6 words everyone should know: Muslim slang 101

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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

  • Ismail A.K.

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