask. We do not bite… nor bomb. Chill.

Written by Latifa Saber

Latifa Saber

Latifa Saber is a 21-year-old student with strong opinions on pretty much everything. Feminism, literature and fashion are her main fields of interest.

  • Sumit

    Ahlamdullilah

  • GRACE KELLY HAS CLASS

    The last bit is called a ‘Takbir’ – like the xtian ‘Hail Mary’ really …

  • Arsene Wenger

    Good article, but I’m not sure about saying insha Allah means no, even when your parent says it

    • Shahfizal Musa

      Well in Malaysia, it still a polite way of declining something. So I can relate to that. But there are increasing number of people who regard Insya Allah as a binding promise that you should never break unless you are bleeding to death

    • Abdulah Mohamed

      As-salamu alaykum (السلام عليكم)
      I live in Indonesia and the same here Inshallah ( إن شاء الله,) is used as a way of polite say NO, it is one of my biggest pet peeves. If you don’t want to do something just say NO.

  • Ismail A.K.

    I Enjoyed this article. True and very funny. Keep up the good work. 👍

  • Bob Johnson

    I just cal these filthy turds muck mucks!

    • Bob Johnson

      Hoping all the while they don’t like it!

    • Abdulah Mohamed

      As-salamu alaykum (السلام عليكم)
      I pray for you brother, your stupidity is very wrong.

      • MadMaxx63

        Lalalalala…boom! Your religion is very wrong!

  • Piss be Upon Him

    If you ever hear anyone say “Allahu Akbar” pick up the nearest brick and smash them in the face with it. Don’t hang about wondering if they are carrying a Machete or a bomb. Just attack, before they have a chance to kill anyone.

    • Abdulah Mohamed

      As-salamu alaykum (السلام عليكم)
      Again I pray for you, if you where a real man/woman you would not hide behind a false name like “piss be upon him”. Just shows your ignorance. Grow up

      • MadMaxx63

        He’s allowed to have disdain for your culture just as much as your culture has disdain of ours!

  • AS

    This isn’t a very feminist viewpoint, especially when so many Muslims these days fight for equality and against discrimination; I don’t know where they came up with mash’Allah being used “mainly by girls.” Where are the stats on that, and what sources could you have been looking at to come up with that conclusion? The examples for this one are pretty self-discriminatory too. First, girls mainly use it? Then, they use it for congratulating someone on their computer game, shoes, and/or manicures? How about praising someone for a good grade, beating their mile-time, or acing that interview? Hopefully there will be more thought-provoking articles, iA.

  • Abdulah Mohamed

    As-salamu alaykum (السلام عليكم)
    Nice article too bad people that don’t appreciate articles had to weigh in on the topic, just shows the ignorance of people.

  • The words mentioned aren’t really words to express any ideas, they are automatic conditioned responses like the salivation of pavlovian dog. These words don’t express anything. And the list wouldn’t be complete with out “Alhamdolilah”, and “Jaza kallah”.

  • Kirstn Tatar

    Now I feel silly… I’m a revert and I use Insha’Allah to sincerely mean “I hope so/to…”. I even get looks from native born Muslims like, what is that woman saying?!?

  • MadMaxx63

    I’m curious as to how you can be Muslim and a feminist Ms. Saber?

  • Branon Lamphere

    I’m not scared, Muzzy words make me burn for Holy Crusade 😆😆😆😂😂😂😜